Pat Warren Podcast

Bob Fescoe
Monday, April 30th
On this episode of the KC Bobcast, Fescoe sits down with the President of the Kansas Speedway Pat Warren to discuss his move to Nascar, the importance of the speedway to KC's economy and everythng in between! 
00:56:00

Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Our latest edition of the Casey bobcats today's guest is Kansas Speedway president pat ward of the Kansas Speedway is one of the most important entities that we have been Kansas City. He generates more revenue that you could ever imagine and it brings people live from all over the world to experience what Kansas City has to offer for two weekends a year in the Kansas Speedway is the center of the sports world and it happens in May and October. Plus how Warren has an interesting story to tell. How you go from being in an athletic department at the University of Kansas. The basically equating everything and reestablishing your life becoming a business major and going to college in your thirties and coming back to run the Kansas Speedway how Warren has seen it all and also discusses what the sports scene in Kansas City is going to look like. In the future here's my conversation with Kansas Speedway president pat Warren this has been. Out of a whirlwind for you you go from working at the university Kansas go to your business degree go to work and it's Britain now you wake up and you the president Kansas Speedway how does that happen this. Well you know it when we talked before I told you I never thought I'd be working in NASCAR. When I was were gonna K unit were built in the speedway it to me and I in fact I told Bob Frederick was good friend of mine. This thing's a white elephant. You know you run it two times here how you make it work successfully we we knew we were doing with. When he basketball games here in six straight football games in the struggles we had and then you look at this. At the time 225 million dollar investment it's open. What you tell us look like two days here my how does that work. Like I tell you works it works pretty well. But I you know I went from yeah I'd left Kate you when Bob was forced out. And I decided to go to business school the best place that would take me go to university Chicago time. So my house in Lawrence moved. Was there for two years in turned it's brand came back and work full time sprint. Were there for two years and then got hired as the director marketing it at Kansas Speedway and through a series of mistakes they called promotions. And network where I am today yeah. I think it's I think it's really cool to pack your story I think it's really interesting because. You go to business school in your thirties I think for a lot of people they want it scared to do what you did you you took a big delete but decided this is what I'm gonna do. What was that like for 37 year old due to say I'm out of this I'm going to business school and on Scottish starting over well. You know ironically it was the it took me awhile to get there the morning and I was supposed to take GMAC which is good. Admissions test you take literally unity seat sort of train on for months it's on a computer. And I had been working on it and trying to get prepared for I knew I had to get a good score and in all this especially having been out of school three years. The morning I was supposed to take it at Robinson which is where this thing was crossed my office now fieldhouse I get a call from Al baloney 15 in the morning the panacea. And he calls me up and it's today he's decided to fire tear down. So. I walk out I was the internal attorney for the department the time I walk through some of those things with him in connected with the General Counsel and ended up going overtaking attest to they have feature with G memory and not accept your you don't even submit your score for. Or scoring Turkey's take a testament say no I don't want it more like new. Mentally I wasn't there for that so I did that. But it was a pretty big leap. You know and psychic tests later and did well enough to we'll Chicago and they let me in. But get you know when you sell your house and you move it's a pretty big. The big change your life I thought I was getting out of sports altogether I never thought I was going to be back in sports. And wasn't really looking to get back in sports when. A series of things at me at one time when I was at sprint an opportunity in North Carolina got a call from years past now Stanford and about an associate position there. I have another guy call me about a position as president of the Hamilton tiger cats football team in the Canadian Football League how does that happen a guy who works for me AKU. Called me up and he said. I've got a list of one. Of people that we wanna hire he was working for the owner of the club and ironically I didn't do it anymore Canadian health care right so I thought and a and then Jeff called about the speedway and so I I and at the speedway. And that's a believable because I think a lot of people would look at that no. 32 years old I've got this career and that's it ominous statehood night I think you can be looked at kind of like an inspiration because I'm sure there's a lot of people right now whether they're in their thirties or even in their forties that are thinking. This is all gonna do in life mommy can I do something different do I have the guts it throws stones to start over Aussie. Call pat war. Ultimately it's OK I didn't do that right yeah I mean I don't know quite had the guts to do it it was it was something I wanted to do that I saw as an avenue for a career change and one of the things that it happened to me EU my undergraduate degree was in political science and went to law school. And so I was always looked at as the attorney in the room when when I was sitting at a meeting I really feel like I've got more mind for business belong in a lot of ways and the difference ice. If you look at people from the outside I think the differences. People don't look at lawyer's problem solvers I think they should. But they don't always look worse problems which in for a lot of good reasons. What your business person you can solve problems that value. And so I realized I was working business challenges K view that there were things I wanted to do it. I was sort of figuring out what it was almost like I had to develop the idea on my own to figure out how to get there right and then I had a friend was in business school Kellogg at the time and sort of talking him and it's like. You learn the stuff in business school and it makes everything a lot easier. And so he and I talked and that's how I ended up doing what I was doing. I act I've got a list of like 85 different questions and topics I wanna get into but you mentioned you know he called you on the morning he was gonna fire Terry Allen and I I think like from a sports fan fan's perspective. We sitter I go back I needs me fired this guys thinks this guy's terribly innings ago. Take us inside that what it's like to talk to a coach tell them they're no longer the coach at that university or for that professional team. Hello I need to be careful because I was practicing attorney at the times of some of that tree client privilege sure and I don't try it and you think through what I should share it. Terry in our clothes we were good friends I wasn't the one who shared message of caring from but I would tell you that. Having gone through it. Having gone through to head coaching changes in football when I was Caitlin Mason