Aug. 15, 2013 — The United States Trotting Association (USTA), the national organization for the harness racing industry, announced that it has retained Converseon, the New York based, award-winning social media consultancy, to design and implement a social media marketing initiative designed to help drive awareness and visibility for the sport.
The initiative is a first-of-its-kind for harness racing and is designed to first build a common framework and foundation for the various industry groups, tracks and other related constituencies. The program is expected to expand over time to explore the application of new, innovative mobile and social technologies to improve the experience of the product itself.
Wagering handle for harness racing in 2012 was nearly $1.5 billion.
“Harness racing is an exciting sport with a rich tradition that once was one of the leading sports in the country,” said USTA President Phil Langley. “But in the modern world, we need to use modern ideas and methods. Hopefully, this initiative into social media will allow us to communicate with our present fan base and also reach out to a new generation that doesn’t know about our sport.
“I believe we are very lucky to team with Rob Key, who is uniquely qualified to lead our efforts because he is not only an expert in the field of social media, but also has an extensive background in harness racing,” added Langley.
The initiative comes on the heels of a recent successful social media proof-of-concept to support the $1.2 million Hambletonian, the sport’s most prestigious race. The initiative drove substantial interest, engagement and awareness via multiple platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.
“Effective social media engagement is an ongoing process, not just a one-off campaign,” said Rob Key, CEO of Converseon. “Our approach will be to not only help a largely decentralized industry comprised of multiple and often independently-owned constituents work together through a common framework, but to also help them build the capabilities necessary to sustain their success over time. We’re very excited by the prospect of helping to re-invent a 200-year-old sport through new social technologies and publishing. We look forward to partnering with the industry to help enable them to share their passion and excitement for the sport with others.”
The United States Trotting Association, located in Columbus, Ohio, is a not-for-profit association of Standardbred owners, breeders, drivers, trainers and officials organized to provide administrative, rulemaking, licensing and breed registry services to its members and to promote the sport of harness racing. For more information on the USTA, please visit www.ustrotting.com.