Friday, September 29, 2023

Race Teams Say Revenue Share Negotiations With NASCAR Are ‘Far Apart’

NASCAR and the Race Team Alliance are locked in negotiations on how to divide the revenue pie in 2025 and beyond. Representative from four teams met with the media on Friday to talk about it. Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

It appears, as negotiations are underway on how the revenue within the sport of NASCAR is divvied up for the future, that the sanctioning body and its race teams have a big-time difference of opinion on how things should be.

No surprise, each side wants a larger slice of the pie on their side.

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But on Friday, representatives from Hendrick Motorsports (Jeff Gordon), Joe Gibbs Racing (Dave Alpern), RFK Racing (Steve Newmark), and 23XI Racing (Chris Polk) met with a small group of media members to talk about the situation and their frustrations surrounding the current talks.

Sparking much of the frustration is that even the top team in the sport — Hendrick Motorsports, which has won each of the last two NASCAR Cup Series Championships and has won 14 overall — won’t even break even at the end of the 2022 season.

According to FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass, the RTA submitted a revenue-sharing proposal, which would be set to start in 2025, to NASCAR. When NASCAR responded with a counter-proposal, reportedly, it was far off from that of the RTA.

In a report from Jeff Gluck and Jordan Bianchi of The Athletic, Chris Polk, who is a longtime advisor for 23XI co-owner Michael Jordan was quoted saying, “There’s a total misalignment of interests. As a result, the economic model is broken for the teams. The sustainability of the teams in this sport is not very long-term unless we have a fundamental change in the model.”

According to reports from the RTA meeting with the media, the teams are not seeking to leave NASCAR. The representatives of the teams are simply stressing that teams relying on primary sponsorships to make up 60-plus-percent of their revenue is not sustainable.

If the teams had more revenue sources outside of their car’s primary sponsorships (larger television rights deal percentage being an example) they feel star drivers like Kyle Busch could be retained if a big partner like Mars leaves, as was the case with Joe Gibbs Racing this season.

With no major partner being found, the team had to part ways with the winningest driver in the history of their team.

NASCAR issued a statement on Friday in regard to the comments from the team representatives on the revenue share negotiations. That statement read:

“NASCAR acknowledges the challenges currently facing race teams. A key focus moving forward is an extension to the Charter agreement, one that will further increase revenue and help lower team expenses. Collectively, the goal is a strong, healthy sport, and we will accomplish that together.”

While exact percentage numbers don’t appear to have been shared, the team representatives told members of the media that NASCAR countered with a small increase in revenue in addition to proposing teams dramatically practice cost-cutting to save money.

How far apart are the two sides truly? And which side will bend toward the other first? That remains to be seen, as does the ramifications if both sides fail to reach an agreement.

This will be an important situation, possibly one of the most important situations in the history of the sport, to keep tabs on as we head quickly toward 2025 when the next Charter agreement is supposed to begin.

Toby Christie
Toby Christie
Toby is the Founder, and Editor-in-Chief of Toby is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, he is an award-winning writer, and has followed the sport as a fan since 1993.

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