last actually almost three is when left Georgia came back and then went to Minnesota. And then Terry courses let go. And then I was there during the whole first Roy Williams North Carolina sought I was gone the second but. It's usually not a surprise is what I would say I don't I you know I. I think much more often than not everybody knows it's coming within the organization. And so it's a there are probably questions about who's going to be one good talent and how's that gonna be communicated that. It you're thinking much more about the transition we're gonna do the student athletes that are staying in the program and and then on a personal level. And you know all the assistant coaches and their families all those kind of things and the Uighur affecting a lot of people when you make a decision like that room it was my decision to make but I was somebody who was involved in the process. And and I you know I think. People probably down when you look at sports from the outside a lot of people probably downplayed human side. How those changes impact not just the players for sort of the visible people impacted especially college works. But all this is in coaches in other people on the staff maybe front office staff. Nobody ever thinks about them and it's it's a big change for people when those when those firings or you know departures occur. You say you who gonna go television that the job of the athletic director of the university say they are making this decision you're the guy that has to go make that call. Again I don't lament I honestly don't remember what happened in Terry's case but you know Al bull might have been a little bit like trump where you know he. He says you know on the ice that your fired back and send somebody else to do if it's a couple of so. The go ahead no no I just that's or what I would say generally yet though so the Roy Williams the first go around. When he when he said I'm standing you do it in memorial stadium did you think he was gonna be a lifer at KU after that moment. Come. I did but I would tell you that the caveat to that was that I also thought operator who's going to be alive for. And I think a lot of people overlook. The personal loyalty factor that Roy had with Bob. Bob higher Roy what was the second assistant in North Carolina took a lot of criticism or we are going from a national championship team high pro profile coach Larry Brown. People thought we should be going up our and other super high profile coach I was a student days and time. Roy called Dean Smith dean said this guy might stack got to talk to. In what clicked what came out visit to campus Bob part. And this is before. I think this is really before the days of the search firms being involved in the coaching searches and it was a high profile. Departure you remember but still very different in the atmosphere that sort of circus that surrounds. That would surround it like you Bill Self left today I mean you know the insanity. Right. And so. Boy it felt very personally that. Bob going I don't know him for him his first contract with KU I think was. Readers 6484000. Dollars a year that's it yet you know on the television package for maybe another 150. And so he bought a nice home and Albemarle got an extravagant homey live there. Almost the entire time he coached Kay you. He moved into not a bigger home adjust to different home before it left but it was because Wanda wanted to move. Where the kids Latin and so but Roy had this personal loyalty to off. And when when Lloyd solved what the university did to Bob Frederick after ruling made the decision Tuesday. I I've not spoken to him directly about this but if you read his book sort of alludes to it and it talks in the assisting coaches. I think he looked at that situation and said. If I'm ever in trouble here no one's gonna have my back it is now bobs back. And you know if your head coaching you look at it and you think you know I have one or two down years I don't make the tournament. How does this institution so it's loyalty. And see what happened to what your best friends. It doesn't. Necessarily. You know engender great confidence for use in the university's leadership. Or other gonna manage a difficult situation how difficult is it to hire a head coach. I mean I was really involved with the hiring of Terry Allen and then the year before. When Glenn had left hand and ultimately came back which chancellor and Italy's decision. I don't think it's that hard I think it's it depends on the sport obviously when we were higher for the football job at KU. There's a degree which you had to sell a high profile coach on why you wanna come to Kansas basketball doesn't have that challenge. In Indiana State look that was in the early two thousands late 1990s to the atmosphere is very different today. You look at what happened at the University of Tennessee and you know and John Curry hired this guy and they go backers and state days. You know there's just that did the Internet was barely alive. In terms of eight source of information it was there were certainly you know. He's sports dot com and their recruiting blogs and all those kind of things but is it a whole different level today in the building go back into someone's past is different today than it was then. And I think people are held hired different standards. But you know are. Personally if I were back in college athletics I think. I would probably at the same view it that Bob did which is you hire some of their values. You make sure they can and coach rivers or you want to but you also going to be should do the right thing off or off the field. It's sort of check those three boxes you're probably going to be. Successful well since you've taken over at the speedway you've seen things don't go from here to here and now you have to start it tried to get back right here at and it's not just that and NASCAR and all sports sports drastically changed in the last day out here and anybody wants to say. What's been the biggest impact or change you've seen so it's really when the speedway opened to where we say the president. These changes we've made these changes were being seen what what's the bulk bigotry you guys may ambiguous change. So I think the biggest changes for. Which I don't this war would admit it NASCAR as a as a community would admit we didn't handle well. Was the rule out of they called the car of tomorrow the new car. It was designed frankly directly as a response team to our seniors death. I don't know and buddies says that explicitly but I think. You know you sort of look at the timing that's pretty much what was. And realization that art can be made much safer when we added seeker we made the facilities safer now we had improved the car. And that's a longer process it's not as easy. And safety was at the forefront of everything that was going on with that and NASCAR talked about that probably didn't work closely enough with the driver to driver Mayan. And so they switch cart drivers needed new car and drivers said they needed new car. Well it's distortion yours or are saying they hate the primary. Vehicle in this case not using determine both ways vehicle for competition. It's not good for the sport and she can imagine he made wholesale change in football uniforms football helmets and almost every football players it. This is a terrible chain I know it's safer but I hate I can't do this thing he would do that. Fans are gonna like it. And that's what happened in the sport that was in 2006. Took two years or worked on