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View Full Version : Paulick's Poll - KY Derby in Primetime ?



DickHertz
Sep. 30, 2009, 01:03 PM
He poses the question today and the voting is split pretty much down the middle right now. I for one would love to see a 8:30PM EDT post time for the KY Derby. I know traditionalists will say no way, but the sport needs to grow and the reality is there are a lot more people watching TV at 8PM opposed to 6PM. Even better would be having the Oaks at 8PM and the Derby at 9PM. May be pushing it, but we need growth, not status quo. As an aside, I read that when NASCAR started taking a couple of races primetime the ratings spiked significantly.

Rubyfree
Sep. 30, 2009, 01:38 PM
Even better would be having the Oaks at 8PM and the Derby at 9PM.

I think that's genius, and I'm a bit of a traditionalist.

DickHertz
Sep. 30, 2009, 02:00 PM
Churchill would complain about losing Friday gate revenues, but they could easily make it up. I don't think people would mind at all still paying for Friday tickets - even if it's just "regular" stakes - if they are going to see everything in the same day. Could you imagine how hard the tickets would be for the Derby-Oaks day of racing?

Barnfairy
Sep. 30, 2009, 02:21 PM
Eh....6:00, 8:00....it's still a Saturday. 'Not a big TV night.

DickHertz
Sep. 30, 2009, 02:36 PM
Eh....6:00, 8:00....it's still a Saturday. 'Not a big TV night.

According to Nielsen, 26% of the country is watching TV at 6PM on Saturday compared to 38% at 8PM on Saturday. Nothing to sneeze at. How many people are playing golf or at little league till 7pm on saturdays in May? Sure, the big fans make a "day of it", but we need to attract NEWBIES !! We need every advantage we can get.

Glimmerglass
Sep. 30, 2009, 02:47 PM
Like so many other actions it begs the big question to be asked first: why?

Churchill Downs can barely pack another sole into the stadium so having it at night does zero for the take on-site. Or is CDI actually suggesting they'd open up the infield to have a Pimlico-like festival/frat-party/booze-fueled party with even more people just because its later?

The TV ratings aren't going to get any bigger by having it later at night. If anything they'll loose the few viewers (and casual punters) that have in Europe as it only becomes more taxing on them. TV viewership depends on the entries and the marketing buzz well before the gates open. At 6pm EST people can watch the 2min race (or 2 hours of lead-up stories) and still go out and have their Saturday night.

In my view push it into 8pm EST+ and CDI would be assuming America will forgo going out in order to huddle around the TV. That is just about the dumbest line of thinking possible. Is this 2009 or 1963 with Patio Cola (http://community.post-gazette.com/blogs/tunedin/archive/2009/08/24/mad-men-re-introduces-patio-cola.aspx) being pitched as a good brand name? Keep in mind that tv at 6pm is generally local programing and news with stations filling it with re-runs of Seinfield or the weekend edition of Entertainment Tonight. At 8pm you take on ABC, CBS, TBS, TNT, etc etc for all their network programing and that will hold against horse racing which simply as much as we like it won't appeal to all of America.

So why does anyone think that bumping this a couple hours out later will shake up the world? Just because it's different? Sure we can run with that logic and say on Tuesdays everyone drives on the left-side of the road. However what does that get you?

Change simply for the sake of change is dumb.

I'm all in favor of being progressive if there is an upside. In this case if you can't get more people on-site, you won't get more ratings, and wagering will be likely net neutral then it should cease. To me it just seems like a grasping at straws idea from a marketing person looking to save their job by pitching a big idea ....

Rubyfree
Sep. 30, 2009, 05:25 PM
I don't know, Glimmer- I think that Dick hit on something there with the Nascar comparison. But you're correct that asking people to forego their Saturday night to watch a race would be foolish. So maybe we need to do the other thing Nascar hit on- take on Sundays.
I do think that having an Oaks-Derby card later in the evening, complete with a decent undercard and some good coverage would be a valid effort to attract new TV fans. That last part- decent coverage- might be the tallest order. Could we do some human/equine interest stories without the orchestra music? Maybe skip the Bill Nack soliloquies at every commercial break? Have someone explain basic handicapping without acting like they're bored to tears?
Please?

