SBD/July 14, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Randy Bernard Has No Plans To Leave IndyCar, Still Bullish About Finale

Bernard is confident TV ratings for this year's Las Vegas finale will improve

IndyCar Series CEO Randy Bernard said that he is "going nowhere" despite comments he made last month that he would resign if the Oct. 16 race in Las Vegas "doesn’t triple the TV ratings" from last year's season finale, according to Anthony Schoettle of the INDIANAPOLIS BUSINESS JOURNAL. Bernard's comment gained “much attention in the open-wheel world, with some IndyCar team officials and insiders wondering if Bernard is planning his exit strategy." But Bernard indicated that he made the statement because he "is 'very confident’ he and his staff will draw a much stronger TV audience than last year’s finale" in Miami. Bernard said, “I have a five-year contract, and I’m here for the long term. … I want things to happen sooner rather than later. And I think I should be held responsible for the job I’m doing.” Still, Bernard indicated that he “has several aces up his sleeve to make good on his Las Vegas promise.” ABC has said that it “will promote the race,” and Bernard intends to leverage his “relationships with Las Vegas tourism officials from his days as CEO of the Pro Bull Riders circuit.” Bernard also said that IndyCar “may have to take over operations and marketing of some of the series races” to "shake things up." Schoettle noted dealing with “weak promoters is nothing new for Bernard, and he has a history of taking over when he thinks he can do better.” Bernard: “We had the same problem with the (Pro Bull Riders) in ’95, so we took over most of the events by 2000.” Bernard saw “attendance and TV ratings skyrocket” during his time at PBR. He said that it is “clear IndyCar officials either have to find strong promoters or take over races." But he noted it is “premature to say which direction we’ll go with that” (INDIANAPOLIS BUSINESS JOURNAL, 7/11 issue).

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