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(Photo: Matthew T. Thacker / NKP)

France Family Reportedly Considering NASCAR Sale

According to a Reuters.com report, the majority owners of NASCAR are seeking to sell the largest stock car racing series in North America.  The France family, who has owned the sport since its inception in 1948 is working with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to seek a potential deal for the company.   Talks are currently at the exploratory stage; no sale is imminent at this time.

Bill France Sr. and his family have been the only owners of NASCAR since its inception in 1948.  The Frances have almost exclusively held top leadership roles as well. When Bill France Sr. retired in 1972 his son, Bill Jr., took over. He led the sport from 1972 until 2000 when control shifted to NASCAR’s President, Mike Helton. After Helton’s position as President was essentially eliminated, Brian France, who has been the CEO of the sport since 2003, assumed control.

The future of International Speedway Corporation, NASCAR’s track arm was not mentioned in the report. Jim France, Bill Jr.’s brother and Lesa France Kennedy own NASCAR. But the entire extended family, including Brian owns a majority stake in the ISC brand. The company owns 12 racetracks in all that house Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series dates. ISC tracks will host 19 of 36 MENCS races total (52.7 percent) this season.

NASCAR has seen its share of struggles since reaching peak viewership around 2004-06.  There’s been a decline in at-track attendance, with multiple facilities removing seats. Major sponsors have left the sport like Dollar General, Home Depot and Farmers Insurance. Superstars such as Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. have recently retired.

As a result, TV ratings this season have declined to multi-year lows. Some races have recorded their smallest Nielsen ratings in 20 years.

“In a time period that is attractive for live event and live entertainment, NASCAR has struggled,” said Rich Greenfield, an analyst with BTIG. “There is absolutely a desire to own rather than license content but everything has a price.”

Earlier NASCAR sale reports this year discussed a potential price tag of between $3 and $5 billion. ISC’s inclusion in the deal is what potentially spikes the price. A sale would also mean a renegotiation of the team charter agreements (expiring in 2020), track agreements and potentially even the sport’s television deal, set to expire in 2024.

“We do not have anything to add,” said NASCAR spokeswoman Steph Harris to multiple reports regarding the sale. Goldman Sachs has also declined comment at this time.

About Brandon Hauff

Brandon Hauff
Brandon is a 22-year-old from NY and has been a passionate follower of motorsports for 14 years now. He recently graduated from Molloy College on Long Island with a BA in Communications. Working within NASCAR has been a dream for Brandon for a while, and he hopes to be able to live out the dream in the very near future.

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13 comments

  1. i thought i saw some one hooking up electrical lines to bill sr. and bill jr’s graves.
    they should be spinning fast enough to power a couple of large cities by now.

  2. As soon as I win the powerball, mega millions, Tennessee cash, and a bunch of $5,000 scratch ’em tickets I’ll buy it. I will be a benevolent dictator…but a dictator nonetheless.

  3. if the sale goes through, will that mean that the tracks owned by the france family will now be fair game to have dates taken away?!

  4. So was the purchase of ARCA (sadly, their end) to make the potential sale more enticing for the ahem..sucker?

  5. Liberty Media

  6. It will be interesting to see if they can find a buyer with deep enough pockets. we can sit back and laugh at those who think that the only thing required to turn nascar around is the departure of BZF.

    • There are a lot us who think that Brian’s “improvements” to the product are too far down the slippery slope to stop the slide. It will be interesting to see if he can find a sucker…er…buyer.

    • I don’t think that Brian leaving and someone else taking over will turn NASCAR around. There are so many reasons for the decline. However there is no scenario for a turn around as long as he is the clueless leader.

      • brian hasn’t been involved in a while. he sold his interest in 2003 i think. he’s just the drooling fool that is up front when the family needed a france to have someone take aim at. wasn’t it a few years ago when he stepped away from it and that’s when there were more “outsiders of the family” involved.

        • Brian has been the target, but the rest of the family could have overruled him and changed direction at and time.
          In my opinion these changes which we decry are the attempts by people who really don’t know how to turn it around (and I don’t either). That doing so would take societal changes that arent in their power.

          • Perhaps the closest thing that could come to a fix is for the participants, i.e. the charter teams, to buy it and appoint a commissioner, similar to the stick and ball sports. Unlikely I believe.

  7. Wonderful. After he guts the sport into ruin milking every cent he can out of the golden goose, he sells it and abandons ship. Might be the best thing that ever happened to the sport. Maybe someone can come in and do what needs to be done although, at this point, only God knows what that is.