2023 Asian Racing Conference

By TPD CEO Will Duff Gordon

The Tale of Two Continents…

First up, an enormous thank you to the team who organised this semi annual conference. Hosting, steering and feeding 700 global delegates takes huge effort and I can attest to near perfect execution!

By far the most interesting thing about last week resulted from the fusion of 3 incredibly powerful and vastly different ingredients. It was hosted in the hottest racing market on the planet, Australia. It was organised by the gargantuan Asian Tote monopolies. It was also attended by the original sinners, aka the UK, Irish, French, American and other global racing leaders.

A fair summary would be that all racing nations look to each other for inspiration. This is not to pour cold water over the incredibly challenging pressures but to say that no racing nation is at peace!

The UK’s racing product is admired far more than we appreciate for its integrity and quality of product. The UK covets Australia and Asia’s prize money. Everyone covets Australia’s rampant racing popularity. But, the UK doesn’t envy the current litigation and strife between Australian racing territories and nor do we seek inspiration from slow moving Government-owned Tote’s where the average age of punters is well over 60.

If we go wider still, every sport, indeed every hobby is holding conferences with the exact same themes. No one is safe from the panic about the twin and polar opposite challenges of retaining current fans and grabbing new ones. Aside from top level football (soccer), nothing has a divine right to eyeballs. So, breathe, we’re not alone.

Grabbing new eye balls is easy: improve the product! But, delivering on that oh so simple statement is tough when the battle for popularity, media rights and market share saps most available energy.

What does Racing Do for the world and why does it matter? Racing pays fortunes in tax to governments, creates huge rural spending and offers a safe form of entertainment and escapism to millions of people every week. That’s a remarkable achievement.

Can Racing get from millions to billions of people? This means harnessing Gen Z via the power of Web 3 and a thorough digitising and crypto-ing of the sport! It means being more reflective of society. It means Racing has to go to the customer and not the other way around. The young don’t watch TV and don’t attend live sport if they can avoid it and that’s the problem. They live on the internet where the battle for eyeballs rages between trillion-dollar companies. Ouch.

This requires way more than incremental gains. And here is the crux of the matter. Hands up who is prepared to entirely re-think the sport in order to move from millions to billions of fans given the upheaval this will cause? Hands up who is happy for a managed decline? It’s a tale of Two Options.

TPD has some of the answers and a team of data scientists under 30 applying themselves to tomorrow’s challenges. We look forward to continuing to provide innovative content to our racecourse partners across 7 countries.