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On Saturday night two weeks ago, we went to the local raceway with a quarter-mile track. The real purpose was to be interviewed during the intermission by the track announcer about the International Rally New York and to talk to their feature sponsor - an Irish software company already familiar with rallying.

This was a regular night so some 1,000 spectators turned up. The raceway gets even higher numbers of spectators for their major feature weakly race nights. Spectators paid $15 per person for five hours of racing fun. 1,000 spectators at $15 a head results in gate receipts of $15,000 per night exclusive of concession stands sales worth additional thousands of dollars. $15,000 represents a major portion of the budget of a fairly-sized rally.

As a result, the entry fee was $20 (twenty dollars!) for several hours of racing including one hour of free lapping, several heats and a finale for each class. And, if you did not sign up for their series, they slap you with a surcharge of $7 for a total entry fee of $27!

60 to 70 entries in six classes showed up including a phalanx of beautifully turned up modifieds, some of them worth $60,000.

Either we are in the wrong branch of motorsports, or we just have to get those gate receipts. We do get the spectator numbers now. I know, I know, who would pay for watching a rally the oldtimers ask. Some of them may even think that it is unseemly or immoral to charge admission fee at a rally.

Or, it may just be that we have been listening to the wrong people for too long while we are funding rallies almost entirely from higher and higher entry fees paid by competitors.

For now, we are in a wrong branch of motorsports. Only if we did not like it so much ......

Ivan Orisek
International Rally New York
 

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I agree completely. We need the gate. Wheelin' and dealin' to get sponsors to pay for "rally on the side" of another deal is great, but those deals are extremely scarce and carried out by business insiders...and I don't know many...and I can't afford to socialize in the right circles to put them together.

Ivan has posted an abridged version of my manifesto from 2004 after witnessing the same kind of show at Flatrock Speedway south of Detroit.

http://www.specialstage.com/dc/dcbo...&topic_id=368&mesg_id=368&listing_type=search
 

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codriveur
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Ivan,

Was that Orange County or Accord or White Lake (do they still run)? If so that is 3 tracks within 40 miles of each other that are pulling those attendance and entrie numbers.

Is there going to be an admission charged for the Supers @ the Big M? And if so will that be used to defray entry fees?

Bernie
 

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Surrender the Booty.
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Super specials I can deffinitly see, but it would be kind of hard charging speccies a fee for a special stage, but what about renting out school busses from the local fleet? Shuttling people back and forth for a small fee. Enough to make some cash to off set some costs, but low enough to give them consideration of gas and parking.
 
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Discussion Starter #5
Bernie,

<Ivan,

<Was that Orange County or Accord or White Lake (do they still run)? <If so that is 3 tracks within 40 miles of each other that are <pulling those attendance and entrie numbers.

Yup, it was White Lake.

<Is there going to be an admission charged for the Supers @ the Big <M?

Yes, $8 a person for two days.

<And if so will that be used to defray entry fees?

Defray entry fees? HA! How many paying spectators are you going to
guarantee? We have no idea how many paying spectators will show up when we will do this for the very first time - service crews, competitors and officials will be admitted for free.

But, half of the gate will go to the Raceway for providing the facility. Secondly, do you have any idea how much it will cost us
to set up, marshal and operate the Super Special? I think that we are guaranteed to lose our shirts on this one.

Finally, regarding defraying the entry fees: Even if we would get 400 paying spectators and apply all of the resulting $1,600 gate to defraying the entry fees, with 50 entrants this would be whopping $32 per entrant. That is the sad math of it. In order to get any significant benefit from gate receipts, we would have to be able to attract thousands of spectators at a significantly higher admission fee than $8 for two days.

I am sure you can do the math yourself: For instance, if we wanted spectators to pay entirely for the $900 entry fee for 50 entrants, we would have to have 3,000 spectators paying $15 each. Is this possible? Perhaps, in time....

Notice also that it costs significantly more to run a two-day rally that requires 150 officials and spreads over a larger geographical area than a single night at a local track.

I want everybody to notice how much different the economcis of all this is from "playing in the woods" with no spectators in sight (you remember "you and the bears" remark, don't you?).

This will be the first time we will be doing this. We will have a better idea about the economic viability of the Super Special after the event.

<Bernie

Ivan Orisek
 

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RE: We are in the right branch of motorsports (for us).

Being a road racer in a previous life, I've raced in front of crowds and more often, not.
Summit Point over many decades, has built a fan base that will come to that track for anything. But it took a long time and a lot of work.
Many other tracks tried to do the same but never hit the combination to make a Regional into something a bunch of people will pay to see.
Wish I knew how, but I think it was made into a traditional date and many years giving it away. Maybe someone here knows.
rz
 

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And let's hope is doesn't rain, the local .4 mile stack has just been break-even on covering costs alone for the last 1-1/2 seasons due to the wierd occuranace of rains on most weekends.

Some of this argument makes sense, but some does not. I may make a lot of sense for organizers. For competitors to be in the top level of the local track, the car investment and costs meet or exceed what our top cars cost. And that's at small regional track. Getting the entry fee paid, but having to spend that level of $$ for a car, is going backwards for hobby ralliers.

