Will Duff Gordon CEO & Founder of Total Performance Data (TPD) wants to bridge the significant data gap between horseracing and bookmakers to bring optimal markets and services to the betting consumer.
A horseracing enthusiast, Gordon details to SBC that beyond repairing racing’s damaged relationship with betting stakeholders, the sports now needs to embrace and further its data dynamics through innvation in order to attract new audiences.
SBC: Hi Will, thanks for the interview…Can you brief SBC readers on TPD services and why you have personally brought them to market?
Will Duff Gordon: As a horseracing fan who has been involved in the sport for many years, I was frustrated by the lack of data available on the horses and races we are so invested in. At the same time, I had built a career in the financial data space, and it became apparent to me that what I was doing could have a lot of interesting applications to racing.
The concept behind Total Performance Data (TPD) is very simple. We attach GPS trackers to the saddlecloth of horses to capture real-time, in-race data that was previously never available. This data can range from sectional times to stride length, and we are also exploring some other areas like heartrate. It gives us a view into racing that has never been seen before.
SBC: From a market perspective, why should betting stakeholders care about deeper racing data for their services and operations?
WDG: Racing has had a tough time of late. It is losing relative share of operators’ turnover to football and online casino, and I would say a big part of the reason for this is its failure to adapt to new technology and offer a modern betting experience to customers.
However, the sport clearly has a lot going for it, particularly in terms of its history and the way it can engage punters. Stakeholders – both from the racing and the betting sides of this industry – need to embrace this data if they are to bring racing into the 21st century. Once operators are offering a compelling, data-driven racing proposition to customers, I think racing will remain a vital part of their mix.
SBC: As a sport, racing has seen a significant decline in the viewer and betting consumer interest. How can Data help the sport’s recover and gain a wider interest and following?
WDG: I think the primary area is in the growth of live, or in-race betting. If you look at football, in a very short time span operators went from doing all their turnover ante-post, to around 80 percent of it in-play. It is a complete culture shift in the way people bet on the sport that has been driven by technology.
We haven’t seen this happen with racing, and I think that is a missed opportunity. At the moment, if you want to bet in-race you are limited to the exchanges and very little in-race information. Our data can change that, and enable operators to competitively trade and offer a live racing offering. Beyond that, it can also open some interesting opportunities around gamification and augmented reality, and modernise the racing product.
SBC: From a data perspective, how does racing data differ to other sports, and what are the complexities in gathering, valuing and formatting these variables?
WDG: Racing offers a unique opportunity because of the nature of the format. With an around the clock schedule of races worldwide, and a short duration in which to have a bet in-play, the opportunities for increased betting turnover are huge.
There are, of course, some complexities regarding gathering the data. We have an R&D team in Cambridge designing and developing the latest GNSS / GPS technology that makes all this possible. The technology is improving all the time .
SBC: As a racing and data veteran, do you feel that the sport of racing needs to be reintroduced to bookmakers?
WDG: I certainly feel that racing has taken a backseat in recent years from the perspective of many operators. This makes sense, given the revenue growth other verticals have enjoyed, but I believe the time has come to offer a modern racing product that is able to compete with football, tennis, casino and any other products on the market. Racing needs to embrace technology and place data at its core if it is to widen its appeal.
SBC: Coming into 2017, what are your short and long term goals for TPD services and growth?
WDG: We continue to expand TPD globally; we recently signed an agreement to take our technology to Argentina’s most famous racecourse. Meanwhile, we continue to develop our innovative in-race data feed for operators, that empowers operators to not only offer live betting on racing, but also trade it keenly. It is a hugely exciting time, and we believe that our data has the power to transform the racing sector in the coming months.
Will Duff Gordon CEO & Founder – Total Performance Data (TPD)