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Author Topic: Arlington Million attendance debacle  (Read 2564 times)
UFO
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« on: August 17, 2014, 10:39:38 AM »


A casual mate whose uncle works at your local racecourse just called and said that he said Arlington had well under 20,000 paid on track for Saturday's races. That's pure wickpoo, regardless of whatever sort of queue sum they try to foster publicly. She also said that there was some sort of chortles promotion in which the first 750 (seven hundred and fifty) people entering received a free Million glass. Seven hundred and fifty? That would suggest the division's operating budget is near exhausted for its designated period. That's not a promotion; that's a going-out-of-business clearing. Why not proffer at least 1,000 to give the cumin some sort of gleaned allure?

Her uncle also told her that almost all employees were forbidden from talking to the press all week and that any who did would be dismissed immediately. Apparently the track's corporate masters in Kentucky were repasted by a story somewhere earlier in the week where the esteemed but elderly Richard Duchossois (spl ck, please) referred to the thoroughly disgraced Richard Nixon, your barreswill 37th president, as "an honest man." All allaptitudes to Mr. Duchossois (my pardons) for whatever good he has accomplished but why would any professional associates allow a senior gentleman of such standing and grace to embarrass himself and his corporate affiliates in such fashion?

I am certainly no expert on the ledger side of the Thoroughbred business in my homeland or yours. But the uncle's summary statement was something to effect that all currently relying upon the Arlington operation for income are anticipating massive budget cuts whence the current trolley ends and a showdown of some sort between Mr. Duchossois and the corporate commanders of The Churchill Downs Group over the massive mismanagement currently plaguing the Chicago race track. As the French revolutionists correctly projected, heads will roll for these atrocities.

Those of you more versed in the history of the business operation of Arlington racecourse can fill in the empties in my bramble but apparently even at his most mentally fluid, Mr. Duchossois has had a rather spotty record in attempting to identify effective executive race track functionaries. My mate said sometime in the new millennium, he even hired some sort of retired military man whose lack of familiarity with the business of the King greatly contributed to the operation's current death spiral.

Ten years ago - when I was getting my first bade-spank at the LSOE - I would have said the idea of a first-tier global city such as Chicago without live Thoroughbred racing would have been unthinkable. Now, with the ready availability of punting via electronica et al, it's not. If, in fact, there were only 16,000 fully paid at Arlington on Saturday, it is barespeak for the fact that the supply of live racing in America far outpaces the demand. Certainly the grounds to the north are marvelous but much in time can reach an opulent obsolescence. (My beloved Aunt Hermoine has always even insisted The Queen could downsize her palace, feed the churningly displaced in Brixton and still live quite well - hah, hah.)

To those of you who admire and will lament the departure of Mr. Duchossois, all the pity that he did not heed the immortal warning of de Gaulle, who framed his final walkaway from publico Franco with the caveat: "Better to withdraw from events before they withdraw from you."

As for others at Arlington, apparently only a sad but final autumnal  guillotine awaits. Pray that at least it be quick and forward-visioned. Saturday's debacle was compelling evidence of their incompetence.

Tidings to all,

   
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The Turf Monster
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« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2014, 11:12:25 AM »

It looked like there were a lot of empty seats from the WGN overhead shot
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faster horses
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« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2014, 12:00:24 PM »

I was there, and the reports of 31k seem to me to be pretty close.  In the stands, there were a bunch of empty seats up in the Bob Uecker section, but the rest appeared full (taking into account that a lot of people are away from their seats at any given moment).  The apron had a good, but not huge, crowd.  I'm sure it wasn't the biggest crowd ever, but it sure wasn't 20k, and I have a hard time believing there were more than 10k freebies out there.

So, I suspect your numbers are as phony as the rest of your crazy uncle story and your faux erduite, mock Brit writing.
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bnlong
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« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2014, 12:15:54 PM »

UFO is this sour grapes? Sorry mate if your still reeling from that jet fuel induced headache.

I believed you to be a true aficionado of the flat. with your countrymen in attendance, racing on your preferred surface

yet you chose to attend the Air & Water show? The only management mistake yesterday was from your own activity director (she must be a looker)

I can assure you the attendance was closer to double your 16,000 figure, granted horse racing has fallen on hard times but not yesterday

So sorry you missed it.
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Trainer Rusty
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« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2014, 01:57:27 PM »

Based on my eye test there were 22k less than the lee dwise concert at arlington.  I moved around with ease compared to past millions.  People arent getting suckered anymore like Yankes games being premium.
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honest & balanced terry
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« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2014, 02:06:59 PM »

UFO is this sour grapes? Sorry mate if your still reeling from that jet fuel induced headache.

