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Autoweek on CART's future

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  • Autoweek on CART's future

    More and more I'm beginning to believe that CART will not turn a wheel in 2004.

    If they do not continue the Entrant Support program, they could be down to 10-12 cars at best. Is that enough to put on a race at Long Beach or any other venue? Who will fund the cars if not CART?

    If someone buys the series, how much would they be willing to spend in order to keep CART operating for another season? $100M? With the cash reserves nearly depleted, is someone going to fund an entire series out of pocket?

    Finally, what is the advantage of the proposed Motorock format for the CART series? How does a move to primarily street venues make the series more profitable? Those events are well attended now, but there's no profit and few sponsors to show for it?

    Doesn't CART need TV viewers in order to turn the ship around? Will a street circuit only series ever bring TV viewers?

    It seems to me that even with an impending sale, someone is going to have to come up with a miracle in order to save even the 2004 season.

    AUTOWEEK LINK

  • #2
    I don't disagree. My best guess is that there are buyers/investors who are interested in going forward with CART. Whether they have the necessary resources is another matter and even that isn't as big a hurdle as time.

    Very soon the teams are going to be reporting back that they are having trouble closing sponsorship deals in view of all the uncertainty. We already know that CART can't or won't run the TSP to field cars next year. Without sponsors and without CART's money, no cars.

    My guess is that CART will release their quarterly financials, as required, in the next few days. They will be terrible. At the same time, they will announce they have a buyout offer in place and are working through the process. By they end of September, there will be another announcement:

    "Due to the complexity of the buyout and privatization process, we are going to postpone the start of our next season until January 2005."

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    • #3
      The first thing you have to do is eliminate the subsidized races and come out with a distinct picture of what the league will look like next year so that the teams know what they have to offer sponsors.
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      • #4
        If you eliminate the subsidized races and eliminate the subsidized cars, there's nothing left.

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        • #5
          :blow whistle: FOUL, Jim Wilke, reeeeeeeaching.

          Come on Jim,, that was a reach. CART would be able to come up with 10 races (that make money) and might get a dozen cars (with rent-a-drivers, some form of sponsorship, or deep owner pockets).

          The sponsors "PROBABLY" wouldnt be paying much to the teams. Old engines and old cars and only 10 races doesnt cost much.

          The question is,,, would it be worth it?????
          I would think not. Pride, respect, press writing negative articles, fans leaving, etc.
          TG rode it out, but he had INDY. CART has Foghat and Boston.
          "OWRS did not return phone calls."

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          • #6
            OK, just for grins let's try to put together 10 CART races that don't get "co-promoted" or cost CART money (ie lights at CLE & MKE)

            3 Canadian races
            2 Mexican races
            1 - Long Beach
            1- Surfers Paradise

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            • #7
              Wilke, if MIL and CLE were ran in daytime, would CART make money? And, does MO (if it stays) make CART money?

              When the choices are slim,,,, ask Jim.
              "OWRS did not return phone calls."

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              • #8
                Originally posted by OW fan in OK
                :blow whistle: FOUL, Jim Wilke, reeeeeeeaching.

                Come on Jim,, that was a reach. CART would be able to come up with 10 races (that make money) and might get a dozen cars (with rent-a-drivers, some form of sponsorship, or deep owner pockets).

                The sponsors "PROBABLY" wouldnt be paying much to the teams. Old engines and old cars and only 10 races doesnt cost much.

                The question is,,, would it be worth it?????
                I would think not. Pride, respect, press writing negative articles, fans leaving, etc.
                TG rode it out, but he had INDY. CART has Foghat and Boston.
                On cars: Every single one of them is getting a hefty handout from CART this year. Take that away and how many can answer the green next year? 2 Forsythe, 2 N-H and that's about it.

                On races: CART loses money on every self-promoted or co-promoted race. From the annual report:

                In 2003, we will promote six of our events: Cleveland, OH, Portland, OR, Miami, FL, Lexington, OH, Kent, UK and Lausitz, Germany and we have entered into agreements with promoters that include revenue sharing arrangements for five events. The financial success of each of the events we promote or in which we share in revenues, is dependent on the sale of tickets, sponsorship, hospitality, signage and other commercial rights associated with the events. Our increased focus on these activities means that our revenues related to our sanction fee and race promotion income will be subject to a number of factors, including consumer and corporate spending and the overall economic conditions affecting advertising and promotion in the motorsports and entertainment business
                That means there were only 8 races actually paying a sanction fee and I would venture that several of those are asking for their deal to be re-written. I doubt that Fontana is very happy about paying a multi-million dollar fee, as an example.

                Hard to see how anything can be cobbled together without a lot of somebody's money.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Jim Wilke

                  Hard to see how anything can be cobbled together without a lot of somebody's money.
                  Let's suppose for a moment that Bernie and Forsythe come up with $100M to fund the series for 2004.

                  Then what?

                  Wouldn't it still take a miraculous turn of fortune (or another private subsidy) to keep it running beyond 2004?

                  I would think that CART would have to come up with unprecedented amounts of sponsorship cash for both the series and for the teams in 2004 or face the same cash situation again for 2005.

                  And could any series generate enough interest in a single season (2004) to secure a TV deal that doesn't require them to buy time?

                  Thank you for your responses so far. I am not trying to bury CART. I'm just trying to figure out what needs to happen for the series to survive.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Jim Wilke
                    By they end of September, there will be another announcement:

                    "Due to the complexity of the buyout and privatization process, we are going to postpone the start of our next season until January 2005."
                    Save this little nugget. I think you may be right. If so, be sure to take advantage of this and use it as an "I told ya so" for all the CARTers.
                    For the record, I never had a problem with CART in 1995. Its when they turned beligerant twards IMS and their fans for supporting the IRL that turned me off them.

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