Quest for Superbet

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The Independent Online
It is not so long since the average racing administrator believed that marketing was what the domestics did in order to restock the pantry. The arrival of the British Horseracing Board, however, was followed shortly afterwards by the birth of its Marketing department, and three years on, the small team headed by Lee Richardson is eager to celebrate its achievements, not least because there are those in racing who stubbornly refuse to appreciate their efforts, writes Greg Wood.

Richardson yesterday unveiled the BHB's marketing strategy for the next three years, placing particular emphasis on arresting the decline in racing's share of the off-course betting market. Other projects include a promotional push for evening racing; a study involving both the Tote and Ladbrokes into the long-awaited Lottery-style Superbet; and a report compiled by an anthropologist into etiquette and behaviour at the races. This last idea is not quite as frivolous as it seems - previous studies from the same source have generated widespread media exposure.

Indeed, all output from the department is carefully costed, and Richardson calculates the pounds 1m invested over the last three years has brought income of almost pounds 16m into the sport through new owners, racegoers and sponsors. He is keen to increase his budget, and convinced that the 16-1 ratio of return to investment can be maintained. The BHB should give him a chance to prove it.