Editorial

10 ways CART might invest their 
$100 Million

 
by Mark Cipolloni
June 13, 2000


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When CART went public over 1-year ago, it ended up with enough extra cash to be able to do things it never was able to in the past.  Immediately CART bought the Indy Lights and Toyota Atlantic series and brought them under CART's direct control.  Everyone expected CART to make more strategic acquisitions, but it hasn't. 

What began as something around a $70 million bankroll has grown to over a $100 million nest egg.  That's a pretty hefty sum of money to just be sitting on when the series badly needs a boost.  Here's ten (10) things we wish CART would spend it on:

  1. Increase TV advertising (Cost $10 million).  CART must advertise during most major sport events.  That means the Super Bowl, the Indy 500, Baseball World Series, Hockey Stanley Cup, NBA Championships, etc.  And they must advertise during every NASCAR Winston Cup TV broadcast.  Not all the people who watch those events are CART fans, but they are sports fans, many of whom don't have a clue what CART is.  Chip Ganassi made the bold statement that Juan Montoya is the greatest race car driver in the world right now and we agree with him.  Although he is ultimately destined for F-1, CART has Juan Montoya now.  Take advantage of that by telling sports fans to come watch the 'greatest' driver in the world compete.

  2. Increase purses (Cost $5 million).  As it should, CART continues to expand its schedule.  This is putting a strain on the CART team staff.  Increase the purses enough for the teams to hire 3 to 5 more full-time employees to reduce that strain.

  3. Make a race in New York City happen (Cost $30 million).  Bernie Eccelstone had a strong desire to hold a F-1 race in Manhattan.  Ever wonder why?  Does CART want a 250,000 Sunday crowd in the financial capital of the world?  We certainly hope so.  Why not host a Champ Car race (like The Long Beach Grand Prix) in New York City?  Imagine the sounds of the turbo Champ Cars ricocheting off the buildings!  

    CART couldn't get New Yorkers to leave the City to watch the Meadowlands races.  CART must bring their product to the people.  The liberal enviro-treehugger/consumer advocate crowd has already put the kybosh on a World Trade Center Grand Prix with their petty complaints about noise (actually MUSIC, in this case).  Like there's so many people living in and walking around in the Financial District on Saturdays and Sundays.  It could not be a 3-day event (unless it was on a 3-day holiday weekend).  It would have to be a 2-day weekend only event.  Closing NY City streets during the weekday either requires a visit by the Pope or some other act of god.  Getting a race approved in Manhattan will require repaving the bumpy streets, pumping millions into the NY political system, and doing something to appease the tree huggers.  Sound expensive?  You bet.  Is it worth it?  Need we answer that?  Think of the instant publicity before millions of people, the evening corporate sponsor  entertainment possibilities, playing in front of the majority of the world's corporate headquarters, the plush hotels, the extensive mass transit system.  

  4. Buy the ALMS (Cost $5 million).  We wonder how much longer Don Panoz will and should continue throwing his personal money at the ALMS.  If only it could perform in front of decent crowds, perhaps he wouldn't need to.  He has done a lot for sports car racing with the ALMS. It has become a premier road racing series for sports cars, but it lacks a large spectator turnout. CART has become a premier road racing series for open wheel cars, whereas its success on ovals is, at best, spotty.  Why not combine the ALMS and CART and make CART the premier road racing sanctioning body in North America (Much like NASCAR is the premier oval track sanctioning body).  Buying the ALMS would of course mean that Don Panoz would become a CART board member and major shareholder.

    CART's street races are 'weekend events'.  CART must work to make its oval track events weekend events too.  How does CART boost Saturday attendance to near-Sunday levels?  They must make the Saturday races as compelling as Sunday's program.  NASCAR has managed to do that with the Busch series.  CART has been unable to do that with the Lights and Atlantics.  The idea would be for the Champ Cars to be the featured race on Sunday and ALMS/Sportscars being the featured race on Saturday or, better yet,  Saturday Night. Each could run independently at some venues (i.e. when ALMS runs the 12 Hours of Sebring), but run combined weekends at most venues. When Champ Cars run on an oval, the Sportscars can run on the infield road course Saturday evening into the night. 

