Well, the ATC committee elections are just a couple of days away and these are my final thoughts.
A thought came to mind a week or so ago and that was – what if the ATC did away with Members and just did the corporates ( Chairman’s Club, private boxes, club within a club, i.e. The Stables ), then fine dining room and pay to sit areas. The rest of the patrons would pay course entry and be free to roam what would be left of the course areas.
Of course, if the ATC did away with Members, a large chunk of income would fly out the window.
At the moment, according to the ATC Annual Report, the ATC has just over 15,500 Members.
Let’s try and arrive at the Membership renewals income, as an average, because some Members pay full price and others receive a discount due to being a young Member, country Member, whatever.
By the way, we have to guess the figure as it wasn’t mentioned in the financials or did I miss it ?!?
So, 15,500 multiplied by, say, $350 ( average ) = almost $5.5mil.
Now, what do Members REALLY get ?
Free entry to 4 race tracks – but then again, midweeks are free entry – 113 meetings a year less about 50 midweeks = 63 pay to enter race days,
Entry into the Members area – midweeks the Member’s area consists of a tiny area bounded by a white picket fence – gee, thanks. In the overall scheme of things, is there really any big difference between the Members area and the public area ? Take away dining and pay to sit and both areas are the same. Food and beverage are all basically the same as well.
Reciprocal rights, fair enough, but if the ATC did away with Members, then this wouldn’t come into play.
Member events – oh yes, the ones limited to a couple of hundred Members out of 15,500+. So, only a small percentage get a benefit out of the $5.5mil.
Maybe a special Foundation pen, but then, when you see staff using them as a normal pen, are they that “special “ ?
A couple of promotions a year, like inducements to actually go to the races, but then again, if the ATC can’t say what the “special “ gift is, then pounds to peanuts it’s a stocking filler and other promotions probably come from a sponsor.
So, there could be arguments to simply do away with membership.
ATC Members should have received information from the candidates. ( Although I know a Member who received all the snail mail from the candidates, but NOTHING from the actual ATC regarding the election or AGM. )
The light rail, hotel, sale of land at Warwick Farm, etc were mentioned both in the mail outs and rehashed in the media. Yeah, yeah, heard it all before, but where’s the action ? Dragging on, yawn, yawn.
It was also mentioned that racing needs to be cheaper to attend, i.e. food and beverage, a Members loyalty scheme, renovations, track work, yarda, yarda, yarda.
Food and beverage cheaper ? Oh please, give me a break. Members loyalty scheme ? What ?!?! For those few who DO actually put up with the status quo ?
Point of sale benefits ALL Members.
Renovations ?! What ?! Finally getting around to something someone brought to their attention at least 12 months ago, like access, positioning of monitors, wind tunnels ?!?! Oh pahlease, I need a drink !
Field sizes won’t increase, if they do, it won’t be seen for years to come.
Prize money needs to be frozen, except in the country, this needs to be increased and increased big and now and not just on their carnival race dates, but everyday country racing.
The incumbents and other candidates are all supposed to be top of the crop, but what does it really mean to them to be an ATC Director ?
Would any of them know how much any food and beverage cost ? Not a chance.
Any of them eat in the carvery at Rosehill, the Doncaster Room and 3rd floor bistro at Royal Randwick ? Seriously doubt it.
Queued up on any day, let alone a carnival day, just to get a free spot for the day ? Don’t make me laugh.
You see, they all wonder around pressing the flesh, accessing all areas – in the restricted areas, not the general public or Members areas, well, election time doesn’t count. So, I think that is what they expect the average race goer and Member to do – wonder around all day. Whenever the new grandstand was mentioned before, during and after the build, it was always the idea that patrons would wonder from the areas overlooking the theatre of the horse, through the grandstand and out to watch the race, then repeat the process backwards through the stand. So, back and forth, back and forth. Therefore no need to have a spot for the day.
Oh really ?
When the ATC Committee, CEO, Senior Management and Membership staff walk in Members shoes, then I may stop being cynical, but I think I’m pretty safe.
Change ? Nah, nothing will change, except a bit of cosmetic tweeks.
Cost of Membership won’t go down, food and beverage will only increase, gate queues will remain in force, limited Members will get the benefits of Members events, etc and so the status quo will remain.
Maybe a basic, unqualified, down to earth, run of the mill, garden variety Member should be added to the Committee. Fat chance.
As I have said before, I will continue to renew my ATC Membership, but only because of 10% to attend the races and 90% for the reciprocal rights.
There is only one question that remains.
How many ATC Members will actually bother to vote ???