How NASCAR plans to recuperate from a tough 2020

# 43 Victory Junction Chevrolet driver Bubba Wallace prepares for the NASCAR Cup Series Super Start Batteries 400 presented by O’Reilly Auto Parts at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas on July 23, 2020 .

Jamie Squire | Getty Images

A welcoming environment.

This is what NASCAR President Steve Phelps said when speaking to CNBC about how the sport wants to be perceived after its defining moment in 2020

“That has been Bubba’s mantra all the back of the season since June,” Phelps said. “It’s inviting and inclusive.”

Phelps did his media rounds before NASCAR returns on Sunday with one of its key events, the Daytona 500. In his third year as president, Phelps is tasked with repairing the organization that once drew 11 million viewers to its signature race.

NASCAR made headlines in 2020 when it banned the Confederate flag Last June. It was behind driver Darrell “Bubba” Wallace, who had a backlash after calling for the ban. And then Wallace was in the center of a Noose charge.

Previously, driver Kyle Larson used a racist arc when engaging with a live video game community. This brought NASCAR into the spotlight, which no sports company wants. It had to face its problems to move forward.

“It was the most challenging year in our sporting history, but I would say it was the most enjoyable and successful in our sporting history,” said Phelps.

Now comes the challenging part: creating a welcoming environment by considering race and diversity issues and thereby repairing NASCAR’s business.

Former NBA Chicago Bulls Guardian Michael Jordon held the crowd high during pre-race ceremonies prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 22, 2010 in Concord, North Carolina.

John Harrelson | Getty Images

Bubba, Jordan, Pitbull and… Snoop Dogg?

After Wallace’s departure from Richard Petty Motorsports, basketball icon Michael Jordan formed the 23X1 racing team together with well-respected driver Denny Hamlin. They recruited Wallace as a top driver.

I am a good move for NASCAR, which is betting that Jordan will spark new interest.

“We’re thrilled to have Michael here,” said Phelps. “I think this will generate considerable interest in itself. Like most owners, Michael only wants to be successful on the track,” he added.

The 23X1 team has already dressed very well Brand sponsorsincluding MC Donald‘s, Toyota and With the Dash.

Wallace hasn’t recorded any Victory in his career. He has to be successful for NASCAR to get it Tiger Woods-like PGA Tour momentHe had a tough night in Daytona 500 qualifying 2021, finished second in Duel 2 and got one sixth starting position in the race on Sunday.

One person who spoke to CNBC about Wallace’s influence mentioned Danica Patrick as an example how things can go if Wallace doesn’t win. The person asked not to be identified due to sensitivity to the subject.

Patrick set records in the sport as a driver in 2012 and cast a positive light on diversity, the person said. But despite the high profile, she struggled and eventually decided to leave Full time in 2017.

NASCAR has the ability to increase viewership and engagement by using Wallace as an entry point. Pop star Pitbull is also a NASCAR team partner. He joined the Trackhouse Racing Team in January.

“I’m very optimistic about NASCAR this season,” said Dan Cohen, senior vice president of Octagon’s global media rights advisory group. “You’re back on your schedule. You have Bubba Wallace – a good storyline. You have got celebrity owners involved, which adds a little flair.”

A former NASCAR team owner, who spoke to CNBC on condition of anonymity, said NASCAR should attract even more celebrity owners. Hip hop star Snoop Dogg name was mentioned.

Phelps said, “There are some names that have been thrown away. I don’t know if any of them will be used.”

Bubba Wallace, driver of the # 43 Victory Junction Chevrolet, takes a selfie with NASCAR drivers that put him at the top of the grid as a token of solidarity with the driver ahead of the NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 on June 22nd at Talladega Superspeedway. 2020 in Talladega, Alabama.

Chris Graythen | Getty Images

NASCAR marketing strategy

In addition to celebrities and Wallace’s potential success, NASCAR needs a marketing strategy that targets a minority, suggested a longtime marketing director Tony Ponturo.

How will Phelps and the company sell NASCAR to more diverse communities? What will it do to attract newer fans onto the track?

Ponturo, the former vice president of Anheuser-Busch In global media sports and entertainment marketing, NASCAR suggested avoiding “overcomplicated things” like the playoff system.

“I think they confuse more people than they educate,” said Ponturo. “As a sports fan, I couldn’t tell you how your entire system really works.”

He said a simplistic approach should work, adding, “You have to go to red and blue states and urban communities so that consumers have a reason to spend time playing the sport. And you have to work hard on that.”

