NASCAR executives and its Cup Series team ownership were scheduled to meet Wednesday morning, but the ownership group informed NASCAR the night before they were not going to attend because the conversation they wanted to have wasn’t likely to take place.
The owners are banding together as frustration continues over the sport’s business model and negotiations over revenue from the next media rights deal.
In a statement about Wednesday’s action by the owners, NASCAR said, “NASCAR is committed to open and productive dialogue on a regular basis with all industry stakeholders. We remain committed to continuing discussions in the spirit of collaboration and with the shared goal of growing our sport for the benefit of all stakeholders.”
Through the charter agreement, Cup Series teams receive money based on performance.
The race team negotiating committee met with the media in October to publicly express frustration over the rights deal. In addition to the upcoming charter agreement, NASCAR executives are also working on a new media rights package as the deal with its television partners expires after 2024.
It’s estimated the rights deal is worth $8.2 billion. However, 65% of the TV money goes to the racetracks, while race teams get 25%. The other 10% goes to NASCAR.
Cup Series teams — 16 owners own the 36 charters — want a larger slice of the revenue pie.
Curtis Polk, an investor with 23XI Racing and Michael Jordan’s business partner, said the teams have determined 93% of the value of the sport resides with the France family and racetracks. Only 7% of that value resides with the owners of the charters.
“Most of these teams have a very difficult time breaking even,” Polk said. “All well-managed teams should be able to compete for a Cup championship and make a reasonable profit.”
Jeff Gordon, the vice chairman of Hendrick Motorsports, said the championship-winning organization loses money each season. Dave Alpern of Joe Gibbs Racing says teams have become full-time fundraisers to survive.
“I think the sport is a sleeping giant, but we all have to get the interest aligned because we need to grow it together,” Polk said. “We need to grow more revenue, and we need to create greater sharing and an arrangement where every dollar that is created benefits the drivers, benefits the teams, benefits the tracks, benefits NASCAR. That’s not how it’s set up right now.”
This story has been updated since original publication to clarify the actions taken by the team owners.