SBD/March 4, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Consulting Group: Hulman-George Family Should Retain Ownership Of IndyCar, IMS

BCG's report called for a 15-race IndyCar schedule held over 19 weeks
A commissioned report by the Boston Consulting Group found that the Hulman-George family should "retain ownership" of the Izod IndyCar Series and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, offering "a wide array of suggestions on how to better position the troubled open-wheel series," according to Jenna Fryer of the AP. BCG's 115-page report suggested a 15-race IndyCar schedule "in major American cities held over 19 weeks; a three-race playoff with a season finale on the road course at Indy; a new marketing strategy promoting IndyCar’s 'daredevil drivers'; using just one U.S. television partner instead of both ABC/ESPN and NBC Sports Network; overhauling the ticket pricing at IMS in tiers that would raise the cost of the most expensive Indy 500 ticket from $150 to $200 and lower almost every ticket" for NASCAR's Brickyard 400 and MotoGP Red Bull Grand Prix. Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles on Friday said that the company is "taking the report under advisement." Miles: "Our strategy has not yet been finalized. As part of finalizing our strategy, we will be sharing information with our stakeholders and listening to their feedback and ideas before we come to any final conclusions." The report suggested that IndyCar should "split the schedule into two seasons -- a 15-race U.S. calendar from April to August and an international series during the offseason." The championship would be "decided during the U.S. season, and the hypothetical schedule proposed by BCG included seven cities not currently visited by IndyCar." The report also suggested that IndyCar select "one TV partner, preferably ABC/ESPN," or place "as many races as possible on ABC." The report said IndyCar was "the best pure racing motorsports league in the U.S.," but the series "suffers from lack of awareness." Focus groups said IndyCar should position itself as "having the most skilled, daredevil drivers and not theatrical off-track personalities" (AP, 3/2).

LET ME CLARIFY: In Indianapolis, Curt Cavin noted Miles on Friday "worked to curb speculation" that Hulman & Co. is "on the verge of a massive overhaul" of IndyCar and IMS. The company is "under no obligation to introduce any of the items" in the BCG report. The report's "most polarizing" recommendation is that IMS should "host a season-ending IndyCar race on its infield road course." The report estimated that IMS "could realize" a $4.3M profit. The report also noted that NBC Sports Net in broadcasting F1 races this year might "be in violation of its contract with IndyCar if it promotes any other form of motor sports more than IndyCar" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 3/2).
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