NASCAR CEO Brian France Talks at the Consumer Electronics Show
LAS VEGAS — NASCAR Chairman & CEO Brian France took the stage Friday at the Consumer Electronics Show to discuss how the sanctioning body is using technology to enhance the fan experience and engage with the next generation of fans.
France was on the Sports Business Innovation panel with National Hockey League (NHL) Commissioner Gary Bettman and United States Olympic Committee (USOC) CEO Scott Blackmun.
On how diversity and globalization are critical to success:
“We have a unique challenge because kids don’t play our sport in the playground,” France said. “We are the only ones in auto racing investing millions of dollars on combines for diversity drivers. These programs take time, but we just saw the benefit. We just had a Mexican driver, Daniel Suarez, win our second largest national series and that would not have happened without our diversity program. We don’t do this because it is socially smart, which it is, but because that is where you find the best talent, and we want everybody to be a NASCAR fan.”
On how the Monster Energy partnership will help NASCAR reach new fans:
“In our case aligning with the right sponsor is important. They help us tell our story and we count on their activation to take us to places and channels we would not normally be in. I am very happy about our new entitlement partner Monster Energy, they have incredible reach with Millennial customers and fans, auto racing is in their DNA and they have a smart digital approach.”
On fans’ consumption habits:
“The ways in which fans consume their favorite sports has changed in an unprecedented way, and that is the great challenge and opportunity that all leagues face,” France said. “We want to be smart about how we attract (the younger generation) and balance that with our core fans and connect with all of them in ways that we have never seen before.”
On how technology can improve competition, safety and fan engagement:
“We want to use technology and innovation to make our core product better,” France said. “We all want to make our sport safer, and our games and races better. We are using technology to drive our sport in ways that we could not have even imagined only 10 years ago.”
On how technology, developed at the 61,000-square-foot NASCAR Research & Development Center in Concord, North Carolina, has helped:
“The combination of innovation and technology can solve almost all problems,” France said. “One of the challenges of outdoor sports is rain delays. We developed the Air Titan, which cut the time to dry the track. This was a huge thing for us to be able to retain our TV audience.”
On the introduction of the digital dash, which uses 16 customizable screens to monitor and record 24 different elements such as RPM, oil temperature and lap times:
“This is the new frontier,” France said. “We have an enormous amount of telemetry at our races between the drivers, crew chiefs and their strategy, and we are in the early stages of looking to deliver that data to fans in their seat, at home or through streaming.”
Photo: Jonathan Moore/NASCAR via Getty Images