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Volume 24 No. 155
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          NASCAR, currently a $2B enterprise, was the subject of
     a three-part series by Richard Alm of the DALLAS MORNING
     NEWS.  Calling NASCAR "America's fastest-growing spectator
     sport," Alm noted the 31-race Winston Cup series, the top
     tier of NASCAR, drew 5.58 million in attendance in '96, up
     from 3.3 million in '90, and will "top that with ease" this
     season.  Felix Sabates, owner of three Winston Cup cars: 
     "Every racetrack we go to is a sellout.  No other sport can
     say that."  TV ratings "set another record last year," with
     111.89 million households tuning into racing on CBS, ABC,
     ESPN, TBS and The Nashville Network, "double the audience at
     the start of the decade" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/16).
          WHO'S BUYING?  Alm wrote that "what the sponsors see in
     NASCAR is a legion of fans."  Alm: "NASCAR chief Bill France
     rules the sport.  Entrepreneurs operate tracks and run
     racing teams. ... But sponsors ultimately pay most of the
     bills -- for NASCAR, the tracks, the cars and the drivers"
     (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/18). 
          EXPANSION:  Alm added expansion to "untapped markets
     outside the Southeast" depends on new tracks being built,
     and racing "doesn't get the public subsidies" that go to
     other sports' stadiums.  Alm: "In fact, the most unforgiving
     impediment to expansion may well be the calendar.  There are
     plenty of tracks and untapped markets that could sell
     100,000 or more tickets to a Winston Cup contest, but with
     travel, holidays and a short off-season, it's difficult to
     add new races" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 3/16).
          FELIX & OSCAR?  Calling them NASCAR's "version of the
     Odd Couple," Ben Blake profiles Speedway Motorsports CEO
     Bruton Smith and NASCAR President Bill France in the
     RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH.  Blake: "The signs indicate that
     Smith is trying to lever[age] something from NASCAR: dates
     for his race tracks.  He seems to believe France owes him at
     least one date" (RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH, 3/18).