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New Industry Summits Announced

Published: March 18, 2015 3:56 pm ET

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Building upon the momentum generated by its recently-concluded annual board of directors meeting, the United States Trotting Association will create and host at least two ‘industry summits’ this year, USTA President Phil Langley announced today.

Each meeting will concentrate on specific topics of importance to the sport and will attempt to bring together various harness racing segments to further examine and address those issues that impact the game’s growth.

The sessions will be held in Columbus at times and dates to be announced and will involve key stakeholders from both within and outside of the USTA.

“Our annual meeting was especially productive in regards to the issues and ideas that were introduced and discussed,” said Langley. “Given the challenges and unprecedented competition that our sport faces, it would be wise for us to use that energy to keep the conversation going, and to involve others from various constituencies. At its best, the USTA brings people together to affect change. That’s what we’re shooting for here.”

Langley was re-elected resoundingly on Sunday to a fourth, four-year term as USTA president and presented an agenda over the weekend that continues the association’s aggressive move into social media, with an increased focus on interactivity and broadcast platforms. During the three-day meeting, a repeated theme was the need for industry cohesiveness in order to promote growth.

The conferences will be organized by Mike Tanner, the USTA’s executive vice president, and his staff, and will be held in Columbus, Ohio, the USTA’s home base. Tanner indicated that he hopes to be able to provide event details, an agenda, and a preliminary participant list by the end of May. He anticipates that the first summit will take place in late spring or early summer.

“The declines in USTA membership and foal crop levels are the most obvious topics for study, and we’ve generated several reports internally that would serve as a good starting point for industry discussion,” Tanner stated. “And I think we need to dive deeply into pari-mutuel issues and how we’re collectively presenting our product to those who wager on it. Like Phil said, we’re looking to encourage dialogue and seek solutions. In conversations that we had with several directors this past weekend, there’s a real desire to bring people to the table.”


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