SBD/July 22, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NASCAR's France Wary Of "One Voice" From RTA, Calls New Coalition Unnecessary

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France does not believe the newly formed alliance is necessary
NASCAR Chair & CEO Brian France said listening to the consensus voice of the newly formed Race Team Alliance would be a "bad idea," according to Jeff Gluck of USA TODAY. France yesterday in his first extensive interview since the RTA's formation said he "didn't think (the RTA) was necessary." He added that he "had no intentions of dealing with the individual race teams as one organization." France: "That would probably be the worst thing we could ever do -- to listen to one voice, even if it were a consensus voice. Every decision we've ever made that's important, the more input, the more people we heard from, the better the result. That will never change in the business model of NASCAR, because good ideas come from all over the place." While France acknowledged the RTA "may figure out some things we're not aware of" in terms of reducing costs, he repeatedly said NASCAR would be "business as usual." Gluck notes NASCAR is "only communicating with the RTA through its lawyers." France said that NASCAR officials will "continue to reach out to individual teams for input -- just as they have always done" (USA TODAY, 7/22). SPORTING NEWS' Bob Pockrass noted France indicated that the TV contract split -- 65% to the tracks, 25% to the teams through the purse and 10% to NASCAR -- "would remain the same" in the '15-24 deal. France: "They’re set for historical reasons and because it’s the right allocation" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 7/21).

CHECK YOUR BLIND SPOT: Fox' Larry McReynolds cited sources as saying that the race teams that are part of the RTA "don't want a big increase" from the new TV contract, as they "just want a little bit of the piece of the pie." McReynolds: "They don't want to be greedy, they don't want to be overaggressive." Sirius XM Radio's Dave Moody noted MWR's Rob Kaufman, who is heading up the RTA indicated renegotiating the TV deal was not a goal of the RTA. Moody: "He said they preferred to go for, in his words, 'lower hanging fruit,' things that they can accomplish by themselves, without having to negotiate with NASCAR or with racetracks or anybody else" ("NASCAR Race Hub," FS1, 7/21). The AP's Jenna Fryer wrote if the RTA's goal is to "seize a larger share of the TV money, that's not a topic any members of the RTA are openly discussing." While it is "NASCAR's court and nobody has to play NASCAR's game," it is "the only game in town for high-performance, profitable racing, and being part of the show means playing by NASCAR's rules." NASCAR "seems to have gotten so big that it's lost sight of the plight of its primary 'stakeholders.'" When a sponsor pulls out, the "whole house of cards can come crashing down." Fryer: "So who can actually blame these owners for not resenting the NASCAR model just a little bit?" It is "unclear if altering the landscape to a franchise model is on RTA's ultimate agenda." The owners for now "insist it's about creating one voice to benefit every team -- and there's a need" (AP, 7/21).
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