06/12/2013 5:08PM

New York Racing Association tells panel of Belmont Stakes marketing plans

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Barbara D. Livingston
Bringing fans, especially new ones, out to the track is the focus of marketing efforts by the New York Racing Association in compliance with a franchising agreement with the state.

The New York Racing Association intends to step up its marketing efforts surrounding the Belmont Stakes to draw more attention to the track in the week leading up to the third leg of the Triple Crown, NYRA’s chief marketing officer, Rodnell Workman, told a government oversight agency Wednesday.

Workman was asked by the agency, the Franchise Oversight Board, to prepare a report on NYRA’s marketing efforts. The board, which was created in 2008 to monitor NYRA’s compliance with a franchise agreement with the state, often reviews NYRA’s business strategies in order to gauge whether the association is attempting to draw new fans to its three tracks, a component of the franchise agreement.

Workman, who was hired last year after serving as the vice president of partnership strategy at Madison Square Garden, said that NYRA is focusing its long-term marketing efforts around the concept of “reintroducing NYRA” to the local market. He said that the association wants to communicate to customers and horse owners that NYRA’s properties are the “best in class” in U.S. racing.

“We want to embrace that and tell that story,” Workman said.

Workman also said that NYRA hopes to create more fan events in New York City in the weeks leading up to the Belmont in order to raise the track’s visibility and drive attendance to the track in the days before the race. Both Churchill Downs and Pimlico Race Course, the other two tracks hosting Triple Crown races, have aggressively marketed their race cards before the Triple Crown races.

Richard Aurelio, a board member who is stepping down from his position, complimented Workman on the presentation, even though technical difficulties prevented the board from seeing many of the presentations Workman had prepared.

“It’s encouraging to hear this renewed interest in marketing,” Aurelio said.