Wednesday, June 04, 2008
MediaMensch Meets Marcus Smith, new CEO of SMI Motorsports
This week begins a new chapter for NASCAR and Motorsports as Marcus Smith, takes over as the CEO of the company founded by his father and chairman, Bruton Smith and fills the shoes of legendary promoter and former CEO, Humpy Wheeler.
Today at Lowes Motor Speedway Club, we had a chance to be part of a press luncheon to meet and greet Marcus. Marcus grew up in the business at his father's side and told some great stories of learning the business from the "outside". As a young man, he was a champion "Weedwhacker" who could trim your hair with precision. He also had to opportunity to take part in some other stadium "maintenance" activities such as chasing the pigeons away with shotguns. That was the "sunburn" part of his career.
After college, Marcus had the opportunity to learn about the business from the "inside" moving around from department to department and gaining responsibilities as he grew in his job.
His vision for the future of his organization was to keep SMI a place where the employees and fans had fun each day. At the heart of the sport is entertainment and the future challenges are allowing the fans to have access to the drivers in the face of increasing media and sponsorship demands.
Marcus is currently on a "listening" and learning tour of SMI and seems to be doing the things that a good leader must do, surround yourself with great people, provide direction, and then get out of their way.
Many interesting events are coming to Lowes Motor Speedway and the other tracks owned by SMI. Last week, SMI bought Kentucky Motor Speedway, and on September 11, 2008 will be opening the "Bellagio" of drag racing strips called the ZMAX Dragway. (Can you tell he owns the Las Vegas Speedway too!).
As far the the challenge of filling seats due to $4.00 gas prices, SMI will be working to package its tickets to keep that experience affordable to its core fan base. One statistic, I learned today was the their average fan to Lowes Motor Speedway travels 400 miles each way on average and stays for multiple days. It is the one sport, where you can really bring your friends and family and have a life long memory.
We also had a great time at our lunch table getting to know a "Motorsports Historian" and a few other executives who surround Marcus Smith and will be playing key roles in the day to day execution of his vision.
MediaMensch looks forward to deepening our relationship with NASCAR, NHRA and Motorsports owners, teams, drivers, sponsors and especially the fans!.
Welcome Marcus! We look forward to your 50 year plan!