It was a long overdue dinner with someone I first met almost twenty years ago when with EMI Music.
Back then, he was exploring and discovering the inner workings of the tech sector with some unknown kids who were quickly going to be rather important names in the online world.
That’s how they rolled- mainly out of their beds in the dorm they shared and then settled behind their computers.
Today, my friend is right up at the top of the corporate tree with a blue chip tech company and looking into everything else that can be done during these post pandemic times including acquisitions and creating different online business streams.
For both of us, the multi media entertainment world is still not where it could be, mainly because of being suddenly caught up in a hurricane of constant change where we dropped the ball and know that now is the time to play Fetch.
He knows my time dibble dabbling in horse racing that detonated a marriage plus at least two relationships before dusting off the past and once again being associated with the pastime- but with a very different mindset.
This was when creating the Happy Wednesday brand for the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
Having done his due diligence on the business model of horse racing, we’ve had get togethers over the past couple of years about what more there could be to a business model that, simply put, is about customers deciding to bet money on a certain horse to win a race and try and win back more money.
Of course, there are different wagering options, which, back in the day, apparently made one “computer betting syndicate” from Australia extremely rich by focusing on the Hong Kong races while copycat groups came and went bust trying to play the same game. But those were different times and the algorithms have changed.
Could horse racing somehow evolve into something different from where it stands today, or is it only meant to be what it is?
It’s having some racing club with the necessary derring do to be interested in something of a dress rehearsal in order to see how and where racing horses fits in with what else is happening in the world- like the far more popular world of gaming.
Could a multi billion dollar global technology company with the structure and teams in place including different business streams buy out a racing club- any club- merge it with gaming and create something new?
Could those racing clubs who want to live long and prosper perhaps need the type of business partners who can offer them everything they don’t currently have- and sidestep everything that’s saddled by the gambling albatross?
This was how far my friend and I had come before dessert was served.
He wondered why anyone in these uncertain times should care about the future of horse racing whereas we both saw the challenge in creating something new and profitable for a business whose wheels have dropped off.
There was no mention of Entain though we did raise our eyebrows when being shown the audience share numbers of many of those companies involved in the racing sector.
How could they have existed for this long?
More important was looking at moving forward and creating a new subscription based 24/7 online field of gaming dreams with cameo appearances by ‘live’ horse racing.
What’s obvious is that horse racing needs partners in order to grow and move forward- big global partners with massive balls who don’t need horse racing, but enjoy the challenge of creating something new with an old business model for possibly two generations out there.
It’s really about horse racing being a minority stakeholder in something that no racing club anywhere will ever be able to do by themselves.