correcting it and we had so much momentum in the sport time that we didn't see I I would say we didn't see. Some roads and that was occurring. We had a recession in 2008 and this work like a lot of things sort of fell off a cliff and at the time we came together as an industry and we start we were we work even harder on fixing the problems but we had this. Almost like heart disease that it started before we at heart surgery when the when the recession occurred. And now we're getting back up to it will help them make sense here. What about at the speedway what what's the biggest change you guys made out there biggest change we made his problem we added the second Sprint Cup date we used to have an approach where we were IndyCar. We ran three NASCAR series. You could buy a ticket you wanted to as long as it was a season ticket sort of the Henry Ford model. And so when we had the second date we really felt like. Four for our fan base and what we were trying to do we really need off of that single ticket option almost everyone else in the country needed time to do now. And so when we made that change that was probably the most significant change to our business model. And it it where you see it the most is an drastic impact on our support races for the truck series in the next minute you race. Smaller crowds that he's not as many people buying season ticket they're coming up next. So sports is a whole as we talked about art are dealing with the issues I mean the NFL has got their new targeting issues they've got lacking attendants they have the anthem crisis that's taken place. Baseball trying to figure out how to you know market to a twenty year old you know you've got you know hockey which is you know the people who try to figure out what to do the right market that's sport as well. What do you think overall exports take all exports into account what's the biggest challenge facing sports in general today. I think it's too cold. I think this. You can't under. Estimate for undervalues the change that HDTVs made in the at home. Experience for sports. It is it is. Revolutionaries. In terms of the enhancement and the quality of staying at home watching game. And and I would couple with that the changes in pricing technology on large screen and on TV speakers fifteen years ago it was. 5000 dollars to buy a 54 inch non HD projection TV and look nice and it was a cool but. It was what was now for 5000 dollar you can go on a full home theater system and have arguably haven't experienced it's better home. And you have a stadium you know what whiners and that means think about all the stuff that's happened and home entertainment. It's and you couple that with changes in. Production technology. And you know we have a larger television compound that is capable. And our races I'll and it's because of the size of our facility and the number of cameras we try to penalties in car cameras and also the steps of the huge television compound. It's a great experience that your home but it creates an economic challenge for us because if I'm trying to say to someone. Leave your living room or Baylor rumor basement or wherever you're watching and come to Kansas Speedway what's the compelling reason for them to do it. You know I got to make traffic work forum again have reasonably price concessions. I gotta hope the weather's good you know all those things that none of those factors hormonal I don't fight traffic and we're about whether it never rains out I'll go do something else. And the chiefs and royals every other sports group at the same problem. As a relates to youth I think it's at it if a similar but different challenge and I would call attention span issues. K you've seen some significant changes its student and even a basketball games. It's because students don't want to students and young people don't wanna dedicate eight hours to a sporting event. In case you if you're camping out of the game pregame and then. You know you're there when they open the doors to cars at a time here at the game that's 6468. Our experience depending on what it is and students just aren't going to do that. They you know they they've golf ball on the map the watch it online they cheer for the team but they do it different place. So how do you I I guess Major League Baseball is realize that they can you know and our TV product is more important and fans in the statement today they flat out admitted to that so. Are we getting to that point in time for the TV product and you have to find ways to make that better in order to compensate for what's going on at the gate for a lot of. Places and I I think part of it is you're seeing more honesty among. Leagues and teams in our case facility about the importance of television revenues. It's its ban a huge factor for college sports professional sports. The last 25 years but it's growing in terms of importance. And I think it's more transparent now because there didn't used to be any media covering media. Media didn't used to care that much about. What ESPN or fox sports or somebody was doing now you might talk about how those two entities are influencing. A college kid two dollars or something like that you know until. Until Notre Dame signed an exclusive contract with NBC and a little bit further back Oklahoma to the deal they tried to break out the ABC deal. It was a really in college it was a locked environment. And in broad didn't really matter was sort of a behind the curtain thing you didn't look at it. Now it's very upfront you see these mega billion dollar deal NFL assigning and you can't ignore. And so you know in our case. I use a cooperative fashion model. Television's future partner when you work with them we need to do we can't help them but we also need television help us and and they do I think NBC in particular and boxes well. They want to do things to make people understand. The attending the events in person is different than watching it on TV because they know people that attend the events that person and it seems true. Brothers worked as well are more likely to watch the product on TV. And so it's figuring out that balance for both of our industries to figure out how you make yet venue experience rate in stadium experience great. But also make yet home good enough that when you don't have the opposite. Google watcher person and frankly for most of and you won't. That you wanna watch on TV. Are are you concerned that in twenty years we won't have sports fans left in this country because of the kids in the students are going to take you basketball games. Then they're not gonna invest once they get out and go isn't it add as adults like are you concerned at twenty years we could be looking at arena's and and stadiums all over the country that are empting. I think. That's a very real risk. You know whether that's gonna happen at a place like Kate you you know I think this is old a longer. Much longer. Story. But yeah I mean yeah you have to you have to think about if you're not building the next generation of bands. You lose generation fans and your sport and I. Because you can't survive missing you know fifteen years abandon. And so our sport in particular has been one that's been sort of passed down through families. And it's harder work to learn. You've got it he yankees go watch the race you watching unit. Price is what to a race he put in earplugs he watched the racers and while it was really cool. Lot of colorful car they're going really fast really really loud. But I didn't really get it. You know wants