Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Temporarily Suspended

Due to circumstances beyond my control, this blog will be temporarily suspended until further notice.

Hopefully, this will be a temporary situation that will resolve itself quickly.

Thank you,


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Technology and Sponsorships

It is a fact that is openly accepted, and lamented, by all race teams that sponsorships are drying up. A recession tends to do that.

That leads to the question of how do teams keep existing, and acquire new sponsorships? Well, fielding a winning team does wonders. Unfortunately, most teams are not "names" in the sport, at least yet, in some cases. But still, there are sponsorships out there ripe for the picking. The problem is that they are not always aware that they need to sponsor a team, even if it isn't a well known organization.

For the most part, the disconnect occurs in the relating. The one thing that every sponsor, or potential sponsor, wants is return on their investment. So, how can a team provide that return? One way is to learn about how the potential sponsor wants to use their sponsorship dollars. Most of the time, it's reserved for advertising. That means that the team must provide a wider means of advertising than this money would buy without their assistance. NASCAR does tend to provide a wider access to a more [marketing] favorable demographic, but that's only a part of the potential advertising reach teams have access to. It is now almost mandatory to have an internet presence as well.

Any team that wants to have a realistic future as a legitimate racing contender absolutely, without question, must have a website. (I happen to have a sponsor ready, willing and able to provide a professional website design and hosting costs for anyone interested.) It seems that a good number of potential sponsors like to use the websites of their assets to further promote their story.

Think of it like this - A company has a product. The company creates a "story" about the product through their advertising. In order to gain more interest in the product's story, they take out a sponsorship. The sponsorship's ad is a tease to gain interest in the product's full story, so the sponsor places a link to their website on their asset's website to further the story.

If the asset doesn't have a website, then the story can't be told. That is why a website for a team is so necessary. The team must become an asset to the sponsor. The alternative is to be a detriment.

At least, that's my opinion.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My Nightmare at AMS

*Author's Warning* This is going to be more than the basics, so fasten your seat belts and brew a cup of coffee. . . it's gonna be a loooonnnngggg ride! (In a nutshell, I spent $100 for a useless piece of pretty paper.)

I know that it has been a month since the Kobalt Tools 500 at Atlanta Motorspeedway, but, that means there's been more than enough time to rectify my dis-satisfaction.

My story is this; On March 7th, I got into my 16 year old Toyota Camry up here in New Galilee, PA to begin my 13 hour, (one way,) drive to Atlanta, GA. Well, after hitting downtown, date-night Atlanta traffic on my way to my friends' home to spend the night, I finally get to her house after about 14 hours. After a time of socializing and dinner, I went to bed relatively early so that I could get up in plenty of time to get ready and go to my first NASCAR event at AMS on the 8th.

I set the alarm on my cell phone for 8 am, wanting to leave by 9, which would allow me to get to AMS by 10 - 10:30. (For those of you who don't remember, that was the date daylight savings time began, so we lost an hour.) Anyway, I was getting ready, when I happened to notice my wristwatch said that it was an hour later than it was suppose to be. I check the alarm clock, and it said the same. So, I do my flight of the bumble-bee to try and get ready as quickly as possible so I won't lose any more time. Finally, I'm out the door and on the road by 10:45. I get to AMS around 12:30 because of traffic.

I find a parking space and get to gate 5 to ask for directions to will call. The guard on duty tells me "It's all the way around at gate 15. If you get on one of those Nationwide courtesy shuttles, it'll take you right there." This was around 12:45 - 12:50. So, I made my first mistake and get on to the slow-moving tractor.

I finally get to will call around 12:55. I tell the lady at the window my name and it takes her 5 minutes to find my tickets because I bought them through TicketMaster. Then, she tells me that I should have picked up my tickets at a retailer because AMS wasn't a retailer. Then she says that she was able to pull them because they do business with TicketMaster. (Do they know that it says right on TicketMaster's website when you make a purchase that you have an option of picking up your tickets at the venue?) Then she asks me what else I had, and I told her that I purchased a Sunday-only pit-pass. So, she pulls one and fills it out. I ask her where the entryway was, and she tells me to go right up to the gate and make a right to find the signs for the pit-entrance.

