NFL football is in full swing and fantasy leagues are immensely popular as well.  A niche sport like horse racing will never achieve the following of this mainstream sport, but it may be possible to expand racing’s fan base through digital versions. Especially among younger people, who are so immersed in virtual realities.

The Wall Street Journal recently ran a column on a startup called Zed Run.  The article says:

“Virtually Human Studio, the startup behind digital horse racing service Zed Run, has raised $20 million in financing, highlighting investors’ appetite for companies exploring the intersection of entertainment, gaming and the so-called nonfungible token sector.

Media and technology-focused investment firm TCG Capital Management led the Series A funding round, with Andreessen Horowitz and Red Beard Ventures also participating in the deal.

Launched in 2019, Zed Run enables users to buy, sell and breed virtual horses and race them in a videogame style setting against other horses. The horses are purchased with digital currency and act as NFTs, which are essentially digital collectibles that hold value.”

Click here to access the full Wall Street Journal article or click here to go to Zed Run.

Another digital venture is StableDuel.  Its website states:

“StableDuel will be the center of innovation for horseracing entertainment, focused on developing and growing a dedicated fanbase with a commitment to simplicity, approachability, and continuous improvement.  By the players.  For the players.”

Patrons of StableDuel bet on horses and compete for a variety of prizes, ranging from what the site calls Silver Club rewards to VIP rewards, five categories in total.

I don’t know the amount of money that was put up to start StableDuel, but the $20 million in venture capital for Zed Run demonstrates confidence that digital horse racing can gain traction.  My personal view is wait and see. No doubt Zed Run and StableDuel are commendable efforts to make horse racing more popular. I just don’t know to what extent digital games will boost pari-mutuel wagering.

 Horse Racing Business 2021