By Adam Stern, Staff Writer
Published February 2, 2015, Page 4
In an effort to attract younger fans, International Speedway Corp. has signed a multiyear deal with ASA Entertainment to hold action sports competitions at ISC facilities before NASCAR races this season.
In the first year of the deal, six ISC tracks will host ASA Big Air Triples events, which feature BMX riders and skateboarders doing three consecutive jumps on a 200-foot-long by 32-foot-high ramp. Terms of the deal between ISC and ASA weren’t released, but a source said ASA originally reached out to track operators seeking low six figures per weekend event.
Rick Bratman, CEO of ASA Entertainment, declined to reveal which racetracks will host the events, though he did indicate they will be held during the second half of the 36-race NASCAR campaign. The company plans to reveal the facilities when it releases details on event sponsors.
Bratman said ASA is in talks with Speedway Motorsports Inc. about doing the same thing at its facilities during NASCAR weekends but that no deal was imminent.
ASA, which was founded in 1994 and produces 175 events a year, will handle all operational aspects of the Big Air Triples. The company and ISC tested the concept last year during two NASCAR weekends: at Talladega Superspeedway in October and during the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November.
“We were excited about the opportunity to produce events in a form as large scale as Sprint Cup to be able to introduce action sports to a whole new audience,” Bratman said. “And the folks at [ISC] were really interested in this because they felt like it was just a perfect mechanism for connecting with millennials and providing that sort of youthful energy they’re looking for.”
For now, Bratman said, the plan is for the action sports events to be included in the price of the race ticket. ASA is looking to bring on five sponsors in the first year, which will get activation space as well as possible TV exposure. Bratman said individual tracks will develop their own marketing efforts around the Big Air Triples events.
ISC officials couldn’t be reached for comment.
The Big Air Triples competitors will be “the absolute cream of the crop,” Bratman said. The events will be held in the sponsor display area, or midway, at the tracks a few hours before the given Xfinity or Sprint Cup race begins. The plan is to televise the events on a tape-delay basis, but those details are still being worked out, Bratman said.
“Our hope is that, four or five years down the line, this is a staple event of the Sprint Cup experience, and specifically to see the action sports element,” he said. “We’re very, very bullish on the idea. And we do believe that where there’s a good idea that’s well-executed, ultimately, good things happen on the finance side as well.”
The deal primarily was negotiated by Bratman and Craig Neeb, ISC senior vice president of business development and chief digital officer. Bratman said NASCAR Media Group and ISC executives, including CEO Lesa France Kennedy, were involved in the talks.