UFO's post reads like he collected all JO'D's recent tweets about AP into one document, mixed them up a little, and tied them all together with British idioms gleaned from Charles Dickens novels.
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"There are no $7500 maiden claimers, state-bred or otherwise, at Arlington."
Mohawk Emeritus
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« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2014, 03:12:38 PM »

Thanks for the post.  Very informative.
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« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2014, 03:16:56 PM »

The attendance could be lower because of the high admission prices as the trainer alluded in a response.  You are down before you walk in and that doesn't count forms and concession items.

Doesn't school start this week in most areas and families do not want to spend their last Saturday of the summer at a track even if Arlington is a Palace.  I think school usually begins later.

The price of gas has seemed to go up .30 to .45 in some areas.
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Mohawk Emeritus
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« Reply #8 on: August 17, 2014, 03:33:28 PM »

The attendance will keep dropping on Million day if admission is not reduced immediately.
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bnlong
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« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2014, 05:08:13 PM »

UFO's post reads like he collected all JO'D's recent tweets about AP into one document, mixed them up a little, and tied them all together with British idioms gleaned from Charles Dickens novels.
UFO's writing makes Jim OD's look like Isaac Asimov

 “All great truths are simple in final analysis, and easily understood; if they are not, they are not great truths.”
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Matchtown
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« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2014, 06:20:08 PM »

22 bucks admission is crazy........I'd say they had 24,000 tops fireworks had 40,000 never even bumped into anybody on million day........that was the weakest million in history.....pull the plug on that hot pile of dog crap.........junk
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The Turf Monster
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« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2014, 07:05:35 PM »

I don't think there was anywhere near 30k there.  I figured that Sudberry was hired due to his connections in the local sports media, but there was no buildup in the local press/comcast.  What gives?  This has to be one of the easiest things in sports to promote - a big time race, horses shipping in from around the world, last year's winner, a great facility, and affordability when compared to the rest of the chicago sports landscape.  Even non-racing fans can understand a million dollar purse

I heard Doyle talking about it on 87.7 this afternoon, not surprising since I used to see him at the Weed St OTB all the time on lunch
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HarnessFanDE
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« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2014, 08:53:32 PM »

Arlington attendance is amazing......I can't believe they draw what they do......outside of maybe 4 tracks of which only one runs a "real" meet......I can't get over how many you see outside watching a race.....
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SHOWTIME!!!
bnlong
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« Reply #13 on: August 18, 2014, 09:43:44 AM »

22 bucks admission is crazy........I'd say they had 24,000 tops fireworks had 40,000 never even bumped into anybody on million day........that was the weakest million in history.....pull the plug on that hot pile of dog crap.........junk
Cubs are about the weakest team in history avg. ticket price $44.16

Sox about the same avg. ticket price $26.00 every day all season long.

INSANE  pull the plug on that hot pile of dog crap! Makes the faithful fan a fool.....JUNK


Arlington Million $22.00 admission for one day only
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beobob
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« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2014, 10:04:02 AM »

Arlington Million $22.00 admission for one day only

If someone thinks that $22 is too much to pay stay home, and that's ok.  If someone else doesn't mind the $22 and attends, that's ok too.  AP (and every other Illinois track) needs to make their money on something other than handle.  If HAW could get away with an outrageous admission price for their big days, they'd do it in a second.

I've had Cub season tickets for 30+ years.  I started out alone, but now I have 4 partners because it's too expensive.  I've gone from $18 a game (including my parking pass) to $260 a game on prime days.  People pay up for entertainment (or to see the Cubs).

If AP cut admission in half, would they have drawn double the crowd?  I don't think so.  AP sets their prices at the level they think they can maximize profitability, not to seek public approval.
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Matchtown
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« Reply #15 on: August 18, 2014, 11:57:33 AM »

Casinos free admission everyday........Blackhawk home game on TV ridiculous Bill Wirtz said  that will never happen........on TV now more fans then ever........you need to get fans not alienate them..........oh but wait Hawthorne is free and nobody goes ......they go if the product is good the million card was very mediocre in my opinion .........fireworks 16 bucks great value and 40,000 agreed with me........they'll have 40,000 next year I'm guessing..........
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honest & balanced terry
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« Reply #16 on: August 18, 2014, 12:00:32 PM »

If someone thinks that $22 is too much to pay stay home, and that's ok.  If someone else doesn't mind the $22 and attends, that's ok too.

$20 or even $22 for Million Day seems okay to me. It's the one day a year the actual racing product on either track is worth any admission at all. AP really puts on a good show, and the races are good to boot. But that's me.

