Tuesday, July 6, 2010

How to make the July 14th Announcement work

Indianapolis Museum of Art pictured above
(Site of the July 14th announcement)

The IZOD IndyCar Series is about to announce the most important decision in the short 15 year history of the Indy Racing League. In just over a week, at the Indianapolis Museum of Art(IMA)(pictured above), Randy Bernard and the rest of the series will announce which chassis package will used for the next generation of IndyCars. Opinions vary on which way the series is leaning and per Bernard on IndyCar.com; a vote will be take the morning of the announcement. I find it hard to believe that they will be voting on the morning of July 14th, but lets just believe for the sake of arguing. IndyCar Garage gives the IZOD IndyCar Series several ways to make the July 14th announcement historic, special and newsworthy.

1. The date itself is a step in the right direction

The original date for the chassis announcement was scheduled for June 30th, lucky for IndyCar, Randy Bernard saw a wide open window a few weeks down the road, and yes that window was July 14th. July 14th is one of two days out of the year when no professional sports will take place, therefore it makes for one of the slowest days in sports throughout the year. The World Cup will be over, hopefully Lebron has made up his mind, and even the Sprint Cup series in NASCAR is even off the weekend of July 18th. Bernard knew this and took the opportunity to not let the announcement get washed away to the back page of newspapers. Bernard made a great play in postponing the announcement.

2. Get T.V. COVERAGE for this event.

VERSUS wants to build up IndyCar right? Then tell VERSUS, your partner for 12 of 17 races, that they have to do a one hour program about the announcement. VERSUS should have a mini-stage setup at IMA, Bob Jenkins and crew should be there live. They should be interviewing team owners and drivers prior to the announcement and then carry the press conference live itself. Will this one hour program get huge T.V. ratings? Probably not, but it at least gives your die hard fans and possibly new fans a chance to watch it on T.V. You also can pitch this program to your new sponsors for 2011 and beyond. Don’t tell sponsors to watch it live on IndyCar.com, send them a DVD of the Versus program if they miss it. You can tell me IndyCar.com is an option, but I don’t think that your going to get near the audience on IndyCar.com as you would on VERSUS. I’ll make the NASCAR analogy, if the Sprit Cup was about to introduce a new car, SpeedTV would be all over the announcement and coverage. VERSUS should and needs to step up for this announcement.

3. The announcement itself should blow everyone away

I don’t care if your selecting Dallara as the new chassis manufacture for 2012, you better find a way to blow everyone’s socks off, including Robin Millers. I’ve heard every possible theory of who and what is going to be selected, but whether it be Dallara and Lola, just Lola, just Dallara, or all five manufactures, something needs to buzz about this announcement. Dallara has said they would build the car locally in Speedway, Indiana. Have the Speedway Redevelopment commission at the press conference to help them talk about how Dallara will bring jobs, money and investment into Speedway. Other possible solutions? Have celebrities at the announcement to draw more press, a really cool idea would be a prototype of the new car, but that seems very unlikely, unless Delta Wing is selected and they push it around. Have livery on the new car when its unveiled, anything that can give people more to talk about it, is very good.

4. Announce that IndyCar has secured another engine manufacture, such as Ford or Chevy and have them at the announcement with the chassis.

The engine package was announced almost a month ago, well the new engine formula per say. Honda is the only engine manufacture that has committed to 2012, and they have said they welcome competition. Have Ford and Chevy both at this announcement, and have them promote their intentions to participate in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series season. This gives you multiple engine manufactures confirmed for 2012 and forces the press to talk about the chassis and engine combination in the same story.

5. Have Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, and Kurt Busch all at the press conference

Why would you want all three of these American NASCAR drivers at the press conference? Well simple, once the chassis and engine selection is announced, these three drivers walk into the press conference and announce their intentions to participate in the 2011 or 2012 Indy 500 under the new engine rules that now allow them to participate in both series. We all know many NASCAR drivers can’t run the Indy 500 because of the start time and engines. This allows the four time defending Sprint Cup champion to be present at an IndyCar press conference, and also gives you the youngest new star (Kahne), and a veteran that is in the Penske stable (Busch). Now you have the NASCAR fans crossing over to your press releases to see why their favorite’s drivers are going to try IndyCar.
Connect the dots on Jimmie Johnson for a minute:
1. Bernard meets with him at Eldora Speedway and rumors circulate that
he is in for the Indy 500
2. Johnson takes laps with four time Indy 500 champ Rick Mears to promote the Brickyard 400. (Johnson grew up idolizing Mears)
3. Johnson told local Indy media that he would run the 500 at some point
4. Rumors have been circulating that Johnson is going to form his own IndyCar team at some point, this will give him the opportunity to win the Indy 500 and be considered one of racing greats, along with A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti.

6. Lastly, give IndyCar fans something to talk about for more than 24 hours.

This point kind of ties in with #3 above, but IndyCar needs an announcement that the racing community is going to talk about for 10 – 14 months. Bernard has done a great job of rekindling energy and buzz into IndyCar, but the announcements that he has made, just don’t seem to last past more than week. Fans talked about the Delta Wing for months because it was so radical, most of the talk was more bad than good, but they talked, analyzed and gave opinions, something IndyCar needs desperately. Cheers to hoping the July 14th announcement is special!

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