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Racing Economics


abrungot

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As many have said in the dozens of topics that touch on this... Racing isn't cheap.. many do it for the sport... and usually its only a short lived career...

 

In the business world you must make a profit.. atleast $0.01.. otherwise things must change....

 

Some have said lower gate prices to get more fans... *(Well it costs money to tell the fans you lowered the gate prices too)

Other's said combine series/classes... well that costs money to make them even or to travel...

 

Bottom line here.. With out inflating the costs incurred to racers... or Fans... How can we put more fans in the seats at any of the many local tracks.. Dirt or asphalt...

 

Constructive views welcome!!!

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Ok.. here is my view... Everyone ban together and advertise... word of mouth is the cheapest...

 

Things drivers can do:

Place the websites of their tracks on their car... *(Mobile billboards)

Lend their car to sponsors for promotional events...

Get more involved with community events outside of the race track...

 

Things tracks can do:

Pool resources... *(hey.. there are race car teams.. why can't there be Race Track teams?)

Get More involved with community outreach.... *(Make a wish, united way, local shelters you name it)

Frequent Fan discounts... *(if i rent 5 movies @ blockbuster i get a free one??? of course there is a membership fee..)

 

Things Fans can do:

Tell a friend/co worker.. better yet Bring a friend or co worker

Get a bumper sticker *( IF they don't have one Demand one.. better yet.. make it yourself and sell it..) ehheheh

Tell the News/Newspapers what a good time you had Saturday night...

 

When a fellow/fellette racer is sick or hurt all band together to help anyway they can.. Well Local Racing is hurt so... What do we do now..

 

 

*** The above view is solely that of Aaron Brungot not a view of any other or affiliated racing organization...

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An idea would be to get the touring series involved in a promotion to help local tracks. Since San Antonio has the largest kapacity in the stands, why not have the first race of the year there with all of the touring series racing for POINTS and NO PURSE. All tracks kould pool resources for man power (free labor) and split the proceeds among the 4 tracks. This would give the tracks some advertising resources for the year. This would really show who supports lokal racing. The details kould be worked out among the tracks.

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no purse?

:lol:

Racers need to get back some of what they are losing.

 

Something that could help is maybe give the racers some tickets to give out but you have to make them promise they will give it to people who have never been. Take your car out on an open trailer and park it at a gas station for a while or some well visible spot. Tracks need help in promotion from their drivers too. Tracks also need to support their drivers. It is a big "circle of racing". Without the tracks there are no races. Without the racers there are no open tracks.

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I bet a lot of people would be amazed at the amount of tickets CCMS gave away this season. Every week night on the radio there was someone calling in to win tickets. It was also nice to see the blood mobile there this past weekend. Donate blood get in free. Looks real good to the community. There gonna spend money that night and possibly come back the next week. I agree with Jason on giving tickets to drivers to pass out. I gave some out to people that normally don't go and they did come back. It was nice this season to look in the stands @ I-37 and actually see them near capacity. Last year it was hard to see people! Those guys have done a lot of promoting. We'll see what's in store for next season.

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Promotion costs money...where is the money coming from?

 

CCMS, Owen, has done a great, great job...However, it is a little tricky to compare markets...there is less entertainment competition in the CC market as compared to San Antonio and Austin, and that affects all kinds of things, ad rates, visibility, competition for consumer time, etc. I think track management at SAS and THR would tell you they would like to do more promotion but just don't have the cash to do it. The Austin American Statesman is super expensive. Advertising requires frequency (repitition) to be effective. Spending limited money in the right places is not as easy as it would seem.

 

THR used to give drivers tickets to giveaway but some of the teams used them to get their people in free, people who would normally pay. THR currently gives free tickets to various Austin companies to give to thier employees. The response is pretty low.

 

These suggestions are all good at this point. No suggestion is a bad one. We should collect them all and see what we can do. The TTOPA tracks are going to have to work together on scheduling, common classes, etc. The Tracks, Series, and Race Teams are going to have to work together to help each other. The Tracks, Series, Teams, & Fans are all going to have to work together to develop more interest in our racing properties and recruit more fans. Throwing a lot of money at it short-term is not going to fix the fundamentals. There are a lot of people that are spending more than they can afford already (Teams, Tracks, Series, & Fans). We just all need to work together and work smarter to grow the fan base and car counts. It seems to me that for the most part people are at a point where they are willing to give it a shot.

 

We still have one race left at THR. What can we do to make that successful?

