You can’t say that NYRA doesn’t listen to its critics. After being called out roundly for failing to promote Curlin’s appearance in the Man o’War at Belmont in July, it took steps forward at Saratoga in August, creating a number of PR events to call attention to the big chestnut’s appearance in the Woodward on Labor Day weekend.
This week, it goes further, with much of the NYRA website devoted to all things Curlin, and while I’m not sure how many folks outside of the dedicated racing fan the campaign is reaching, it does appear that NYRA is trying to take advantage of a variety of resources to promote the Curlin’s second appearance in the Jockey Club Gold Cup this weekend. Curlin leads the Twinspires.com older horse division, according to the Thoroughbred Bloggers Alliance rankings.
NYRA writer Jenny Kellner has provided a couple of promotional graphics, one of which seems designed for the rookie race fan:
Both are available at Curlin’s Corner, begun at Saratoga, which offers fans a variety of ways to indulge in Curlin Mania: one can find there exactly the sort of information that we should have readily available for all horses: career past performances; video of all of Curlin’s races; tech gifts like wallpaper and four Woodward related podcasts; workout information; and broadcast information on the race (locally, MSG+, channel 48 on Time Warner Cable).
I have not yet, I confess, had a chance to read and digest the NTRA Online Marketing Task Force Report, to which Jessica at Railbird; Dana at Green but Game; Lisa at Superfecta; Alan at Left at the Gate; Kevin at The Aspiring Horseplayer; and Patrick at Handride et al. contributed, but I suspect that their ideas about marketing racing go far beyond creating a website with information about a marquee horse. That said, Curlin’s Corner is a step in the right direction; this website is the 20th item in a Google search result for “Curlin”; the main NYRA webpage comes up ninth in a search for “Curlin Jockey Club Gold Cup.”
Getting people to the website allows NYRA to advertise its stadium seat giveaway that day; to promote a $5 Curlin t-shirt whose sales will benefit Backstretch Employee Service Team; and to announce its YouTube channel, currently featuring “Trips and Traps,” Eric Donovan and Andy Serling’s race re-cap and analysis show. I’ve long been a fan of the NYRA website; it’s easy to navigate and it offers a variety of information, from the history of races, to well-written news articles, to current racing/meet statistics. Increasing the traffic to the site seems to me to be essential to increasing the attendance, and thus the handle. It will be interesting to see what the new NYRA marketing VP, whoever he or she may be, will bring to the promotional table this winter.
And speaking of (self) promotion, what I guess is a significant milestone passed last week without my having noticed: a week ago today, on September 17th, Brooklyn Backstretch marked its first birthday. 372 days and 333 posts ago, we launched. Thanks to all of you who have read, e-mailed, commented, and said hello. It’s been more fun than I could have imagined, and here’s to Year Two…