ISC targeting ways to grow Racing Electronics unit
International Speedway Corp. says it’s starting to realize benefits from its acquisition of Racing Electronics both in revenue and fan experience.
ISC acquired Racing Electronics from Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross’ FanVision Entertainment last November for around $8.5 million, giving the track operator control of a key part of the race-day experience. Racing Electronics sells and rents two-way scanners and handheld video devices that provide fans an added layer of content during races, from listening to driver radio communications to watching added video angles.
ISC is one of the largest track operators in the U.S. and Racing Electronics is now one of its largest divisions, with around 70 full-time employees and another roughly 25 people who work part time on race weekends. ISC, which is publicly traded but in the process of being acquired and taken private by NASCAR, has kept staffing at Racing Electronics roughly the same with no layoffs, according to Chad Willis, Racing Electronics president.
ISC plans to expand Racing Electronics into more racing series and is working to improve certain operations, including better integrating the division’s products into ticket sales. Racing Electronics works with NASCAR, IndyCar and the NHRA, and is looking at working with IMSA, which like ISC is controlled by the France family.
Racing Electronics’ fastest-growing business last year was in the NHRA while this year it’s IndyCar. Its revenue from e-commerce is on track to be 300% more this year than what it was in 2016. The company would not disclose specific revenue figures.
Racing Electronics conducted a two-race pilot program at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in May with its Legend handheld video devices that it licenses from FanVision, which invented and patented the product. Prior to this season, Racing Electronics couldn’t offer video devices at IndyCar races due to the series’ former title sponsorship with Verizon.
On top of working with more series and marketing its products better on digital media, ISC is working to improve relationships with tracks and encouraging them to include Racing Electronics products in ticket packages. It’s also giving tracks more information on what is and isn’t selling well, and offering and positioning Racing Electronics kiosks in smarter locations at venues. For example, ISC sees the opportunity to sell and rent more products to infield campers as opposed to those fans sitting in the grandstands.
Willis said Texas Motor Speedway was successful marketing and advertising a ticket package that included a scanner and two headsets to go with two tickets to one of the track’s annual Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races. Willis said in the three races where the offer was available, TMS sold around 10,000 of them, which translates to 20,000 tickets.
Chris Schwartz, ISC managing director of broadcast and integrated marketing and president of Motor Racing Network, said that like most businesses in the track sector, Racing Electronics’ revenue is tied to attendance. As NASCAR continues efforts to reverse attendance dips, Racing Electronics is focused on increasing its penetration rate among those fans who do attend. “What we talk a lot about is increasing share in a flat or decreasing audience,” Schwartz said.