Wednesday
Aug182010

ISC Throws A $20 Million Yellow Flag To Deal With Economic Challenges

August 17, 2010: International Speedway Corp., which oversees more than 100 racing events annually and owns and/or operates 13 motorsports facilities, including Daytona International Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway and Watkins Glen International, said it has initiated the "implementation of broad-based strategic organizational and structural changes" to deal with the financial challenges of the current economic climate.

Included in these changes is the departure of Roger VanDerSnick, who had been evp and COO since June 2009. ISC said it would not fill the COO position and that primary responsibilities would be handled by ISC's President, John Saunders. Prior to joining ISC in April 2007 as svp-marketing, VanDerSnick held several executive marketing positions with Nascar for seven years, beginning in 2000, following 15 years with Procter and Gamble.

According to ISC, "As the economic recovery expected earlier in 2010 has not materialized, the company will initiate additional organizational and structural changes through the remainder of its fiscal year."  Included in the process will be a "streamlining of corporate services, optimization of event and ancillary business models and process improvements that will result in a reduction of workforce and operational costs," according to ISC.

ISC said it anticipates these initiatives "will lower its direct operating expenses, beginning in 2011, by $20 million to $30 million in sustainable reductions."

"ISC remains a profitable and financially sound company but given the ongoing economic challenges, we need to be proactive in improving operations and the bottom line to remain the industry leader in motorsports entertainment," Lesa France Kennedy, ISC's CEO, said in a statement. "The fan experience remains our top priority and these organizational changes will allow us to continue delivering positive experiences for our guests and business partners.  We are confident that our plans will create a more efficient and effective organization, and will better position ISC to achieve its long-term goals."

In an interview with the Daytona Beach News-Journal that ran on Aug. 7, VanDerSnick talked about ISC's status and gave what was then his vision of ISC's ten-year outlook:  "We have 1,050 employees across the country and we spend anywhere from $60 to $80 million a year on capital projects. In the first part of that 10 years we want to bring the race experience back to what it used to be — full grandstands, fans buying tickets in advance because of the great experience they've had, great racing, sponsors feeling like this is the best of all sports because of brand loyalty among race fans."

In the Q&A, VanDerSnick told motorsports editor Godwin Kelly, "Phase 1 is return to normal, which is obviously, tied to the country's economic rebound. We'll work our way through that. We can't panic and force fans to buy tickets if they are worried about their job and groceries and those things. Second, we need to upgrade our facilities. We want fans to realize this is more than a 3 1/2-hour race. It's an entire-day experience. Phase 2 would be how to integrate technology and make the race-day experience better. Another thing we'll keep in mind is that the sport still has some room for consolidation and expansion to other parts of the United States.''

Among the 13  facilities operated by ISC that will be affected are the Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway, home of the Daytona 500; Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama; Michigan International Speedway near Detroit; Richmond (Va.) International Raceway; Auto Club Speedway of Southern California, located near Los Angeles; the Chicagoland Speedway;  Homestead-Miami Speedway; Martinsville Speedway in Virginia; and Watkins Glen International in New York.

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