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NTRA TO TARGET "LIGHT" FANS IN NEW 2001 ADVERTISING
First Day of Marketing Summit Focuses on Consumer Research, New Ad Campaign
Officials from the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA), the ESPN Sports Poll and the advertising agency of BaylessCronin highlighted opportunities to increase the attendance and wagering of "light" fans of horseracing before an audience of more than 150 marketing executives on the first day of the NTRA's third annual Marketing Summit today at The Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
"The research tells us these light users are generally upscale, highly educated sports fans who attend and wager about twice a year," said NTRA Commissioner Tim Smith. "The research shows also that they enjoy and understand our game, and their numbers are growing. Due to the large size of this group, increasing frequency just a bit would be meaningful both in terms of improving operating results at member tracks and attracting sponsors."
Rob Fox, senior account manager of the ESPN Sports Poll, reported that interest in horseracing had grown for the second straight year, especially among general sports fans.
Fan interest among adults 18 and older increased from 31.2 percent in 1999 to 32.3 percent in 2000, a percentage change increase of 3.5 percent. The increase in light fans was more than double that with a percentage change increase of 7.8 percent.
"In the quantitative data, the number of people who say they are interested in horseracing continues to grow," said Fox. "In qualitative focus groups, these same people told us they need additional motivation to participate more frequently."
The NTRA is working with the Atlanta-based advertising firm BaylessCronin to develop advertising to motivate more frequent attendance by this group.
"What started as a television campaign to generate awareness of the NTRA's pre-Breeders' Cup television programming is now developing into a national image and awareness campaign for horseracing that will target the 'light' demographic," said Tim Bayless, CEO of BaylessCronin. "It will remind the target why they enjoy horseracing and spur them to act on their interest. It will complement the NTRA's current co-op campaign and could have co-op applications of its own."
Lawrence D. Kruguer, vice president of marketing for SportsLine.com, will deliver the Summit's keynote speech on day two, which will also feature presentations on Internet marketing, national consumer promotions and public relations.
The NTRA is a broad-based coalition of Thoroughbred interests charged with increasing awareness of Thoroughbred racing and improving economic interests for industry participants. The NTRA also conducts the Breeders' Cup, Thoroughbred racing's year-end Championship consisting of eight races and $13 million in purses and awards, and the Breeders' Cup National Stakes Program, which are funded by the industry's owners and breeders. The NTRA has offices in Lexington, Ky., and New York City. A compendium of NTRA press releases appears on the NTRA Web site, ntra.com, and at the Web site for the Breeders' Cup Championship, breederscup.com. Contact the NTRA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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