The Race Team Alliance is deepening its relationship with Wasserman to have the sports marketing agency look into the possibility of holding exhibition races, a potentially stunning development that suggests that NASCAR’s biggest teams could organize their own events in the offseason.
Wasserman Managing Dir of U.S. Will Pleasants confirmed to SBJ on Tuesday that the agency has “been hired to explore exhibition race opportunities, both domestically and internationally, via a (request-for-information proposal) — very exploratory.”
The RTA is a coalition of NASCAR teams who come together to meet and address issues and opportunities in the sport. Every team that owns one of the sport’s 36 charters are now RTA members. Wasserman was already working with the RTA to help the coalition understand its media value heading into NASCAR’s upcoming rights cycle, for which formal negotiations will start in early 2023. The exhibition exploration is a new, incremental addition to the deal for Wasserman.
Teams are interested in this because they are struggling to turn a profit and are looking to find any possible new revenue streams, sources said. The events would likely occur in the offseason and apparently would not involve NASCAR.
NASCAR’s teams have certain rules they have to abide by as part of the charter agreement with the sanctioning body, and those include not starting competing racing series. That agreement runs through 2024. However, it appears that teams feel they have the legal standing to do some form of exhibition races, as long as they compete in non-NASCAR race cars and branded apparel.
If the RTA found an interested suitor, the exhibition races could start as early as the 2023 offseason, one of the people said.
Neither the RTA nor NASCAR would comment on the record for this report.
Pleasants said that Wasserman is “casting a wide net” with the prospective promoters it is reaching out to about the RFP and said they include groups that are both traditional and non-traditional to being in motorsports.
While the exact implications of the RTA exploring this via Wasserman are unclear, it does come amid a simmering dispute between NASCAR and its teams over the proposed share of revenue to go to teams under the new media rights deal that will start in 2025. It also comes amid the festering dispute between the PGA Tour and LIV Golf, a situation that has been closely watched across sports after LIV started its breakaway property and heaped pressure on the PGA Tour to make seismic changes to its business as players sought more money.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!