By Brisbane Greyhound Club CEO LUKE GATEHOUSE
The Brisbane club’s winter features have added a positive glow to our world as it suffers through the COVID-19 crisis.
On the immediate agenda we have three big nights of racing – June 11 (Flying Amy Classic, Dashing Corsair), June 18 (Super Stayers, Super Sprinters, Lightning, Thunder, Chairman’s Cup) and then the big one, July 2 (Brisbane Cup, Queensland Cup).
I love it when the big races come to town and so I will definitely miss the reduced atmosphere of a crowd-less Albion Park.
No music, no cheering … just a strange quiet.
However as Club Chairman and always optimistic Les Bein pointed out, there is an upside.
“Sure, it is pretty difficult times for everybody at the moment, but at least Queenslanders will get the chance this year,” said Les.
“There will be no interstate raiders, so although the prize pools are down as we all share in the battle against coronavirus, the still-healthy money on offer will be staying in Queensland.
“It has been great that we have been able to keep on racing and the wagering has been astronomical – it makes a good case to looking at getting things back to where they were.”
An interesting factor for me during this current scenario, is that the virus has laid bare the business models of every form of business, sporting as well.
And, I believe, greyhound racing has shown just how self-sufficient we are. In fact we are one of the very few sports globally left standing.
This is because our model – our core business – is providing racing.
Racing is fundamentally a betting sport that people may watch, whereas other sports are spectator sports that people may bet on – and that has proven to be a very big differentiator during the COVID19 crisis.
Our financial viability is based on betting turnover and revenue. That revenue is the heart of our business. We race and people bet on those races … so we can keep racing.
The better we do that the more revenue comes in.
The shift in how people consume sport is also quickly evolving – we have seen that in the battle to attract people to the track. However, with technological advances in the digital world we now have more eyes on racing and more wagering than ever before.
We are not reliant on spectators at our race meetings. It is great to have a big crowd cheering in the stands. It certainly adds a lot of atmosphere. But as is being proven right now, we can run our business quite successfully without on-track spectators.
I am certainly not advocating that we head more in that direction when the shackles come off. As I said, the crowds and the atmosphere are the cherry on top.
But we also have to understand what our business model is – where our revenue comes from and why – and more importantly where it goes…… but that is a conversation for another day.
The cornerstones are the racing facilities (the clubs) and the people who provide the product – the owners, trainers and breeders.
The more you look after those cornerstones the better your end result will be.