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I have been a long time supporter of the Friday Night Racing at Hollywood Park. Tested in 1991, and then introduced full time in 1994, the business model was to larger and younger crowd with excellent admission and concession promotions. Almost every year, Hollywood Park had a $1 special on hot dogs, sodas, and beer. In addition, there was also a $1 admission promotion to those 29 and under (that was abolished in 1999 after several members of the senior citizen society and the AARP SUED Hollywood Park).
Last November, after 17 years of this successful promotion (in one form or another), a decision was made to abolish this promotion. Hollywood Park will no longer have their Friday Night Happy Hour Promotion of $1 sodas, hot dogs, and beers from 5pm to 9pm. The reason I was given was that Hollywood Park is going to focus on the concert series.
Back in November, word quickly spread about this removal of this promotion and the crowd for the racing aspect of the night was rather dismal. In fact, I was told by many observers that there was more people in the parking lot partying until concert time than was actually inside the race track. All that potential lost revenue from wagers and concession purchases because executive thought they would generate more Gross Operating Income from the removal of this promotion.
Let me be the first to say this is an abominable decision. The concept behind having a promotion like this was to get more fans TO THE TRACK! If I told you that we were going out for the night to Inglewood, CA........ you would probably have some severe resistance. If there was some kind of special promotion which was excellent value, maybe you would give this thought some serious consideration
I have been lucky to have an Australian Handicapping Seminar there for the past 3 years, which has been very successful and popular especially with the $1 promotion Hollywood Park offered to get many people out to the track who would normally not come to the race track.
This sport, OUR SPORT, is struggling. Instead of tracks and companies making sound decisions to improve the product and become a customer centric, they are reverting to more revenues and less fan friendly promotions.
Sure, i think that if you continued the promotion but made everything $2, the fans would be very understanding and realize that this is still good value for both the fans and the race track.
So which is more profitable?
- 15000 fans with a $2 beer promotion
- 3000 fans with no promotion
I guess the strategy was to go with 3000 fans with no promotion was the way to expand the fan base and maximize revenue. Sorry, decision makers, you have once again missed the mark and the racing fans of Hollywood Park, or lack there of, will be the biggest losers in this culture. In the end, the decision to abolish this ever popular promotion will hurt the bottom line in revenue. Less fans means less concessions sold means less wagers made equals less revenue which equals a NET INCOME loss for everyone.
Last edited by SpenceCC on Mon Jul 16, 2012 6:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.
GoldenGatebytheBay continues their $1 Sundays and although I don't know know exactly how much handle increases on these days, I have seen crowd sizes expand almost two-fold on Sundays.
Track managements have incredibly been making terrible decisions - from takeout to allowing drugs to bonehead decisions like this for at least the last 15-20 years. Then they wonder why fans are moving on.
However I did notice that the overall handle in the US actually has increased in three of the first four months this year for the first time in about 4.5 years. But I certainly wouldn't use that a reason for a ridiculous decision like this.
Sorry to hear about this terrible decision,
Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea.
Avatar: My cuzin Isaac Murphy - a jock I'm tying to emulate in character and winning percentage - almost 47% lifetime.
Excellent post, Spence.
Yeah, I just don't get how these decisions come about either. I'm not sure what the prices will be this coming Spring/Summer meeting, but I'm pretty sure it was $2 - $3 or so for each item the last few meets. Yes, there gets to be a point where the potential visitor sees no value in coming out for a night of races/concerts. If HOL and horse racing in general wants to get new people interested in the game they have to get people to the track and higher prices isn't the way to do it. The high takeouts are already doing a number on the seasoned horse bettor now mgmt. sees an opportunity to get a higher per sale profit on concessions. I think they miss the point that higher live attendance leads to so much more than just that nights concessions profits.
I've seen you at Whittingham's quite often, Spence, and like your work. You do a great job mingling with the patrons, saying who you like in upcoming Aussie races, and being an all around great host.
I hope someone that could make the change back to $1 concessions during Friday night happy hours does the right thing and reverts back to $1.
No offense, but Hollywood should follow Churchill's lead and only offer night racing on about 5-7 nights per spring meet while offering twilight races on Thursdays and non-evening Fridays.
I heard the next thing they were going to do to cut cost was abolish the Australian Handicapping Seminar
Touche White Hat! But because of our motto: "NO TIES/TYs ALLOWED, ONLY WINNERS", The AUSSIE POSSE WILL LIVE FOREVER!
So for White Hat!
I like a Exacta Box / Trifecta Box in Race 1A From Rosehill tomorrow night of 1 - 4 - 9 - 12
To LEYKIS101, just come by and say "NO TIES ALLOWED, ONLY WINNERS" any Friday Night.
Come to Dmr on Fridays this summer, heard they will be offering beers for only $10.
and when they do those dui checks in the parking lot you wont have the money to bail out of jail.
Ha, I'm surprised it took the Sherriffs Dept so many years to patrol that place.
i think that xactly what jockey mike smith said last year
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