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Sprint Cup teams form Race Team Alliance UPDATE

Mon Jul 07, 2014 1:54 pm

A group of nine multi-car teams participating in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) announced today they have formed a collaborative business association called the Race Team Alliance (RTA). The purpose of the organization is to create an open forum for the teams to explore areas of common interest and to work collaboratively on initiatives to help preserve, promote, and grow the sport of stock car racing. The organization intends to open up its membership to all full time NSCS teams in the very near future. In providing a vehicle for the teams to work together, the organization creates for the first time a single entity to engage with stakeholders on creative ways to market and experience the power of the sport's teams and drivers. As part of its focus, the RTA also plans to explore innovative ways to harness the combined purchasing power and scale of the teams' operations to drive efficiencies in costs. Rob Kauffman, co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, has been elected the first chair of the RTA.
"With the encouragement of NASCAR and the manufacturers, the teams have met in various forms and forums over the years to explore areas of common interest. This simply formalizes what was an informal group." said Kauffman. "The key word is 'Collaboration'. We all have vested interests in the success and popularity of stock car racing. By working together and speaking with a single voice, it should be a simpler and smoother process to work with current and potential groups involved with the sport. Whether it be looking for industry-wide travel partners or collaborating on technical issues - the idea is to work together to increase revenue, spend more efficiently, and deliver more value to our partners."
The following teams are the executive members of the RTA: Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Hendrick Motor Sports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing, Richard Childress Racing, Richard Petty Motor Sports, Roush Fenway Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske.(RTA)(7-7-2014)
UPDATE: Statement from NASCAR: "We are aware of the alliance concept the team owners have announced, but have very few specifics on its structure or purpose. It is apparently still in development and we're still learning about the details so it would be inappropriate to comment right now. NASCAR's mission, as it has always been, is to create a fair playing field where anyone can come and compete. Our job is to support and strengthen all of the teams, large and small, across all of our series and we'll continue to do that. NASCAR is a unique community with hundreds of stakeholders. They all have a voice and always will."(NASCAR)(7-7-2014)

Re: Sprint Cup teams form Race Team Alliance UPDATE

Mon Jul 07, 2014 3:35 pm

Read about this earlier.... Very interesting!

Re: Sprint Cup teams form Race Team Alliance UPDATE

Mon Jul 07, 2014 10:09 pm

Rob Kauffman was on Sirius today...I caught a bit of the interview with him. He was informative as to what RTA will NOT be or try to do.
I have read/heard where some are thinking this is a Union type organization--it isn't. It also is not anything like the owner organization formed from Indy Car that caused the split that happened there.
A couple owners in NASCAR were there when that debacle happened and it is not their intention to see it happen in NASCAR. It is more for the teams to help regulate their costs, etc.


What I haven't seen or heard much discussion of is Brian France/NASCAR looking at somehow revamping the driver/team souvenir/merchandise trailers, etc. at the tracks. Since these trailers and their merchandise are owned/leased by the teams--- it will be something to see how this turns out.

Re: Sprint Cup teams form Race Team Alliance UPDATE

Mon Jul 07, 2014 11:24 pm

NASCAR evaluating souvenir row

By Tripp Mickle, Staff Writer

Published June 30, 2014

NASCAR fans call it souvenir row, and for the last three decades, they have gone there to browse for hats and T-shirts at enormous truck rigs carrying their favorite driver’s merchandise.

But that tradition may become a thing of the past. NASCAR is in the early phases of re-evaluating its trackside merchandise program, and it is looking to make a change. The company two weeks ago sent a request for proposal to a dozen companies asking them to submit plans for how the sport could change the way it sells merchandise at races.


At a minimum, NASCAR is considering reducing the number of truck rigs along souvenir row, and possibly eliminating them altogether, in order to replace them with a more traditional retail concept like the tented stores set up at the entrance to PGA Tour events.

NASCAR teams and tracks have offered their support for exploring a change. The initiative is being led by Blake Davidson, NASCAR’s vice president of licensing and consumer products.

In a statement provided by NASCAR, Davidson said that the process is just another example of the sanctioning body re-evaluating its business. He added, “We have no changes to report, but look forward to providing our fans with an outstanding shopping experience at track this weekend and throughout the season.”

The evaluation process follows years of declining merchandise sales in NASCAR. Sales reportedly fell from more than $2 billion in 2008 to $1 billion in 2010. Motorsports Authentics, the motorsports licensing company that was jointly owned by International Speedway Corp. and Speedway Motorsports Inc., nearly filed for bankruptcy, and SMI this year abandoned its stake in the business in order to realize tax benefits that outweighed owning it.

Motorsports Authentics had been responsible for covering the cost of transporting 20-plus truck rigs to each of NASCAR’s 36 Sprint Cup races. The cost of having those trucks crisscross the country became inefficient as merchandise revenue shriveled and attendance decreased at races nationwide.

ISC and NASCAR agreed that finding another merchandise model would be both financially sensible and potentially benefit fans by improving the fan experience. They envision having multiple tents set up with driver autograph sessions and ample room for spectators to browse, try on merchandise and shop for apparel from multiple drivers at one point of sale.

“When we compare what the Super Bowl does, what golf does and other big events have done, they have consolidated merchandise into a more retail experience, and that’s what we’re looking for,” said Craig Neeb, ISC’s vice president of business development. “We believe that could change fan interest in the product versus pressing up against a trailer [to buy a shirt].”

