Initiative to Attract, Retain Owners Unveiled

Three Thoroughbred organizations--National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Keeneland Association, and the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association--have joined forces to fund and develop a program aimed at identifying, recruiting, and retaining new owners for the horse industry.

The program, called TheGreatestGame.com, will include consumer research, marketing, advertising, television, and an interactive Web site, according to an announcement from the NTRA. In addition to TOBA, NTRA, and Keeneland, other participants in the program will Fasig-Tipton, Jockey Club Information Systems and its online service Equineline.com, TVG Network, and Blood-Horse Inc. also will participate in the program, along with other industry organizations to be named in the coming weeks.

"Thoroughbred ownership is one of the greatest thrills in sports," said Nick Nicholson, president of Keeneland, presenting sponsor of TheGreatestGame.com. "We need to raise awareness of all the possibilities of Thoroughbred ownership. I am convinced that there is a large number of potential investors who would receive great pleasure and enjoyment by participating in Thoroughbred ownership in 'the greatest game'."

"TOBA is proud to be taking a leadership role, along with Keeneland and the NTRA, in creating TheGreatestGame.com, which we are confident will take owner recruitment and education efforts by the industry to a whole new level," said TOBA Chairman Stuart Janney. "The program is aimed not only at creating new owners, but also at making the ownership experience more rewarding for those who are already part of the game," Janney added. "That means focusing on ways to make investing in racehorses and breeding stock more profitable and enjoyable."

"Not only must we attract new fans to racing, we should also attract new owners if we are to continue to improve the Thoroughbred industry's overall economic health," said NTRA Commissioner Tim Smith. "This is an important component in the NTRA's overall strategy for growing the sport and one, if successful, that will benefit every segment of our industry, from breeders and sales companies and equine veterinarians to racetracks, trainers, jockeys, and grooms."

Marketing, advertising, and television aspects of the program will be managed by the NTRA, with TOBA coordinating the educational elements, including Internet content through The Blood-Horse Inc. Keeneland will be the primary financing source for the new initiative.

TheGreatestGame.com organizers announced they have commissioned research projects to update existing studies of the economic impact of new owners on Thoroughbred racing and to target new ownership prospects. The projected launch date for the program, including initial activation of TheGreatestGame.com Website, is September.

TheGreatestGame.com will include:

--In-depth new consumer research to identify demographic traits of potential and current owners;
--New 30-second television commercials highlighting Thoroughbred ownership;
--TheGreatestGame.com "infomercials" to air on TVG;
--Placement of features on Thoroughbred owners and ownership on TVG, ESPN, and ESPN2;
--Seminars and other functions for prospective owners;
--Advertising through the "NTRA Moment," which appears on racetrack closed-circuit television systems and in weekend programs;
--Nationally placed ads in publications such as USA TODAY; and
--An interactive Web site, TheGreatestGame.com, where interested consumers can learn more about racehorse ownership.

Most Popular Stories