IRL: Indy Racing names Smith Assistant Vice President, Marketing

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, March 15, 2001 - Scott Smith, a longtime executive in the event marketing industry, has accepted the new position of assistant vice president of Indy Racing Marketing, the new marketing arm of the Indy Racing...

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, March 15, 2001 - Scott Smith, a longtime executive in the event marketing industry, has accepted the new position of assistant vice president of Indy Racing Marketing, the new marketing arm of the Indy Racing League.

Smith was hired in January to implement in-market promotions and marketing campaigns for Indy Racing Northern Light Series events across the United States. He will report to Bob Reif, executive vice president, marketing and chief marketing officer for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indy Racing League.

"I was very excited with the organization and the opportunity for American oval-track, open-wheel racing in the United States," said Smith, who moved to Indianapolis from Virginia for the position. "I'm very impressed with the energy of the people in the organization and the marketing focus we will be able to bring to the sport.

"It is a fascinating sport, and it is something I've become totally intrigued with. There is a huge potential audience that has not been exposed to the sport. Our big challenge is to expose people and let them see the excitement of oval-track, open-wheel racing."

Smith is a 17-year veteran of Feld Entertainment, producers of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and Disney on Ice. He was most recently the vice president of new business for Feld, in which he was responsible for developing and launching Barnum's Kaleidoscape, an upscale, intimate touring circus.

"We are delighted to have a person with Scott's experience join our team as we continue to expand the Indy Racing League across America," Reif said. "His experience in event marketing will aid us tremendously as we work to bring fans closer to the excitement of open wheel, oval-track racing." After five seasons of developing the most competitive open-wheel racing series in America, the Indy Racing League is moving full-speed ahead with its new marketing plan.

Reif, who was named to Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal Forty Under 40 list for the second consecutive year, has assembled a 17-member team to execute the league's marketing and promotion plan.

"We have adopted the NFL business model," Reif said. "We separated the Indy Racing League and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway into two separate operating companies to service our key customers - fans, teams, promoters and television partners. We are helping them do their jobs. We are helping our fans get to the track, teams find sponsors, promoters add value and access, and television partners sell spots."

To facilitate that exposure, the Indy Racing Marketing department is divided into three areas - marketing activation, strategic alliances and team marketing services - with a specific marketing plan and measurable goals for each group.

"In 2001, our goals are to have all promoters embrace our value and access programs and to capitalize on the momentum built in 2000, " said Reif, who also plans to increase sponsorships, hike same-venue ticket sales by 15 percent and achieve an average television rating of 2.0 for all network broadcasts.

Marketing activation, directed by Matt McCartin, is responsible for supporting fan development programs, building the Indy Racing presence in-market year round, event advertising, pre- and post-race entertainment, promoter relationships, in-market promotions, traveling programs, cross-promotion with existing track and series sponsors, driver appearances and development of group ticket sales/bus tours.

Strategic alliances, directed by Kent Liffick, is responsible for managing marketing partnerships and servicing key partners, such as series title sponsor Northern Light, which entered into a five-year, $50 million contract in 2000.

Team services, a four-member strong department directed by Bob Beasley, provides Indy Racing teams with the necessary tools to maintain and acquire sponsorships. The department has three specific functions - (1) to be a valuable resource of information to teams to enhance their own sponsorship search, (2) to augment Indy Racing teams' own sponsor-search efforts, and (3) to embark on its own campaign to generate money for teams. Said Beasley: "We have a plan. The only thing we need to do now is execute it."

And that is exactly what Indy Racing Marketing is prepared to do.

-IRNLS/IMS-

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Series Automotive , IndyCar
Drivers Scott Smith