The inaugural Motor Sport Business Forum North America featured a keynote address by Lesa France Kennedy, CEO of International Speedway Corporation. France Kennedy touched on several of the binding themes that emerged during the two-day event, including planning and adjustments due to the economy, new media and the long-term plans and outlook for ISC and some of its related corporations.
“First of all, there's no doubt that all businesses have been challenged by the economy and we are not immune to it,” said France Kennedy, who also holds the positions of vice chair for both ISC and NASCAR as well as serving as executive vice president for NASCAR. “Whenever there is a situation like this, it has also provided an opportunity for us. We've taken over half a million of our tickets and re-priced or restructured them. We've taken some of the tickets that were previously bundled and created new packages where the bundling wasn't as prominent. We find that about two-thirds of the people who are buying our newly structured tickets are brand-new buyers. Our history tells us that if we can get them to that one event, that the product sells itself. Our challenge is getting them to that first event, and then it goes from there. We're accomplishing that through different opportunities and value pricing.”
One of the ways ISC is getting the word out about its new ticket packages and its race events in total is through some of the increasingly popular new media methods.
“People are consuming our sport in different ways now. Social media – I know, especially for the younger folks, that is how they communicate. All of our tracks now have social media outlets where they communicate with potential fans and new fans, as well as the younger audience. We always have to be refilling the pipeline.”
While France Kennedy said ISC is not expecting a fast turnaround in the economy, she was quick to point out that the down market may provide some opportunities.
“We're going to be braced for a slow recovery but we're also looking at some new opportunities. At Kansas, next to the Kansas Speedway, we're looking at building a casino and a hotel with our gaming partner. It's a little bit of a departure from our core business, but it's also an enhancement if you look at the fans coming to the Kansas Speedway and extending their stay. It becomes more of a destination, bringing more tourists in than it already does. We're doing the same in Daytona, where we're looking at some other guest amenities across the street that would be complementary to the track. Over time, we would like to develop some retail and dining.”