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IndyCar wanted more promotional help from ISC

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  • IndyCar wanted more promotional help from ISC

    Randy Bernard defends his decision to drop the ISC races, quite candidly.

    http://www.stargazette.com/article/2...+help+from+ISC


    Some notable excerpts;

    IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard reiterated last week that International Speedway Corporation did not promote his series' races the way he'd like, which was a big reason ISC's four events, including the race at Watkins Glen International, were left off the 2011 IZOD IndyCar schedule.

    He questioned whether ISC knows its fan base well enough to promote the series properly and offered to help do it in the future if the opportunity arises.

    "I will work with tracks if they prove to me that they are going to put (in) the effort to sell tickets," Bernard said in the e-mail.

    Bernard said Speedway Motorsports Inc.-owned tracks, like Infineon, were more aggressive in promoting.

    "It's pretty simple to look at SMI crowds and then look at ISC tracks," Bernard said. "Our event there (Infineon) was up more than any other event this year."


    Bernard questioned whether ISC truly understands who its fans are.

    "Anyone can spend money on advertising, but are they buying the right advertising is the big question," he said. "Have they ever done research on IndyCar to really see who our fans are and where they are?"


    Nevertheless, Bernard said the series' ISC events, in particular, drew smaller crowds in comparison to other venues.

    Bernard said ISC-owned tracks like the Glen would be welcomed back as long as IndyCar played some role in how its events are promoted.

    "I really believe we can have a relationship with ISC tracks in the future, but we want more say on how they promote and (how) they take care of our fans," Bernard said.
    ​a bad day at the race track beats a good day at work

  • #2
    I'm gonna need to see more results before I start singing the praises of Bruton. That crowd at Kentucky was by far the worst ever for that facility and it was the first year on Bruton's watch.
    "George Bignotti's Sinmast Wildcat (Designed by Bob Riley); delicately built, carefully prepared and boldly driven by Gordon Johncock." -- Keith Jackson

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    • #3
      Blunt truth--there's an awful lot of arrogance in what RB's saying. All too easy to refute with "Oh, THIS coming from the bullshipper who never saw an IndyCar race before taking the job? Now after less than a year he knows it all! Riiiiiiiggggghhhht!"

      But dammit, a promoter is SUPPOSED to be arrogant. A promoter is SUPPOSED to stick his neck out there and say things like that until someone says, "Okay, here's the cash, here's the resources, now put up or shut up;" and then he does exactly that. Either he puts up and puts on a hell of a show, or he fails and shuts up (or is shut up by his bosses).

      If I'm Tony George I'm thinking, "Damn--where was this guy sixteen years ago when I needed him?"
      "I didn't hear a single comment about airboxes, "carbashians", or how terrible the car looked. I did see dozens and dozens of little kids in awe of the speed and how cool the cars looked. We should learn from our children."
      --Danny Noonan

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      • #4
        I really believe the problem with Kentucky this year was the move to Labor Day weekend. That's a weekend when most families have traditions. We always go boating that weekend with another family. I had to give up the race as a result. My Memorial Day weekend tradition has always included the 500. Labor Day weekend tradition has always included the lake at the expense of anything else.

        Asking 40,000 race fans to change their Labor Day weekend traditions is a formidable hurdle. I'm not so sure about an October weekend when college football is in session.
        "Indycars should be beasts." - Gil de Ferran
        @bigmo500

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        • #5
          Originally posted by mdkiel View Post
          I'm gonna need to see more results before I start singing the praises of Bruton. That crowd at Kentucky was by far the worst ever for that facility and it was the first year on Bruton's watch.
          I hear what you're saying and I was there as well, but it was also the first time the race had been held on Labor Day weekend as well as the Saturday night of the first weekend of college football. If they had kept the race in August, I think it would have been better, though I agree that the crowd has gotten smaller every year since I started going to that race in '08.

          I don't think moving it to October is going to help. I don't think I'm going to be able to go because I'll likely have too much schoolwork going on then.
          There's only one 500 that matters, and it isn't in Florida in February.

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          • #6
            ISC Promotion of Kansas and Chicago

            The ISC didn't have to promote Kansas and Chicago. Previously to this year the so called "Sold Out" season ticket packages or Track Packs promoted themselves. Why pay out more fundage in promotion when you has sold out season ticket packages to Nascar fans who resold or gave out their IndyCar Series tickets or in a few cases attended the races themselves.

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            • #7
              Bernard sounds legitimately annoyed about ISC. My guess is he tried to pitch several different things and they basically brushed him off. Again, ISC does things on the cheap, it's been their M.O. for years. They're not going to spend time and effort on promoting an IndyCar race if they don't have to. No season tickets, no Marlboro tickets, no race.
              "If your car was a dog, then you had to figure it out and test your own limits. And we didn't go to a wind tunnel – we did it in the first turn at Indianapolis."

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              • #8
                Why should ISC promote IndyCar when they are a threat to NASCAR?
                Badges? We don't need no stinking badges.

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                • #9
                  They're not a threat, let's be realistic here. ISC was fine with forcing its beloved NASCAR fans to purchase IRL tickets most may not have wanted. That allowed them to make money on the ICS races with a low sanction fee. Raise the sanction, loose the season tickets, and you have no shot at making money without busting your butt. They chose the easy way out, Nationwide Series. They let their brothers and sisters in NASCAR do all the promoting.