George Pyne, CEO and founder of Bruin Sports Capital, agreed. Pyne served as NASCAR’s chief operating officer, helping him land one $ 4.5 billion media rights Pact before leaving the sport in 2005

“You have to market the sport to them and a driver, a team that could make it more relevant to them,” said Pyne. “And you have to talk about why this product is interesting.”

Pyne suggested better storytelling as a method. He said NASCAR’s promotion for Wallace could be action, and NASCAR could tell the audience what goes into building a car by showing more engagement behind the scenes.

Presenting more stories that aren’t drivers could help NASCAR as well. In 2018 Brehanna Daniels made history when she joined a top NASCAR pit crew and the first black woman join a team.

“You have to tell the story about people,” said Pyne. “And when you can do all of this, things get interesting. The human part of it is a big part too.”

Ryan Newman, driver of the # 6 Koch Industries Ford, drives during the 62nd Annual NASCAR Cup Series Daytona 500 on February 17, 2020 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Mike Ehrmann | Getty Images

Back to business

Building a new fan base takes patience and time and starts with Daytona.

Like other sports leagues, NASCAR touts its metrics, suggesting that its unique audience has grown by 17%. But money is made through sponsorship support and television viewers. And Daytona has suffered a loss in the past ten years.

During the race, the number of spectators rose by 18 million in 2002. It fell around 11 million viewers in 2017 and 9 million viewers in 2019. A. weather-related shift The 2020 race had to stretch over two days and attracted an average of 7.3 million viewers.

Marketing managers and NASCAR experts point out several things, including the failed “Tomorrow’s car“Project and a Charter systemthat turned off long-time fans. The great recession was to blame and affected participation, while NASCAR retired stars like Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

It created a lack of interest and the number of viewers fell.

Worse still, the decision to move NASCAR to the Fox Sports and NBC Sports cable channels contributed to the loss of television exposure. It can help NBC move now his races to USA Network, which reaches 86 million households, compared to 80 million from NBCSN. The current $ 4.4 billion The rights agreement runs until 2024, after which NASCAR could run elsewhere.

According to advertising company MediaRadar, marketers have also declined. The company submitted data to CNBC showing 865 advertisers (for a total of $ 182 million) served NASCAR programs in 2020, up from 946 ads ($ 291 million) in 2019. MediaRadar collects advertising data from marketers through a variety of media channels including TV and online.

To counteract this, NASCAR wants to attract attention return a dirt road on the Bristol Motor Speedway. Sport hasn’t seen this in over 50 years. And expect more marketing popular drivers like 2020 champion Chase Elliott. Even the return of Larson, who was suspended for his mistake, engenders intrigue.

“The sport has a lot of momentum,” said Phelps. “And I think that will continue in 2021.”

The outside executives trust Phelps to deliver on time.

“Phelps is a smart marketer, a smart businessman,” Cohen said. “He understands – they have to change and adapt and adapt. He understands that they have to be different.”

Pyne added, “He’s a good person; a sincere person. I think he’s committed to doing the right thing.”

It’s the new NASCAR: a large, welcoming environment.

“We’re going to be disruptive,” said Phelps. “And we’ll be brave. And we’ll do it in our own authentic way. We’re not the NFL. We’re not the NBA. We’re NASCAR.”

Bandai Namco Leisure Will get New President Forward of Restructure Plans

Bandai Namco Entertainment announces that it will appoint a new President who will lead the company through a major restructuring beginning in April.

Bandai Namco entertainment announced in its February 2021 financial report that it is appointing a new president. The change in leadership comes as the company prepares for a major restructuring that will merge the play unit with the toy unit.

Masaru Kawaguchi will lead the company as the new President and Representative Director. He originally joined Bandai Co Ltd. in 1983 just before the company began competing in toy products called gobots in the United States Transformers toys. Kawaguchi continued to advance in the company and became a major market leader after merging with Namco in 2006. He became President of Bandai in 2015 and Vice President of the entire company in 2020. He will take the top position in April.

CONNECTED: Bandai Namco’s producer says a new project may be the most expensive in the company’s history

As of April 1, the company will begin restructuring its five operating units into three. This includes merging the Toy and Hobby Unit with the Network Entertainment Unit, the division that includes this The Bandai Namco gaming team. The company announced in its February 2021 financial report that it was restructuring to embark on a new strategic direction. The company is also combining its Visual and Music Production Unit with its IP Creation Unit to create the new IP Production Unit.