Neeb said he also thinks it could boost sales. When customers go to a truck along souvenir row now, they typically only buy a shirt or a hat from one driver. In a tent “superstore,” he envisions them buying the shirt of their favorite driver, a hat of another driver for their son and maybe some sundry items.

“It can lead to more revenue because [with] the experience at the trailer, people can’t try merchandise on, they can’t shop at their own leisure,” Neeb said.

Joe Mattes, JR Motorsports vice president of licensing and marketing, who handles merchandise for the sport’s most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., is a supporter of making a change.

“There needs to be a total reset,” Mattes said. “The business model was flawed because it didn’t operate by the same rule as traditional retail.”

Mike Brown, Richard Childress Racing vice president of licensing, added, “There’s nothing broken with what we’re doing, but there’s a chance to possibly improve the fan experience.”

NASCAR sent the RFP to several leaders in the sports merchandise arena, including MainGate, Aramark and Delaware North. ISC-owned Motorsports Authentics and SMI, which owns eight major racetracks, also plan to submit a proposal.

It has asked for companies to reply by Aug. 8, and it is looking to implement at least some changes by June 2015. All the changes to the trackside merchandise would be finalized by 2016.

The business model is expected to remain the same as it is today. Currently, 15 percent of merchandise revenue sold at races goes to the tracks and 10 percent goes to the NASCAR Licensing Trust, which then distributes it to NASCAR teams and drivers. Motorsports Authentics, which carries the cost of transporting the merchandise and staffing the trailers, keeps the remaining 75 percent of merchandise revenue.

Making changes to the current model won’t be easy. NASCAR will have to get buy-in from all the teams and tracks, and there is a variety of ideas about what they should do.

For example, Mattes thinks they should adopt a hybrid model with a primary tent and some trailers. He suggested they shift from selling merchandise from individual driver trailers to selling it from team haulers where merchandise for Hendrick Motorsports’ or Joe Gibbs Racing’s drivers are sold together.

NASCAR also will need to be careful not to estrange its core fans. Those fans have spent three decades getting merchandise along souvenir row, and that’s become a tradition for many of them, somewhat akin to visiting the midway at a fair.

“We believe change is good as long as it’s not just changing to change,” said Don Hawk, SMI’s senior vice president of business affairs. “We’re going to put forward some ideas ourselves, but we do believe like the old wedding expression: There’s got to be something old and something new.”



I read this the other day. Didn't realize that Motorsports Authentics covers the cost of transporting all the rigs to all the races. Seems like that could be a pretty hefty price tag... I thought the article was interesting...

Re: Sprint Cup teams form Race Team Alliance UPDATE

Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:57 am

Thanks Rochelle for posting. I knew there had to be something out there about it, just didn't have time to go searching. I heard bits and pieces on Sirius and was interested in hearing/reading more.
Sounds like MA (Motorsports Authentic) replaced most of the individual souvenir trailers that teams had (contracted with)--I knew they had a lot of the drivers/teams under their umbrella.
Wonder what the different proposals will be.

Re: Sprint Cup teams form Race Team Alliance UPDATE

Tue Jul 08, 2014 12:36 pm

jdpirate wrote:Rob Kauffman was on Sirius today...I caught a bit of the interview with him. He was informative as to what RTA will NOT be or try to do.
I have read/heard where some are thinking this is a Union type organization--it isn't. It also is not anything like the owner organization formed from Indy Car that caused the split that happened there.
A couple owners in NASCAR were there when that debacle happened and it is not their intention to see it happen in NASCAR. It is more for the teams to help regulate their costs, etc.


JD.... Thanks for the thoughts......... mine were along the same lines.

I did not hear the discussion, but all of the prior history came pouring out when I read the initial announcement of this group. Although we all have some negative thoughts of the all encompassing NASCAR rule, we also know that there needs to be a governing body.

Prior attempts to influence governing bodies in Auto Racing have mostly been failures.
Those which come to mind (from memory, with no research) were...... not successful, OR,
massive failures. Over time this has happened in every type of racing.

Let us all join together in wishing this effort is successful on ALL fronts....
Drivers, Safety Crews, Owners, Pit Crews, Fans, and the Ruling Bodies.

Re: Sprint Cup teams form Race Team Alliance UPDATE

Tue Jul 08, 2014 12:42 pm

14Smokem wrote:
jdpirate wrote:Rob Kauffman was on Sirius today...I caught a bit of the interview with him. He was informative as to what RTA will NOT be or try to do.
I have read/heard where some are thinking this is a Union type organization--it isn't. It also is not anything like the owner organization formed from Indy Car that caused the split that happened there.
A couple owners in NASCAR were there when that debacle happened and it is not their intention to see it happen in NASCAR. It is more for the teams to help regulate their costs, etc.


JD.... Thanks for the thoughts......... mine were along the same lines.

I did not hear the discussion, but all of the prior history came pouring out when I read the initial announcement of this group. Although we all have some negative thoughts of the all encompassing NASCAR rule, we also know that there needs to be a governing body.

Prior attempts to influence governing bodies in Auto Racing have mostly been failures.
Those which come to mind (from memory, with no research) were...... not successful, OR,
massive failures. Over time this has happened in every type of racing.

Let us all join together in wishing this effort is successful on ALL fronts....
Drivers, Safety Crews, Owners, Pit Crews, Fans, and the Ruling Bodies.



YW Smokem....
I know when people hear this stuff all the negatives roll through our minds.
Though we may not like some changes...you are correct.... we want it to be successful for all :)
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