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  • Writer's pictureCharlie Beall

Grand National weekend - crown jewel for a sport made for digital

This Saturday marks the 171st running of the Grand National. The race that captures everyone’s imagination, the one that stops the nation and keeps millions of people glued to their screen as 40 runners and riders thunder over the iconic Aintree fences ready to make history.

For the first time in four years I won’t be tweeting the winner of the National from Aintree’s official account. I’ll be watching, of course, but this time it won’t be from a buzzing media centre with the roar of the crowd in the background and the commentators picking up their pace as the leading horse heads towards The Chair for one last jump.

Since joining Seven League last summer I’ve remained in close proximity to the sport, working on several projects with horse racing clients.

The industry has phenomenal potential to grow via digital. Unlike cricket, rugby and other sports, racing has an audience on social media that is predominantly local – this offers racecourses a fantastic opportunity to engage with people who are more likely to become racegoers.

Horse racing also appeals to a variety of audiences and this is clearly reflected on social media. Whilst in the industry Twitter is dominated by male racing fans, Facebook and Instagram tend to attract more diverse audiences compared to some other sports.

This makes digital the most efficient way for racecourses to reach out to their target audiences, on their preferred channels, with content that resonates with each profile.

7L has had the pleasure of working with Great British Racing for four years. We've worked with them to develop their own digital strategy and on a wider project to accelerate the digital performance of UK racecourses.

One of those was Musselburgh Racecourse, Scotland's oldest and the home of racing in the city of Edinburgh. Recently we've been reviewing their digital performance and have provided insights as to how to drive further growth, having supported them in recent years with their digital strategy and a digital transformation programme.

This is all with the aim of harnessing the power of digital and social media to grow their business further.

With the Flat season just around the corner, we’re happy to be working again with York Racecourse on content strategy and paid media campaigns for top events such as the Ebor Festival and music nights.

Last summer we helped the team in York to generate an outstanding 100%+ YOY Twitter and Instagram page growth and 88% YOY increase in organic reach on Facebook.

The latest addition to 7L’s roster of clients in horse racing comes from outside the UK. We're excited to now be working with Horse Racing Ireland, helping them become the number one digital destination for Irish horse racing.

I won’t be at Aintree for the Grand National this year, but as 7L is helping more and more organisations in horse racing accelerate their digital performance, it won’t be long before you’ll find me at a racecourse near you.

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