Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

March 3, 2013

What Did The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Get For Their Consulting Dollars?

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:09 am

Boston Consulting Grope 1The folks at Indianapolis Motor Speedway recently commissioned the Boston Consulting Group to evaluate and offer recommendations to Hulman and Company with regard to business operations throughout the enterprise. Hopefully it did not cost them much money. Based upon snippets of information that found its way into the mainstream a couple of things are clear. BCG has little cognizance of Indy Car history, either past or recent. Some might argue that is a good thing.

What about some of the basic ideas?

-A 15-race IndyCar schedule in major American cities held over 19 weeks and off season forays into distant lands for no points. I say make it 16 to 18 in North America over 20 weeks and we have a decent domestic schedule. Hopefully by ‘major cities’ they do not mean God-forsaken temporary circuits. Many large metropolitan areas have perfectly good ovals; e.g., Chicago, Phoenix, etc. This would also be a great chance to make schedule balance an actual reality. Four or five (or more) international events in the domestic off-season is also a great idea. They could even concoct an ‘international’ championship. It would keep teams busy and the sport in the public eye.

-A three race playoff. Wasn’t Randy Bernard dumped partially because he was talking playoffs? And have the fans not spoken when Mark Miles floated such an idea? How would it be formatted?

-A season finale at the IMS road course. Bad idea. It would dilute the product and not really attract anyone from outside the immediate area. Other venues are more suited to a finale. Any IndyCar event at IMS other than the 500 would damage the product.

Boston Consulting Grope 2-A new marketing strategy promoting IndyCar’s daredevil drivers. Everyone agrees a comprehensive marketing approach is wise, but they need to be careful playing up the danger aspects. And if there is even one word anywhere in the report about marketing to OTTs/Millenials and maximizing use of all online channels it has not been made public. They do say a new website is needed, but duh. Strong emphasis on personalities IS the right choice, but they need captivating personalities. Josef Newgarden, RHR and Hinch can only go so far.

-Use just one U.S. television partner, with intimation they should try to get out of the NBCSN deal. Yeah, how is that going to work? ESPN is over-saturated, and it is unlikely every IndyCar race can be on ABC. What about other networks? Why stick with ESPN on ABC for the 500? ESPN has done IndyCar no favors, and I believe has actively damaged the brand since the 1990s. They are the least deserving ‘partners’ ever. And what is wrong with NBCSN? Yeah, they are enamored of F-1 and covet NASCAR, but could that not potentially enhance IndyCar if promoted correctly? Perhaps IndyCar should concentrate on enforcement of their deal with NBCSN.

Boston Consulting Grope 3-Decreased TEAM payouts and increase purses. Good idea, but also might be a good idea to allow some innovation among teams (unique aero kits, for example)  and also reduce the Dallara vig for spare parts or eliminate by allowing fabrication by teams.

-Change the ticket pricing model by increasing Indy 500 tickets and reducing BY400 and MotoGP prices. Good in theory, but the amount of increase for the 500 is insane. $50 per ticket higher? That would ensure wide swaths of aluminum. A more prudent approach is to raise prices for the seats that sell out (but not $50 each) and leave the others alone. IMS has already raised the price creatively by assessing annoying nickel-and-dime ‘convenience’ charges.

-Do not sell the Speedway or IndyCar. Good idea. Let us reserve judgment for the day we get our mitts on the entire study. Based on the bullet points IMS may have been taken for a bit of a ride.



  1. Strong emphasis on personalities isn’t needed. The way it’s often presented is off-track bullshit.
    NASCAR can keep their hillbilly drama to themselves, I would much rather see them market “the purest form of racing” aspect.

