Racing Promotion Monthly
RACING PROMOTION MONTHLY NEWSLETTER; ISSUE 53.4 THE PROMOTERS VOICE & FORM SINCE 1972; THE APRIL EDITION
ISSUE 53•4 THE PROMOTERS VOICE & FORM SINCE 1972
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Two items that continue to present challenges to promoters throughout the motorsports business and seemingly there is not solution but it is certainly something we need to discuss.
Questioning things that remain unanswered...
The season, the heavy-lifting season is upon us and early indications are that it's going to be a good one. As fickle as this sport is, it never ceases to be amazing that there are enthusiastic participants and fans, ready to go when the gates swing open.
Those folks, the diehards, will always be there.
What has now become glaringly obvious and has started to present a major challenge that we all face is amongst the "entitled" and "not-so-loyal" individuals who we encounter regularly in this world with increasing frequency.
Common place is the racer, who states, "I'm going to run all of your events..." and then determines what suites his schedule. It doesn't matter if it's weekly track or an entire series, you only see them when it's convenient for them to be there. They just show up when it suites themselves, which has been going on for a number of years and contributed to the decline in the amount races on track and series schedules.
We all understand that society has encountered many changes in our way of lives, however levels of commitment to anything have changed drastically.
On the opposite end of that spectrum is the expectations of what any event promoter is held accountable for these days. It comes in all angles and when we sit back and measure our commitment level versus that of the participant or the fan and there seems to be a very skewed direction these days. Included in that, is the ability to destroy things on social media with careless abandon, because the individuals situation is of your utmost concern, not what is good for you and your entire assembly of constituents.
For example; Within our own "Race of Champions" Series, we've asked competitors each Holiday season to take 5 minutes and create a "Holiday Wish" video that can thank the fans, their sponsors, etc..., to get to 12 videos - we end up using officials, promoters, etc..., we literally have to beg people to do them, it is honestly incredible to think about it from the "publicity for them" standpoint and how positive this could be. In 2022, 322 different drivers earned points in 8 Race of Champions divisions. The numbers make it seem like it should not be that difficult.
A recent discussion with another promoter, provided the insight of driver's wanting to be added to a field after the fields were set and the race was moved to the next day due to inclement weather. The competitor had every reason for not showing up, including that "he knew the weather would be bad..." but what do you tell all of the other competitors who made the commitment to be there and did their part.
There was one track that recently called a Saturday show on Wednesday due to competitor pressure based on an extended range forecast.
Even as recent as RPM@Daytona, at the RPM registration table, we were approached with "will you take this so I can come in..." we did not, proceeded to be told off and we did it all to protect the individuals who made a commitment and lived up to their obligations to attend, whether they are an exhibitor or attendee.
We are writing this because many of us feel singled out in all of these aspects and that we are alone in our own worlds. We all wonder what to do and how to combat these issues. There are not simple solutions and there is no solidified answer for success. There certainly isn't an answer to get people to believe in what you're doing.
In our experience and after speaking to several of you in regard to this topic, we have come to the conclusion that we all have to identify the individuals that are most loyal and begin the process there of weeding through the noise. At times, it can become overwhelming and cumbersome.
It takes time to build your base, recognizing the base will rotate on convenience to them. Become extremely consistent and concise in your messaging. From that point your base will begin to grow.
Learn who you can trust. If you feel you are a good judge of character, this will come to you quicker and more naturally. For some of this, we trust and get burnt, that can be a difficult pill to swallow and we have to recognize that this is going to happen, no matter how strongly you feel.
People have built a sense of importance for "getting inside information" - the scoop if you will.
Most recently, we - as the Race of Champions - joined the "canceled a Saturday event on Wednesday" club - the noise was incredible from the outside beginning 7-days prior. Our event was a "reschedule" from 2022 because there was nowhere to put it last Fall. Approximately 10-days out from the event, the forecast showed 60% chance of rain and dismal blustery conditions once the front moved in. From that point "the noise" began.
