Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

February 7, 2012

Post Super Bowl Thoughts and Indy Car in the Future

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:51 pm

It is not difficult to wonder whether the brass at Indy Car and IMS came away with any good ideas after the NFL transformed a few blocks in downtown Indianapolis into a venue that attracted over one hundred thousand people a day for a week before the Super Bowl game. Doug Boles, for example, feels that a zip line at Indy in May would be a swell idea.

Why couldn’t Indy Car package a lot of the same or similar activities then apply them at ALL of their races, especially oval venues? Look at the things that made Super Bowl Village popular:

-Zip line

-Nearly continuous entertainment on multiple stages

-The nearby ‘NFL Experience’ and the presence of the NFL, which in turn drew a lot of famous people who are popular today, as opposed to just relevant in the 1960s.

-A lot of the fun was subsidized by committed sponsors. The InBev/Budweiser folks, for example, had their products available all over the venue. They even renamed a hotel. Everywhere anyone turned had some sponsor-driven diversion to keep them occupied.

Folks who did not get to ride the zip line or otherwise participate in other diversion still got to attend and be a part of the party. The NFL Experience brought the sport close to large numbers of people.

The NFL, of course, is already immensely popular. The game itself was the most watched program in United States television history. Indy Car is not going to gain NFL-level popularity or prosperity any time soon, but if Indy Car could absorb some of the, for lack of a better word, mojo that event brought, it would be much better off in the long run.

The NFL put on a celebration that was attractive across multiple demographic groups. There was something for everyone. Indy Car noticed. Let’s see what happens down the road.



  1. This is much the same thing I have preached quite frequently for the last couple of years. Each IndyCar weekend needs to be an EVENT. The Speedway has tried in recent years, particularly with Miller Lite Carb Day, to make it a “something for everyone” proposition. Unfortunately, right after you have all the “buzz” from Carb Day, the facility goes dark for Saturday and everyone goes downtown for the parade (well, in theory, anyway.)

    I’m sure that you, much as I, spent many may weekends getting that all day “buzz” at the Speedway, in our youth. But attention spans being what they are now, folks just aren’t sufficiently entertained by time trials and a cooler of inexpensive beverages (that’s cheap beer, for you in Mars Hill,) as they used to be.

    Back in the day, the 500 Festival Parade would bring 100,000 downtown on the Saturday before the race. While I have not attended the Parade in many many years, I doubt that they draw half that crowd anymore. What would be the harm in doing something downtown in accordance with the Parade similar to what they did with IndyCars on the Strip in Vegas? Goodness knows, for those who travel to Indy for the weekend of the Race, it sure would be more attractive than watching a bunch of has been and wannabe stars ride around in pace cars.

    But, more than that, the series needs to make the same effort EVERYWHERE, not just at Indy. I don’t know the geography of Milwaukee, but why not some sort of “fan zone,” perhaps sponsored by Miller Beer, near the Fairgrounds?

    Long and short, the Super Bowl in Indy was an EVENT, as is the 500 to a somewhat lesser degree. IndyCar NEEDS EVENTS, more than just races to make the series successful in more venues. If that trend can be established, then won’t track owner/operators be beating a path to your door?

    Comment by SkipinSC — February 7, 2012 @ 1:43 pm | Reply

  2. I think Indy Cars problems go way beyond marketing gimmicks. The business plan itself is flawed. Or, if not the plan, then the execution. No marketing plan will increase the number of American drivers. No marketing plan will improve the quality of road courses in the league. No marketing plan will bring the best oval courses back into the league. No marketing plan can make street parades interesting. And what will it take to get the fenders off these new cars???!!!!

    Get this league where it needs to be from a management/business perspective, and then worry about marketing gimmicks to increase attendance.

    Comment by Bob F. — February 7, 2012 @ 1:50 pm | Reply

  3. To the rubes who frequent this blog and the disciples who run the series: YOU need a product people want to buy. Indy 500 tv ratings at 4.5 vs 48 for Super Bowl? Zip lines aren’t going to do it. If all you can come up with is NOTHING, why bother?
    Editor’s Note: When will the crapper-centric Indy Car obsessed mouth breathers evolve to the point where actual suggestions might be offered instead of the same pointless kindergarten-level insults? Take a clue from folks like Skip or Bob. They offer something worthwhile to conversations.

