Randy Bernard: Bottom Line "Pretty Damn Good Right Now" For IndyCar Finale
Randy Bernard “sits at the epicenter of everything IndyCar,” and the series CEO “talked about the challenges and opportunities” of his sport during an interview with the INDIANAPOLIS STAR’s Curt Cavin. Below is an excerpt from the Q&A:
Q: It appears there will be fewer oval-track events next season, and that concerns many fans.
Bernard: I'm not sure there will be (fewer), but I'm not ruling that out, unfortunately. Ovals are not being successful. The tracks besides Indy, Iowa and a couple of others aren't driving the attendance that they once were, and it's going to take some rebuilding. ... We can't afford to lose money on events, and I don't think promoters will lose money.
Q: Is promoting next month's race in Las Vegas a financial risk for IndyCar?
Bernard: I built a revenue model and a business plan that is sponsorship-driven and not based on ticket sales.
Q: Is success based on the bottom line or the attendance?
Bernard: The bottom line looks pretty damn good right now, so I'm not worried about that. I'm not sure how many people will show up. ... I personally think we'll have 65,000 to 75,000 people there.
Q: Are you interested in promoting races at other tracks if you have to?
Bernard: I'm very interested because if we can be successful with one, we can be successful with two, then three.
Q: Is that IndyCar's future?
Bernard: I'm not interested in doing the road courses and the street circuits, but I think we could be of value to the ovals. We have to do one first and understand what we've done right and what we've done wrong. This first one has taken us two years, unfortunately.
Q: You're trying to do a race in China next year. Is it a big moneymaker or just a moneymaker?
Bernard: We're not interested in running all over the world for just "some" profit, but we're not going to get rich on it. It's very expensive to go over there. What's attractive to us is that so many of our sponsors told us early in the year that they're very eager to see a race in China.
Q: You signed a contract to be the CEO for five years. Is it your plan to fulfill it?
Bernard: I've made no bones about it: I want to do the most I can in five years. I think we'll see the big success in years four and five. But as much as I love the people here ... for the last 19 months I've probably been home (to Los Angeles) four weeks, maybe five weeks max. I knew I'd run hard, but at some point I need to take a step back and start allowing my management team to do more (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 9/25).