As the current year takes the checkered flag, and the new year approached the starting grid, the sports industry moves ahead with positive outlook. This month we will reflect on the challenges of the past and highlight the future changes ahead.

During the pandemic, each sports sector tackled the situation uniquely.

The most forward-looking organizations considered a broad range of potential solutions, including  monetization of data pertaining to spectators, driver and team performance, and sports betting; novel real estate plays; and unique partnerships with technology companies to help elevate the fan experience

Racing along with other sports pivoted and figured out how the address the challenges.

This was no different for racing. Schedules were adjusted, races were moved, at–track weekends shortened, and online sim racing filled a void. Changes were bold but well received and had the view of many is they had to be made.

Financial liquidity was critical – the major sources of revenue (ticketing, sponsorship, and concessions) were almost non-existent.

Sponsors continued to back the sport reflecting positively on its future.

Media contracts were honored broadcasters with adjustments made by both sides. Ratings and attendance were relatively consistent and will serve as a solid basis for the next set of negotiations. This will probably include both traditional providers and streaming platforms.

Government assistance programs thru loans provided relief for racing businesses and payroll assistance keep checks flowing to employees. Race teams and tracks adjusted workforce size and tried to keep essential personnel around.

There was the ancillary impact to communities that typically host races – tourism revenue and related taxes did not materialize affecting the livelihood of hospitality businesses.

The importance of social justice went mainstream uniting most aspects of the racing community. This issue is complex – the current moment is really a movement the develops leaders and bond spectators with select brands. 

Tracks and teams expanded technology and the use of digital to increase fan engagement. Streaming of local races went mainstream as fans could not attend some races in person.

They invested in digital infrastructure, people, and processes pertaining to data. Entities built broader business acumen across their various departments, along with considering nontraditional partnerships that bring outside perspectives.

Advertising had a larger online presence and content creation by drivers was center stage on social media platforms.

Mobile sports betting developed into a meaningful revenue stream and new partnerships took hold.

It has the potential to transform the at track experience. As it rolled out, entities would continue to assess how it connected with fans. The key component was data, and racing is all about that.

The most successful were bold. Like the race track, they used a challenging business environment as an opportunity to try new things.