    Comment by Goran Liddy — February 7, 2012 @ 3:43 pm | Reply

    • Oh, but I did make a suggestion: market the series to large un-tapped markets, just like the captive 48 tv rating of the Super Bowl. This isnt a short-sighted solution like how to make Indy more fun for visitors. Its about making the sport visible, because its not. That takes money that IMS wont spend. Seems simple to me…let it wither on the vine and maybe fans will take interest. Good luck with that, as its the magic zip line approach.
      Editor’s Note: You make it sound so simple and easy, particularly with IMS money, which is hardly surprising. Could you be just a bit more specific about marketing the series to large un-tapped markets? What are the marketing techniques you espouse, and describe the large un-tapped markets.

      Comment by Goran Liddy — February 7, 2012 @ 6:57 pm | Reply

      • Goran, I believe there is an idea in there somewhere, but you’ve got to get butts in seats before you can make the series more “visible.” Aside from Indy, attendance at oval track events is embarrassing. And, while street races are drawing people, far to few of those are race fans. Many are simply there for the party, not that that is a bad thing.The series is visiting a new, untapped market this year in China, for another street race that no one in the western hemisphere will see live (unless they are a sleep-deprived racing addict like me.,)

        But, and you’ll have to trust me on this, the series is MILES ahead fo where it was two or three years ago. There are some young personalities coming up in the series, no longer will everything be “Danica Driven,” and the series is not too many years away from a lot of the current (less marketed) stars stepping away and leaving the stage to more young talent. The new car, while NOT what everyone had hoped for (which it could not be, considering the financial limitations that were placed on its manufacture and distribution to teams,) will develop over a year or two, partiuclarly when paired with new aero options next year.

        Comment by SkipinSC — February 7, 2012 @ 9:00 pm

      • I believe the series won’t spend more money or work to disolve the horrible TV contract. They already know that AOW is in decline, beyond what is recoverable. The series is only being prepped for sale. The lack of marketing ideas are shicking, though expected. Remember, free tickets cant even put butts in seats. Thats what dying entity IMS has on its hands.
        Editor’s Note: OK…pretty typical crapper viewpoint there, but you still have not given me any indication of what would make it better. Which national television contract is horrible? They both pay tens of millions a year. Could you be a little more specific with your cute generalizations?

        Comment by Goran Liddy — February 8, 2012 @ 11:56 pm

    • Ok, specifics. Spend gobs of $$$ on national marketing campaign whos primary focus is to tell the viewers its cool, fast and they need to see it. Advertise everywhere and at all times. Create a buzz, make the series look cool. STOP giving away tickets, never worked before to establish fanbase, didnt work in Las Vegas. Change the perception of the series. The same commercials run on the same unwatched Indycar Versus/ABC programs has not hit the target either. This constant reliance on series sponsors to carry the load (like Firestone, IZOD) wont cut it. IMS spent a fortune at LV for MINUS ROI. Indy 500 doesnt need propping, the the series that does. And that, is truely the positive that came from CART, creating a prosperous SERIES that in conjunction with the 500 made it great. Now, you have indy and a buch of support races. Keep banging the dead split horse, this is the gospel and IMS is desparate to get back to that balance of CART. Bitter pill to accept in your elvolution, and the evolution of the sport, for sure.
      Editor’s Note: Questions: 1) What is the source of these ‘gobs’ of money you believe need to be spent? 2) What is your source for the IMS expenditure at Vegas? Randy says they ended in the black, despite the wreck. 3) Without a strong Indianapolis 500, the rest of a series that calls itself ‘Indy’ is pointless. History has proven this. Twice.

      Comment by Goran Liddy — February 9, 2012 @ 3:08 pm | Reply

      • Well, adding a zip line isnt gonna cut it. Sources? IMS needs to spend the money (or find a way to get it). Las Vegas in the black, yeah right. Who paid for it? IMS, thats who. Paid for it $$$ and reputation and lost a lot in prestige and reputation on the gamble. Free tickets all season barely got 11k in the joint, and the suites witness 15laps of death and destruction. In the black alright. Indy is strong now, it always was and will be. Quit being so thin skinned and face facts that the rubes running this series dont have a clue (or $$$) to make it better. The wheel goes ’round, boring as all get out.
        Editor’s Note: Yet compelling enough to keep the crappers on the edge of their seats.