                  SMI has a long standing promotion team with a lot of expertise and experience. Prior to merging with Penske, ISC owned like 4 race tracks. They almost closed Darlington because of their incompetence. They had to hire Joie Chitwood to run Daytona of all places. They just don't have the organizational knowledge of selling tickets as well as SMI.
                  "If your car was a dog, then you had to figure it out and test your own limits. And we didn't go to a wind tunnel – we did it in the first turn at Indianapolis."

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Grizzlor View Post
                    Bernard sounds legitimately annoyed about ISC. My guess is he tried to pitch several different things and they basically brushed him off. Again, ISC does things on the cheap, it's been their M.O. for years. They're not going to spend time and effort on promoting an IndyCar race if they don't have to. No season tickets, no Marlboro tickets, no race.
                    They're supposed to do things as cheap as possible .... IT'S CALLED RUNNING A BUSINESS.

                    Exactly how far should ISC go to promote the IRL's races ? They basically force-fed thousands of NASCAR fans to the IRL races at Kansas and Chicago for several years. Hundreds of thousands of fans went to see the IRL product because it was packaged with the NASCAR tix. They take 'em off the package and the customers dropped the IRL races. Seems like the fans spoke to me.

                    Message to Randy: It's a business. You want charity? Talk to Goodwill, not ISC.
                    "Don't believe the hype!"

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                    • #11
                      Does Indycar do any promotion on their own? Doesn't look like it to me.

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                      • #12
                        Randy found a convienent target to blame for dropping those tracks. He had less than 6 months dealing with ISC and to me he listened to RM and decided he could get away with losing those tracks and markets because enough people would believe they were the evil empire. The series is going to get in the game with Milwaukee and he is going to see where he stands. And he is going to learn that what those ISC tracks have been telling him is the reality.

                        For everyone that says ISC only promotes their NASCAR races. Take a couple of minutes to embrace objectivity and see how they advertise those NASCAR races and tell me they could have done anything comparable with their IndyCar races. Both would tout the exciting racing but once they use Helio and Danica and maybe Dario in an ad they have virtually nothing. It's not like NASCAR where they have 30 drivers who ticket buyers know and some part of the audience likes or at least wants to see. Are they going to shout to prospective ticket buyers to come see the KV trio of Viso, Moraes and Sato crash, the epic Mutoh Silvestro battle, Dixon vs. Briscoe who is the more soft spoken, Tagliani is there an 'S' in his nickname, who will be the first to complain about Milka over the radio this week?
                        "You can't arrest those guys, they're folk heroes"
                        "They're criminals"
                        "Well most folk heroes started out as criminals"

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Big Mo View Post
                          I really believe the problem with Kentucky this year was the move to Labor Day weekend.
                          Not only Labor Day weekend - that same Saturday had THE Kentucky footbaal game on the SAME day - University of Kentucky was playing the Louiville Cardinals in Louisville that afternoon. I had a radio ear-bud listening to track PA and was stopped a few time and asked what was the score in the game. Mental Note: Don't race on the same day that has the BIG GAME the same day. Louisville and Lexington are about 70 miles from the track - too bad.

                          Moving the race to October will be fighting the same senerios against college football - Indy, Cincy, Lexy, and Louis will all probably have home games that Saturday. Sunday will have to compete against Colts and Cats games.
                          Witnessed Mario's "Miracle at Indy"...Watched 3 win their 4th Indy 500...Was there for Petty's 200th win...Saw the last Novi qualify

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Let's not forget when talking about Kentucky's smaller crowd that the crowd they still got will likely dwarf Homestead's. And Kansas wasn't exactly a packed house. Nor the Glen. Even Chicagoland was at best roughly on par with the reduced Kentucky crowd.

                            Randy's doing what promoters do. A little organizational arrogance is a good thing. If you don't think your product has value, what the hell are you doing bringing it to market?

                            Two other claims I think deserve some comment:

                            1.) ISC is a business, so they SHOULD be looking to do things on the cheap. Doing things on the cheap is how you end up with big housing developments that all have leaky roofs and sagging walls. Or a track surface that rips up during your biggest race. Yes, businesses should always be looking for ways to cut costs, but if you're en entertainment promoter, you must spend some money to promote. Spend that money wisely to maximize its effectiveness? Sure. Spend next to nothing and let season tickets do the work? Meh.

                            2.) ISC bundled the tickets into season ticket packages that Cup fans were forced to buy. Randy actually addresses this, if indirectly. Sure, it bolstered the crowds a little bit, especially at places like Chicagoland, but it didn't pack 'em in. Mostly because you actually can't assume that Cup fans (as race fans) will want to attend other types of racing, just like you can't assume that Indy 500 attendees will want to attend the Brickyard 400. I think this is in part what Randy is talking about when he says that ISC never bothered to try to figure out who IndyCar fans are, and target the promotion to them. They just bundled the tickets, sold them primarily to Cup fans, and said, "Hey, see all that promotion of the Cup race? That helps you guys too!" It does help by selling tickets, but it doesn't help (much) to bring in a big actual crowd of IndyCar fans or potential fans.
                            Manus haec inimica tyrannis ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by mdkiel View Post
                              I'm gonna need to see more results before I start singing the praises of Bruton. That crowd at Kentucky was by far the worst ever for that facility and it was the first year on Bruton's watch.
                              Two things:

                              First, Bruton has been the most significant track partner of ICR since it started. He was at the first race at Walt Disney World and his Texas track continues to deliver results 15 years later. Give me a break. He has nothing to prove.

                              Second, I believe this is the third season Bruton Smith has owned Kentucky.

                              Comment

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