Why You Won’t See Ads for Racing During Jockeys


And it’s not the NTRA’s fault!

On the long flight back from the NTRA Marketing Summit in the fall, I caught an episode of Law & Order that I hadn’t seen (Jet Blue, darling). This is a rarity. The episode centered around a racially motived killing of a black man. The DA’s office didn’t have enough evidence to the make a solid case against the suspect so they were holding off on an arrest until they could make a proper case. The media was roasting them for not making an arrest and to make matters worse, the family of the victim assumed the worst and was going to every media outlet to rant about how the DA’s office didn’t care about them because they were black.

Meanwhile, back at the DA’s office, they were working overtime to try to get enough evidence to make a solid case… sure, they could have arrested the suspect right away but they didn’t want to risk going to trial without proper evidence and a solid case. They wanted to nail the suspect as much as anyone else. In short, they were doing the right thing. Only the media didn’t know it and the family of the victim didn’t believe it, so they forced the DA’s hand to make an arrest before they had all the evidence and guess what happened. It didn’t hold up in court.

Oh, the irony that the DA’s good intentions and hard work were unknown to the public. Admittedly, the DA’s office could have done more to let the people know they were working their tushes off and doing the right thing, but that would take valuable time and effort from them working their tushes off and doing the right thing.

By all accounts “Jockeys, Win or Die Trying” seems to be doing well, I’ve even heard a rumor that there will be a second season. If my traffic growth from searches for all things “Jockeys” is any indication, there’s a lot of potential to generate new fans.

Right after it became clear that the series was not going to only be the breakdown packed jamboree that was the promotion, I started muttering how it would be great to do some promotion for Derby preps during Jockeys.

Last week the Derby prep schedule was announced. Here’s what happened on Twitter 2 seconds after seeing it…

Me: “sure hope they plan to advertise these races during Jockeys, Win or Die Trying”

Others immediately chimed in with:

“I think that would make entirely too much sense to be allowed.”

“No chance anyone gets that bright idea.”

“ESPN has the money to advertise on Animal Planet, right?”

“If not ESPN, then how about the NTRA? Isn’t their mission to promote the game?”

“NTRA pretty much pays to have the shows on ESPN in the first place.”

Tough crowd! This time last year I would have immediately rattled off a post about the missed opportunity assuming that everyone involved was asleep at the wheel. This year I decided I would just send my thoughts directly to Alex Waldrop, subject “You probably already thought of this…”.

As it turns out, indeed they had thought of it AND looked into it. Sure money and available slots for advertising are always issues, and to add insult to injury the preps start airing the week AFTER the series ends. But let’s say there is a second season, and that second season even overlaps with actual racing. Then we certainly could and should plan to do some strategic advertisements on Friday night to “Take Back Saturday“, right? How perfect!

Not so fast, according to Waldrop:

The issue is one of network limitation. Animal Planet will not tolerate an ad that sends the viewer to another network. While exclusivity is a dirty work in the horse racing TV world, it is alive and well in the major network world.

How do you like them apples… something stupid not in racing!

Who knows when the alleged second season would be. Perhaps if there’s overlap with the Derby or the Breeders Cup there could be general, not driving viewers to another network, promotion sending viewers to KentuckyDerby.com or BreedersCup.com where they could find out when and where they could watch.

Waldrop assures me that they will be exploring all of their options. And I believe him, even though I’m sure there plenty of you out there won’t. And I can’t say that I blame you, sometimes it seems like no one is paying attention to the obvious stuff.

In one of his replies, after answering a question he wrote “Running into an NTRA Board meeting for final approval of the Alliance Code of Standards”. After meeting Waldrop et al and seeing them in action, I now assume that they’re doing the right thing… even if they’re too busy doing the right thing to always let us know everything that’s going on.