The local sponsosoships don't pay enough for most of these racers to make it work financially either. But the availability of local sponsors is a lot higher, so the number of chances to get some level of $$ is better. Overall, it seems a wash to me as a competitor. Unless you are at the very top (locally in the short track program, in a top series like NASCAR, or on top of the rally game), you have to pay to compete. It's a competitive business in every sense of the word.

However, for the organizer, this makes all the sense in the world, and is the driving idea behind all track operations!

Good luck with this Ivan.

Mark B.
 

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codriveur
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Ivan,

>Defray entry fees? HA! How many paying spectators are you
>going to
>guarantee?
>Ivan Orisek

In asking my question I may have been trying (poorly it seems) to point out the line of reasoning you put forth in the first post read as if that was something you where trying to do.

>"Or, it may just be that we have been listening to the wrong people >for too long while we are funding rallies almost entirely from >higher and higher entry fees paid by competitors."

Having done it I understand very well how hard it is to organize a large event scattered all over with volunteers, vendors and hands out every where and finish at least financially solvent. I guess I was trying to help you justify against the critisism you will get from some malcontents in and out of the sport for daring to charge an admission of anykind for rally.

You know I support your efforts to have a high profile rally in the metro NY area. If I don't get a ride you know I will help.

Regards as always,

Bernie
 
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Discussion Starter #9
Mark,

<However, for the organizer, this makes all the sense in the world, <and is the driving idea behind all track operations!
<
<Good luck with this Ivan.
<
<Mark B.

This makes all the sense to organizers you say? I thought I made it abundantly clear that the track guys are racing for the $20 entry fee every week and the races are funded from other sources, namely the admission fees paid by the spectators.

This should make a lot of sense to the competitors in the first place! We spend about the same amount of money on cars and car preparation as the track racers do (their cars are no more expensive than ours and you can race in classes with cars costing just a few thousand dollars) but they still race every week for a $20 entry fee. And, is it not true that the entry fees for rallies that doubled over the last few years have been the major source of complaints by competitors?

The traditional model of organizing rally events in the US was "playing in the woods", in many instances with not a spectator in sight, with events funded entirely and solely by competitor entry fees.

We as organizers must do something about this. The fabled "sponsorships" are good. However, how many such arrangements and in what amounts do actually exist? Just do the math - if you get $3,000 event sponsorship and apply all of it to reducing entry fees in a field of 60 entrants, it comes to whopping $50 per entry!

I am familiar with a major international event that has the budget (the cost) of $180,000. With 170 entries, this comes to over $1,000 per entry. Do the competitors pay the entry fee of over $1,000? No,
they pay about two thirds of it and the rest comes from other sources.

A few comments on your other remarks about the local track racing:

- The average value of the 60 or 70 cars at the local track does not exceed the average value of our rally car.
- Is it competitive? You bet, both for the drivers and the organizers. Show me one human endeavor that is not competitive, where you can just come in, win everything and make a lot of money easily.
- Do track owners go bankrupt? They do. So do rally organizers even in North America (remember Quebec).

Ivan Orisek
 

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RE: We are in a ...great.... branch of motorsports

>
>This makes all the sense to organizers you say? I thought I
>made it abundantly clear that the track guys are racing for
>the $20 entry fee every week and the races are funded from
>other sources, namely the admission fees paid by the
>spectators.

Let's think about some event costs: I can't see the weekly costs to the local track operator being anywhere near that cost to put on a rally like yours. The track land cost is a wash, as this is land capital, and probably appreciates in value so throw that out. So you have the track construction and maintenance costs; I would be counting on the gate receipts to cover that long term. If you add up the typical gate receipts over several years time, it is not surprising to see that grandstands, track and other facilites can be paid for.

Event insurance? I cannot say which is more or less.

SO what different cost are in a rally? The costs not borne in rallying are the fixed facility costs, at least not in the form of grandstands. Potentially lots of travel costs (potentially). Room rental for registration etc. Road use fees; well, Ivan, you and the other good organizers know all these costs better than I. A major cost consideration: production efficiency. The use of a track weekend after weekend to produce revenue, and then shutting off most of the costs in the winter when no revenue is flowing, is a huge efficiency that fixed track ops have and that rallies never will have.

The point is that many rally costs just listed aren't costs borne by a weekly track operation, and there is acertaion ops efficiency that they achieve that we can't. SO I can see a track charging only $20 or $25 per racer. (OBTW, our local track fees are the same.) As we have been doing things in the past (which I guess comes from the old club racing model), it's not surprsing that our entry fees are in the $400-$1000 range.
>
And, is it not true that the entry
>fees for rallies that doubled over the last few years have
>been the major source of complaints by competitors?
'A major' source? 'the major source'?? Let's have another poll!

>
>The traditional model of organizing rally events in the US was
>"playing in the woods", in many instances with not a spectator
>in sight, with events funded entirely and solely by competitor
>entry fees.
Yes, the old club model of doing things.

