The return to the “new normal” is happening at rapid speed and the motorsports industry is at the front of the field.  This month we will take a look at path ahead and how racing entities are part of that plan.

The pandemic related shutdown during the 2020 season impacted the sports and entertainment industries hard.  Key aspects of the revenue streams were not able to operate at levels that would maximize profitability.

Fast forward eighteen months and the outlook is much different.  Cautious optimism has returned with the covid vaccination progressing to over fifty percent of the population.

Federal, state and local municipalities are rapidly revising their guidelines towards normalized.  Indications are that most areas will be fully open at the start of the summer.

This is great news for the economy, especially those dependent on spectator based activities.

Utilization is key to any facility. That will be made of primary and secondary related events.

The home team or key tenant gets first choice of dates.  When schedules are finalized by the leagues then those days are set on the calendar.

The last two years have seen “typical” schedules under constant change with shortened seasons, cancelled and rescheduled games.

The key has been flexibility.

There is hesitancy to set a date for third party events in the short because uncertainty still exists over pandemic limitations.  These bookings include music concert tours, family-oriented shows, and sports-centric competitions.

Many stadium and arenas host over 200 events annually.  This is comprised of primary tenants at 50% and third-party events at fifty percent. 

There are expectations that the number of ancillary bookings could double next year at they try to make up for lost revenue. This could lead to a record setting year for live entertainment related tours.

Performers are ready to go on the road again to maximize earnings.  Entertainment continued its creative process be writing new music and releasing it on video platforms.

Streaming music is the norm but generates lower revenues then traditional album sales and downloads.  Touring is highly attractive and there is pent-up demand from both the artist and the consumer.

Motorsport facilities will play host to many of these third-party events.  The large footprint and the ability self-contain are favorable characteristics. 

Tracks have hosted music concerts (Country 500 at Daytona International Speedway) and festivals (Electric Daisy Carnival at Las Vegas Speedway) in the past.  Most events of this nature have a finite lifespan due to promoter and artist changes or consumer preference.  It can be expected that new ones are being planned and will return to these type of venues.

Racing schedules also undergone changes.  Series took the shutdown as a chance to re-set resulting in a few tracks not hosting events.  This was done for financial reasons and fan and sponsor input.

Track officials are reaching out to promoters and booking agents letting them know that their facilities are open for business.

Legislative efforts continue to support race tracks place in the economy. 

The RPM Act – Recognizing the Protection of Motorsports Act of 2021 – was reintroduced into Congress. 

This bill seeks to amend the Clean Air Act and provide an exemption from certain antitampering provisions for modifying a motor vehicle that is not legal on the street of highway and is used solely for competition and other purposes.

The goal is to guarantee that the industry can offer parts that enable to compete.

The state of North Carolina has earmarked $45 million for the motorsports industry.  These funds are part of the American Rescue Plan. 

Charlotte Motor Speedway, Rockingham Speedway and North Wilkesboro Speedway are each receiving $10 million.  The remaining amounts are going to smaller tracks and the development of a Motorsports and Moonshine Heritage Trail.

Motorsports was hit hard but kept flexible and worked hard at developing plans and relationships that will benefit its future.