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It's all downhill
Thursday, February 20, 2014 - by Tim Bojarski

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Alright, I’m sold. After watching a week of the Winter Olympics, I finally found something that has made me forget about Dorothy Hamill.

Snowboard cross has to be the most exciting event in the games.

 
Snowboard cross, an Olympic sport, is a race involving six participants.

They put six snowboarders in a starting gate that resembles something the Thoroughbreds might use, drop the door and let them go. The snowboarders fly down a course that incorporates a series of jumps and turns and they race each other to the bottom to decide the first-, second- and third-place finishers.

The whole thing takes about a minute and twenty seconds and the outcome, no matter how far ahead one boarder might be, is always in doubt. As I was watching, several of the heavy favorites blew huge leads by taking a jump awkward and falling and then also saw some finishes where they actually posted a photo.

And then I thought to myself, this is a naturally bettable sport; fast, colorful and very unpredictable.

Whereas I usually leave the creative promotion columns to Bob Carson, I couldn’t help but devise a plan for our industry to capitalize on the excitement of this sport.

We need to find a jurisdiction that would allow and legalize wagering on snowboard cross (a forward-thinking state like Colorado or even Florida where Jai Alai is still played) and then set up a league where a ready group of athletes (both men and women) were available to compete every day in different levels and classes. We could construct the course in a cold region of the U.S. and then simulcast the races to tracks where people could bet on them between live races at the track. And then only offer those wagers ON TRACK.

We could bump the fields up from six to eight snowboarders to enhance betting interests and offer all the same wagers we now do on horses. By getting an exclusivity contract with the sport we could then fill the “void” some people say turns them off between races at the track and have non-stop betting excitement for racing fans from the minute they walk into the track.

Ok, this will probably never happen. But it should. The excitement it would generate along with the added handle opportunities would be epic. And if it were only available at the track it would be the incentive we were looking for to get people in the house again once it caught on.


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