Today is the first of the five day Punchestown Festival, with €2.2 million in prize money and the presence of a racing superstar in Sprinter Sacre. Early ticket sales have been at a five year high and corporate hospitality is sold out.
It is also the first day of Gallops Live, a new social media network for horse racing lovers. The new service is based in Dublin but has worldwide ambitions. It will enable users to connect and interact through chat, comments, shared content and racing tips.
Horse racing is very much on the rise again after a number of years of retraction. The Racing Media Group which handles TV rights for betting shops and satellite TV announced a record dividend of £46 million for UK racecourse last year.
Sponsorship within Irish Racing rose 13% in 2012 to a figure of €5 million and Punchestown this week is a live indicator that improvements in attendance and prize money are back on track.
The service at GallopsLive.com, kicked off in earnest last night with a live preview of the Punchestown Festival which went out at 7pm. Users will have real-time access to fellow horse racing enthusiasts, tipsters and racing personalities within the interactive forums and blogs, as well as real-time betting and behind the scenes video footage of horse racing.
“This is the first online horse racing community enabling enthusiasts to connect and interact in a new social media environment,” said Stephen Byrne, CEO of Gallops Live.
“We want to enhance the overall experience for horse racing fans. Gallops Live users can connect via their computer, smart phone or tablet to capture all the real time and online horse racing action happening around them, whether they are at home, on the move or at the racetrack.”
Gallops Live will include horse racing features, as well as race form and race card information. Those interested in a flutter can also place bets online through a dedicated betting service provided in partnership with BoyleSports.
Speaking on behalf of BoyleSports, Keith O’Loughlin, CEO, said: “We are delighted to partner with GallopsLive who have introduced a new innovative social media dimension for everyone who loves the sport of horse racing.”
GallopsLive is also developing partnerships with a number of racecourses to promote their horse racing events locally and to an international audience.
GallopsLive website was built on a cloud based technology infrastructure enabling the site to quickly scale globally. The site uses responsive design meaning that it automatically sizes to any device from a 50-inch internet TV to a smartphone.
There are other interactive forums including at some of the leading betting sites like Betfair but few beyond the Racing Post that promise to use social media and video in the same way as Gallops Live. It will be interesting to watch develop over the course of the coming months.
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