Bernard addresses concerns at State of INDYCAR

IndyCar commentary, Interviews, Podcasts — By on February 15, 2012 9:31 am

Following the two-day State of INDYCAR conference, INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard spent a few minutes with More Front Wing to discuss some of the headlines of recent days and address some questions about INDYCAR’s relationship with SMI and ISC and the future direction of the IZOD IndyCar Series.  A transcript of his responses is below.  To hear the interview in its entirety, click on the player below or search for More Front Wing on iTunes.




On the INDYCAR Mobile app being available only to US-based Verizon users:
“I think that Verizon has been a remarkable partner, and I think that one of the most important things we can do besides building our fan base is being able to generate and fulfill great sponsors and Verizon is one of those.  They’ve stepped up to the plate and offered this app, they’ve spent millions of dollars on it, and it’s for Verizon users.  Hopefully, people will switch phones to Verizon.  If you’ve ever had a Verizon compared to any of the other services, I’ll guarantee you’ll like it a lot more.  I’m doing every fan a favor by getting you to switch over, trust me.  I’ve had them all.  I love Verizon.  It’s the best.”

Whether INDYCAR will offer at-track rental equipment for non-Verizon users:
“At this point, no.  Down the road, I think we just need to sit down with Verizon, our partner, and determine what is in everyone’s best interest and go from there.  But they’ve been great to work with, and they’ve invested so much into this.  It’s only fair to let their key customers use it.”

Availability of online streaming for 2012:
“It’s not going to happen.  It was something that we fought for, and it was not in the rights.  And we still have six more years left on that contract.  That’s NBC, but ABC has the same problems.”

Whether the ESPN3 stream will be for the race only or all weekend:
“That’s a good question.  I don’t have an answer to that.”

Whether Milwaukee can be successful in 2012:
“I think we need to see some success for sure this year.  I produced about 225 events with PBR, and it was not uncommon that you could take an event and produce an event with four months to go.  I think that especially in today’s world and in the past several years we see the purchasing of tickets really is in that last 60 days and even less.  So, do I believe we can be successful?  Yes.  The traditionalists and the purists really want to see this race, and I think that it’s important for us.  It has such a legendary status being one of the oldest tracks in the country.  We need to really try and make it successful.”

How the situation in Milwaukee differs from New Hampshire:
“We wanted to try again, find the right date.  We shot ourselves in the foot up there a little bit.  There was a big air show within 60 miles of there that did over 100,000 people that day.  That was an annual event.  That’s the same type of person that would go to a race.  I think the rain hurt us.  There were quite a few things.  So, I think Jerry Gappens would be interested in another race.”  (Are there discussions going forward, maybe in ’13 or ’14?)  “I think we’ll address it at a separate point.”

Relationship with SMI:
“I wouldn’t say great friends.  I’d say it’s a very business-to-business relationship.  It’s a quality relationship, but it’s business to business.  I don’t go out to dinner or drink with them or socialize.”

How the tragedy at Vegas and the aftermath impacted INDYCAR’s relationship with SMI:
“They addressed my concerns in a very responsive manner.  There were some comments that were inappropriate.  But Chris Powell — and Kevin Camper used to be my Chief Marketing Officer at PBR — I have a tremendous amount of respect for them.  And when you have a tragedy like that you can never prepare for it, and I think that everyone’s stress levels were straight through the roof.  But it was, again, business to business.”

Relationship with ISC:
“Again, business to business.  I am friends with John Saunders and some of them.  I think that if scheduling permits and if they can provide deals that make sense, I think you’ll see some additional ISC tracks on the schedule for 2013.  We never had any negativity — let me rephrase that — we never walked away and said we’ll never have another event with ISC.  It was just a matter of making sure that it made sense for both of us.”

Starting the IZOD IndyCar Series season earlier in 2013:
“Possibly — again, if it makes sense.  I think the most important thing we can do is really be strategic on our long-term planning of our events and make sure that they are well thought out.”

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