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September 27, 2004     E-mail this page to a friend!

The number of people ages 18 and up in the United States who said they are interested in horseracing increased 3.0% to 37.7% during the period from January 2004-July 2004 compared to the same period in 2003, it was announced today by the national consumer research firm TNS Sport – ESPN Sports Poll and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) at the NTRA’s Annual Meeting and Marketing Summit in Las Vegas. The 2004 increase comes on the heels of four consecutive year-over-year increases in fan interest from 1999 to 2003, which represented an aggregate interest increase of 13.3% (31.4% to 35.6%). 

Horseracing fan base (among U.S. Population 18-plus)

1999:                 31.4%

 2000:                  32.3%

  2001:                 33.8%

2002:                   35.0%

2003:                  35.6%


                                   January 2003-July 2003:                  36.6%

                                   January 2004-July 2004:                  37.7%


Also during the period from January 2004-July 2004, adults 18-24 who said they were “very interested” in horseracing rose 31.5% compared to the same period in 2003. Meanwhile, the percentage of U.S. adults 18+ who said they believe that horseracing is on the rise increased steadily throughout 2004, reaching 45.6% this past July.

“We continue to see a positive overall trend for horseracing,” said Tracy Schoenadel, vice president, ESPN Sports Poll. “Such consistent increases in fan interest are rare in the sports marketplace.” 

In separate 2004 consumer research unveiled today by SDS, a Washington D.C.-based market research firm,  48 million Americans said that they are “interested in going to the racetrack”, up from 34.8 million in a 2003 survey.

 “We are pleased by the data which shows the significant progress that horseracing has made with the public in terms of both exposure and avidity,” said Keith Chamblin, NTRA senior vice president—marketing and industry relations. “Our collective challenge as an industry is to maintain the momentum and find ways to keep turning that increased interest into increased participation.”

TNS Sport - ESPN Sports Poll conducts monthly telephone surveys to track interest in major sports. Respondents who say they are either “a little bit interested”, “somewhat interested” or “very interested” in a sport are included in the fan base.

Schneiders / Della Volpe / Schulman (SDS) is a full service opinion and marketing research consulting firm with offices in Washington, DC and Boston. With roots in political communications and public policy research, the firm currently represents a number of clients who seek not only research, but insights into complex marketing challenges, branding, positioning, and advertising campaigns. Clients over the last several years have included many of America’s blue-chip companies, sports organizations and non-profits.

The NTRA is a broad-based coalition of horseracing interests, including the American Quarter Horse Association, charged with increasing popularity of horseracing and improving economic conditions for industry participants. The NTRA and Breeders' Cup Limited also conduct the Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, Thoroughbred racing's year-end Championships consisting of eight races and $14 million in purses and awards and the Breeders' Cup Stakes Program. The NTRA has offices in Lexington, Ky., and New York City. NTRA press releases appear on the NTRA Web site,