NASCAR rejects Cup Series teams' revenue sharing proposal

NASCAR has rejected a new revenue-sharing proposal offered by a negotiating team representing Cup Series organizations that it says would improve Cup Series teams’ long-term fiscal sustainability.

Alex Bowman, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro Valvoline logo

In a meeting with a group of reporters Friday in downtown Charlotte, N.C., four members of the team, which was created earlier this year, outlined its efforts to present NASCAR with changes to its business model.

The four team members were Jeff Gordon, vice chairman and co-owner at Hendrick Motorsports; Steve Newmark, president of Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing; Dave Alpern, president of Joe Gibbs Racing; and Curtis Polk, Vice Chairman of Hornets Sports & Entertainment and part-owner of 23XI Racing.

The seven-point proposal – which the group declined to discuss in detail – was offered up in anticipation of the upcoming expiration of current Cup Series charters and NASCAR’s current TV deal, which both end at the conclusion of the 2024 season.

“The negotiating window of each is somewhat different,” Polk said, “but in our point of view because the only revenue the teams are sharing is the media revenue it is important to us and it’s why we’re approaching this as early as we have.

“We came together and said, ‘We need to approach this early because it isn’t going to be easy.’ ”

Both sides 'very far apart'

Gordon said a new revenue-sharing deal would help NASCAR in its efforts to secure a more financially lucrative TV deal.

“We feel if we do package the (TV) rights and we’re all on board understanding where costs are at, where revenue is at, where the rights are at, we think that’s way more attractive for (NASCAR) to go into negotiations and say, ‘We have this as a done deal with the teams, all 36 charters, all 16 teams,’ ” he said.

“We think there is a big increase in value in going into negotiations with whoever that may be or however that works with that in their back pocket.”

Polk said after three months without much feedback from NASCAR, the team received a response to its proposal from NASCAR that has left both sides “very far apart.”

Cutting costs

The NASCAR proposal included a “minimal increase in revenue and the emphasis was on cutting costs dramatically,” Polk said.

The teams believe massive layoffs and loss of personnel will end up hurting the on-track product.

“We’re all trying to grow this sport and the answer to everything is not cut costs,” Alpern said. “I don’t know another sport or business for that matter that came to prosperity through cutting. They don’t go together.”

A NASCAR spokesman said Friday NASCAR has had individual meetings with each Cup Series team over the past week or so and “not received a single comment or feedback from any of them” on NASCAR’s proposal.

In fact, 23XI Racing was having its meeting with NASCAR later Friday afternoon.

In any event, the negotiating team said it is not looking to change the business model “tomorrow.”

It’s hoping to have something in place by the start of the 2025 season, when a new TV deal begins and the charter system has been renewed.

“We have willingness to entertain cost-caps. In our mind that doesn’t cover the driver,” Newmark said. “We have conveyed to them we are open to any method that gets us to this essential new structure.

“What we’re looking for is a new paradigm in the sport that’s a benefit to all stakeholders and allows us to put the best product on the track. The current model for the teams in untenable.”

NASCAR has since released the following statement: “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.”

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