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I think everybody can agree that more advertising would help considerably. The problem with just dumping a bunch of money into newspaper, radio or TV ads is that you may not be reaching the demographics that will produce the desired result. I don't think a 1/2 page ad in the local paper is going to make Suzy Q homemaker miss the PTA meeting or Greg Golfer stay up late and miss his tee time. First you must find the people most likely to attend your local race track. So, who should we be directing our precious advertising dollar$ at? People that like to work on their own cars would be a good start. Auto parts stores are full of them. Junk yards, oops, I mean recycling centers would be another place to look. How about local car clubs or that group of teen agers that hangs out at the Sonic on Saturday nights in their souped up Honda's and Nissans? Car dealer ships may also be another good place to drop off some freebies. Towing companies, hotels, those little cork boards above the urinals and your local full service gas stations could also be some inexpensive places to advertise. Auto racing has always been a grass roots sport. The problem as I see it is that we have lost our roots. We need to spread some new seed and a lot of fertilizer to get more butts in the stands. Well, theres my 2 cents worth.

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Economy of scale.

 

You have TTOPA, use it.

 

Three tracks racing on the same night is part of the problem. Each one is competing for fans and cars, with at least one other member of the group. Spread out the schedule.

 

Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Three tracks, and if they would run same classes (mostly) three opportunities to race or watch a race. Rotate each year. 2005 SAS on Fridays, THR on Saturdays and CCMS Sundays. Then 2006 CCMS on Fridays, SAS on Saturdays, THR on Sunday. ect, ect.

 

Offer discounts at each track for tickets to the next track. Pay $10/head per race (3x10=30) or get a "super" ticket to all three events of the weekend for $18. Split the money between the three tracks. Have season passes that work the same way. A TTOPA season ticket, good for all weekly shows, and a discount off of traveling shows, good at any TTOPA member track. Again, split the money.

 

Work pit passes the same way. $20 a night, or $30 a weekend. Split the money.

 

TTOPA rule book, for both cars and race proceedures. One way of conducting races at all three tracks, with the exact same rules.

 

Pool the insurance. All three tack have to have insurance, economy of scale, all three make a deal with XYZ Corp, and work a discount .

 

Pool the advertising. Advertise together, again, economy of scale. Three tracks working together would be more powerful and have more resources. A full page ad in the papers, advertising each of the tracks/races that weekend. Each track pays for a 1/3 of the page, but gets full page space.

 

Pool talent. Hire one PR guy for all three tracks. One Chuck Licata is cheaper than 3. Hire one Competition director. One Paul Lazono is cheaper than 3. Hire one head tech. ect ect ect. Economy of scale.

 

Buy anything and everything you can as a group. Ink for the printers, toilet paper, cups, napkins, anything. The more and bigger lots of anything you buy the cheaper per unit it gets. Spread the costs of business around, and also spread the savings.

 

Work deals like they do at "other" sporting events. 4 tickets, 4 hot dogs, 4 ice creams and 4 sodas for $40.

 

Most of all, don't make the race fans choose which track to support, make it that if they want to, they can support them all. Will all fans do that, no. But some of them will, make it easy for them to do so.

 

Are these all easy? No. It would take massive guts by the TTOPA members to pull it off. But I think it is the only way to grow the "business". If not radical changes, there won't be any business left to worry about. This ain't the "carolina's". It ain't 1980. Ricky Ware hasn't promoted a race in 25 years. Stop trying to do it the "old" way and do it like it needs to be done, here and now.

 

My .02 cents,

 

Bill "Sarge" Masom

Hardest working race announcer in Texas! Have microphone, will travel.

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Sarge and anyone else who understands the urgent need for the TTOPA tracks to come up with a common set of rules.

 

Here is an exact copy of the email that I sent to Mike Sepich, Brian Callaway and Owen Pitmann on December 18, 2003, that actually got TTOPA started. Sarge, many of the concepts you mention in your post are concepts that TTOPA was founded on. I am also publishing the goals and objectives of TTOPA so we all can be on the same page here.

 

Mike, Brian and Owen,

 

The first meeting of what I am calling (until we come up with a better name) the Texas Track Owners and Promoters Association (TTOPA) will take place on Tuesday evening, December 30 at 7:00 p.m. here in San Antonio.  At this point - unless someone has a better spot to meet - we will be meeting at Shoney's Restaurant, 8206 N IH 35 San Antonio, TX 78239-2439, (210) 599-4944. Shoney's is just a block north of Walzam Road on the North IH 35 access road . From Austin, take the Walzam Road exit and double back up the access road. From CC, take the Walzam Road exit, pass the traffic lights on Walzam and it'll be on your right just past the bank. They have a very private area off to the side where we can meet.  We have had race meetings there before without any problems. Was going to have the meeting at SAS, but Mike tells me there is no heat up there.

