Although he wouldn’t be drawn on the size of the budget that’s been set aside, Penske Entertainment CEO Mark Miles was declarative in the company’s intent to make a greater expenditure in a department where more funding is needed.
“Our plan is to make a significant increase in our investment in the marketing and promotion of the IndyCar Series in 2023,” Miles told RACER. Routinely cited as the biggest area where IndyCar is being left behind by its rivals, it’s the kind of new NTT IndyCar Series approach team owners, drivers, and sponsors will welcome.
Without taking a look inside the series’ upcoming annual budget, it’s hard to know what the increase represents in dollars or percentage from 2022, but Miles did scoff at the number of $3 million that’s circulated as the sum Penske Entertainment gave former VP of Marketing SJ Luedtke to work with last season.
Whatever the new number might be, the next person tasked with increasing IndyCar’s presence in North America’s sports entertainment landscape will take on a challenge that has gone unsolved since Champ Car was purchased by IndyCar and consolidated in 2008 as the single series we have today.
From a historical perspective, IndyCar has been prone to search for messiahs when high-profile job openings at the CEO, president or, in this case, the VP of Marketing level appear. With so much placed on the shoulders of one person, most have flamed out after failing to meet unreasonable expectations, and according to Miles, IndyCar won’t be making the same mistake when it finds and hires Luedtke’s successor.
“You know me well enough to know that I don’t believe in unicorns, and I don’t believe in silver bullets,” he said. “You got to do a lot of things really, really well all at the same time. We want high quality talent coming into this organization, but there’s no ‘messiah’ for purposes of this area of marketing, nor do I think that we need it. We want a leader of the group, we want a listener and a collaborator with the paddock and with all of our partners.
“We want a team player, somebody who can assimilate others’ ideas and set their own course after having done that and bring people on with us. We want to get alignment with the paddock and with the resources that are already invested in the sport. We want a really strong track record in social and digital media. And we expect everybody to have a really strong work ethic. I hope they certainly are going to have a background in sports, and I hope that it’s in motorsports, which would be a really big plus.”
Miles also confirmed the series will be adding layers of external support to IndyCar’s marketing department next year, which should also help to expand its reach.
“We’ll definitely be looking at adding both ad-buying creatives and PR agency help next year,” he said.