North Carolina Motorsports Association Releases Short Track – White Paper
The North Carolina Motorsports Association (NCMA) released a Short Track – White Paper at their most recent Short-Track Council meeting held at Childress Winery’s in Lexington, NC. The NCMA formed the Short Track Council in late 2006, which brings together track owners, promoters, competitors and business’s associated with the short tracks to find ways to foster new growth. Tracks were provided a detailed impact survey developed by the NCMA and partnering groups. The White-Paper Report was based on the information returned by short tracks and averages developed by estimating tracks into three impact tiers levels. The study includes 12-Pavement Oval Short Tracks and 16-Dirt Oval Short Tracks located throughout the state of North Carolina.
The White-Paper reports that combined, over 1-million people attend short-track races each year in the state. That exceeds the annual attendance of the states professional NFL team the Carolina Panthers and the Carolina Hurricanes, a professional NHL hockey team. The report also highlighted the 1600+ race teams that compete on short-tracks and their economic impact, which the report states could be over 160-million dollars annually. The White-Paper suggested that although short-tracks have over 1-million fans annually and over 1600 teams competing they have consistently declined in attendance and team counts over the past 10-years. This along with higher operating costs has led to a consistent trend of lower revenue among tracks. Some tracks have changed ownership several times within the past few years or are on the verge of going out of business. Despite NASCAR's popularity at the national level, short-track racing in many parts of the state is struggling to survive financially.
The report indicated that a serious challenge for short-tracks is the graying of the fan base and decline in youth attendance. Noise and environmental issues ranked as the most common indifference between the tracks and their communities. However, nearly all track owners reported a willingness to work with their local communities to address these concerns and issues. But many tracks also reported not knowing their local community officials personally and vice versa.
“A lack of communication and understanding of the short tracks impact has led to avoidable issues and missed opportunity for the communities where short-tracks exist,” said Shawn Stewart, Director of Marketing for the NCMA and contributor the white paper. “Short-tracks have been overlooked as community event facilities just like other minor league facilities. Through the NCMA Short Track Council track owners and promoters are joining together to change and educate others on their message.”
“The track owners and promoters have to change the way they view their business model and develop better relationships with the elected officials,” said Robert Johnson of Tracklegislation.com and also a contributor to the White-Paper. “Minor League baseball parks in North Carolina have received significant public support for new and renovated stadiums. Short-tracks offer similar economic benefits and entertainment value.”
“By building stronger relationships with community leaders, short-tracks may be eligible for tax and economic incentives to renovate their facilities. Noise and other environmental challenges can be resolved before they become problems,” added Johnson.
Gray Garrison of Bowman Gray stadium is one of the council’s leaders and is pleased to have the white-paper study completed. “Our purpose with the White-Paper and the Short Track Council isn’t to compete with each other or talk about competitive rules and sanctioning bodies,” said Garrison. “Our goal is to work together on having a unified voice about how we impact our communities and our state. The White-Paper is a good first step in changing the way we approach our business and how we explain our business impact to our community.”
The Short Track - White Paper is available at the NCMA website. Visit www.MotorsportsNC.org
Contact: NCMA – Shawn Stewart