 

The initial invited members of TTOPA are Owen Pittman, Brian Callaway, Mike Sepich, Paul Lozano and myself. More members could be added once the Association is operational (e.g. Houston Motorsports Park, Touring Series, etc.) if it seems like a good idea later on.

 

There are always differences of opinion when important issues are discussed, but the overriding objective of this organization should be to promote closer working relationships among the paved tracks. I'm sure that each of us will have to compromise at times, but issues such as common rules for classes, common operating procedures and coordinating racing schedules should be the included among the primary Association topics for discussion.  We might also want to look at eventually ordering things like fuel, tires, kitty litter, and other consumables as an organization instead of as individual tracks.  Often times suppliers are willing to reduce their prices if they have more guaranteed volume.  

 

I am really looking forward to getting started.

 

Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

 

Nick Holt

cnholt@sbcglobal.net

(210) 690-8564

6007 Watertown Drive

San Antonio, TX 78249

 

And here are the Goals that were generated as a result of that December 20,2003 meeting:

 

1) Promoting closer working relationships among member tracks.

2) Working towards formulating similar rules for similar classes and establishing reciprocal rules agreements among member tracks.

3) Working towards a set of common race procedures.

4) Coordinating track schedules and touring series schedules.

5) Purchasing certain consumables through TTOPA.

6) Working together to resolve issues that impact asphalt racing in general and member tracks in particular.

 

Since then we have made some, but not nearly enough, progress towards meeting those goals. As Sarge so clearly points out, it takes massive guts to pull it off and developing a set of common rules has proven very difficult. Just trying to work out what tires to run has proven very difficult. We sure don't want to obsolete equipment but on the other hand, we need a set of common rules so a team can run any of the three TTOPA tracks without having to go bankrupt with buying new equipment and discarding equipment they already own. Tough stuff.

 

At this point I am working with an attorney to get TTOPA incorporated as a not-for profit corporation. If we ever hope to find and administer TTOPA sponsorships for the three tracks - regional sponsors for all three tracks instead of just local track sponsors.

 

It's a huge project and we will be needing everyone's cooperation and support as we move forward.

 

Nick Holt

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Nick,

 

I loudly applaud what you and all the principles involved with TTOPA have done. And as I noted in my earlier post, that it isn't going to be easy. And there is no gaurentee that it will work, but it is way better than doing nothing at all.

 

Again, just to be clear, I salute the TTOPA. I think it is a good thing. I was just trying to "brain storm" out loud.

 

As Chuck is found of saying, it is going to take effort from EVERYONE involved to keep asphalt racing alive and well in Texas.

 

Please drivers and car owners, work with TTOPA. Study the various rules and see if you can see a way to make them closer and better for EVERYONE.

 

Please fans, support as many races as you can. I wasn't able to make CCMS last week, had another task I had to do that couldn't be put off any longer. But I will try my best to be at THR next weekend to support their show.

 

Please track owners, help us help you. Work with us. Give us choices, instead of limiting them. I talk the races up all the time, please help me get people to come back by running a good program.

 

Bill "Sarge" Masom

Just a race fan this time.

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I hear a lot of tracks wanting to promote themselves as a family venue! How can you promote yourself as a family venue if you have nothing to keep the kids from getting restless.

 

A mom and/or dad with children may want to come to the races, but find it hard because they know that the children will get bored and cranky.

 

If a track provided some sort of entertainment designed just for kids ie; slot car track, mini R/C oval, MOON WALK, hell put a clown in the stands to walk around and hand out balloons.

 

As a parent myself, I would spend my hard earned dollar to bring my family to the track if I knew the the children would be entertained.

 

Every parent knows: If a child is happy, a parent is happy,,,a happy parent will spend money..again & again

 

 

word of mouth is the cheapest form of advertising...provide a family venue, and you will attract the family..you have just sold 2, 3, or more tickets instead of 1 adult ticket...not to mention food & drink sales.

 

TomH

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THR definitly takes that into consideration. Not only do they have a permanent swing set, but they also provide rides, games, bouncy things, Pocket Rockets, and many other features geared directly towards keeping the kids busy. Plus the other side of the "ThunderHILL" is always great for kids that bring their footballs.

