Story continues below this advertisement
Congratulations on the new TV program with Fox. With the NHRA taking the production of the shows in house will fans see a completely revamped show and could there be changes in the announce crew?
PC: Improving TV was the No. 1 issue we faced as a sport. We heard our fans and we knew we needed to address it right away. We were very excited that we were able to pull our new deal together so quickly with the help of our new partners at Fox. We have an incredibly talented crew producing and handling all aspects of our shows right now, and it is our plan to transition key people and talents into our new programs and productions.
Our goal is to better show the fan experience on site including in the pits and in the grandstands. We want to be able to show our television audience what it is like to attend an event. Some of the changes that you will notice next year will include better shots from the starting line, other different angles, and more. We need to tell the stories of our drivers to create more stars and continue to showcase the diversity in our sport. We think the changes will be noticeable in the television shows.
As far as the announcing crew, we have a great announcing crew and we have a team who will be looking at details going forward over the next couple months. We’re thrilled with the new television package and look forward to a long relationship with Fox.
I've heard that when the NHRA TV coverage moves to Fox the plan is to have two-hour shows Friday and Saturday and the three-hour show on race day. Is that true and might seven hours of coverage be hard to do?
PC: The plan is to have two hours of qualifying, and a three-hour Sunday eliminations show. The qualifying may be broken into one hour Friday and one hour Saturday, or two hours Saturday, depending on the best available timeslots. There will be five hours of coverage each weekend except Indy, which will have more.
It is obvious that all major league motorsports series including the NHRA and NASCAR are having issues filling the grandstands with fans. NASCAR has even taken the step of removing some of the grandstands at some venues. What are you and your management team doing to try and attract more and younger fans to Drag Racing?
PC: Attracting youth has been a focal point for us for years. In fact, we initiated the kids-12-and-under-free program about four years ago and experienced a huge increase in the number of kids attending the events. In the first two years, kids’ attendance was up 60 percent. It is noticeable when you go to the events the number of families and children attending. These are our future fans and they’re so important to us. In addition, we have many other ways kids can participate in the sport -- the Summit Jr. Drag Racing League; our new Jr. Street program, our Youth and Education program sponsored by the U.S. Army. All of these programs are focused on youth and different ways youth can participate. We’re the third youngest major sport, right behind the NBA and NHL, and we’re very proud of that.
We get many, many letters and emails from long-time NHRA fans complaining about the cost of a ticket to attend an NHRA national event. They also complain about the costs once you get into the track. Do you have any plans to make NHRA racing more affordable for NHRA's fans?
PC: We know people have a lot of choices in terms of attending sporting events and other entertainment venues. We try to provide the best value for those hard-earned dollars. We deliver a great value for 9-10 hours of entertainment. Relative to other sporting events, we are actually an excellent value. We do offer options for fans who are price sensitive like lower prices on Fridays, student pricing, and of course the 12-and-under-free program. We want to encourage as many families to attend as possible.