Could Jockey Cams Increase Youth Interest in Horse Racing?
Today, we can get up close and personal in most sports thanks to technology. Cockpit cameras in motor sport, for example, give us a driver’s eye view of the racetrack during the race, and there are calls from certain sections of the horse racing industry to follow suit.
In order to keep a younger audience interested in the sport of kings, some people believe the introduction of jockey cams on jockeys’ helmets would really bring the sport to life for a younger audience. The fact that you can use apps like the Betfair for placing bets on your mobile already means that horse racing is reaching a wider cross-section of younger people, but this sport – which has been popular since the 1800s – needs to be made more attractive to a younger section of the population.
Jockey cams could be one way to do this. They already exist and you can experience famous race tracks from a jockey’s perspective – the Grand National course at Aintree, Liverpool, is just one example. But cams aren’t used on a daily basis in the world of horse racing as yet. If they were, it wouldn’t just be about making the actual races more exciting to watch. It would also be a great way for people who are thinking about placing a bet on an exchange like Betfair to check out past form of particular horses on particular race tracks.
As horse racing is an industry that relies so much on betting and jockey cams could have a real effect on the number of bets placed. There are technical considerations too. Would people placing bets on Betfair or similar betting exchanges need to factor in the weight of the camera – however light that it is – when deciding what bets to place? If one jockey was wearing a cam, surely it would be necessary for all jockeys in the same race to do so?
Fans of NASCAR can sit at home in front of their pc and pay to log into the camera on a driver’s dashboard and be a part of the sport. This may offer an added advantage when people are looking at the Betfair NASCAR Sprint Champion odds and deciding who to back. Jockey cam developers like Michael Jones of JonesCam.tv are looking to bring that level of fan participation to horse racing.
The technology already exists – a 4oz camera that can be fitted to a jockey’s helmet has been manufactured, but the associations who run the sport need to be approve the idea. So far in the States, the New York Racing Association and the Jockey Guild have shown a positive interest in the concept, but that’s as far as it has got.
There are obviously lots of safety and administration hurdles to get around before we see jockey cams being introduced as a daily part of horse racing, but this could definitely be a way of energising the sport and opening it up to a younger audience.