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With over a million people in San Antonio, we should have one of the best crowds in racing. How much does it take to advertise on one of these billboards, that has something on there that happened 3 months ago. Imagine "NASCAR WEEKLY RACING". Wow, we have racing here? I remember when I was younger, a news crew was out there and flipped over or something when they were leaving, something big must have been going on for them to be out there. Was there ever a weekly show on TV. I also saw a few races on the Time Warner Public Access Channel. With all the development that's happening around the track, now is the time to take a chance and do what ever it takes.

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The average billboard is $1,500-2,500 per month with 12 month min + vinyl and artwork...that is an average location, not a kick ass location like 35/281/high traffic downtown...then to keep it fresh, you have more material and change charges...So let's just say it's $30k/year...I bet that is more than the average track has as an entire advertising budget...

 

Yes San Antonio has a lot of people...and it costs a lot to locate "our future fan base" in a population that large using mass media. 5-10 billboards, radio, tv, print would be great. Cost effective?

 

A lot of these ideas are great, but it seems like a lot of people don't have a clue about how much this stuff actualy costs and how much money the tracks are losing.

 

We are in the hole fellas...TV, Radio, & Billboards come after our stands are more full and we have some money to work with...first we have to do grass roots stuff like SVCMNGR1 and Gundog mentioned...if we all get one more person to come, we can double attendance. There is no magic to it.

 

There are other issues. The August ROMCO race at SAS the stands were full. So enough fans to fill the stands know where the track is and know there is racing there. The "percieved" quality of the product has an effect on attendance. You got you're hard core fans that will come week in and week out to see HS and SS. Those are a good base, but not enough to operate in the black. Some people will come once or twice a year. Some people only come out for ROMCO. Not a quick and easy fix. The points about kids are valid. The Dallas Maverick's owner has shown it's about more than just the game (race in our case) if you want to sell out the house, it's the whole experience. People are f'ing spoiled; the bar has been raised for what people expect when they attend a sporting event these days.

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nascarbar,

 

I went into the stands after I raced at THR...I did not see any of those things....I saw some fans going up and down the hill....and a few kids wondering around.

 

What would it cost to run a bunch of copies of the 2005 schedule to hand out.. I will be doing it on my dime for the 2 tracks we will be racing at next year.

 

We need families as fans...

 

I have a question for a certain few...when FASCAR has a show....how come only 2-3 maybe 4 people show up with a car? (sometimes more)...what is the car count at SAS?..why the low turnout?

 

what if you went to the gas station you go to everyday and brought your car..(and left it for a day) what if you could display it at your job--and did! what if you had nothing to do one day and just pulled it around with you.....sound dumb???? well call me dumb then!!!!!!!

 

anyone can be an advertising executive on the zone, but don't preach unless your a preacher....crap or get off the pot.

 

I don't race at the same track every Sat night....But I am going to do everything I can to inform the public of my series, my car, and the tracks I race at. It is a team effort (tracks, race teams) to insure we all have a place to do what we love, and a venue for the fans to enjoy.

 

 

TomH

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Direct-flo.. the things you didn't see, however nascarbar had mentioned have happed over the course of the entire season.. not particular to a certain night... As you will see on friday in a JRA kids Club press release a drive will be made during the 2005 racing season to promote a Fun Family atmosphere.. and i don't just mean Mother/Father and kids.. I mean Drivers, Fans, Race officials, the whole family!!!!

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Good for you!

 

When I speak, I speak of the "WHOLE" family.....

 

But since me, my car, and MY FAMILY are already there - in this case I was speaking of others......but thanks for your insight.

I went to the stands I think 7 different nights after I had raced

 

 

 

I didn't think you where correcting me!

 

 

TomH

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One more thing to add. I have picture's of my old truck #47, and pictures of the 10 truck, and pictures of Bradley's #49 at my desk at work, also a picture of the 10 truck's at the desk at the Enterprise office. You would not believe how many people ask where do you race at ? When i tell them all of the tracks that we race at are, they say i didn't know there was a track there. Last year i had a customer, a partner in the round rock express baseball team i was hitting up for sponsorship and told him that baseball and racing in the same area might just work together to promote each other. Funny thing the first time i went to Kyle,low and behold a Express sign on the back staightaway. im guessing he listen to me. So every time i have an opening im not afraid to ask anyone for sponsorship, and every day im telling people i just met come watch us its fun! Just like in my proffesion, word of mouth!

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