Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Seeks Market Research Company

Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has issued an RFP to satisfy a need for Market Research for Statewide Branding Efforts (“Project”).


The State Horse Racing Commission represents the state ‘s racing industry. Racing is managed under a common mission: to direct, regulate, secure and promote the horse racing and breeding industry in the commonwealth. Pennsylvania racing boasts one of the best racing program in the country. The commonwealth is home to six state-of-the-art racing and gaming complexes and hosts harness racing at 16 agriculture county fairs. The State Horse Racing Commission and the Department of Agriculture are committed to reinvesting in PA Racing and will continue to develop Pennsylvania’s reputation as a superior place to breed, train, race and enjoy horses. The fiscal sustainability of horse racing greatly depends on retaining customers and attracting a new audience.

In 2001, more than $1.46 billion was wagered on races in the state. In 2014, that number had declined to $427.5 million – a 71 percent decrease. Similarly, the state’s share of tax revenues from those wagers decreased 65 percent over the same period, from $31.8 million in 2001 to a little more than $11 million in 2014. Beyond declining handle and pari-mutuel tax revenues, Act 71 of 2004, or the Race Horse Development and Gaming Act, increased the regulatory oversight responsibilities of the state racing commissions by 50 percent, adding two new race tracks to the four that existed at the time, but did not dedicate any of the approximately $2 billion in slot revenues to date for the industry to meet that increased workload. It costs between $18 million and $20 million to regulate racing in the commonwealth.
Act 7 of 2016 combined the two racing commissions (standardbred and thoroughbred) into one unified commission to strengthen governance of the industry. Among other things, Act 7 has accomplished the dual objectives of strengthening the integrity of horse and harness racing in the commonwealth and putting in place a financial model that will allow for the long-term viability of the State Racing Fund.

The selected consultant will have demonstrated experience in the preparation of market research strategy documents. It is the committee’s goal to select and retain a consultant by November 20, 2017 and to complete the overall project by the end of February 28, 2018.

Scope of Work:

A. General.

To attract, develop and retain a diverse customer base that will sustain horse racing. To do that, we need the data that will enable us to optimize our positioning & creative expression and build long-term brand presence in Pennsylvania. At the conclusion of this research, we are looking to have a strategic document that has buy-in from key leaders as well as a broad base of stakeholders. The commission is looking for change, and our primary goal for the project is to gather data to support a statewide branding campaign. Although the strategic document is not the focus of the process, we see it as an essential tool.

B. Specific

We are not dictating the team’s approach, composition, or process. We see this as a grassroots process that will benefit from innovative strategies for consumer engagement. We hope this opportunity inspires a thoughtful and creative brand positioning strategy. The successful team will bring leadership as well as expertise.

Due Date:

October 27th


Department of Agriculture
Room: 405
2301 North Cameron Street
Harrisburg PA 17110
Possible candidates for this assignment include Finn Partners or Cohn & Wolfe.

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