PRI Motor Sport Business Forum NA news 2009-12-08

Strong Delegate Turn Out As Inaugural Motor Sport Business Forum North America Kicks Off In Orlando Historic Commercial Event To Precede 22nd Annual PRI Trade Show ORLANDO, Fla. (December 8, 2009) -- The inaugural Motor Sport Business Forum ...

Strong Delegate Turn Out As Inaugural Motor Sport Business Forum North America Kicks Off In Orlando

Historic Commercial Event To Precede 22nd Annual PRI Trade Show

ORLANDO, Fla. (December 8, 2009) -- The inaugural Motor Sport Business Forum North America (MSBF-NA) moved off to an exciting and impactful start Tuesday morning at the Orlando Hilton where a strong gathering of more than 260 delegates has turned out for the first U.S. edition of the successful MSBF events as a prelude to the 22nd Annual Performance Racing Industry Trade Show in Orlando, Fla.

After opening comments from Conference Chairman Zak Brown, Just Marketing International (JMI) Founder and CEO, the agenda moved straight into the first of the two day event's eight scheduled panel discussions, which focused on the State of North American Motorsports. Top executives from leading U.S. and worldwide motorsports governing bodies expounded on their respective racing series while also setting the overall tone for the MSBF-NA in total.

"This panel is about the state of North American Motorsports, but we believe the focus should also be on the future of motorsports," said Scott Atherton, CEO of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). Atherton then highlighted the various "green" initiatives undertaken by the ALMS, a theme that was also touched on by Terry Angstadt, President of the Commercial Division of the Indy Racing League (IRL), which races exclusively on renewable ethanol fuel.

GRAND-AM Road Racing President Roger Edmondson also outlined one of the general concepts of his organization that could be applied to the overall motorsports industry. "Racing is fun, let's make sure it's fun for the fans, let's make sure it's fun for the participants and let's make sure it's affordable for both," Edmondson said.

And while competition in the marketplace is at an all-time high, the IRL's Angstadt felt there's room for a variety of motorsports series in North America.

"We're often put into competitive situations with the other sanctioning bodies. Obviously, it's not easy to compete against a NASCAR. The key is you have to develop differentiating aspects if you're going to compete. In our case, it is technology and innovation, as well as embracing the diversity in international and gender make-up."

The opening panel was followed by an insightful discussion and overview on North American Media -- Delivering Motorsports to the Mass Market which featured top level executives from premier media outlets that focused on the ever changing and positive aspects of major media in motorsports.

"It is unique, motor racing is unlike any other thing we do, the complexity of it and the live action all of the time," said John Wildhack, Executive Vice President Program Acquisition and Strategy for ESPN/ABC. "It's the most incredibly loyal fan base there is, across any sport."

Despite being a first-time event, the inaugural MSBF-NA has drawn a quality cross section of delegates from North America and beyond.

"We are very pleased with the initial number of delegates for our first North American Forum," said Simon Berger, Founder and CEO of IM2 Events, which owns and organizes the worldwide MSBF series. "The initial participation is very encouraging and is actually slightly more than the first edition of our flagship Monaco Forum which has now grown to over 700 delegates for this year's event, which begins tomorrow. Without question, we see the potential for similar growth with the North American edition in the coming years as well. We are off to a great start."

Berger also touted the blue-chip caliber of the MSBF-NA's line up of panelists as being a prime factor in the successful debut.

"This is as good a line up for a Motor Sport Business Forum as we have ever had," Berger said. "We are deeply grateful to all of the top executives that have taken the time to join us and equally as pleased that so many delegates have turned out to hear what they have to say."

The PRI Trade Show and MSBF-NA will couple with PRI's annual Industry Roundtable, the accompanying Advanced Engineering Technology Conference, the Grand Opening Breakfast featuring Wind Tunnel's Dave Despain and the popular PRI All-Star Karting Classic to make the five-day series of events the biggest happening of racing's off-season.

-credit: pri

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Series General
Drivers Zak Brown