12/13/2017 11:27AM

Macedonio: We are lacking big ticket items


I promise that I was going to write about this topic before the Jeff Gural GoFundMe appeared last week to raise money for The Meadowlands. Usually I write about current events and topics that I find interesting, then relate it to harness racing. Well, South Park Studios (Matt Stone and Trey Parker) is holding a contest to get drawn into one of their episodes, meet the creators, and get a grand tour of their workshop! Pretty cool grand prize! To enter, you make a donation and based upon how much money, you get a certain number of entry tickets for the grand drawing. They also decided to up the ante by adding other cool gifts the more you donate. The proceeds go to NEXT for AUTISM, so it’s a win-win for everyone involved. A++ for Public Relations and advertising.

Back to Gural . . . I’m not here to talk about the idea, but rather the execution of the GoFundMe page. South Park and The Daily Show with Trevor Noah proved that you can get a lot of people to donate to a grand prize if you offer cool stuff. Take away the charitable donations to Next for Autism and I still think that a lot of people are paying a boatload of money to enter these contests because you get a prize that is truly legendary. But then I started thinking about what the Meadowlands or Harness Racing in general, could offer up as a grand prize to mimic . . . and I came up with nothing. Sure, there would be some cool consolation prizes involving dinners, tours, merchandise, etc., but nothing really stood out as a “wow” prize to me. 

Then I started thinking about why we have so little to offer. We haven’t elevated the faces of our industry into superstars. Drivers Tim Tetrick, Yannick Gingras and Brian Sears are all nice guys and fun to be around, but there isn’t a mystique about them. People aren’t going to flood the entry boxes for a chance to have dinner with those guys. The actual racetrack isn’t hallowed ground. You can’t invite people onto the track and expect them to be in awe like they would be running onto the field at Jerry World (AT&T Stadium where the Dallas Cowboys play). There is no real place in harness Racing that feels exclusive for the fans.

I can think of an over the top grand prize in almost every sport that is attractive to someone 18-45. So what do you think it could be in Harness Racing?