the the run the race started like. I could see on that big thing in the middle scoring pylon who was in first by the number the car bit. Didn't look like in his first who's out there as he caught the back of the field and that he's in traffic and I you know and so it's a confusing Aventis are. He put the radio on. He put on a headset either being envisioned just standard radio and you come out it's even better if you got a friend can help explain some things to you but even just listening to it. On up on a radio that listens the prequel to driver you pick a favorite driver and general matter the follow. And the whole sport starts to click and make sense and it's because it's like if you went to a football game for the first time you came here from. Africa and you'd never watched American football. And if you could go to the game and listen to the head coach the offensive coordinator and quarterback. Speak live during the game and explain what they're doing. That's what you get it NASCAR because you listen to that the driver he was in the crew chief and you listen to spotters. Telling the driver and crew chief what's going on elsewhere on the track talk live during the event no other sport offers that. It in many ways noticed working and because when it's a finer competition. If it's when the chiefs for playing if you had that level of transparency. You to listen to their opponent you want to listen geez you can react when there's forty cars on the track. Competitively can't make it. Work it would be interesting to hear what liquidity Reid is sending it to find out if he's really getting conservative in the second half of playoff game I we also right that would be cool yet people would pay extra for that I would you credit Mario entity to mark mark Donovan has said you know it's. He acceptable in the NFL. Trying to achieve that level of transparency. For fans knowing they will probably never be able to actually achieve it the same we don't set the bar there will never recruit so I'm I'm tasking you with. Impacting. Let's say fifteen year old right now to make sure that person doesn't lose the interest in sports like you and I had we were grown up right now to take is that the game would go to the it would watch the game we'd be interested in the sports. Now you talk about following it on the cap watching other phone just watching highlights the affair but not the go to the game watched the whole game on TV I'm tasking you would making that fifteen year old die hard sports. How are we doing. I'm why I would say adding it's a much bigger issues than just being able to take the random fifteen year old knew it wouldn't be it is. When you and I were growing I don't know if Europe can't sit here but the New Jersey okay but. So when you know are growing up there were sports seasons. And you play like in Kansas City you would play baseball in the spring and summer. You'd like footballer soccer in the fall you're a basketball on the winner and you might swimmer is something else depending what your interest work. Now. All these sports and I'm but soccer at the top of the list wanted to have me here around almost cool like dedication to the sport. And it's arts like age ten and I've got four kids and I've watched it and I don't think that's healthy for any sports because I think what happens is. All youth sports are asking kids to make choices to the exclusion of other activities. And so it's hard to be a premier soccer player and also compete in basketball you can't the schedules don't work I mean just. Because I mean I watched my daughters play and you know wise and such and such here today of Jesus soccer match in Lawrence. You know why isn't this get here Hitler dancer there you know whatever the other thing it. And so. I think a big part for every sport but NASCAR participating in this work understandings work is part of becoming a fan. It's harder to be a fan of this work if you never participated in one of the big challenges we face it's also an advancement based most people drive now. Interestingly new millennial may be let your drive and it's a different challenge criteria yes there's just been the societal shift we're. When when you would I would argue whom we over program are kids. We don't let them relax and do things Heidi take your kids royals game. When you've got baseball three nights a week soccer three nights a week in them you know fill in whatever else is the time. I think our biggest competition other then. You know what I laid out purely with HDTV and sort of the attention span is people's time. People don't have time to relax and actually thanked him. There it's it's a constantly programs schedule for families how much your competition is this the cell phone and everybody has right now. I get some but I don't think it's huge I idea that more as a as a friend. I think when people. I've been an advocate of trying to create an app where people can watch the race lives. In venues. And use it is the radio headset and I described earlier and we've had some attempts at that they have worked perfectly because of latency issues but I think technology will ultimately solve that. But he'll help us or help the NFL not sure matters much Wrigley baseball beat. Replays and umpires there it sort of a different story. Might help college basketball but I think for our sport for the NFL could really make a difference. I remember it was the 2014 post season the royals right and I was talking to somebody who was pretty high up in the royals' organization nice by the kids during the season this is happening you know the conversation. He's got a fourteen year old son I think is who's the age at the time and you know he does watch the games like. Really doesn't watch the games against. He's got his vote appears outscored rips doubly goes on their quickly he watches the highlight right away and that's when for me it started to become wait a second. Kids are watching the royals are at their best season they've added 25 years. And the young generation is an invested don't just watch a highlight on the phone and that's when it started to click to meet workspace is something. Kind of strange in sports and then you have the chiefs this year with a playoff game not being able to sell any tickets to that to get people into the game and there's a lot of five cents on the dollar dealing. How we start really see that tide turn towards were people don't care about being at the game as much as they used. Right that people well I think part of it is that you people probably feel like they can be. Almost as intimately involved with the sport on their phone or on their tablet as they can't being in the in the and you stadium. And that's our challenges people who run. You know whether it's it's in our case a facility that runs events are loyal to the chiefs you know they've got a home team. We've got to make that experience so compelling for the fan. Do you feel like. I want to go to the royals game because and then fill in because and the same sort of true for the broadcast. And in some ways it's it's a bigger challenge. TV probably compete more phones and we do. I think where the phone impacts us is the attention Spanish you did that you just described it's easier to check a race Europe of game or whatever it may be on your phone than to dedicate three hours or six hours and they just don't wanna do it. I I just think you know what would you look at the venue like the size of yours you guys are obviously not some of the season ticket as a mandate