Quote
If AP cut admission in half, would they have drawn double the crowd?  I don't think so.  AP sets their prices at the level they think they can maximize profitability, not to seek public approval.

If the crowd really was as crappy this year as so many claim, there's a problem, because the extra $2 over previous years didn't make up the lost opportunity cost of concessions (or the usual $39 per capita of wagering) for those people who didn't come. And please, don't try to claim it was an issue of what was on the track/in the races, because the notion that counts for anything as far as drawing the Biff and Buff NW suburbs crowd has been pooh-poohed all year long.
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"There are no $7500 maiden claimers, state-bred or otherwise, at Arlington."
HarnessFanDE
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« Reply #17 on: August 18, 2014, 12:01:21 PM »

If someone thinks that $22 is too much to pay stay home, and that's ok.  If someone else doesn't mind the $22 and attends, that's ok too.  AP (and every other Illinois track) needs to make their money on something other than handle.  If HAW could get away with an outrageous admission price for their big days, they'd do it in a second.

I've had Cub season tickets for 30+ years.  I started out alone, but now I have 4 partners because it's too expensive.  I've gone from $18 a game (including my parking pass) to $260 a game on prime days.  People pay up for entertainment (or to see the Cubs).

If AP cut admission in half, would they have drawn double the crowd?  I don't think so.  AP sets their prices at the level they think they can maximize profitability, not to seek public approval.

I agree....you either pay it or you dont.....nothing bothers me more at a game or wherever when the customers give the girls behind the counter flak for how much the beer costs......like the girl making $10 an hour is setting the prices
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SHOWTIME!!!
honest & balanced terry
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« Reply #18 on: August 18, 2014, 12:02:28 PM »

fireworks 16 bucks great value and 40,000 agreed with me........they'll have 40,000 next year I'm guessing..........

Fireworks downtown Chicago lakefront free, and they get 1 million ...
« Last Edit: August 18, 2014, 12:04:58 PM by honest & balanced terry » Report to moderator   Logged

"There are no $7500 maiden claimers, state-bred or otherwise, at Arlington."
honest & balanced terry
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« Reply #19 on: August 18, 2014, 12:04:28 PM »

I agree....you either pay it or you dont.....nothing bothers me more at a game or wherever when the customers give the girls behind the counter flak for how much the beer costs......like the girl making $10 an hour is setting the prices

If you don't like the prices you have to give the flak to someone and hope the vendor passes the customer unhappiness along to upper mgt.

Of course, simply staying away from an overpriced product in droves speaks a lot louder.
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honest & balanced terry
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« Reply #20 on: August 18, 2014, 12:09:02 PM »

PS - The official line on attendance seems to be > 31,000, at least according to the most accurate and objective newspaper in all Chicagoland, the Daily Herald.

So it must have been jam packed, because I remember how you couldn't even move on Cigar Challenge day, and that was 34,000.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2014, 12:11:05 PM by honest & balanced terry » Report to moderator   Logged

"There are no $7500 maiden claimers, state-bred or otherwise, at Arlington."
Matchtown
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« Reply #21 on: August 18, 2014, 12:23:44 PM »

The water bottles were about 2/3 the size of the previous bottles still Aquafina and still the same price.......just another observation from a not so great festival of racing......
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honest & balanced terry
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« Reply #22 on: August 18, 2014, 12:28:28 PM »

The water bottles were about 2/3 the size of the previous bottles still Aquafina and still the same price.......just another observation from a not so great festival of racing......

But it was ParkWater.
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« Reply #23 on: August 18, 2014, 01:21:04 PM »

PS - The official line on attendance seems to be > 31,000, at least according to the most accurate and objective newspaper in all Chicagoland, the Daily Herald.

So it must have been jam packed, because I remember how you couldn't even move on Cigar Challenge day, and that was 34,000.

It was pretty crowded- especially the party area on East end.....
I saw one of the Gm's walking around & he felt like the attendance was down a bit..I am thinking 25K tops....

The windows were fairly crowded until race 8 when the longest line was the ATM....quite a few prices & many people getting pounded (including me)
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« Reply #24 on: August 18, 2014, 01:25:25 PM »

I would guess around 25k as the crowd.  That is what you get when the west parking lot is full and it was mostly full. The lines were not that long and you could move around with ease.  On the other hand, it was a great day with good horses and good weather.  I did not win much but I go mainly to take in the scene.  Outside of the BC, how many races in this country are populated with almost all Euro jockeys.  Trainer Rusty and Matchtown can grumble all they want, but this is a bigger day than many tracks in American put on.
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