Horse racing is known as the sport of Kings, and one of the institutions that undoubtedly helped it earn that title is Royal Ascot. This horse racing festival has a regal heritage and a devoted following, but until recently, it hasn’t kept up with the times. The festival’s social media presence was limited, and the technology it used to reach guests was incredibly basic.
Thankfully, a team came together to drag Royal Ascot into the 21st century; this is how they did it.
Embracing Social Media
Although it took a fair while for this racing festival to fully embrace the world of social media, doing so has made a difference to its online and mobile presence.
Royal Ascot’s Instagram profile is perhaps the most exciting of all its social media channels. The outfits from Ladies’ Day feature prominently, of course, and tuning into the Royal Ascot Stories during the festival is rewarding for those who can’t be there. Enabling people to interact via Instagram Lives is another way this racing festival has catapulted itself into the 21st century, making it more accessible to everyone.
Betting at the racecourse is something that will never disappear from this festival, but in the modern day, punters are used to more choices. Royal Ascot has partnered with many sports betting websites to enable customers to place bets online, as well as via on-course bookies and the Tote. Racegoers can now place their bets on their smartphones at the grandstand or on their laptops at home.
Of course, the ability to place bets online has played a huge part in the success of Royal Ascot’s live broadcasting. Instead of attending the festival, people can place royal ascot-free bets from home and watch all the races using a television, laptop, or tablet or even stream the action directly on their mobile phones.
A Virtual Version
Perhaps the most pioneering effort that the organisers at Royal Ascot have made is to embrace the possibility of a virtual festival.
The Grand National, which is an annual race that takes place at Aintree Racecourse, was the first UK horse race to fully embrace virtual technology. In 2020, a virtual National was run, with a combination of wearable technology and software algorithms being able to replicate the running styles, quirks and qualities of each of the competing horses.
The result was a surprisingly realistic portrayal of what might happen if this race ran in real life. All the confirmed horses, jockeys, ground conditions, fences, and weather conditions were accounted for, and it enabled people to enjoy a race that would otherwise not have been able to go ahead.
Possibly influenced by this, the organisers of Royal Ascot have added a virtual element to many different parts of the proceedings. The official website for the event now features a virtual tour. This function is especially beneficial for disabled or anxious visitors who need help navigating large public spaces in advance.
Furthermore, while the sporting world shut down in 2020, Ascot was able to hold all of its scheduled races. However, organisers had to make the difficult decision to close the course to racegoers, which meant the top-quality racing could go ahead as planned while keeping the public safe.
In order to ensure that as many people as possible could enjoy the racing, organisers made special efforts to ensure that every inch of the course was accessible to live-streaming cameras. This meant that people could tune into the racing action from home and even receive a better view than they could expect to see if they were actually at the course.