Horse racing and betting have historically been strongly intertwined, however, in the contemporary market it faces strong competition from multiple other sports.
For John McBroom, Commercial Director at Total Performance Data (TPD), if horse racing is to effectively compete with other popular sports such as football, it must embrace innovation, such as effectively leveraging data.
Speaking at the Betting on Sports Europe (BOSE) event, he emphasised: “Horse racing is competing with other sports, both inside and outside the betting world, and there’s a regular debate about how racing can increase revenue and that debate often revolves around the fixture list – whether to expand it, decrease the number of fixtures, change race times or meeting schedules.
“We think that it’s vital that racing extracts the maximum value from the existing product. Racing is competing for roadmap space with betting operators against soccer, tennis, esports and American football.
“Operators are always going to prioritise the roadmap on sports that they think are going to provide growth opportunities and return on investment, and unless racing innovates its going to lose that competition with other sports.”
Commenting on how horse racing could better utilise data to improve the experiences for its followers and compete against other offerings, McBroom discussed the option for in-play.
Describing the use of data as ‘hugely important’ for horse racing, the Director gave an overview of TPD’s approach to launching its in-play product, and highlighted what he believed was the necessity of ‘improving the live experience for horse racing bettors’.
“We’re going to be doing that by overlaying our data onto streaming and enhanced visualisation to give people watching racing a better idea of what’s going on during the race and what might happen during the race – things like energy usage for each horse, jumping efficiency metrics, whether the horses are going faster or slower than expected.
“All this information can help the viewer understand more and have a feeling of how the race is going to work out.”