Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Motorsports – Word of the year: Value

While enjoying my holiday away from school, I’ve had some precious time to reflect on my experience in Orlando at the Motor Sport Business Forum. Among almost every session, I found the distinguished panels to keep repeating one word: VALUE.

I want to a share a few memorable anecdotes.

Eddie Gossage, President of Texas Motor Speedway, was asked a question about what his track has done to ease the burden on fans at the track. According to focus groups conducted in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the ability to bring a cooler into the racetrack and free parking are two amenities that set TMS apart from any other sporting option in the region. Contrast that to the new Texas Stadium, home of Jerry Jones’s Dallas Cowboys where it costs $75 just to park a single vehicle!

While some perceive the series to be struggling, IRL President, Terry Angstadt was able to shed a lot of light on American open-wheel racing, which I know far less about. Clothing company IZOD originally began a relationship with IndyCar as an Official Apparel sponsor in 2009. It has since embraced the diversity that IndyCar represents (having a driver lineup far more diverse, with many competitive foreign and female drivers), and wanted to increase involvement. Starting in 2010, the IRL has changed its name to the IZOD IndyCar Series. It will kick off 2010 with a third race outside of the US, on the streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil, in addition to races held in Toronto and Japan.

NHRA President, Tom Compton, spoke about the objective of delivering value to four main constituents. First, the fan – through delivering high quality entertainment. Second, the sponsors – using the sport as a vehicle to sell products, services, or promote awareness. Third, the tracks – holding their events provides income, and long-term stability for the series. Last, the competitors – by maintaining the prestige of the series to provide satisfaction and an income.

Susan Lute, from Canadian Tire, title sponsor of NASCAR Canada, laid out four strong points for when a company searches to activate their sponsorship. First, objectives for your plan must be defined. Deviating from those objectives can cause you to lose sight and miss your point. Second, move from “I think,” to “I know.” Third, a company’s goal should invest in a marketing message that reaches 100% of your intended target. Last, this would apply for any working relationship, being excited about working together helps both parties succeed.

To conclude, Eddie Gossage and TMS have worked to increase the value for fans by keeping a little bit of cash in fans wallets. The IZOD IndyCar Series has a more diverse culture, which has attracted new partners. NHRA has outlined who they serve, and strive to meet their goal. Canadian Tire, has outlined their strategy which not only increases value (sales) for the company, but experiences a mutually beneficial relationship working with NASCAR Canada.

These just a few pieces of information I was able to pick up while attending the Motor Sport Business Forum. I hope you find it interesting. Please, feel free to ask questions or leave comments. I look forward to responding to your thoughts and writing more over the next few weeks.

As always, follow me on Twitter, connect via LinkedIn, or email

Friday, December 11, 2009

History-Making at the Motor Sport Business Forum

Having just got back from the Motor Sport Business Forum in Orlando, Florida, I am still decompressing and comprehending all that went on in the 48 hours I was there. One of the very first announcements made at the opening session, promised guests a special announcement at the Tuesday evening cocktail reception, sponsored by The Walt-Disney Company.

As a participant in the MSBF, I was one of a select few who witnessed and awarding of the inaugural Paul Newman Winning Through Giving Award. This new annual award will be given to an individual who shares the late acting star's passion for motorsports and the unwavering devotion to philanthropic work.

The award was presented to Jim France, NASCAR Executive Vice President and ISC Chairman. Presenters included Zak Brown, CEO of Just Marketing International, Simon Berger, CEO of IM2 Events (individuals who developed and created the MSBF event); selection committee chairs Sarah Gurtis, Camp Boggy Creek Vice President of Marketing and Corporate Development (a Paul Newman Hole in the Wall Camp in Eustis, Florida) and Michael Brockman, Newman's former racing teammate and actor.

The award was preceded by a video sharing the impact motorsports had on Newman's life and how his philanthropic efforts have changed lives and inspired others to make a difference.

In the years to come, as the awareness of this award grows, the Paul Newman Winning Through Giving award will be one that will be highly regarded and respected beyond the motorsports community.

In my next few posts, I will discuss the impact of the MSBF, and touch on some topics/points made speakers, and other thoughts I on the great event.
Please feel free to leave comments, as I would love to discuss your opinions and hear more from readers.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Motor Sport Business Forum

It's been a while since I've had a new post. I've been busy getting ready for a great networking opportunity in Orlando for the Motor Sport Business Forum. If you've been following my Twitter account, you'll note that I've booked my tickets, and updated all my other important pieces like resume, and Web sites.

Check my Twitter over the next couple of days, where I'll keep you posted on my travels and experiences in Orlando. I'll also post some reactions after the trip.

Wish me luck, searching for opportunities as I chase my dream!