01/07/2014 2:41PM

Jockey Club to continue to fund fan-outreach efforts

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The Jockey Club will continue to fund two marketing programs designed to promote the sport to younger demographics through 2015, the organization announced Tuesday.

The programs are associated with a brand launched by The Jockey Club in 2012 called “America’s Best Racing.” One program involves funding a bus that travels to major racing events to promote the sport, while the other involves hiring “brand ambassadors” to promote the sport in four major markets and their surrounding regions, The Jockey Club said.

The Jockey Club began to fund the efforts in 2012 as part of a five-year, $10 million commitment to promote racing in line with the recommendations of a study it commissioned.

Jim Gagliano, president of The Jockey Club, said in an e-mail that the America’s Best Racing website had attracted 1 million unique visitors since its launch in 2012. Thirty percent of those visitors were younger than 34, and 42 percent were women, Gagliano said. Racing’s current demographics, especially for its highest-spending customers, skew heavily toward educated males older than 40, as they have for decades.

“We are clearly reaching new demographics,” he said.

In addition to trips to the Triple Crown races, the Breeders’ Cup, and marquee meets like Keeneland, the bus, called the ABRV, will travel to racetracks that will host races in a televised series on Fox Sports 1 beginning this year. The Jockey Club is funding the series in partnership with Fox. The races in the series are expected to be announced within the next few weeks, according to officials.

The six brand ambassadors will be located in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York, The Jockey Club said, with two each in Los Angeles and New York. The employees will “continue to reach out to key local influencers along with social and professional groups to increase interest in the sport,” primarily through social-media outlets, the organization said in a release.

“We have been immensely satisfied with the response to the brand ambassadors and the mobile marketing tour,” Gagliano said. “We continue to view it as an effective way to create new fans and a very worthwhile investment in the sport.”