        Comment by Goran Liddy — February 9, 2012 @ 6:31 pm

  4. Great. In Mr. Liddy we have what amounts to another TroyM. At least he isn’t obsessed with the word “bootlicker”.

    Comment by DOUG — February 7, 2012 @ 5:57 pm | Reply

  5. Dear Defender:

    Come on, now…it’s easy to chastise Goran Liddy about his quite correct opinions about the failure of the series to effectively market and promote the series but you too do not offer any concrete ideas other than asking for the installation of Zip Lines during the Memorial Day weekend….sure, you can call out Mr. Liddy for his questionable role during the latter days of the Nixon Administration but lay off the negativity….we already know what has failed so let us concentrate on what could potentially work and we need look no further than NASCAR and its marketing machine…of course, having more American drivers would certainly help but we need to boost the profile of the Americans we have like Marco, Graham, Ryan Hunter-Rey, etc….of course, it takes money to make money and Indy Car refuses to spend the funds necessary to buy time on major TV networks to air a prime time special about the drivers….
    Editor’s Note: Evidently you don’t read the blog regularly. I regularly offer detailed advice, most recently on the 11th of January. You might be surprised at some of my ideas. Zip lines is not really the point…creation of an atmosphere at all venues (especially ovals) is.

    Comment by Neil Rubin — February 7, 2012 @ 9:05 pm | Reply

  6. http://www.allamericanracers.com/cart_white-paper.html

    This guy had a great idea back in 1978 of building a series up. Too bad some assface from Terre Haute, IN was too worried there wasn’t enough emphasis on Indy and he had to screw things up. I bet IMS wishes they would’ve left things alone in 1996. They would be in much better shape today.
    Editor’s Note: Gurney’s ideas about sharing wealth were good, but his good intentions were twisted by the greed of his peers and got all twisted around. Had Tony George (or ‘assface’ as you have predictably and maturely referred to him) not stepped in their would be no sport at all today.

    Comment by TroyM — February 8, 2012 @ 3:26 am | Reply

  7. Dear Defender:

    Yes, unfortunately, I do read this Blog, probably more than I should…mostly for an exchange of viewpoints among like minded open wheel enthusiasts but mostly for your tirades and rants and your castigation of anybody who has an alternative or contrary opinion of the way Indy Car should run the series….keep up the good work and never give an inch to the Cart-centric fringe who long for the day when the series kills itself for the third time….

    Comment by Neil Rubin — February 8, 2012 @ 10:33 pm | Reply

    • I think we all agree with you Neil, and also believe(along with D) that zip-lines are the answer to the irl problems. If only someone had thought of them back in 96……
      Editor’s Note: I would like to take this opportunity to encourage all parents to encourage their children to embrace the concept of comprehension as their children learn how to read.

      Comment by J.B. — February 9, 2012 @ 6:20 pm | Reply

      • More importantly, its aparent those who castigate others about comprehension are saddled with poor writing skills, unable convey their points, rendering blogs worthless except in the eyes of that particular writer. Dispicle, you dont realize how dumb your writing read, do you? They ring of desperate insanity, clinging to shreds of chilhood belongings, and in the last gasp you utter ‘rosebud’ in everything you write. This is Xanadu and you are its resident. Maybe you should change your name to ‘Charles Foster Kane of the Indycars’?
        Editor’s Note: Perhaps you should stick to just learning how to spell.

        Comment by Goran Liddy — February 10, 2012 @ 1:36 pm

  8. 850-900hp would fix everything.

    Comment by atb73 — February 11, 2012 @ 11:03 pm | Reply

    • …..and zip-lines!

      Comment by J.B. — February 12, 2012 @ 2:43 pm | Reply

  9. Good God. Why do I even click on “Comments” on this site anymore?

    Comment by The Speedgeek — February 12, 2012 @ 7:13 pm | Reply

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