  5. Double or triple its marketing staff (Cost $5 million).  Pat Leahy is a welcomed addition to the CART marketing staff.  However, the resources he has to use is limited and he can't be everywhere all the time.  CART must not only increase its US-based marketing staff, it should have at least one fulltime marketing person in every overseas country it races ( Australia, Europe, Japan, Brazil), someone who will help the local promoter beat the drum year-round.

  6. Target local newspapers (Cost $5 million).  CART's coverage in local newspapers is spotty...at best.  I can go anywhere, read a Monday newspaper and find NASCAR coverage.  CART is lucky to get coverage in the major newspapers let alone the local ones.  Talk about missing the grass roots fans.  That seems to be a major hole

  7. Hire ESPN's TV announcers (Cost $5 million).   John Kernan, Dr. Jerry Punch, and Bill Weber may be NASCAR groupies, but line their pockets with enough money and watch how fast they become CART groupies.  These guys are the best we have seen.  They know how to tell a story and play-up NASCAR, and they do it in the most convincing fashion.

  8. Get a Champ Car in RPM2Night's studios (Cost $0).  They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  NASCAR hit another homerun by putting a Winston Cup car right in RPM2Night's studios so Benny Parsons and others can explain to the viewers exactly what they mean when talking techie-stuff.  Jon Beekhius may love Denver, but CART needs to get him in RPM2Night's studios every Tuesday to talk CART and to talk it ij front of a Champ Car.  To fund the cost I bet a half-dozen sponsors would love to have their name on the side of that car.  Federal Express, are you listening?

  9. Pay Steven Spielberg a consulting fee (Cost $5 million).  The movie CHAMPS now being filmed by Sylvester Stallone and directed by Renny Harlin can be a blockbuster, not only at the box-office, but also for CART.  The potential is mind boggling.  CART must leave no stone unturned on this one.  Stallone and Harlin may be good, but just as Montoya is the best driver in the world right now, Spielberg carries a similar label in Hollywood.  Hire him to critique the movie and suggest improvements.  Sure Stallone and Harlin may be a little taken aback by it, but hopefully they will see the value in his input.  And if Spielberg is not available, there is always George Lucas and others.  If this movie gets a 3 or 4 star rating from the movie industry, CART will have hit a grand slam, and with it instant worldwide name recognition to even non-racing fans.

  10. Setup a scholarship program (Cost $10 million).   We don't mean the meager one CART currently has, we mean something meaningful.  Something that will have an immediate impact on producing new college graduates that are properly trained and ready to work in CART.  One of the biggest obstacles the teams face is a shortage of qualified people to run their teams.  Spend $5 million on CAR scholarships and the other $5 million on go-kart and other auto racing training ground series.

It's not hard spending $80 million of the $100 million is it?  Spending it wisely is quite another.  Let's hope CART endeavors to invest in its future......now!

Comments can be sent to the author at contacts@autoracing1.com.

Montoya and Ganassi do CART proud at Indy
5/28/00

Penske gets the Monkey off his back with 100th win at Nazareth

Welcome to AutoRacing1.com

A year of progress shapes Rockingham

A solution for CART's franchise dilemma

Lausitzring nears completion, fighting hard to win CART date

Paul Tracy keeps his Kool, wins LBGP for 2nd time

What is an American driver?

Warming up at Nazareth

 

e-mail us:
contacts@autoracing1.com

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AutoRacing1 is an independent internet online publication and is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by CART Inc., NASCAR, FIA,  FedEx, Winston, or any other series sponsor. This material may not be published, broadcast, or redistributed without permission.
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Copyright 1999 - 2000, AutoRacing1, Hamilton, NJ

 

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Editorial

10 ways CART might invest their 
$100 Million

 
by Mark Cipolloni
June 13, 2000


Autocourse CART Yearbook 1999-2000

List Price: $34.95
Our Price: $24.47
You Save:$10.48 (30%)


Autocourse CART Yearbook 1998-1999

List Price: $29.95
Our Price: $20.97
You Save:$8.98 (30%)


