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SBJ/20090323/Forty Under 40
Published March 23, 2009
When NASCAR glances at its expansion opportunities overseas, whether it’s related to business or competition, the sanctioning body is usually looking through the eyes of Robbie Weiss.
The seven-year NASCAR veteran and former ABC Sports and NFL executive not only directs NASCAR’s international initiatives, Weiss also leads its broadcasting business, serving as the day-to-day contact with its TV partners, including Fox, ESPN and Turner, as well as the overseas networks.
“Robbie has an amazing knowledge and understanding of the business of sport, media rights, event production and international distribution,” said Paul Brooks, a NASCAR senior vice president to whom Weiss reports. “He has painted a vision for NASCAR’s opportunity to take our races, through television, to hundreds of countries worldwide.”
NASCAR has gone from a regional phenomenon to a global sport, with licensed racing series in Canada and Mexico. Sprint Cup races are broadcast in more than 150 countries, accounting for more than 4,000 hours of programming.
Much of that is to Weiss’ credit.
“Robbie has been at the forefront of everything we’ve done in Mexico and Canada, and that goes well beyond TV,” Brooks said. “He’s the guy who went out and forged the relationships on the ground in those countries.
“I’ve been on the front lines with Robbie from Beijing to Shanghai, Monaco to Mexico City, and you quickly learn to let Robbie run with the ball. He really understands and appreciates the local culture and business environment wherever he is.”
Weiss’ run at NASCAR was sidetracked in January when he was stricken with a brain aneurysm that forced him to be hospitalized in Charlotte for nearly four weeks. He recently was released to a family home in Florida, where his recovery continues. No timetable has been established for a return to work.