Updated: Oct 7, 2019
As we all know, dirt track racing is growing at an accelerated rate. in 2019, we can watch any and every high profile event via an affordable streaming service, payouts across the board in national touring series' are as high as they have ever been and it seems like each-and-every season a brand-new marquee race is introduced or a new twist breathes life into an already established one. The sport has never seen the number of personalities, promoters, and invested owners, across the board, that it has today, and the question now seems to be just how far can we take this and possibly even how far do we want it to go, before it turns into PC-watered down mess?
There is no question that corporate dollars bring a new responsibility to a sport, and with popularity brings the opportunity to bring new companies and investors into our sport, which you would think can only be a good thing, right? That is a very delicate balance, because the argument can be made that other forms of motorsports in America or other stick-and-ball sports, in general, have peaked and started a downhill decline, over the past decade, in large part due to corporate dollars and money running those industries and forcing changes to the fundamental bases that made that form of racing or sport great in the first place.
We obviously do not want any of the above to happen to any of our marquee dirt track racing events or series, so as our popularity continues to rise and Fortune 500 companies start to show any interest at all in our sport, at all, what are some that would be a good fit and others that we just might not want to entertain? Let's examine:
Throughout the top one-hundred Fortune 500 companies, as of 2019, there are plenty of both.
Obvious choices like Coca-Cola (rights to possible Monster Energy Drink and NOS Energy partnerships), PepsiCo, Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Kroger, Phillips 66, Bank of America, Home Depot, Lowe's, Dupont (Axalta), FedEx and DOW, are just a number of the companies in the top one-hundred Fortune 500, that have shown interest in other forms of motorsports, have invested in dirt track racing to a point in the past or are already involved in the sport in one way or another. These businesses already have a good idea of the racing industry, landscape, and culture, leading one to infer that they would not try to force a hand with major changes or a PC "clean-up," of dirt track racing, making any one of them a possibly great partner for any dirt track racing series, team or event.
Companies in the top one-hundred that may not lead to a great partnership with our sport include Amazon, Facebook, UnitedHealth Group, Anthem, CVS Health, Microsoft, Boeing, Dell Technologies, Johnson & Johnson. State Farm Insurance, Walt Disney, HP, and Nike. These businesses may not make a good fit simply because of their politics, PC culture, interest in marketing in other sports or industries that require very little Sports Marketing.
With the growing popularity of our sport, over the next few decades, it is nearly inevitable that Fortune 500 companies will get involved in marketing or investing in a dirt track racing team, driver, series or event, eventually. Even though any smart business person or promoter would sit down and have discussions with any of the top Fortune 500 companies, we have to make sure to balance short term gain with long term possibilities, learn from the mistakes of other sports and racing forms, as well as not change anything about our core product that appeals to millions across the globe.
The future of racing in America is bright, but will we make the right business decisions?
(Speed Sport Photo)