Autocourse CART Yearbook 1997-1998
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You Save:$8.98 (30%)


Autocourse CART The 1st 20 Years

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Nigel Mansell's Indy Car Racing

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Grand Prix Champions - Stewart-Schmacher

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American Grand Prix Racing

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Bobby Rahal: The Graceful Champion

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Other Articles by Mark

When CART went public over 1-year ago, it ended up with enough extra cash to be able to do things it never was able to in the past.  Immediately CART bought the Indy Lights and Toyota Atlantic series and brought them under CART's direct control.  Everyone expected CART to make more strategic acquisitions, but it hasn't. 

What began as something around a $70 million bankroll has grown to over a $100 million nest egg.  That's a pretty hefty sum of money to just be sitting on when the series badly needs a boost.  Here's ten (10) things we wish CART would spend it on:

  1. Increase TV advertising (Cost $10 million).  CART must advertise during most major sport events.  That means the Super Bowl, the Indy 500, Baseball World Series, Hockey Stanley Cup, NBA Championships, etc.  And they must advertise during every NASCAR Winston Cup TV broadcast.  Not all the people who watch those events are CART fans, but they are sports fans, many of whom don't have a clue what CART is.  Chip Ganassi made the bold statement that Juan Montoya is the greatest race car driver in the world right now and we agree with him.  Although he is ultimately destined for F-1, CART has Juan Montoya now.  Take advantage of that by telling sports fans to come watch the 'greatest' driver in the world compete.

  2. Increase purses (Cost $5 million).  As it should, CART continues to expand its schedule.  This is putting a strain on the CART team staff.  Increase the purses enough for the teams to hire 3 to 5 more full-time employees to reduce that strain.

  3. Make a race in New York City happen (Cost $30 million).  Bernie Eccelstone had a strong desire to hold a F-1 race in Manhattan.  Ever wonder why?  Does CART want a 250,000 Sunday crowd in the financial capital of the world?  We certainly hope so.  Why not host a Champ Car race (like The Long Beach Grand Prix) in New York City?  Imagine the sounds of the turbo Champ Cars ricocheting off the buildings!  

    CART couldn't get New Yorkers to leave the City to watch the Meadowlands races.  CART must bring their product to the people.  The liberal enviro-treehugger/consumer advocate crowd has already put the kybosh on a World Trade Center Grand Prix with their petty complaints about noise (actually MUSIC, in this case).  Like there's so many people living in and walking around in the Financial District on Saturdays and Sundays.  It could not be a 3-day event (unless it was on a 3-day holiday weekend).  It would have to be a 2-day weekend only event.  Closing NY City streets during the weekday either requires a visit by the Pope or some other act of god.  Getting a race approved in Manhattan will require repaving the bumpy streets, pumping millions into the NY political system, and doing something to appease the tree huggers.  Sound expensive?  You bet.  Is it worth it?  Need we answer that?  Think of the instant publicity before millions of people, the evening corporate sponsor  entertainment possibilities, playing in front of the majority of the world's corporate headquarters, the plush hotels, the extensive mass transit system.  

  4. Buy the ALMS (Cost $5 million).  We wonder how much longer Don Panoz will and should continue throwing his personal money at the ALMS.  If only it could perform in front of decent crowds, perhaps he wouldn't need to.  He has done a lot for sports car racing with the ALMS. It has become a premier road racing series for sports cars, but it lacks a large spectator turnout. CART has become a premier road racing series for open wheel cars, whereas its success on ovals is, at best, spotty.  Why not combine the ALMS and CART and make CART the premier road racing sanctioning body in North America (Much like NASCAR is the premier oval track sanctioning body).  Buying the ALMS would of course mean that Don Panoz would become a CART board member and major shareholder.