>
Just do the math - if
>you get $3,000 event sponsorship and apply all of it to
>reducing entry fees in a field of 60 entrants, it comes to
>whopping $50 per entry!
I guess I should not argue agaisnt $50 but that's not going to put any of us in or out of rallying, IMO. If it was $250 per entrant, THAT would make a difference. I am reading that your main point is to look to other ways to do this. Hence your next point.....
>
>I am familiar with a major international event that has the
>budget (the cost) of $180,000. With 170 entries, this comes to
>over $1,000 per entry. Do the competitors pay the entry fee of
>over $1,000? No,
>they pay about two thirds of it and the rest comes from other
>sources.

>
>A few comments on your other remarks about the local track
>racing:
>
>- The average value of the 60 or 70 cars at the local track
>does not exceed the average value of our rally car.
YOU are right: I was thinking that only the top classes generate a draw. But some of the less powerful classes generate some following.

Ivan I don't think I am arguing against you; you have come at this sport from a different direction and have made a great impact. I'm not at all against this. (Heck, when you charge for something, some folks will come because they perceive more value in it!) Maybe I just can't see the value in someone paying to see my lower end cars. But then again, some of the junk I see at the local tracks.....OK, I know! we'll be the 'clown cars' like at the circus....!! :)

Regards,
Mark B.
 

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The race track promoter doesn't have to build a new facility for every event, he re-uses the one from last week / last year. If you build a grandstand, you only have to fill it a couple of times, and it's paid for. In rally, we're practically creating a new facility for every event.

Most tracks I've raced at don't charge an entry fee, they charge per person for pit passes (typically $20). Usually I'd have to also buy a "membership" for the entry and each crewman at the beginning of the season. Looking around the garage are before the race, it's easy to tell the entire purse is coming from the pit-pass revenue. Even though they're not needed to work on the car (no pit stops), a couple extra big bubbas are a must unless you like losing fights. (In 25 years, the only motorport related injury I've had was being knocked unconscious in a pit fight).

If we had 3,000 spectators at $15 per, I'm afraid a good chunk of that $15 would go to providing facilities, security, and transporting those people...the trick would be finding a cost effective method for doing so, and a re-useable facility would be the way...but is that rally?

http://www.andersonspeedway.com/05_images/071605_gallery_02.jpg

P.S. Yes that wall opening in turn 4 is as dangerous as it looks.
 
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Discussion Starter #13
>Any thoughts of having the cars run the super special in
>reverse order? This is how the "in-town stage" at Maine was
>run and the build up to the fast guys was great. It'd keep
>people in the stands the whole time too.
>
>Pete

No Pete,

We cannot do what John Buffum did because he ran that stage only at one time, sometimes with two runs - the second run immediately following the first run, during the event.

We will be coming to Mighty M Gaming Super Special at three different times during the event - Friday afternoon, Friday night and Saturday night for the total of five Super Special stage runs. Two of these three times the spectators will see the whole field twice. If we had to reverse the field for this purpose three times during the event, we would need another half a day to complete the event. For instance, 60 cars stretch over one hour - reversing the field three times and then returning the field to the original running order after the Super Special would require additional six hours (at least five hours if a Super Special would be the last stage of the rally). Scheduling rallies is not easy.

Ivan Orisek
 

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This is an idea for charging in the woods specators that we discuss periodically around here. Don't sell the spectator an admission ticket to go in the woods. Sell the spectator a nice spectator guide with stage maps, entry lists, a few photos, maybe bio's of drivers and teams, series points info, (be creative). I have spectated a few rallies and at each I would have gladly paid to have nice package of information including good maps to the spectator areas. Local sponsorship from restuarants, hotels etc. might ofset the production cost.


Matt Smith
www.fireantracing.com
Viva NASA Rallysport
 
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Discussion Starter #15
<Even though they're not needed to work on the car (no pit stops), a <couple extra big bubbas are a must unless you like losing fights.
<(In 25 years, the only motorport related injury I've had was being <knocked unconscious in a pit fight).
<
<Mike Hurst

Just like Pannizzi at Safari a few years ago when he physically assaulted in a time control an Argentine privateer Sanchez running in Group N for not getting out of Pannizzi's way quickly enough on a stage.

There was one difference though - FIA imposed a $50,000 fine on Pannizzi.
 

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Exactly, thats along the lines I meant, the ride to the woods isn't necisary, but it saves them gas and the trouble of parking their own car out there (get a speccie area down a really rough dirt road and have "hay rides" out to the area, I bet that would keep some people from driving down). The speccie area would still be free of course. Make it run like some county fairs do. Admission is free, but if you want good parking or a shuttle, they charge you a little. Its free to walk around, but 4-H barn maps cost a little scratch. Put up a giant thermous with some ice water (I'm sure someone has one laying around to use), but also have bottles of water for sale so they can bring one to where they're standing. Keep the event itself free, but have some stuff around that could highten the experience, and of course make a little off of it.

And don't use the funds from that year to offset the costs of that year, you won't know what you've made until it's all over. Apply it to the event next year, that way you know what's work, what hasn't, if you just broken even over last year, or if its worth doing it again.
 
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