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The Harness Racing Social Media Marketing Initiative reports latest results
Tuesday, August 19, 2014 - from Converseon

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New York, NY---The Harness Racing Social Media Marketing Initiative, funded by the US Trotting Association (“USTA”) and key partners to help drive marketing innovation for the sport through social media, today announced the latest results of its efforts.

 

Converseon Monitor
Social conversations around harness racing have been consistently higher since launching the initiative.

In Q2 2014, the initiative launched and scaled all foundational activities, including the Harness Racing FanZone (www.harnessracingfanzone.com), Harness Racing Ambassador and Rewards Program, the “This is Harness Racing Video,” the “Top 100 Moments in Harness Racing” contest and the Grand Circuit $1 Million Challenge promotion.

 

It also has established positive working relationships with more than thirteen tracks and groups to drive collaboration and coordination to build positive awareness and visibility for the harness racing brand. More recently, it provided support for the 2014 Hambletonian, focusing efforts on key Grand Circuit races and is supporting sponsorship efforts for the Little Brown Jug with Fazoli’s.

 

The results of these efforts are beginning to show strong impact and growth, including:

  •  The volume of harness racing online “buzz” has doubled versus the same period a year ago.
  •  More recently, the Hambletonian online conversation increased by 84% this year versus last year (which itself saw a 131% increase over 2012), bringing it nearly on par with this year’s Breeders’ Cup which ran opposite the Hambletonian broadcast on NBC.
  •  Over 1600 fans have joined the social media Ambassador program (www.harnessracingambassadors.com), already surpassing by more than 300% the overall goals for 2014.
  • The “This is Harness Racing” promotion video has reached more than 1.1 million people through social media channels had generated more than 80,000 views to date.
  •  Overall, the program has generated more than 8.5 million impressions to date – or already 85 percent of 2014’s overall goal of 10 million.
  •  Approximately half of the consumers reached are aged 18-34 with little to no previous involvement with harness racing and represent new potential fans.  

In addition to the above, thirteen tracks have become key partners in the initiative and are actively working in collaboration to scale and grow efforts across the sport. These include The Meadowlands, Northfield Park, The Meadows, Buffalo Raceway, Hoosier Park, Running Aces, Harrington, Vernon Downs, Tioga Downs, The Red Mile, Dayton Raceway, Monticello and Saratoga.

 

The initiative is also attracting other key partners, including key horseman groups, sales companies, breeding farms and is gaining attention outside the industry by new partners, including Keeneland Select.

 

“After much hard work by many people, the critical foundation is now in place for sustainable and scalable growth,” said Mike Tanner, Executive Vice President and CEO of the USTA. “The next step is to fully leverage this synergy and scale it by working with our industry partners to get more deeply involved, focus efforts, cross-promote top races and continue to work in collaboration for the benefit of the entire industry. The good news is that already we’ve seen an unprecedented level of cooperation, enthusiasm and partnering, and we expect that only to grow and evolve. We appreciate the support of everyone who has been actively involved to date and invite those who are still on the sidelines to reach out and join us.”

 

The initiative will continue to build aggressively on this momentum. “We are in the process of developing the next level of activities and strategies that build off of this solid foundation to take the entire this effort to the next level,” said Rob Key, CEO of Converseon, who is helping to lead the initiative. “The focus of this next stage will be to continue to grow the foundation while working even more closely with key constituents to leverage the momentum and apply some new techniques that can more directly impact viewership, attendance, new sponsors and ownership. This is a multi-year journey and is going to require an even deeper level of collaboration and commitment from around the industry to fully succeed. But if we can all continue to work together, I’m confident the best is yet to come.”

 

About the Harness Racing Social Media Initiative  

Launched in September, 2013, the Harness Racing Social Media Initiative is a partnership between the United States Trotting Association, the social media consultancy, Converseon, and key industry groups to help drive marketing innovation and engagement with current and new fans for the sport. The initiative’s mission is to help support key racetracks, industry groups and help provide foundational support and a common, “best practice” framework by leveraging social technologies and platforms and strategies to help positively brand the sport of harness racing and generate greater awareness, visibility and engagement with a new generation of fans.


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