"What are they going to do?" on Sunday. Phone calls, texts, you name it, we have all been there and the information we put out and some of the results are shared below.
While the weather is certainly part of the risk, "the noise" that comes with something uncontrollable is unbelievable. We - as a society - have access to all of the same information, the "keyboard commando" that's typing a statement that is "so brilliant" is an undeniable damaging repeat of something you've just read.
So while, you are adjusting every logistic - live television, staff, officials, the race track, all of your consumable, fuel, tires, specialty souvenirs, etc..., someone is telling you that you have to make a decision because you don't know "how much they have invested and how much they stand to lose..."
How do we educate these folks that this is damaging our sport? It's not an individualistic complaint and while we may joke about it, it truly has an adverse affect on all of us because somebody out there is telling everyone that "they are smarter than the person pulling this all together and giving them a place to race and/or watch racing..."
Nowhere in business have we found a business quite like ours where by name we are available to social media duress. Do some research and you will see. While other businesses may have a bad review, it is rare that a business takes as much heat as a race promoter on any decision, from official calls to weather to the price of concessions, unless you are in Government and that's an entirely different story.
The question begs to be answered, how do we change this and change this for the better. Making a negative into a positive.
Media pieces like this have been written before, but perhaps not here. We unfortunately can't hide from it, we can't just delete and block the posters, we can't continue to say "well there is so much more positive..." because "that one bad apple can spoil the entire bunch". It is that fragile.
We all have wonderful products, great places, passion, drive and work ethics that are unrivaled, so why can't we beat this? The negative human spirit be damned. It's time to keep fighting and I look forward to hearing from all of you and ideas, thoughts and positive contributions to help beat this away from the sport we love.
The contrast of life in a Promoter's world; The "Erie" race was schedule to run on Saturday, April 22, 2023. The first post, while it says "4 days ago" was posted early morning on Tuesday, April 18, 2023. Obviously, the competitor who texts the Series owner number when needed and has talked to the Series owner many times, could not make a phone call, but instead pleaded to the masses that it would be nice if "They" made a decision. "They" were addressed in a competitors e-mail from the Series when the decision was made on Wednesday, April 19. Based on the data that the Series had received up to that point, plans were being put in motion on Monday, April 17, 2023 in regard to the postponement. A phone call could have saved this.
The post below was made on Saturday afternoon, April 22, 2023. After drenching overnight and morning rains turned to intermittent showers until around 2:00pm with a steady wind and temperatures dropping below the 50 degree point with "real feels" in the low 40's and "real feels in the shade" in the mid-30's. The conditions did not provide suitable for drying nor outdoor activities of any type. The person posting comes from a family with a diverse "racing background".
As a comparison on Saturday, April 22, 2023 the Buffalo Bisons played a double-header game approximately one-hour West of the Speedway, which was interrupted due to the conditions with approximately 23% of A 16,600 seat stadium being used (3,882 were said to have attended including season ticket holders).
Finally; Much like many of you we utilize a "Mass Mailing" system and found it unfortunate that we had to include the following two blanket statements, please feel free to use them as you see fit;
As a note; In the future, we suggest that you do not get your information from "They" as we are not sure of who "They" are, however "They" seem to provide different information than what Race of Champions Series Management provides. We have searched our organization for any individual that represents themself as "They" or an employee named "They" and we have yet to locate or know who "They" are. Thank you for your consideration in regard to this.
Weather updates; We are all looking at the same applications and forecasts, there is absolutely no need to call on Tuesday about a race on Saturday. We do our best with these situations and please understand that we all have something invested and are looking at this from similar circumstances as you and your team may be. We will update everyone as quickly and efficiently as we can. Answering individual phone calls and texts does not make the process very efficient. Please be mindful and respect this throughout the season. - As a separate note this has worked.
At RPM@Daytona we were approached about hosting a session in regard to what a new Promoter should be doing, a "Promoter 101" if you will, so before we created a session in regard to this topic, we thought we would create a piece here as a beginner's "notebook" if you will and something that may be expounded on by anyone in the RPM family of promoters.