    Comment by No — March 3, 2013 @ 1:25 am | Reply

  2. Dear Defender:

    Just another example of an incompetent and corrupt administration and ownership group hell bent on destroying anything that the Indy Car brand has left to offer to the American public…I wish the Hulman-George cadre of fools and idiots would have contracted my group of open wheel fans for the study, we would have spent the $$$ on booze and tickets to this season’s events and advised the series to start racing right after Daytona, place some ovals on the schedule in advance of the 500 and to crown the champion at or near Labor Day weekend to avoid clashing with football season…of course, the brain-dead leadership at IMS hired this group of bozos to put together a plan which almost any Indy Car fan could have compiled over morning coffee and that has been leaked to the national media to further underscore the inability of the Hulman-George family to run the business in a serious and mature manner…and for the final time, let us acknowledge the real reason that TG defeated CART and relegated American Open Wheel to the fringe sport which we are left with today…Penske, Andretti and Ganassi’s sponsors clamored for visibility at the Indy 500- the only American Open Wheel event that really matters to advertisers- and demanded that these top teams which dominated CART move over to TG’s ‘all American, all oval, all important’ Indy Racing League…but for this seismic shift, the IRL would have folded and CART would have prevailed and probably continued to compete with NASCAR on equal footing…now, we have Danica and NASCAR dominating the headlines while Indy Car continues to decline in prominence and interest. What a travesty..thanks Tony George, we won’t forget your failures and how your career, your demeanor and your presence mirror one of our country’s most inept leaders: Geo. W. Bush (were these two separated at birth?)…parting shot…last weekend, while Danica and her Go-Daddy sponsorship were plastered all over the national media, I watched her replacement, James Hinchciiffe, drive a go-kart in the parking lot of the Homestead-Miami Speedway to ‘hone his skills and get ready for the season’…too bad for Hinch-Town, he and the other Indy Car drivers are invisible to the wider public and that’s a shame.
    Editor’s Note: Oh no. Not this shit again. Look, cart killed itself many years ago. If they were all they are fantasized to have been there is no way they would have committed suicide. But that is H2O under the bridge. Since the Hulman-George group is unlikely to sell either the joint or the league, the logical approach is not to bitch like a pre-menstrual unhappy wife, but instead figure out a way to get them to follow a logical path laid by by folks smarter than they are. Up to now that has been a problem, but this is also the first time someone from the family does not hold an executive level position. Let’s see what happens.

    Comment by Neil Rubin — March 3, 2013 @ 8:53 pm | Reply

  3. I agree we should do away with the big gaps in the schedule. I would like to see 18-20 races spread over 24-26 weeks. That’s a six month season. But like everything in INDYCAR, where is the money going to come from to support this.

    A playoff is a really bad idea, but the way this playoff is presented is particularly egregious. If there is going to be a playoff it should be 4 races, Texas (big oval), Phoenix (little oval), Barber (natural road ) & Belle Isle (street parade).

    On promoting the drivers as “daredevils”, I agree with the concept, but object to the term daredevil. Brave, courageous, fearless would be OK, but not daredevil. But it is the daredevil attitude that sells, just look at how popular the X-Games are. The trick will be to promote the danger without appearing callus, and no, I don’t know how to do that.
    I agree that we need to sell the drivers as personalities, the problem there is that some of these guy have no personalities. The IZOD commercials showing a driver sitting on his million dollar yacht ( gee, I can really relate to that ) or getting into his million dollar helicopter ( can relate to that one too – not ) was almost enough to make me change the channel.

    On aerokits – at first I was a big supporter, but as I think about it I don’t think spec aerokits on spec cars will really solve anything.

    Way OT – I am so ready for the season to start, so starved for any kind of racing that I watched the Nascar race from Phoenix. Well, I had the TV turned on while I did some things around the house. What jumped out at me was how badly Nascar has screwed up that track, they totally destroyed the dogleg. They say they didn’t increase the radius in turns 1 & 2, but it sure looks like they did.

    Comment by Chris Lukens — March 4, 2013 @ 8:37 pm | Reply

  4. The Gomerati appear to be losing faith. Enjoy your shit sandwich Super D….you’ve earned it.
    Editor’s Note: I’d like to thank one of the loyal cart/twisty ‘fans’ for stopping by to share such on-topic, relevant, literate, mature commentary. You represent your constituency well.

    Comment by Youowemeabeerasshole — March 8, 2013 @ 2:16 pm | Reply

    • Truth hurts, eh? Lol x 10000000000000
      Editor’s Note, I’ll let you know when I find any. You kids have been incorrect for the past seventeen years, and I do not see that changing any time soon. That’s how we roll in the real world.

      Comment by Youowemeabeerasshole — March 9, 2013 @ 1:20 am | Reply

  5. Sometimes the answers are so easy. What made Indy car popular in the first place? And where have the deviated from that. Hmmm…

    Comment by Bob F. — March 8, 2013 @ 2:17 pm | Reply

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