    CART's street races are 'weekend events'.  CART must work to make its oval track events weekend events too.  How does CART boost Saturday attendance to near-Sunday levels?  They must make the Saturday races as compelling as Sunday's program.  NASCAR has managed to do that with the Busch series.  CART has been unable to do that with the Lights and Atlantics.  The idea would be for the Champ Cars to be the featured race on Sunday and ALMS/Sportscars being the featured race on Saturday or, better yet,  Saturday Night. Each could run independently at some venues (i.e. when ALMS runs the 12 Hours of Sebring), but run combined weekends at most venues. When Champ Cars run on an oval, the Sportscars can run on the infield road course Saturday evening into the night. 

  5. Double or triple its marketing staff (Cost $5 million).  Pat Leahy is a welcomed addition to the CART marketing staff.  However, the resources he has to use is limited and he can't be everywhere all the time.  CART must not only increase its US-based marketing staff, it should have at least one fulltime marketing person in every overseas country it races ( Australia, Europe, Japan, Brazil), someone who will help the local promoter beat the drum year-round.

  6. Target local newspapers (Cost $5 million).  CART's coverage in local newspapers is spotty...at best.  I can go anywhere, read a Monday newspaper and find NASCAR coverage.  CART is lucky to get coverage in the major newspapers let alone the local ones.  Talk about missing the grass roots fans.  That seems to be a major hole

  7. Hire ESPN's TV announcers (Cost $5 million).   John Kernan, Dr. Jerry Punch, and Bill Weber may be NASCAR groupies, but line their pockets with enough money and watch how fast they become CART groupies.  These guys are the best we have seen.  They know how to tell a story and play-up NASCAR, and they do it in the most convincing fashion.

  8. Get a Champ Car in RPM2Night's studios (Cost $0).  They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  NASCAR hit another homerun by putting a Winston Cup car right in RPM2Night's studios so Benny Parsons and others can explain to the viewers exactly what they mean when talking techie-stuff.  Jon Beekhius may love Denver, but CART needs to get him in RPM2Night's studios every Tuesday to talk CART and to talk it ij front of a Champ Car.  To fund the cost I bet a half-dozen sponsors would love to have their name on the side of that car.  Federal Express, are you listening?

  9. Pay Steven Spielberg a consulting fee (Cost $5 million).  The movie CHAMPS now being filmed by Sylvester Stallone and directed by Renny Harlin can be a blockbuster, not only at the box-office, but also for CART.  The potential is mind boggling.  CART must leave no stone unturned on this one.  Stallone and Harlin may be good, but just as Montoya is the best driver in the world right now, Spielberg carries a similar label in Hollywood.  Hire him to critique the movie and suggest improvements.  Sure Stallone and Harlin may be a little taken aback by it, but hopefully they will see the value in his input.  And if Spielberg is not available, there is always George Lucas and others.  If this movie gets a 3 or 4 star rating from the movie industry, CART will have hit a grand slam, and with it instant worldwide name recognition to even non-racing fans.

  10. Setup a scholarship program (Cost $10 million).   We don't mean the meager one CART currently has, we mean something meaningful.  Something that will have an immediate impact on producing new college graduates that are properly trained and ready to work in CART.  One of the biggest obstacles the teams face is a shortage of qualified people to run their teams.  Spend $5 million on CAR scholarships and the other $5 million on go-kart and other auto racing training ground series.

It's not hard spending $80 million of the $100 million is it?  Spending it wisely is quite another.  Let's hope CART endeavors to invest in its future......now!

Comments can be sent to the author at contacts@autoracing1.com.

Montoya and Ganassi do CART proud at Indy
5/28/00

Penske gets the Monkey off his back with 100th win at Nazareth

Welcome to AutoRacing1.com

A year of progress shapes Rockingham

A solution for CART's franchise dilemma

Lausitzring nears completion, fighting hard to win CART date

Paul Tracy keeps his Kool, wins LBGP for 2nd time

What is an American driver?

Warming up at Nazareth

 

e-mail us:
contacts@autoracing1.com

Back to the top

AutoRacing1 is an independent internet online publication and is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by CART Inc., NASCAR, FIA,  FedEx, Winston, or any other series sponsor. This material may not be published, broadcast, or redistributed without permission.
User agreement & disclaimer

Copyright 1999 - 2000, AutoRacing1, Hamilton, NJ