SBD/Issue 38/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Gossage Has TMS Back In The Spotlight With "No Limits" Campaign

After Launching Campaign In August, TMS
Saw 200% Jump In Season-Ticket Sales

Nothing has put Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage "into the spotlight more" that his "No Limits" marketing campaign," an effort that "many fellow track presidents are monitoring with ticket sales way off," according to David Newton of ESPN.com. Gossage kicked off the $500,000 campaign "with scantily clad girls" and a "concert at the House of Blues in Dallas" on Aug. 17. But across the motorsports industry, there is "concern promoting 'hot chicks,' although that's been a part of the sport since the first pinup girl appeared in Victory Lane." Former SMI President & CEO Humpy Wheeler said, "I guess guys will try anything. I blew up a lot of things, but I never tried anything like that. Ultimately, what I found works the best is to sell the racing." But Newton noted initial numbers for Gossage's most recent effort "were encouraging." After the August announcement, TMS saw a 200% "jump in season-ticket sales compared to the first three weeks" of '09 sales, and Gossage "expects the final increase in 2011 season-ticket sales" to be around 10-11%. TMS' new "No Limits" products that include "skulls, crosses and wings for a younger audience also have provided an economic boost, with 25 percent of the track's daily sales going toward that." While the promotion could "have a negative impact," Gossage contends that "hasn't been the case at TMS." He said that he has "gotten less than a dozen complaints, all of which he's personally addressed." Gossage said, "It got into religious issues with some, and others just thought it was bad taste." But he added, "Absolutely, under no circumstances, would I do something that is trashy and in poor taste. ... I'm telling you, this is not a 'sex sells' campaign" (ESPN.com, 11/2).

LARGEST CAMPAIGN IN TRACK HISTORY: SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Tripp Mickle reported the "cost of the campaign is far greater than anything the speedway has spent in the past." But Gossage said that since its launch, TMS has "seen season-ticket renewals surge" to more than 80%, "well above its historic highs" of 70% (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/25 issue).

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