Del Mar Racetrack: Reinventing the Horse Racing Fan Experience

Case Solution

George Foster, David W. Hoyt
Stanford Graduate School of Business ()

Horse racing was in decline in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Almost every metric, from the number of horses and races to participation, to the size of bets, fell. Studies showed that this would likely continue. Horse racing made its money betting where racing once had a monopoly on gambling in the United States, there was now a wide range of options for players. The Del Mar circuit in California suffered the same fate as other circuits. In 2001, he launched a radically new marketing strategy that was more likely to appeal to a young, modern population, families and couples than older male gamers. The case describes the state of the racing industry and track management, the rebranding strategy and the results. Challenge students to determine if the strategy used by Del Mar is applicable to other routes or if it is restricted due to circumstances unique to Del Mar. This case focuses on horse racing from a track perspective. A companion case, SPM50: Stonestreet Farms: Making a Business in the Sport of Kings, focuses on the industry from the perspective of racehorse owners and breeders.

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