Betfair to invest in Hollywood Park Racetrack Naming Rights

Betfair has signalled its intention to revitalise horse racing in the United States by sealing a groundbreaking naming rights partnership with the Hollywood Park racecourse.

The deal has been sealed by Betfair US, the Los Angeles-based subsidiary of the British betting and gaming giant which also owns TVG, America’s horse racing network, and Hollywood Park Racing Association, the operator of Hollywood Park Racetrack in the Los Angeles area. Under the terms of the five-year deal, the venue will be renamed Betfair Hollywood Park in the first naming rights agreement ever for a horse racing venue in the United States.

Building on the success of the Betfair Lounge at Ascot Racecourse in the UK, Betfair, subject to Hollywood Park receiving assurances regarding its historic racing dates for 2013, will make significant infrastructure investments and improvements at the facility. The introduction of a Betfair Club and Betfair Lounge will aim to offer customers modern surroundings, access to state-of-the-art technologies to interact with the racing product and contemporary enhanced food and beverage options. Meanwhile, TVG will produce the Hollywood Park simulcast signal and related TVG television programming. TVG will introduce advanced graphics packages similar to those used in network broadcasts of major US sporting events to enhance the user experience and data available from the product.

Betfair will also seek to drive a younger demographic to the venue and interest that demographic in wagering on horse races – which has proven elusive for the US racing industry.  “We are deeply committed to changing US horseracing for the better and are delighted to find a partner in Hollywood Park Racing Association willing to take the bold step of trying to change every facet of the racing experience to appeal to a broader, younger audience,” said Stephen Burn, CEO of Betfair US and TVG. “Horse racing is a wonderful sport, but it must embrace cultural change and utilise advancements in technology and presentation to survive and thrive just as other sports and entertainment industries have done.”

Currently, the California Horse Racing Board is considering regulations that would make possible the implementation of exchange wagering on horse racing by California residents for the first time anywhere in the United States. “We realise that US racing, and California racing in particular, simply cannot continue on as it has,” added Jack Liebau, president of Hollywood Park Racing Association. “We need to look at the way we do everything in presenting our product to the public and not be afraid to embrace change, particularly if we are going to generate a younger fan base.”

Liebau added: “We believe that partnering with Betfair to modernise the product will benefit California racing. Exchange wagering is another possibly transformative technological change for horseracing. However, it will only be introduced after a thorough consultation with our horsemen and horsewomen and, of course, its implementation is ultimately subject to the approval of the Thoroughbred Owners of California.”

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