Monday, December 11, 2017

Thorotrends: News and Views News and Views

If you happen to be someone who likes to pore over data, you might enjoy the full cross tabulations from our survey of Thoroughbred horse racing enthusiasts completed earlier this year. Cross tabulations provide a fairly straightforward way to present survey results at a high level of detail.

Go ahead and see if you can find something interesting or noteworthy. It can often be fun to drill into the data looking for relationships, especially relationships that support or refute your own pet hypotheses. Your interpretations of the data will of course be your own.
In Search of... Lost Kentucky Derby Viewers

in-search-of-nimoyGrowing up I couldn't get enough of the old "In Search of..." series hosted by Leonard Nimoy. So with a nod to the verbal disclaimer that opened each episode's investigation into historical mysteries and the paranormal...

"This article presents information based in part on theory and conjecture. The author's purpose is to suggest some possible explanations, but not necessarily the only ones, to the mysteries we will examine."


The table was set. Thoroughbred racing's good friend NBC unleashed a beast of a cross-platform promotional effort for its Kentucky Derby telecast last Saturday. The 164,858 patrons who jammed Churchill Downs broke an attendance mark that has stood since 1974. Derby Day wagering volume from all sources was massive and increased from last year, 
making it the third highest total on record. Google search volume for "Kentucky Derby" increased over last year. Page-views on www.KentuckyDerby.com increased. Looking good, eh?
Takeout: "The Price You Pay"

Now they'd come so far and they'd waited so long
Just to end up caught in a dream where everything goes wrong
Where the dark of night holds back the light of day
And you've gotta stand and fight for the price you pay
Oh, the price you pay, oh, the price you pay
Now you can't walk away from the price you pay
~ Bruce Springsteen

Un_dollar_usCall it what you will... the vig, the rake, the juice. In the world of pari-mutuel gambling it is commonly known as takeout. By any name it is the invisible hand that reaches into your pocket -- the cost associated with making a wager. For you, the sports bettor, the horseplayer, the slots player, it is "the price you pay".

Takeout is a fundamental necessity in the economics of Thoroughbred horse racing. Bettors fuel the pari-mutuel pools and a percentage is deducted to fund purses, pay taxes and expenses, and generate profits for the racetrack. Without betting, racing ceases to exist as we know it. Pat Robertson, the media mogul, moral crusader, and frustrated Thoroughbred racing enthusiast and owner, once said "I don't bet on my own horses and I don't think anyone else should either." Well, Pat didn't quite understand the economic model that allowed him to race his horses for prize money. But you probably do.
Impact

The purpose of any market research effort is to have an impact. Far too often research results do not have an impact and are Impact_eventbarely read and distributed. Our recent survey of Thoroughbred racing enthusiasts produced some very interesting results that I have enjoyed describing, analyzing, and publishing on Twitter and Facebook. And there is more to come. Some of you who participated in the survey have asked the question to the effect of "what good will it do?" A short update is in order.
Thorotrends Thoroughbred Racing Survey: Your Topline Results

Thank you to each and every Thoroughbred horse racing enthusiast who took the time to participate in our survey. The online survey began Thursday, February 24, and was open for five days, closing February 28. In the end nearly 500 highly engaged fans, horseplayers, owners, breeders, and others shared their views and opinions by answering most of the questions.