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Volume 20 No. 41
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Remaking the messaging: NASCAR reorganizes marketing, communications departments

NASCAR is reorganizing its marketing and communications departments as it prepares for Monster Energy’s arrival as title sponsor and re-evaluates how it develops content.

The moves appear to be part of a full review of media outreach and strategy as NASCAR, like many leagues, looks to get its stories across all forms of media.

Eric Nyquist, NASCAR’s senior vice president of strategic development, has moved into the position of senior vice president of communications and technology development, where he will oversee NASCAR’s integrated marketing communications department.

Eric Nyquist will oversee NASCAR’s integrated marketing communications department.
Evan Parker, NASCAR’s managing director of brand integration, has been promoted to managing director of series marketing and content strategy, where he will oversee NASCAR’s partnership with Monster on a day-to-day basis.

Moving Nyquist to oversee communications and NASCAR’s public messaging is seen as somewhat of a surprise, but he was one of the architects of NASCAR’s Integrated Marketing Communications group when it was created in 2010. Nyquist has been involved in virtually every major strategic NASCAR initiative — including the charter system for race teams — in recent years, and is known to have great influence with NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France.

Brent Dewar, NASCAR’s chief operating officer, said in a prepared statement that as part of “meeting the dynamic challenges of going to market in a changing media landscape from a content perspective, we made several strategic organizational changes that will ensure we remain nimble, effective and internally aligned to meet our business objectives.”

NASCAR in recent years has focused on trying to better align its stakeholders on key issues, creating numerous councils in the process, including ones for drivers, manufacturers, tracks and owners.

The sanctioning body has worked to further extend that collaboration to the communications realm by creating a committee last year — made up of representatives from its productions; entertainment marketing; digital, social and communications; and marketing/series marketing groups — that started re-examining the way the sanctioning body treated content on its owned channels.

Nyquist, a 2011 SportsBusiness Journal/Daily Forty Under 40 recipient, has worked across numerous departments since joining NASCAR in 2005. He will continue to be based in Daytona but will spend significant time at NASCAR’s Charlotte office.

Reporting to Nyquist will be: Jon Schwartz, managing director of integrated marketing communications; Kurt Culbert, managing director of racing communications, who oversees competition matters; Matt Ciesluk, senior director of integrated marketing communications; and David Higdon, vice president of integrated marketing communications. Higdon is moving to a role that will see him work more with Colin Smith, NASCAR’s vice president of digital media, to help align content on with key objectives. The group reports to Steve Phelps, NASCAR’s executive vice president and chief global sales and marketing officer.

Reporting to Charlotte-based Parker will be Dave Finley, managing director of series marketing, along with two other staffers who have yet to be determined. Those four will be charged with driving strategy and content for Monster as part of the larger content strategy. Parker will report to Jill Gregory, NASCAR’s senior vice president and CMO.