I walk up to the gate when the guard in front is announcing that "No Elliott tickets can enter here. Please go to gate 1 or 3 if you have an Elliott ticket." Well, I had an Elliott ticket. Even though I had a pit-pass that said right on it I could use it up to 1/2 hour before the race, they STILL refused me entry. So, I rush over to the next gate(1). They refuse me entry there. I finally get in through gate 2 and ask the first usher I meet how to use my pit-pass. She didn't know. So, I walk over to an (apparent) usher with a radio and ask him. He tells me to go back over to gate 15 to use it. I tell him I already tried and they refused me entry because I had an Elliott ticket. So then, he tells me that I need to go back outside at the other end of the bleachers and go in through the car entrance. He did make sure to remind me that I needed to have my ticket scanned when I exited so that I could re-enter.

I finally make it to the pit-entrance (after getting lost in the infield for a few minutes,) at 1:15 and the guard there refuses me entry. So, I point out to him that it says right on the pass that I had the right to use it up to 30 minutes before the race. He says that they can't kick out the pass-holders until 30 minutes before the race, but they cut off access to the area before that, and I "just missed it."

When I tried to get information from the guard on how I could get the situation rectified, I was told to wait until Monday and call the office. Unfortunately, I couldn't find the number on my receipt or the pit-pass or my confirmation e-mail so I couldn't call until Wednesday. When I called, I was told that as far as AMS was concerned, the matter was closed because they, "generally don't issue refunds after the day of the race."

So, if it weren't for the race part, my whole trip would have been a total bust.

Now, in keeping with the purpose of this Blog, I'm not going to just leave this issue as an open rant. I am going to offer suggestions on how AMS, (and any other track for that matter) can avoid this situation in the future.

First of all, you have to gear your facility toward the long-distance, one-time-only traveler. Everything about it MUST be oriented to the out-of-towners. This can be accomplished by having standing maps available near the gates and the shuttle stops that highlight important information. (Such as the location of will call.)

Next, there must be easily identifiable customer service representatives available and visible. Out of towners will get into trouble if they can't get clarification on any question. A customer service person is a logical go-to position for your guests.

Your fans are your GUESTS!! They should be treated in a manner that encourages them to come back. Conflicting information does not do that. Make sure every single member of your staff is on the same page as every other member. (This means, don't print one thing on your passes, tell your ticket sellers something different then have your security enforce a third rule.)

It might also prove beneficial to give the ticket sellers the authority to override a purchase when it is most probable that the purchase will be unused. Using my experience as an example, if the seller had refused to issue me the pit-pass on the grounds that I wouldn't be able to make it in time, I would not have been nearly so upset. This would also have allowed AMS to monitor the fact that I didn't use the pass, and therefore issue me a refund for the unused pass.

If a mistake is made, own up and do your best to make it right. This can be in the form of refunds, replacements or simple apologies.

In my case, there would be 2 options that I can see that would make my situation right; first would be for AMS to offer me comp-tickets, then bring me down at their own expense, put me up in a local hotel/motel and provide me with a means of travel while I'm there for the next Sprint cup race. (Of course, that is if I would be able to actually accumulate enough vacation time from work in order to go.) Or, the most equitable, in my opinion, would be to just give me a refund for the pit-pass I didn't get to use.

Well, that is what has been making me most upset this past month. But, I am certain there are others out there who have worse experiences. What is your nightmare story and how was it rectified, if it was? How can the problem be avoided in the future?

I would like to know,

An Explanation for Missing Posts

First of all, I want to apologize for not having as many posts on here as I wish. It is a rather difficult task to work full time 5 days a week, go to class full time 6 days a week, care for my mother who had both femoral arteries bypassed this past summer 7 days a week, hunting for a job after I graduate this May 9th and keeping up with this blog. Unfortunately, something's gotta give, and it happens to be this blog. I do hope to begin to keep up with the NASCAR happenings over the next couple of weeks. (But, you can absolutely forget about the last week in April, that's finals!)

Secondly, I want to say that I haven't posted the "Part 2" of my previous entry because I just didn't like what I kept coming up with. So, eventually, I will be posting that.

This, hopefully, will be the start of at least a semi-regular posting cycle.

Thank you for stopping by!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

New Sponsor Prospects

As promised, here's the new post regarding potential sponsorship dollars.

In this current time of economic slowness, the facts are quite simple; first, that some traditional sponsors will be choosing other investments for their NASCAR dollars, second, that there will be a decreased number of potential sponsors in the traditional industries, and third, there will be at least a steady demand for sponsor dollars, if not an increase.

Given that, it would seem to suggest that the solution should very well be to search alternative industries for potential sponsors.

Currently, the main industries that tend to be sought are beer, hardware/home improvement centers, non-alcoholic beverages, food industries, automotive and electronic media. In most cases, that's a logical connection with NASCAR. The problem, though, is that most of those industries tend to be the places most consumers cut back when the economy gets tight. So, the answer must be to seek out other avenues.

