NASCAR Brimming With Positive Energy Ahead Of New Season
There is "new positive energy flowing" from NASCAR President Steve Phelps and Chair & CEO Jim France these days, as NASCAR has "stopped the decline and begun preparing for a high-speed future in an ever-changing entertainment landscape," according to Ken Willis of the Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL. While Phelps is "clearly the frontman for current NASCAR," France is "renowned for letting others take the visible lead while he works behind the scenes." France said, "We're coming off a very good year. I felt like last year we were really getting some momentum back, and it's exciting now going into this coming year." Phelps said the motorsports industry is "very bullish on the direction that this sport has taken, and the results in '19 were proof of this." Phelps: "We've got this wave of momentum that our industry feels good about." Phelps also said attendance trends are "all moving in the right direction," and NASCAR's ratings were up 5%, while "all sports were down 7%." He added, "We're heading into the season with a brand new sponsorship model ... [We] were able to secure four premier partners and blue-chip companies. There's just so many positive stories as we head into a new season. I'd say the industry as a whole feels really positive about the 2020 season and frankly where the sport is going overall." Phelps also said the merger between NASCAR and ISC has been a "huge lift for the stakeholders and how they view things" (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 2/14).
HAMMER DOWN: Phelps said NASCAR's racing was "better last year than it’s been in a long time:” which helps increase TV ratings, and that is "kind of the promise that we have to our fans, that we are going to put on great racing.” Phelps also discussed the NASCAR/ISC merger, noting the France family is "not interested" in bringing in a strategic partner because "we're going at this on our own." The France family has “doubled down on the sport," and their "confidence in where this sport is going is really what fueled that" ("Bloomberg Business of Sports," BLOOMBERG.com, 2/13).