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Volume 21 No. 31
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Race team owner chooses ‘For Sale by Twitter’

Social media has grown to become the megaphone for all things these days, from breaking news and marketing products to communicating with friends and even showing off what’s for dinner.

But using the medium to advertise the sale of a professional sports team? That’s one of the few things that hadn’t been done — until recently, that is.

NASCAR team investor Anthony Marlowe said last week that his plan to sell his 10 percent stake in BK Racing via Twitter is bearing fruit.

“The person who is most interested in acquiring my stake was a lead obtained through Twitter. Social media is a very powerful tool.”
Anthony Marlowe
BK Racing Minority Partner

Marlowe, who joined BK Racing last year from now-defunct Swan Racing, is believed to be the first sports team owner to advertise the sale of a stake in a team on the social media platform. And according to Marlowe, the current “lead sled dog” for the sale found out about the opportunity from two tweets he sent out in recent months.
“We’re moving swiftly toward getting a deal done by the end of the year,” Marlowe said.

The asking price is $1 million.

Marlowe’s first tweet on the subject came in mid-September, when he announced the sale, the amount of equity involved and his contact info. He then sent a second message — this time a promoted tweet — in mid-October, noting the stake’s price and that the sale was open only to accredited investors who could receive venture financing.

“The NASCAR community is very active on Twitter, and the recent JOBS Act and crowdfunding bill kind of loosened up the regulations to be able to post a tweet like that without any regulatory worries,” said Marlowe, who runs investment firm Iowa City Capital Partners. “Frankly, the lead sled dog — the person who is most interested in acquiring my stake — was a lead obtained through Twitter. Social media is a very powerful tool.”

With a prospective “charter” or “medallion” system being negotiated that would give NASCAR team owners a form of long-term equity for the first time, Marlowe said he is well-aware he may be getting out of the sport at the wrong time. In fact, he said he originally got involved in NASCAR team ownership in part because it lacked the sort of barriers to entry, such as a limited number of franchises, that are now on the verge of being established.

However, outside considerations — mainly an effort to transition one of the companies he owns into one more focused on software — will take up so much of his time that the move was necessary, he said.

Furthermore, Marlowe believes he can turn a slight profit from his initial investment — something that many former NASCAR team owners never had the opportunity to do.

“With the prospective charter system being discussed, I’m looking at this as a window of opportunity where I’m likely selling too early,” he said. “But it’s an opportunity to get out whole or make a little bit of money, something that 95 percent of NASCAR owners up until this point had a very difficult time doing.”

Marlowe, who said the sale could still fall apart but hopes to have it done by the time the NASCAR owner agreement is signed in 2016, is planning to maintain a presence in motorsports. For example, he is in talks with Iowa Speedway executives about possibly buying race title sponsorships or hospitality packages there because many of his company’s locations are in that state or nearby South Dakota.

In the meantime, he is trying to help BK Racing accomplish a spate of business-side goals — including finding a company that wants to take over naming rights of the team.

And, who knows, he may have just helped Twitter find its newest category for ad sales.

“Twitter did notice that,” Marlowe said of his sales effort. “Their response was something along the lines of, ‘That’s great. Would you like to do more advertising?’”