Bandai Namco sale

The changes will come right after The European Commission fined Bandai Namco and five other video game companies for a total of $ 9.5 million in anti-competitive practices. The Commission has agreed to block the playability of games outside certain EU areas and to prevent people in EU countries from using Steam Keys purchased in another EU country. The Commission said this was against the European Union’s antitrust laws.

Bandai Namco owns several popular video game franchises including Pac-Man, Tekken, Soul Caliber, and Dark Souls. The company is the top-selling video game company in Japan after the industry giants Sony and Nintendo. Bandai Namco also owns the rights to several well-known Japanese media franchises including Dragon Ball Z, Sword Art Online, One Piece and Naruto.

Bandai Namco hopes the restructuring will give the western businesses more power and create new intellectual property rights for the European market. It is unclear how the merger of the Toy Unit with the Network Unit will affect future products. The company’s financial report shows that overall sales for the company have increased in recent years, while the Network Entertainment unit has seen sales increase.

The announcement marks the second restructuring of a Japanese video game company this year Konami announced in February that it would begin restructuring its gaming departments this month.

MORE: Nintendo Switch EShop: Bandai Namco hosts winter meltdown sale

Source: Video Game Chronicle

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Delta plans to carry again 400 pilots, signaling optimism about future air journey

Pilots speak after exiting a Delta Airlines flight at Ronald Reagan National Airport July 22, 2020 in Arlington, Virginia.

Michael A. McCoy | Getty Images

Delta Airlines plans to bring hundreds of its pilots back by the summer as the airline positions itself for a rebound in demand for travel.

Delta pilots avoided vacation last year after the union agreed in the fall to cut pay and not meet flight requirements for around 1,700 junior pilots. According to a company note, Delta will now offer active status to around 400 of them. This requires additional flight training to fly certain aircraft.

The pilots are already receiving a regular salary of less than $ 15 billion in additional government aid, which Congress approved no later than late last year Coronavirus aid package.

“When we looked for ways to better position ourselves to support the planned recovery, we saw an opportunity to rebuild additional staff for pilots before summer 2022 by returning 400 affected pilots to active flight status by summer” wrote John Laughter. Senior Vice President of Air Operations, in a Jan. 21 employee communication seen by CNBC. “This is way ahead of the original estimate that we can restore pilots to full flight status and will be possible from March and April due to PSP help and the available training capacity.”

Delta didn’t immediately comment.

J&J plans to have 100 million vaccines for Individuals by spring, board member says

Johnson & Johnson Board member Dr. Mark McClellan told CNBC that “if the clinical trial works,” the company could significantly increase the availability of Covid vaccines in the coming weeks.

“I know J&J has a very large supply of production both here in the US and elsewhere in the world, with the goal of maybe having enough vaccines for 100 million Americans by spring or April like this,” said the former FDA commissioner in an interview on Thursday night “The news with Shepard Smith. ”

During a speech at the White House Thursday, government lead infectious disease doctor Anthony Fauci said Johnson & Johnson would have enough data on its vaccine to start analysis within a week or two. McClellan told host Shepard Smith that the most important thing about the company’s vaccine is the large-scale clinical trial that is ongoing.

“Based on these results, the independent scientists overseeing this study should take a closer look in the near future and we’ll see how quickly the vaccine could advance,” McClellan said.

In the US, an average of 883,000 injections of the Covid vaccine are given per day for the past six days Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Even so, less than 50% of the 37,960,000 cans distributed have found their way into people’s arms.

Have at least 12 states reported Lack of vaccine. Officials from San Francisco and New York warned that they could be completely out of dosage this week. At least 15 vaccination sites in New York City are temporarily closed. New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio told NBC’s Gabe Gutierrez that at least 23,000 vaccine appointments must be postponed.

McClellan noted that “the supply will go up, but probably not enough to keep up with the large number of Americans who are now really looking to get vaccinated.” However, he told Smith that he believes the Biden administration can help speed up the vaccine adoption rate.

“It’s going to be a challenge, but I think more than 100 million Americans can be vaccinated in the next few months,” said McClellan, a health policy expert at Duke University.

president Joe Biden pledged a “full-scale war effort” to fight the coronavirus pandemic and accelerate vaccine production using the Defense Production Act during a Instruction Thursday.

“We have already identified suppliers and are working with them to move the plan forward,” said Biden.

He added that the DPA would help fix supply chain issues, including a shortage of syringes.