SBJ/November 12-18, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Youth appeal draws investment to RallyCross

Global RallyCross, which just finished its inaugural season, has landed an investment group led by Colin Dyne, CEO of the Justin Timberlake-founded apparel company William Rast.

Financial terms of the deal, which closed last week, weren’t available, but the investment will see Global RallyCross restructure its business operations. The sanctioning body plans to create a board of directors with six people that will oversee the sport. The members of that board will be chosen at a later date, said Global RallyCross President Brian Gale.

RallyCross was part of the X Games this year in Los Angeles, and four of its races will be part of Global X in 2013.
Photo by: CHRISTIAN PONDELLA / ESPN IMAGES
Dyne has other ties to motorsports. His 20-year-old son Austin drives in NASCAR’s developmental K&N Series, and William Rast was the primary sponsor on the car the late Dan Wheldon drove when he won the 2011 Indianapolis 500.

“When I saw this business, I said, ‘Wow, this is such an incredible model because of the demographic,’” Dyne said. “Every retailer is trying to get the 18- to 35-year-old and no one has it. This series attracts that demographic. In motorsports, there’s nothing out there that’s exciting and new, and this is something new and exciting.”

The investment comes less than two weeks after Global RallyCross ended its inaugural season. The series, which featured action sports stars Travis Pastrana, Brian Deegan and Ken Block, held six races this year. Four of the races (Charlotte, Texas, New Hampshire and Las Vegas) were at tracks owned by Speedway Motorsports Inc., one was held at the X Games in Los Angeles and one was held during the Specialty Equipment Market Association convention in Las Vegas.

The sport averaged 36,000 spectators per race and 270,000 viewers over four broadcasts on ESPN.

“Our primary goal for this season was to get exposure — expose as many Americans in and out of our demographic to this exciting sport,” Gale said. “We wanted people to know what this was and we found that the NASCAR fans, a lot of them, seemed to respond positively. In social media, they really liked it.”

The sport will hold nine races in 2013, Gale said. Five of the races will be independent events, and he hasn’t determined where they will be held. Four of the races will be part of the new Global X Games and will take place in Los Angeles; Munich; Barcelona, Spain; and Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil.

Gale said that the sport won’t host its five independent events exclusively at SMI tracks because the series ran into difficulties in hosting races at NASCAR facilities. It wasn’t able to move dirt, a fundamental feature in rally cross racing, into certain places at the tracks and that affected the quality of competition.

Instead, Gale said he expects the series to have a mix of small events, like the one it hosted for 5,000 spectators at SEMA, and large events, like the one it hosted for 45,000 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

“Our objectives for next year are more product focused,” Gale said. “We want to balance the attendance versus TV. There will be a little more focus on making sure we get those prime TV windows, which ESPN is willing to do for us as long as we figure those out ahead of time.”

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