An event promoter is someone who markets and creates interest in live events. They may work as an independent contractor or for a specific organization. They use and implement various strategies and platforms to reach out to the target audience and generate a "buzz" around the event They also assist in planning and executing the event as well assist in the events Public Relations and Publicity.
Some of the promoter's responsibilities include:
Familiarizing themselves with the relevant details of each event, including scheduling and pricing for tickets and pit credentials.
Establishing a network of connections which they can draw from as needed.
Use existing and novel informative tools to disseminate event-related information and details.
Overseeing the marketing and promotion of the event.
Organizer publicity and advertising distribution including flyers, radio and television advertising, social media and other various publicity campaigns.
Track preparation, both dirt and asphalt. This varies in degrees of expertise, however it is critical.
Communication with participants.
Communication specialist with sanctioning bodies, regional touring series, local touring series and other area and regional tracks.
Bathroom Cleaner, bleacher board repair person, painter, retaining wall repair, sound system equipment knowledge and repair. Timing and Scoring.
Most importantly a diplomat.
How To Become an Event Promoter: Steps and Tips
Marketing teams often include many specialized roles with individual expertise, both internal to an organization and externally through contractors. When a team needs to publicize a function or event, for example, they might leverage an event promoter. An event promoter helps organizations and businesses draw people to their events by identifying the target audience and devising marketing strategies to reach them. In this article, we discuss what an event promoter does along with the steps you can follow to become one, to help you pursue this exciting and rewarding career.
Event promoter skills
Successful event promoters often demonstrate the following skills:
Event promoters use their communication skills to interact with event organizers and their intended audience. They can effectively understand the needs of the event organizer and convey their value and abilities in support of the organizer's goals. In addition, event promoters know how to reach an audience in a way that appeals to them. Finally, event promoters regularly interact with others by phone and email, making both verbal and written communication skills important.
When promoting some events, the event promoter may have several different marketing operations running simultaneously. For example, they may have a strategy for promoting the event via social media, an email marketing campaign and print advertisements. Managing different operations to ensure their effectiveness requires organization skills. Event promoters may also promote several events at the same time, meaning they must keep each campaign separate from one another.
Event promoters are typically proactive rather than waiting for someone to assign them something to do. This is useful because they are the ones who devise marketing strategies for the event and then put them into action. Promoting an event also regularly requires making connections with new people and encouraging others to attend, both of which require a proactive attitude.
To learn how to best promote an event, event planners conduct thorough research. They study the intended audience, including their demographics, where they spend their time, their favorite social media channels, their income and other elements of their market profile. They also stay current on the latest promotion techniques and marketing strategies to ensure they are using the best tactics for their clients.
Event promoter work environment
Event promoters can work in a variety of environments. Planning and implementing marketing strategies may take place in an office setting, where event promoters often work on their computer and over the phone. Some advertising strategies may require the event promoter to leave the office, such as handing out fliers on the street.
In some cases, event planners may also need to travel. For instance, they might meet with event organizers or visit the site of a future event to learn more about what they are promoting. In addition, they might travel to similar events to study how other promoters advertised the event.
Becoming an event promoter often includes significant personal experience as well as possible formal education. To become an event promoter, here are some steps you can use:
Consider educational needs
While there are sometimes few specific degree requirements for event promoter positions, pursuing a degree may provide you with the skills and knowledge you need to succeed. For example, event promoters often have extensive knowledge about marketing topics. Pursuing a bachelor's or associate's degree in business or marketing may provide you with a greater understanding of these concepts and skills. You may even consider attending some non-degree courses to improve your event promotion background and skills. Try exploring local community colleges and online course offerings to find classes that are right for you. In this case, past Motorsports experience is extremely helpful.
Decide on the type of events you want to promote
Determining the type of events you want to promote can help you plan your next career steps. For example, someone promoting concerts has different responsibilities than someone promoting scientific conferences and may require different experience and knowledge in order to succeed. While you may eventually promote events of all kinds, choosing a specific type of event early can help you get started.
