Who’s ready for NASCAR racing in New York City?
It’s a long ways off, but … should next summer’s street race in Chicago go well, officials are reportedly eyeing the Big Apple as the next venture.
Because, of course, nobody appreciates a good automobile race quite like northerners!
If Chicago race works, NASCAR could look at Denver, Portland
NASCAR has been bold with its schedule in recent years – including a race inside the LA Coliseum earlier this season. There’s also the addition of multiple road courses, and, of course, the planned race along the streets of Chicago next summer.
Some moves have so far worked – including that Coliseum experiment – while others, like Road America, have already been nixed for next year.
While putting a racetrack inside a football stadium was bold, nothing will compare to what the sport is attempting in Chicago.
Ben Kennedy, NASCAR’s Senior VP of Racing Development and Strategy, told Sports Business Journal next summer’s race would be “exponentially” more expensive than the Coliseum event. Some officials are estimating a cost of anywhere between $15-25 million.
Should the event do well – TV numbers, ticket sales, the actual racing itself – officials would consider another street race. And New York City is at the top of the wish list.
Other areas of intertest, according to SBJ, include cities in the West and Pacific Northwest, like Denver and Portland.
“Internally, we certainly have many meetings on these before we get to approval – a lot of it comes down to strategic rationale for each one of these as well as the pro forma,” Kennedy said. “These are all the elements our team wants to look at before signing off on anything and it’s been a good process for us to have internally with the industry before we announce anything.”
NASCAR’s next TV deal could impact future schedule
If all of this sounds familiar … it is.
NASCAR has experimented with moves to other parts of the country before, in the late-1990s and early-2000s. That’s when the sport, which has historically been made up for mostly southern tracks and roots, started racing in places like Miami, Chicago, parts of the Northeast and California.
Some argue that the sport somewhat abandoning its roots for more metro areas led to the eventual decline in TV ratings – an issue NASCAR still grapples with today.
Others would argue that NASCAR must continue to get younger demographically and experimenting with street races in places like Chicago and New York are the perfect way to showcase the sport.
It’s no secret that Kennedy, 30, has been a driving force behind the recent events – including the Coliseum race in February and the Chicago street race next summer.
“We’re going to be bold and innovative as we think about a number of things,” he said.
Whether or not next summer’s Chicago race works remains to be seen, and will certainly determine NASCAR’s next stop.
If the TV numbers say it worked – and those could be the ultimate vote, because NASCAR is also reportedly eyeing a streaming deal in the future – don’t be surprised if you get stock cars tearing up Times Square by 2024.
Whether hardcore NASCAR fans like it or not.