anymore. And you have to fill what 65000. Seats right. How do you do that you go back this grassroots stuff where you're going out and I actually hit the pavement and in selling the sport again. We are you know we're we've gone last year's Knoxville nationals and Iowa. We work with local dirt tracks and and things like that and it's amazing we go to places like that. That eighteen years and our facilities still people react to us like we you know there running and ask our major NASCAR racing Kansas City. And I'm like you know world. We're just dumbfounded we can't believe that that's the reaction we're getting but that's our fault you know we would we haven't done a good job getting him how far is that here. Couple hours we're not going roughly get central Iowa it yet. And so you know we hear that like while we're there we go wrong. You know what are we doing wrong. Well I think in the late nineties early two thousands. Before that recession I think. Everybody sports cottages got fat and happy for lack of a better term you know and yet. I would save it in the late ninth through in 1995. To 2005. Sports is like the cellphone industry in the early nineties and the cellphone industry took off your members friends repeats yes. It's time Cingular. And everybody was adopting phones you wouldn't have phones were buying them. And so what was happening. All these companies were growing their business because more people worse becoming subscribers looked like all right I'm obviously lean back my screen experience here at the industry was growing. And so if you were doing things that wrong you couldn't tell. Because the industry was growing so fast that bucket was filling up so fast you were in inevitably when you're up no matter how bad you were. Sports is the same thing. And NASCAR benefited from that. Everybody was it was engaging in professionals works in a way excited about professionals works anyway. During that period for whatever reason that everyone was doing well. And so everybody thought they were geniuses they thought out marketing geniuses we know exactly what we're doing and that we think started to slip like in our case it was. What happened. You know we're the best I could this be happening to us. And and that you gotta you really look inside look in the Mir and say it where we screw what have we done right how we fix it. What made sports hit the ground running like that 1995 and all of a sudden become the biggest thing out there with a TV contracts became huge and all of a sudden all this money was poured into professional sports. I the only thing I I'm I'm just. Trying to think through and I haven't really thought about it. Maybe expansion cable television. At the time and satellite TV. That's about if I remember right that's about all the regional fox sports network started actually at some competitive things there. Radically expanded the amount especially college sports team analyzed worked programming. And so she's got more content you were paying more for content and it just created this escalating. Escalating rights fee situation. And I think the major leagues. NFL NBA. Major League Baseball and NASCAR. Saw that there was a huge opportunity there NASCAR prior to that time. Each track at negotiated with television. And then they rolled all into one obviously with a consultant who worked for the SP and eroded one TV deal and that was when NASCAR really took off from a television rights perspective. You guys at the track I saw. Contributed 215 million dollars a year to the economy in this area hurt for basically two weekends of racing I mean that's a huge number right. How does that compare with other events that we happy cutesy that's really big debate it is and it's it's a it's a reflection of the fact that half or fans come from distances of two miles or more. And they stay for a couple of days. Did the big twelve tournament as examples of fifteen to twenty million dollars economic impact he has like ten times as big. Right well it's just scale it's it's it's a combination of size the sprint center. And even though their running for multiple days. That the fans are leaving as the tournament. Continues and typically for the big twelve colonel what's happening is. Can't dismiss what used to be Missouri the Kansas or Kansas data maybe I would state fans are coming into town at their team's doing well. When they're staying in hotels and doing those things is different. The other difference in our case is that. For the big twelve tournament. The sports commission I believe still works with the hotels. Try to negotiate you know little room rates and well and room blocks those kind of things in our case it's the other way so. All the room prices go up there minimum night guarantees so if you look at the average hotel. Into or neighborhood around the speedway. And they make on on an average night Greer 6590 year 85 dollars net about the figure ten dollars of that. Is the result of the increased pricing during race weekends. So more than 10% of their revenue. Is associated. With two weekends here. That's an incredible month or so not only with the hotels whatnot but what do you guys seen with that kind of economic impact how you been able to help out the key in city aerial last roughly twenty years I it's there's probably not any single thing that's happened. You know we learn as we go and so we've gotten better. Ironically. When the legends opened up I think every restaurant or collections thought we're gonna you crust on race weekend and then they work. And the reason is that people don't go to areas that the time traffic on race weekend we'll now they've figured out. If I get in during the race by going after the race it is really sort of a four hour period either end of the race with a lot of traffic in other than that. Elections is wide open and a great place to shop reader every one. And our race fans have learned about it. And so you know I think if you wanna look at. The area immediately around the speedway and change that's occurred there you know they're used to beat Kentucky fried chicken and convenience store their my sister lived on the property. Did the speedway now loans on their you know it it's just. It's been a radical transformation. Five billion dollars of investment like 5500 jobs. Casinos there are now servers out there obviously sporting KC Nebraska furniture mart Cabela's those of the things that I would say. Or planting the flag in western wind knocked down in saying we're here workers today. Hope those things occur. It back to our discussion with pat ward in a second the let me tell you about red door growth. Right door guerrillas become the go to spot for me and my family with three convenient location to brook side Overland Park and we would there's always a regular real close by and every day they have something awesome to offer Sunday's prime rib Sunday. And half price bottles of wine. Every single Bobble wind in the restaurant has half price not certain models here are certain models there every bottle on Sunday is half price. Then on Monday they have five dollar burgers that's what we love. Juicy half pound burger grilled to perfection. And then Thursday it's hollow. And of course every weekday from four to seven is the best happy hour in town where you'll find phenomenal prices on drinks and appetizers. So you see there are a hundred reasons a stop in to one of the three red door grills today. And we'll see you at red door tonight. You guys had a kind of reinvent herself was we talked about the