To help choose a type of event, think about your interests. Consider the events you often attend or would like to attend. Becoming familiar with a specific type of event can help when it comes time to promote it because of your better understanding of the usual audience.
- Gain experience
Organizations often consider prior work experience when hiring event promoters. When you're first starting, it's good to have experience on your resume related to the event promotion industry. Try looking for entry-level jobs at different events. For example, you could take a job working as a caterer or running a merchandise stand at a concert. These types of jobs give you a better sense of how events run and can help you establish important connections to other professionals.
Another option is working with an established event promoter. Event promoters often need assistants to help them with some of their tasks. By working as an intern or paid assistant, you can gain hands-on experience working in event promotion. The lead promoter may have you handing out fliers, responding to emails, promoting the event on social media or helping to set up the event.
As you gain more experience, look for opportunities to take on more responsibility. Eventually, with enough experience, you can begin to apply for event promoter positions. You may find it easier to start with smaller events, as the event organizers may have a smaller budget and are therefore willing to work with someone with less professional experience.
- Grow your professional network
As you work toward an event promoter position, look for opportunities to grow your professional network. Introduce yourself to event organizers, other event promoters and marketing professionals. Talk to them about your interest in event promotion and try to form a connection with them. Often, when someone needs an event promoter, they are likely to think of someone they already know. The more professional connections you have, the better chance you may have to obtain event promotion work.
While all of this sounds like there is a plan, motorsports is unique to most circumstances. A typical or standard "Event Promoter" may not be successful in motorsports. The passion and dedication that goes into this is a "labor of love" and while the reward may often be financial, it can also be the moment you watch the sport that you are passionate about grow and develop. It is a tender balance and something we all need to be considerate of. For an event promoter in short track racing, there is no daily routine, there are no "typical" days. It always seems as though there is something in front of you. This is good for a person who needs to be challenged and wants to utilize that type of energy to move the needle forward.
There are a variety of things any young promoter could be doing at an event. There is no script for this job. Photographed in a clockwise manner beginning in the upper left corner is Gregg McKarns at Rockford Speedway in victory lane; Bob Sargent directing a Driver's Meeting; Lyle DeVore working his race track in the grader and Roger Slack running to put out a fire somewhere on the property on Charlotte. All of these folks and more have won the Auto Racing Promoter of the Year Award and are more than happy to talk to and help guide young promoters.
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Since 2019 we've been participating in the Ride for Roswell. Roswell is a cancer institution in Buffalo that is recognized for its health work and research worldwide. Each year, we have experienced people all around us, family, friends and colleagues that are fighting this terrible disease in some manner. Participating in the ride, which is ranked in the top-five charities rides in North America, is something we choose to support and participate in. Hopefully, in turn our contributions help someone in some way. This year, the International ride has returned and that is our route of choice, 44-miles through downtown Buffalo, across the Peace Bridge into Canada, following the Niagara River, crossing at the Rainbow Bridge returning in the United States and back to the University of Buffalo campus on the morning of Saturday, June 24. We are currently seeking any donation that may help push us past our goal and you can visit my cycling page for details on how to donate; https://give.roswellpark.org/site/TR/SpecialEvents/General?px=1352667&pg=personal&fr_id=1830
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USA Today placed the Knoxville Nationals amongst one of its 10 Best Lists. This is a big deal for short track racing in general as any publicity for the industry in a major publication helps us. Congratulations to the folks at Knoxville as well as those with the World of Outlaws and World Racing Group.
Knoxville Nationals Makes USA Today’s 10 Best List
"The Granddaddy of ‘Em All" ranked third on the 10Best Reader’s Choice list for Best Motorsports Race, beating out NASCAR, INDYCAR and Sports Car events
The mecca. A crown jewel. “Our” Super Bowl. The greatest week of the year.
Talk to any Sprint Car driver or fan and you’ll hear one, if not all, of those sentences to describe the NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals at Knoxville Raceway in Iowa.
