If you see a fleet of BMWs being driven around town painted with a logo of a horse and the acronym ARC, it’s nothing to do with Noah, nor a search for horses for a new Ark as Armageddon is approaching.
No, no, this is all part of promoting what starts on Monday- a three-day Asian Racing Conference which will be the first time Hong Kong has played host to this event since 1991.
The timing couldn’t be better as the event follows the running of The Champions Mile and with the Asian Racing Federation Cup run on Wednesday night at Happy Valley while, this also happens to be Year Of The Horse.
An ARC and an ARF???
This, the 35th Asian Racing Conference also takes place at a time when all eyes are pointed towards Mainland China- but very few knowing just what a closed shop it is.
Then, there are the baby steps being taken with co-mingling and with ongoing negotiations having to be sped up as odds offered on a non-level playing field will bring in the illegal bookmakers with various incentive schemes.
There’s also the question of where the sport fits into the buffet table of choices available today in the online gaming world, the Pandora’s Box which could be opened if some financially illogical competition between racing clubs over prize money gets outta hand and the constant subject of bookmakers- illegal and legal.
Much more on the bookmakers at a later time and those who have made our Hall Of Shame and the need for Contract laws to come into play to FINALLY protect the Rights of the Customer.
Having sat through too many music conferences and advertising seminars and the usual retinue of Keynote Speakers, the tedious Q and A sessions and the regular freeloaders traveling on company money, we have no idea what might happen within the ARC- according to the PR bumpf, this is racing’s equivalent of, er, APEC.
Where, however, the music industry has continued to go thunderously off-course is by its insistence to speak to itself and completely ignore the artists and, most importantly, the end consumer, meaning the music fan.
And so, while speaker after speaker is trotted out- the digital expert, the China expert, the big Poohbah from somewhere, the has-beens and never-beens who want to “save the music” and “teach Asia” how it all works, what’s glaringly missing?
There are no music fans around- no end-user- so that those preaching about “non-traditional marketing” and “connectivity” and other buzz phrases such as “giving the consumer what they want, how they want it and when they want it” can actually understand what “they” want.
Of course, the business of horse racing is very different.
Or is it eerily similar with the music industry which, after two decades of trying, is STILL to crack the China market.
Illegal downloads and file sharing can be put in the same basket as illegal bookies whereas trainers, jockeys and owners are racing’s version of the music industry’s producers, artists and managers who have always had a tenuous relationship with the music companies- and with racing clubs being their equivalent- the corporate ivory tower no one trusts.
What has never worked out at these music conferences has been sustaining interest for any length of time.
After the Opening Remarks, a speech, some videos being screened and an expert on something making their presentation, the lunch break would happen, and with the afternoon session conspicuous by the absence of many.
They’d usually be in the nearest bar having their own meetings.
“Coming back in?” “Nah, heard it all before.”
By Day Two, except for those who HAD to be there, others would sleep in and make “cameo appearances” to show that company money for their junket was not a TOTAL waste of la la’s- and then it would all be over.
Follow ups? We’ve had a few, too few to mention.
Despite the “bro” handshakes and all the young dudes promising this and that, there is always only a roaring silence.
What happens on a paid holiday, stays with the paid holiday.
It’s like every day life where too many of us make the time- and mistake- to meet those who are pretty much strangers as they know some mates- or say they do- pay for their drinks and meals only for them to do a Houdini act and disappear.
As for ARC, we’ll go in with open minds though wondering what on earth Don Watson, who co- wrote the Aussie comedy hit, The Man Who Sued God starring Billy Connolly, could possibly be talking about that would be pertinent to the 800 assembled in the Convention and Exhibition Centre?
For those who have seen the movie- the plot was copied in a Bollywood production titled OMG- perhaps Don Watson will talk about losing at the track and how this might be an “Act Of God” and which might have suing potential?
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