sport of NASCAR now you've got the stage racing that they did do was kind of changed to NASCAR. Why is this good for the sport and explain to people what that means to it well so. I was lucky enough to be included in the group to develop the state racing. And I I mean I was like you know opinion room at giant as it relates this war exit and Jeff Burton and Jeff Gordon. You know some drivers. Some team owners big big. Players have been NASCAR Steve O'Donnell Jim Cassidy. On this guy Regina. Fifteen years in the sport most of them grew up in some way. But I'm sort of a numbers guy I am like cool how do you create the incentives for the drivers and the point system is ultimately a reward system. So how do you create a reward system for the drivers that encourages the best practice. That was my framework. From the beginning. And did so if you look at it NASCAR historically. Used to have a system that. Rewarded points at the end of every race and those rolled up throughout the year and you could create a season long drama. War you could have a situation where four races into the season. It was over Dale Earnhardt senior won the championship Richard Petty when championship they built them so to leave. So Brian France said I don't really worked thus we got to figure out some way agree he called a game seven moments and it sort of what was then called chase. And so they reset the field ten races before the anti base in the regular season and the playoffs they called chase. Reset the field and start running chase races in the recent adequately around and try to reset that competitive balance Anchorage. The best racing possible. The problem was we ran that for several years the problem was there's still wasn't great incentive for a driver on lap 65. Why would driver lap 65 here if they were first place what must that affected their finished at the end needing care. And so the idea with the stage racing was to say we're gonna create these moments in the race where it matters where you walk. And it not only matters from like PR perspective which these two get money and things like that but it matters for the championship. And so the drivers said in a regular season points are great the political stage points. Those are great if you really wanna get us to race give us playoff points. Help us get to homes which for the championship in his career so it's an okay stage winner is gonna get a championship so they're well. And they get carried out with them all the way through because now that's almost like trying to build up the equivalent of by. The various rounds of the NASCAR now we. Sort of seated in the world and said tubing were called playoffs Denny Hamlin was funny he said every interview idea I have to say. The chase NASCAR's version of the playoffs and we just called the playoffs right and so we decided that room we're gonna call blast as people what they're comfortable with Wright Edelman and it's a complicated exactly differently and I mean I think originally it was it was a laudable to try to differentiate its working. Probably placate our fans it's not like everybody else but it really is playoffs so the city you get these points and how many stages or in a race. Right there three stages. Basically you're not the first half of the race is two stages we've got in our race you've got to earn 67 laps might be like. Lap eighty lap 160 and those are the exact stage links are placed it. Roughly were the race after the race of the and the first two stages in the second half of the race is the final stage and that's when the big points and the race winners were. And in the at this stage is sort of mini races and the idea is going back to you know kids in attention span and those kind of things. How do you draw fifteen year old and just today. Like I wanna close or care about sport there's not an Alex Gordon hitting it double other than Iraq in the middle of a NASCAR race. Organically. But Kris stage now fifteen year old might say it marked trips that stage he Jimmie Johnson when that date they're drivers they now. Care about the stage wins and I've seen it with my kids they don't. And I wouldn't say fully embraced it. But they'll ask me at the end of race you know that's who won a similar one last week in Martinsville do you when he stages you know and so they're starting to sort of get it and so. Hopefully over time. It gets more traction but 75% of our fans have really embraced the stage racing concept. I think anybody who's going to get a chance it's changing something in lot of sports fans don't like any change. Our fans are certainly in that category. Anyone given a chance can't really united created batteries that are still I was gonna antsy like you you talk about the stage racing and some of the kids alike and how do you get some of these younger fans involved in the sport he would do drivers Heidi new drivers it's well it. So it's not really our response. We're not so much on the driver development side only talk about that morning that ticket interest is an interest in change going on there and related technology. He used to be that to be driver and is one of the race reasons we face challenges and diversity for drivers it it was incredibly expensive. Because you'd have a car or Coke or late model something those things Archie. Yet that parents who pour money into it go to the track every week and you've really got to be dedicated to learn how to do this work it's it's not as easy as people think it's not like she's. Get behind the wheel and your crazy and you win. You've really got to be good and understand how to drive those cars. Well in the last fifteen years but there's been development of a computer simulation program called I racing. And I racing pretty but it has never done it most people haven't. It basically a stationary racing simulator and it can be anything from a single screened three screens some of them have motion thinks it's like a pilot we use. That's cool but it allows a driver. To get the most realistic experience outside of our. That is. A more realistic experience outside of a car than ever impossible it's I've tried it possible. I literally can't drive cars it's so are the actual cars in the simulators. Simulate that computer simulators they're really hard drive. And now let our fans do bit. Anybody can do you to sign up yeah you build the simulator he sign ambiguity of the Walt Klein you're not you know when you start your doctor be racing at top levels as did. You've wrecking everybody in ruins everybody else experienced its live competition. A witness this isn't something you can do show up on my race they'd do is like any kind of activity at the track you so you we we could we do but each and you'd like more of a yes or platform that it's easier. This is more for someone new series about racing either really really avid fan for somebody wants races or. William Byron is now on the car succeeded guilty in your neck are. Trained himself on race he spent more time behind a computer screen them behind the wheel are. First driver in his troopers worked that. So I think it I think it could be at all. I don't know quite it's generational shift but it's going to be huge change in our sport in the ability for people who may not have the resources to go rotten. One go carts due to travel everything else that has traditionally been as the U earth work to be successful. I hate to sound like an old man but lately you know the video game generation network in right now naked while playing those games maybe this