Although it might seem to be a case of strange bedfellows, some of the areas that might make a surprising partner for NASCAR could be the green industries. I know that this doesn't seem to make much sense, but if you stop and think about it, it could lead to even bigger paydays for everyone involved. For example, such a partnership could pave the way to fast tracking the acceptance of alternative fuels for the average driver. I mean, this culture is geared toward a faster pace, how much faster can you get than NASCAR?

Another potential source for sponsorship revenue might just be colleges and universities. It is probable that the money issue may be a problem for some universities, but for some of the smaller teams, it could very well prove to be an untapped gold mine. Most of these colleges and universities have services that could prove to be most valuable to some teams with limited resources. Besides, isn't that where a good portion of the sponsor's dollars go toward? Research and development and engineering?

Other options might include publishing companies, promotion firms, state tourism bureaus, governmental departments, (I know, they have sponsored teams, but there's more than just the DoD!) and even entertainment industries.

Even though I have covered some of the potential industries the teams may approach for their next seasons' ride, these are by no means an all-inclusive list of possible sponsors. Unfortunately, where a team gets its bankroll is just the first half of the issue. The other half will be addressed in my next post; the roles that NASCAR and the tracks must assume in order to help the industry, not only survive, but thrive through this current economic situation.

So, stay tuned for part 2!


Monday, December 1, 2008

How Time Flies!!!

Boy! I didn't realize I hadn't been on here in quite so long.

Sorry that I haven't been able to post on here, but I got a new job which has pretty much limited my computer time. I also got a new puppy, which is also a full-time job in and of itself.

The plan, for now anyway, is to start a discussion on off-season recruiting and sponsorship dollars. This post will (hopefully) be done tomorrow.

Until tomorrow,

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I'm Back!!! Weekly for now

Well, I'm back. My mother is doing better now and is currently recuperating in a skilled nursing facility.

Thank you for your prayers.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Temporary Suspension of Posts

Just to clarify why I haven't been posting the past couple of weeks, my mother is in the hospital at the moment. She is scheduled for surgery this coming Monday, 12 May. They are going to be removing a recently replaced artery that is causing an infection and replace it with a new one made out of a different material.

Prayers would be appreciated.


Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Future of D4D in NASCAR Racing

So, do women and minorities have a future in the driver's seat of NASCAR? That is the question to be answered.

As it stands right now, NASCAR has a "Drive for Diversity" (D4D) program that is suppose to offer women and minorities exposure in the league. Currently, I am unaware of any effort on NASCAR's part to go out and actively recruit women and minority drivers for this program. It would appear that the recruitment is left up to the teams. In my opinion, if that is so, it just is not right.

I believe that every effort should be taken by NASCAR's management to actively seek out these so-called desired drivers and provide them with some opportunity to become exposed to some of the premier teams.

NASCAR's attempts to date, in my opinion, have been little more than token overtures. There does not seem to be any advertising for this program, except when it is mentioned in passing by one of the reporters who covers NASCAR. There are not many stories on what is happening on the D4D front. It was difficult to find requirements and qualifications to apply for a D4D spot(last time I cruised around, anyway.) Given the level of inadequacy displayed by NASCAR, it would seem within the realm of possibility that NASCAR's sole reason for "supporting" women and minorities in their sport would be to be politically correct. That is just sad.

Care to share your opinion?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Drug Testing in NASCAR

As usual, this is the latest topic to stir the pot of the NASCAR scene. The whole thing is based on the fact that a lesser known driver made a mistake and plead to a lesser charge in exchange for criticizing NASCAR's drug testing policy. I believe that quoted him as saying something to the effect that the current policy was outdated.

Let's put this into perspective, shall we? When NASCAR is compared to other "mainstream" professional sports, it's policy is a little bit old. BUT, when compared to the need, the current policy is sufficient. The current need of the non-motorsports leagues is to keep the playing field even. That's why they have to have a more stringent policy than NASCAR. Having said that, I do feel that NASCAR should modify their policy slightly.

What I am suggesting is not really anything big, costly or invasive. I simply think that NASCAR should add a requirement to their crash-clearance protocol. Since it is already a policy that any driver that is involved in a crash during a race needs to be checked out at the in-field care-center before they are cleared to race, why don't they just add a drug and alcohol test as well? Who knows, it may even lower their(NASCAR's) insurance premiums a bit.

What solutions do you suggest?