Mike Neff · Thursday January 24, 2013
Bruton Smith is well known for many things, but one of his more endearing features is that he has built a speedway empire by always focusing on the fans and their experience. During this week’s activities on the Sprint Media Tour Presented by Charlotte Motor Speedway, the chairman of SMI held court with the heads of all eight of his racing facilities. The focus of the presentation was to announce new initiatives designed to further engage the fans, a set of goals he’s entitled “Fans First.” The program will have several components, but it is designed to further remind fans that they are the most important piece that keeps SMI together.
Each speedway is going to begin a program that will highlight longtime ticket purchasers. Several different events will take place to honor these fans, who have spent hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on these facilities through the years. All of the tracks are going to be celebrating “fan-iversaries” for 10, 25, 40 and 50-year ticketholders for various events.
But that’s not all. On the other end of the spectrum, first-time fans will also receive special treatment from SMI tracks. They’ll be providing special educational programs for “rookies,” hitting their speedways for the first time and fan sections on their web sites will highlight the options available to them at the track. The speedways will also be making some changes to ticket prices and seating areas to provide “kid friendly” ticket packages and seating sections. Tracks will also be expanding family camping areas along with kid play zones and kid clubs.
SMI is also going to give 100 fans a chance at the ultimate fan experience. For $10,000, a fan can join the Chairman’s Club. It will allow them to have the complete race experience at all 13 races at SMI properties during the 2013 season. The membership in the Chairman’s Club will allow each fan the opportunity for:
- VIP Access to all races – Access to the driver’s meeting and driver introductions – Garage Tours – Pit Passes – Premium camping – Premium parking – Choice of seating options, including suite access with food and beverage service – Personal Concierge to plan each experience
Fans may sign up for the Chairman’s Club by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling (704) 454-4702. Tell them you heard it from Frontstretch.com. It won’t get you any special treatment, but they like to know where people hear about their offerings.
Finally, the general managers will be going undercover at an SMI facility, other than their own, and experiencing a race weekend as a fan. It will include ordering tickets, coordinating camping, planning activities and experiencing the race, just like a fan. The entire race weekend for each manager will be documented online with photos and videos. The trials and tribulations will be an immensely helpful base of information for the corporation to make future decisions on improving their individual tracks.
While Bruton Smith and the employees of SMI have made missteps through the years — see, Kentucky traffic and parking — they’re always looking to exceed expectations when it comes to fan experiences. This latest round of initiatives should not only make the racing experience more enjoyable, but it will prove once again that the company is truly “Fans First.”
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