For more than 60 years, the Knoxville Nationals has been turning Sprint Car drivers into motorsport legends and providing fans with one of the most unique event experiences. And because of that, fans voted the Knoxville Nationals to third on USA Today’s 10 Best Reader’s Choice list for Best Motorsports Race – behind only the Indianapolis 500 and Formula 1’s U.S. Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas.
The Knoxville Nationals, featuring the World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series (Aug, 9-12), ranked higher than the likes of NASCAR’s Daytona 500, INDYCAR’s Grand Prix of Long Beach – which set an attendance record this year – the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, among others.
“I think Knoxville separates itself from every other event, due to the fact of where it is at and the history behind the event, everything that goes on in the little town of Knoxville during the week,” said Brad Sweet, four-time and reigning World of Outlaws champion and 2018 Knoxville Nationals champion. “There is so much to do for the fans, such a great atmosphere. It’s a really quiet town when you’re there for not the Knoxville Nationals. But, when the Knoxville Nationals is there, it’s like a buzzing little city with all Sprint Car enthusiasts and race car fans.
“So, you bring 25-30 thousand people into one place that all love to do the same thing, which is race and have fun and there is Dingus (the bar across the street), there is the atmosphere around the vendors, there’s concerts going on. There is so much to do and the race is also such a big deal for the drivers.”
Twenty-seven drivers have claimed the Knoxville Nationals title since the first race in 1961. Of them, only seven have won it multiple times – adding to the prestige of the event. Steve Kinser, the 20-time World of Outlaws champion, has the most wins at the event with 12. Ten-time World of Outlaws champion Donny Schatz continued his climb to that benchmark last year by scoring his 11th triumph at the event.
And while Schatz continues to add Knoxville trophies to his collection, he iterated there is nothing easy about conquering the week-long event.
“It’s been the mecca of our biggest races since I was a kid sitting in the grandstands,” Schatz said. “And you know, the size of the racetrack, the big half mile, the flat surface, the tricky berm on the bottom, the river gumbo dirt that can be super hooky when it’s wet and when it starts to dry out it gets ultra-slick like glass. You get all ends of the spectrum with Knoxville, and it makes it a feast or famine type of scenario when you’re there racing.
“It makes it a lot of fun and it’s ever-changing. So, it’s an incredible place… you always have to be up to the challenge at Knoxville as it’s changing, and they can change the berm on the bottom a little bit and it changes your whole entry to the corner and the way your car responds and it’s tricky to stay down there. It’s a game of cat and mouse with both pedals and a steering wheel and even the thought process, so it makes it a lot of fun as a driver for someone like myself to be able to go there and try to master that craft.”
Along with the prestige and trophy, the Knoxville Nationals pays out one of the biggest purses in Sprint Car racing.
This year, the event boasts a record-high $1,159,005 overall purse, paying $185,000 to the winner and $15,000 to start the Feature.
Outside of the perks for the drivers and on track action for the fans, when it comes time for the Knoxville Nationals, the town of Knoxville morphs into a Sprint Car haven. Race haulers are parked in parking lots of local businesses along North Lincoln Street. Campers are packed in like Tetris blocks on residents’ lawns. Vendors and driver merchandise trailers occupy sidewalks across from the track.
For the week, race cars being pushed up and down the street by four wheels becomes normal. You feel like you’ve entered a racer's fantasy as the town becomes an annex of the track.
“It’s such a unique area,” said David Gravel, the 2019 Knoxville Nationals champion. “When that event is going on, the whole town shuts down. Campers surround the whole area and, you know, there are 25 to 30 thousand people. It just has an atmosphere and a buzz around it.
“You always get butterflies and goose bumps when you’re getting ready to race there. Having the Hall of Fame there and the suites all packed, having fans all the way down the front stretch and back, it’s just a one-of-a-kind event. Probably, definitely, my number one for sure still in Sprint Car racing.”
The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series will first visit Knoxville Raceway on June 9-10 before venturing back to Iowa's Marion County Fairgrounds for the 62nd NOS Energy Drink Knoxville Nationals, Aug. 9-12.Back to News