Fanatics, SMI Ink Special Deal For Atlanta NASCAR Weekend, Close To Long-Term Pact
Fanatics and Speedway Motorsports Inc. have struck a one-race deal to allow the retailer to operate at Atlanta Motor Speedway for this weekend's NASCAR races, and the two sides are "within an inch" of a multiyear deal, according to SMI Senior VP/Business Affairs Don Hawk. Fanatics in January unveiled its 10-year trackside merchandise deal with NASCAR and Int'l Speedway Corp. that allows it to oversee merch sales at the company's 12 tracks that host NASCAR races. Up to this point, SMI -- the other key track operator in NASCAR -- had yet to sign on with Fanatics, leaving open the prospect that Fanatics would not have a presence at many NASCAR races. But Hawk yesterday afternoon said that he and Fanatics Authentic President Ross Tannenbaum hashed out the short-term arrangement last weekend in Daytona and are now closing in on a full-length agreement. Hawk hopes that the full deal will be done in time for next weekend's races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway -- another SMI track. Hawk said that while there was speculation in the industry that SMI was uncomfortable with the financial split, that was "absolutely, positively" not true and it was more a matter of making sure both sides were comfortable with the intricacies and structure of the deal. This is in part because SMI is vertically integrated and does much of its own souvenir and event merchandise production in house. Hawk: "This was more about the fan experience and what they are bringing as a footprint to each of our speedways and protecting our tracks' IP marks for event merchandise." He added that unlike ISC's deal with Fanatics, SMI will not be taking any advance payment or guarantee as part of any long-term agreement. Fanatics could not be reached for comment by presstime.