Current Cup Series economic model is ‘broken’ and future sustainability ‘could be a real challenge’

NASCAR Cup Series teams say the current economic model in American stock car racing needs to be changed and that the teams and NASCAR are far apart on how revenue should be divided.

Curtis Polk of 23XI Racing even went so far as to say that the economy model in NASCAR is “broken.” The teams that make up the Race Team Alliance spoke Friday in Charlotte and said they want more of the television revenue to help their results. The teams say they receive less than 10% of NASCAR’s total revenue.

From the Associated Press:

“The economic model really is broken for teams,” said Curtis Polk, who as Michael Jordan’s longtime business manager now has an ownership stake in both the Charlotte Hornets and the two-car team 23XI Racing Jordan and Denny. Hamlin in NASCAR.

“We’ve gotten to the point where teams realize that sustainability in sport is not very long-term,” Polk said. “This is not a fair system.

The Race Team Alliance was formed nearly a decade ago among most of the teams in NASCAR’s top tier to have better bargaining power for trade deals and other negotiating efforts. NASCAR’s current multimillion-dollar television contract expires at the end of the 2024 season, and the RTA said it recently submitted a proposal to NASCAR about a different division for 2025. The RTA said Friday that NASCAR was not willing to give much in the revenue division. current.

NASCAR teams want more money because they believe the current economic situation is unsustainable. NASCAR introduced a new Cup Series car in 2022 in hopes of lowering long-term costs for teams. But teams have spent a lot of money up front as they build new cars from scratch and will likely spend more than they imagined going forward to improve car safety. The 2022 Cup car has proven less safe than its predecessor due to its stiffness; three full-time drivers will miss Sunday’s race at Charlotte Roval due to crash injuries.

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Four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon is now an executive with Hendrick Motorsports and was one of four team representatives who spoke to members of the press on Friday. Gordon said he had “a lot of fears that sustainability is going to be a real challenge” for NASCAR teams going forward.

Teams fear they will have to make significant cuts in staff if the current revenue sharing system does not change.

Currently, sponsorship is the revenue base for most team budgets. And sponsorship has been increasingly difficult to come by as television ratings and interest in NASCAR have steadily declined over the past decade. Sponsorship heavyweights like Lowe’s, M&Ms, Target and Miller Coors have either cut their team sponsorships considerably or left NASCAR altogether in recent years.

Diminishing fan interest may also lead to an upcoming TV deal that isn’t as big a deal as the current one. While live sports programming is even more of a centerpiece to network television programming, NASCAR is far from the ratings it once had in the early 2000s or even five seasons ago.

Ryan Blaney (12) leads the field through the trioval during a NASCAR Cup Series stock car race on Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, in Talladega, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

Ryan Blaney (12) leads the pack through the trioval during a NASCAR Cup Series stock car race Sunday, Oct. 2, 2022, in Talladega, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

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