Q: Jeff, can you say what you bring to the table that Randy Bernard didn't?
BELSKUS: Well, you know, Randy made a lot of positive contributions to the IndyCar Series. We've got a fresh perspective, a new management team, and certainly I've outlined a couple of the issues we're dealing with here, and we're working through those issues and are going to resolve them.
We continue to have opportunity and recognizing those opportunities and capturing those opportunities is going to be our focus moving ahead.
Q: On the television end of it, are you going to try to upgrade the space or network you're on, and number two, are you looking to add a race?
BELSKUS: Regarding the television situation, we have long-term agreements in place with our current TV partners. They're good partners for us, and we're looking forward to working with them on how to improve the TV rating situation. You know, we need to invest some money. They're willing to invest some money in promotion, tune-in promotion. I think that's been something that's been lacking in the past, and I believe will help with the ratings trends.
Regarding the race schedule, it has been set for 2013. We're not anticipating today, sitting here today, any changes to that schedule, so we're – for 2014 and beyond, we're going to keep our options open, and if a good opportunity presents itself there, then certainly we'll have that conversation.
Q: Will the “interim CEO” title continue for you?
BELSKUS: It's still interim, and we have not defined a search, and I'm CEO of the IndyCar Series and intend to function in that role going forward.
Q: Mark, could you talk about how not being hands-on is going to be able to be accomplished, and yet there's so much work to do that Jeff can't possibly do it all?
MILES: Well, some of that we'll figure out as we go along, but it's clear to me that as soon as I can extricate myself from my current employment and really insinuate myself here, we've got to get out and meet the stakeholders and understand the thinking and the economics from all the perspectives for IndyCar and for all of our businesses.
Being out there, which takes a lot of time, at the same time that we're running the series for 2013, is something I think I can bring for the enterprise, for the board and for Jeff.
This strategy work that's going on needs to – it's important to us. It's not going to create an off to on, off white kind of sea change in my estimation in terms of the business, but I think it will sharpen our strategies and focus and allow us to be clear on what matters most to us and what we have to do in what order to grow the sport and all the businesses as quickly as we can. I'll be very engaged in that work.
You know, and if you're going to really move the needle with an enterprise, you've got to know the people, the markets, their customers, and that's going to take a little bit of time.
I have the luxury of not spending all my time doing what Jeff has to do to successfully execute on IndyCar 2013 and the events at IMS over the year. I think that's what the board had in mind by asking me to come in and have that initial focus. Beyond that, we think sometime in the first half of the year, without an absolute deadline, we'll have a lot more clarity around the strategies for all the businesses going forward, and we'll know what that looks like when we're there.
It's more important that we get it right than that we are hasty, and I think that applies to the leadership of IndyCar and all the businesses we're engaged in.
Q: Jeff, do you view the addition of Formula 1 to NBC ports Network's lineup next year as being a benefit to IndyCar?
BELSKUS: Yeah, Formula 1 being on NBC Sports I do think will be a good development for the IndyCar Series. It's going to provide some great lead-in for our shows, and NBC Sports will become the place to watch open-wheel racing in the United States. So yeah, that will be positive.
The gaps in our schedule, you know – the gaps aren't good, and going forward, 2014, '15, we want to tighten the schedule up and have a better cadence to it.
But if we can – if an opportunity presents itself to fill in the gaps, we'll evaluate it, and if we can take advantage of it we will. But at this point the schedule is set, and so we're going with what's been set.
Q: Mark, Jeff answered this question over the summer about the series being for sale. Is there any chance that somebody could make you an offer – do you foresee always staying together?
MILES: Yes, the series is not for sale. The board is very clear about that. We just think it's so important that the most powerful event on the series and the series itself are marketed and promoted and scheduled and run together.
For us at this juncture certainly it is not a question of money. We're prepared to make investments, and I don't see that changing.
Q: Do you envision having a racing guy hired?
BELSKUS: You know, we continue to evaluate our management team, and we've got a good team in place, but having said that, it's an ongoing conversation in terms of how we fine-tune in and how we get the right skill set. I'm also going to talk a little bit about the impact of the strategy process we're going through is – to some extent going to dictate our structure, dictate our needs in terms of what our management team looks like. So it's an ongoing evaluation for us.
Q: By that same token, with Mark's connections overseas, is there a future of IndyCar going to Europe?
BELSKUS: I suppose anything is possible. But yeah, I mean, he brings wonderful contacts, wonderful experience in that regard, and we want to leverage that. So that's – absolutely, if opportunities present themselves we'll evaluate them and move ahead.
MILES: I just want to elaborate, from my perspective as a newcomer, and it's the kind of thing we'll think through as we think about strategy, I agree with what Jeff just said, but I think we want to do that in some strategic context. I've seen leagues just chase a buck and go where they can get it around the world, and there's money out there. It doesn't necessarily make marketing sense or promotional sense or brand sense. So we've got to have the discipline to think strategically about opportunities, and they're certainly there. That doesn't mean that we think there are walls around the United States geographically, but certainly over time as I imagine the possibility of international expansion, it needs to make some sense, and there are lots of ways to approach that. I think we'll be disciplined about that.