Glimmerglass
Sep. 30, 2009, 05:52 PM
So maybe we need to do the other thing Nascar hit on- take on Sundays.

So "The First Saturday in May" - that forever motto and with it an almost untouchable date on the sporting calendar for other event organizers, and all that goes with it would be given up?

You cannot have 140,000+ people flood into Louisvile for a Sunday evening penultimate event and then have everyone flee for the four corners of the Nation to work the next day. They won't spend the money in Louisville post-race, they will hold back on the consumption at the venue and frankly the mindset of most people measurably is more reserved on a Sunday night then Saturday night. The City would want people pumped up, in the mood, and ready to party (and spend and stay) in the city for Saturday night.

Further good luck with now selling the largest legal wagering event in the US being switched to a Sunday :D

DickHertz
Sep. 30, 2009, 06:36 PM
Since when do people go out before 9PM on a Saturday night? LOL

Glimmer, you are wrong about your TV comparisons...TV is the best way to attract more fans, not how many people pack the infield at Churchill - that's CDI's issue. The bigger issue is the sport. Can anyone here name a program that runs on Saturday night? No. Because the nets don't care about the night which is why the Derby ratings would sore. IF 20% more people are watching TV at 8:30pm compared to 6:30pm, your bound to reach more people who sample it. If things wrap by 9pm, people can still go out for goodness sakes? Also, Glimmer, I expect more from you...the European statement??? They love racing, who cares how many people over there are watching, we need Americans to get excited about racing again. It's also worth noting the ABC college football game at NIGHT always has the highest TV rating on Saturdays compared to the afternoon and NBC's Sunday Night NFL game is always the highest rated NFL game of the week. At 6pm on Saturdays, people are in a transition period for the day. Ironically, I disagree with this approach for baseball which has been killed their younger demographic by playing the World Series at night instead of the day on weekends. However, them moving the games to night is solely because more people are watching and in a twisted way, they have killed their sport for the wrong reasons. Horse Racing is way below baseball and just needs to expose people to the best damn thing the sport has got...THE DERBY !

MsM
Sep. 30, 2009, 06:48 PM
It seems a better trial baloon for race broadcasting on Saturday night might be the Breeders Cup.

Rubyfree
Sep. 30, 2009, 08:50 PM
So "The First Saturday in May" - that forever motto and with it an almost untouchable date on the sporting calendar for other event organizers, and all that goes with it would be given up?

You cannot have 140,000+ people flood into Louisvile for a Sunday evening penultimate event and then have everyone flee for the four corners of the Nation to work the next day. They won't spend the money in Louisville post-race, they will hold back on the consumption at the venue and frankly the mindset of most people measurably is more reserved on a Sunday night then Saturday night. The City would want people pumped up, in the mood, and ready to party (and spend and stay) in the city for Saturday night.

Further good luck with now selling the largest legal wagering event in the US being switched to a Sunday :D

Oh, I agree with you on all of that- never said it was a practical idea :lol:

I'm just throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks.
How about installing lights everywhere, and let's run the major prep races at night? Generate some interest and buzz amongst the uninitiated before the Derby.

DickHertz
Sep. 30, 2009, 11:10 PM
It seems a better trial baloon for race broadcasting on Saturday night might be the Breeders Cup.

With all due respect to the Breeders Cup, it stinks compared to the KY Derby (especially running on shredded goodyear tires). I mean, the reason I got into racing was from watching the derby back in 1992 so maybe I'm biased. The excitement of that race got me hooked.

NMK
Oct. 1, 2009, 09:13 AM
I am on the fence about the Derby going at night, because I really am unsure as to whether it will attract any new viewers. Those that want to see it will watch 2 hours earlier.

However, he has a very valid point and one that I have been arguing for years--racing should be a PM endeavor, at least during the work week. Have you every been to a track like TDN during the weekday while horses are running? If racing wants to start to appeal to new horseplayers, it needs to think about what those horseplayers want. For starters, they don't want to have to take a day off work to see the ponies run. Churchill has found some success in the PM program. It's a good lead to follow.

Nancy