Making More by Charging Less (6/9/09)
I love the idea of Churchill Downs running three of its Spring Meet racing cards under the lights. It's the kind of innovation that has the potential to attract a lot of people who aren't usually available to attend the races.
But I do find it curious that the track decided to up the price of general admission for the first night from the usual three dollars to ten.
There certainly could be excellent reasons why the folks at Churchill made this move. But I can't help wondering what might happen if they tried a different tactic.
What if - instead of raising the price of admission -- they did away with it entirely on these special dates? With free admission, I can envision massive crowds similar to those that show up for big football games at U of L or UK. And these people would not only spend several hours eating, drinking and wagering, but most would spend far more doing it than the ten dollars Churchill wants up front.
There's a reason why casinos don't charge for admission. That revenue would be small change compared to the money spent once people are in the door, so what's the point in putting up needless barriers?
I'm sure Churchill's night racing crowds will be substantial in any case. But whatever their size, it seems to me they'd be a lot bigger - and more profitable -- if the track adopted a "come one, come all" policy.
What do you think? Call and let us know.