lends itself to that that's like the next step you take you know I think it does although I think. Watching my nine year old. NASCAR needs to better tablet game. I watch him play Madden I watch him play NBA live I want to play whatever this MLS fifa game is NASCAR does have a great game tablet right now. It's argued that you can you want to make you turn the tablet. And that's based here in answer awkward and it's it's hard to follow and so I don't know you do things with a thumbs that is hearing it I don't know what the answer I don't pretend to be Smart enough. But I think that's what NASCAR needs to engage and 91011 year old to get them engaged in this work. At least on the video game but. If you can make one change of France family comes uses UU one change to make the NASCAR what do you talent what's your what's your deal. I don't know. I don't think there's one change that you know I would say. Keep doing what we're due reasons should try to encourage collaboration. Because. Most most professionals who works have. Management or ownership and players. Who knows really the two dynamics they've got to work well and there's tension there and salaries and contracts in this management management management is responsible for going out. Finding sponsors doing those kind of things and that's all sort of on this side and then. That did there's somebody in the front office usually not doing that work but figuring out who they want on the team and they're also responsible for the the action on the field. In our sport everybody sort of doing everything. Because we control the playing surface and we got to maintain competition surface and it makes a difference in this war. Which mixes the sport safe and we got to sell sponsorship. We don't have a team to promote our sport you're talking maybe it is the drivers not market doctor. Teens go out and sell sponsorships and compete without us NASCAR goes out so sponsorship. And he took us all in the same industry and so. It's a really important for us to work together some industries of the we're going out to a Budweiser and Anheuser-Busch. It's not. They're hearing from Hendrick motor sports or it would be. Stewart Haas who has that relationship been hearing from Stewart Haas hearing from NASCAR about pole award then they're hearing from 26 racetrack saying buy from us. Were working much harder now to try to say here's the way you can promote your brand. And get across the entire platforms work and we've not been good at doing man in the past we're doing it now in cities that what's the one thing you can do excuse that. Look at the landscape at Kansas City sports and in I think it's changing obviously rapidly I think I think we're gonna have a downtown baseball stadium I think some it's going to be different with the narrow it whether they do it out there or maybe even out by you guys where do you think. In twenty years the chiefs are. I haven't honestly thought about it I'm not sure I agree with you on the downtown stadium and you'd be neat concept. I'm not sure how that impacts the city. I could certainly see a lot of positive benefit the downtown area. But I fighting that real estate and as an entity that had to find real estate and we were created think. That's challenge I'm trying to do it in and figuring out the parking in the logistics and out impacts things and unlike. Chicago is an example that as a downtown park Saint Louis does too but it's different. Chicago it's great public transit to keep people in front cubs games we go. And so. Our fans Kansas City fans are used to driving a sporting events are driving a lot of events which each got to create about parking. And so it's not just a matter refining group baseball stadium it's. Where all the fans don't think of the event and how do you make that work I think it's challenge. Is that when he your biggest challenges deal with Lleyton in the marquis getting inning getting at is I don't you city we care about parking for everything. You know word we're fortunate is because we've never charge for parking we offer paid parking option for people who want a better experience. Closer and we've just started doing that the last few years. Who knew when you charge for parking. You create a choke point because you got a bill somebody for parking and get him into the facility we haven't done that so our parking situations. Is. Pretty nice frankly. Our challenges whether because we Parker grass and it paved lots. There's a number of reasons for that cost and environmental impact of the things. But are pardon situation is pretty good it's probably the best in the country for NASCAR and it's because like Truman sports complex we sit at the intersection of interstates. For the chiefs I don't know I mean he you know we look at it the Truman sports complex we just put this city. Of over a billion dollars and those two facilities. And I don't know what the appetite is taxpayers Brothers to continue to pay. 500 million billion dollars to keep reinventing these facilities. When you know. The taxpayers are the ones make money on the correct and and so I think it's fair question that cities need to ask. How much money should be spent on a football stadium for baseball stadium or room arena and who's making the money from that word is going out of work. And that being said I'd say you know the difference between us as we like Omar the morning is the royals and chiefs I think to a lesser degree Kansas Speedway sporting KC other other. Things but. Really it's it's the NFL Major League Baseball. They give us civic pride. In it in a big way that's meaningful and it matters the question is how much does it matter when you have start paying for. People ask all the time and it becomes the this Princeton has been a decade now. Down and and I don't think we need another professional team hearing Kansas City having prisoners do without it do you think from a sports business standpoint we could support another professional team in Kansas City that would be a hockey or basketball right. I think basketball which struggle because of the success of the three college programs in the area. War it's basketball successful it would impact programs. I think it's really hard victory. An NBA experience. For forty games a year it's gonna compete with the experience of Paramus coliseum Allen field house. Or. Whatever mrs. Reid is currently call him apologize right. But you know it's not that far to drive to new places uses a little bit further stretch key state 75 miles an hour winds and now. He hit a pretty quick Allen field house forty minutes away. Most people in city parking can be different yes but it's ride itself is not that bad so if you sit parking is going to be seeing it sports that are. Around fieldhouse and it's it's the commute distance. That you're in southern Johnson Downey. Immediately made a difference and if that I know people who live out there and you know like a ten minute drive closer towards now they are down into the sport and then the question is which which is better which is a better experience. I'm probably bias from my background you but I I think you'd be really tough decrease in the experience. Would compete effectively down field took from a business standpoint we fiscally able do you think the supporting others. Studies say. In studies that we can before we we we don't have the the business communities or another. Another professionals works in the city. And so. You know it's not. Part of the problem is some of the businesses we have. Don't