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Volume 22 No. 32
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NASCAR unites content divisions

Parker

NASCAR has consolidated its content divisions into one group as part of a move that has seen longtime entertainment marketing executive Zane Stoddard leave the company.

This is the latest reorganization under the direction of COO Steve Phelps, as the sanctioning body has been overhauling its content strategy gradually over the years.

The move will see all of NASCAR’s content groups reporting to one executive, Evan Parker, who was promoted to vice president of content as part of the move. The different groups encompass social; partner engagement; creative services; the Los Angeles-based entertainment marketing division; and the content elements of the digital and NASCAR Productions groups. Some of the divisions, like the digital and social teams, were already working together as part of a move to form a content committee in 2016, but this move will bring all of them under one group.

Stoddard, who joined NASCAR in 2010 after stints at Nike and the NBA among other stops, left last month as part of the reorganization. He was the only executive to leave as part of the move. The groups officially consolidated two weeks ago.

“When Steve Phelps recognized that we needed to be more aligned from a content perspective and have groups work better together to find efficiencies and create better stories, he recognized it wasn’t possible to pull the Band-Aid off and put everybody together in one department [from the start],” said Parker, who will remain based in Charlotte but travel more to his native L.A. as part of the move.

“That wasn’t going to work for us, so his plan was to start with the committee, get groups to work more closely and get everyone understanding integration and collaboration. As we saw success, opportunities arose to take groups and smash them together.”

Parker continues to report to Jill Gregory, executive vice president and CMO.

NASCAR Productions and the entertainment marketing group were the most autonomous groups. NASCAR Productions creates content for the sanctioning body and the sport’s broadcast partners in Fox Sports and NBC Sports, and sells documentaries to other media companies. The entertainment marketing group largely works on long-term projects such as TV shows, movies and interactions with celebrities. Parker said the plan is for each division that creates and distributes content to be brought “together in one group and have them ladder up to one strategy to find ways to be more efficient, collaborative and tell better stories.”

Citing a recent example, Parker pointed to a project this summer to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the death of driver Davey Allison, where all the various content teams met and came up with parts of the project they could produce. The digital team produced NASCAR.com stories while NASCAR Productions handled a feature to air on Fox Sports’ TV channels.

Parker said he doesn’t anticipate making major changes to any of the groups for the rest of this season.

“We can’t overestimate the benefit of having all content people under one roof from a resource perspective,” Parker said. “This is going to make a big difference.”