Racetracks Seek Younger Fans

In an effort to lure new, younger fans, horse tracks and auto racing tracks are offering more than just races. Parties and experiences include popular musical performers, Instagram opportunities, art exhibits and circus acts.

Racetracks Seek Younger Fans

With trendy events and experiences, real estate developers, racehorse owners and online gambling investors are seeking new ways to attract new fans who don’t collect Social Security. Belinda Stronach, a former member of Canada’s House of Commons and chairman, chief executive officer and president at the betting app 1/ST, said, “We’re looking at ways to modernize horseracing and the guest experience, and to draw new fans into the sport. We aren’t in the 1950s anymore. Horseracing has to be relevant and we have to curate the experience so that it is compelling.”

As an example, in January, 1/ST sponsored the Pegasus World Cup Filly and Mare Turf Invitational, which carried a purse of $500,000. The sold-out event included millennials and Gen Z’ers who placed wagers on their cellphones and enjoyed performances by Ja Rule and Lil’ Kim. In addition, a “Carousel Club” with a merry-go-round bar created backdrops for Instagram photos and in the Flamingo Room, acrobats from the Faena Theater dazzled the crowd. Event partners included the exclusive supper club Delilah and rapper favorite E11even Ultra Lounge.

The racetrack also has sponsored events focusing on humane, drug-free racing and Black History Month art exhibitions. “The idea is to do something really big and draw new fans into the sport. It’s a platform for innovation,” Stronach said.

Auto racing, too, is working on a new image. On May 8, the first-ever Miami Formula 1 Grand Prix race, sponsored by Crypto.com, will occur at the Miami International Autodrome. Pre- and post-race parties will include Maxim Magazine’s party at the Seminole Hard Rock, featuring performances by the Chainsmokers and “100s [sic] of top models.”