entertain at sporting events the way other businesses so if you look at a place like Chicago. They've got a lot of businesses wrap. Beans and Lauri others that you act and you better team they do in our market. That you warm weather in Chicago because their hometown. We don't have the BBC companies that are doing it hairspray was the biggest and you know they pull back but it. Editors do much at all it's not their business model doesn't doesn't work for them I'm not being critical just to true garment doesn't do it doesn't work that. And so it's a block you know a lot because their business model is different and so I think it would be a challenge to find that right mix and I think experts and are still pretty long suite sales. And I think one of the reasons they do well they have such a diversity of activity in there AG has done a great job programming it. You dropped forty basketball games and there are I don't know how many hockey games and that stuff goes away can't you seven earned runs on whatever else Urdu and right now I would argue that classic rock and sort of the more established an experience of those things. May be better draw. Then and in home NBA or NHL team these people wanna go see Eagles. Because they're not around much longer in the NBA is going to be around. All right so that battle being said Ana I find it very interest because I'm with you I just don't think from a sports landscape we can support it another team of business. Right no after cannibalized somebody would be affected by and I don't wanna affect anybody that's currently business right. But and I hate I hate to go down this road but I think I have to go down this road. These new tax codes that are now in place that are no longer allowing people to write offs sporting events as business expenses anymore. I know from from talkative Tagalog Marlins man whose best of a lot of money in sports tickets wanting us. I think I may have to cut back now because I'm not allowed to write that off anymore as a business expense right do you see that playing a role of the way to companies do business. From an entertainment standpoint and an investment standpoint sports. It yet depending on how the IRS ultimately comes down and it will. An and I think it's a fair I'd call a public policy question. You know if Marlins manager example is going himself to a game and spending whatever spent on tickets busy building his business through that. And is that an expense that you and I and others should subsidize through our tax dollars. When we're not spending our money you. And it's a fair question acts does impact the business does impact the oil for us news. Racing fan absolutely. But we're facing serious. Economic and you know financial problems the country that at some point we've got to be willing to look at because it's it's it's gonna crush our children our grandchildren now. And well I love sports obviously it's business and I'm in. We can't have everything all the time. Just society in the world doesn't allow that so we've got to make difficult choices and it will position I don't know I don't know where that's gonna play out. I think the other interesting thing in the recent tax code changes it's going to be. Deductibility of college contributions and that the safe harbor used to exist right no longer does I think that has a the potential to have a greater impact on college athletics in the business exemption does a professional sports I could be wrong about that the relative impact the quote quote haven't you. Huge impact I'll leave you with this in a decade what's the landscape of professionalism and high level collegiate sports going to look like to you and what's the landscape could look like Kansas Speedway tigers. Well I. I could've told you that that collegiate sports would look the way it does now if you ask me that question 2008. And so I'm almost hesitant yes. It seemed there seems to be a lot of momentum around paying players. I don't think long term that's a sustainable model because you're in the title line she's due payments player at women's player. Football. Growing you know those it very quickly becomes an unsustainable financial model. Which probably would mean if you went that route let's say the NCAA Sanofi and eight players in. A market rate or whatever was and then title mine came in and yet to play men and women the same sort regardless of the economic benefit the institution. I think Acxiom for more streamline pipeline sports which will perk college sports ultimately. How that plays out. I am I don't know that sort of about as Dicey things that are happening now. That seems to me via a possible outcome. For us I would say that I think your guns and I think you're seeing this across the country racing. You've seen it football Michigan basketball. Legacy smaller more intimate venues that freedom that her inexperience. Because. As were competing with that yes it is home. Drink my own beer whatever maybe. We've got to come as close as we end. And it's not going to be about selling 200000 tickets to raise its going to be about selling 50000 tickets to race and making sure 49000 of those people have phenomenal time. Because if you sell 200049000. Have a great time which is horrible we in the past. You gotta resell 150000 tickets so the few 1049000. Have a great time you'll get it on planet thousand new customers that's much much more sustainable business. Yeah I think BAT's NFL venues are just too large now may UC 76000. Fans of the game in Kansas City I think. I think smaller is better I think you give a little more intimate experience I think people would like that I think you're right in it he knows it's going to be a challenge and a lot of it has to. You with the revenue distribution models for the league in our case we don't have any revenue distribution as a relates to gate receipts or suite revenue. The NFL has different model and it's done very well and it fell. But I think the league is an apps are looking at those things because. If your team in your remark they will why would I want 80000 seats at a 40000 seats what's the impact to meet. And you know that that's a question ought to answer for themselves I think here's it coming up. It's a great great business to be of them managed changed so much like it really hasn't been so many different aspects from TV to stadium tonight. Players that Miami like sports exchange more. In the last we at ten years and I think anybody ever expected. I would agree and again I think a lot of it goes back to broadcast. I guess I would say it if you ask me what the biggest change is likely to be. Globally in sports it's going to be what happens next on television contracts because. With ratings dropping. Our networks ESPN fox NBC CBS to a lesser degree willing to continue paying increasing rights fees. For a smaller audience and the value of the sports brings as a whole lasting and TV people watch life. Lastly people listen to live right there that's why you guys here right but. If the audience keeps drinking and people are using other devices whether it's a tablet computer phone whatever. Out of those scholarship where the dollars go right I think that's going to be really interesting question that probably in accesses industry more than anything else in the next years I. Hope you enjoyed our conversation with Kansas Speedway president pat Warren and learn exactly how important Kansas Speedway truly is. The landscape of sports not only in Kansas City but to the region as a whole. It's.
READ MOREREAD LESS