Published on July 16th, 2014 | by Michael J Smith0
RTA: Too Early To Tell
Recently, nine Sprint Cup Series teams joined forces to form the Racing Team Alliance (RTA), which has been called a collaborative business association (not a union).
The RTA is made up of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Michael Waltrip Racing, Richard Childress Racing, Richard Petty Motorsports, Roush Fenway Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske. The RTA hopes to bring in the remaining race teams in the near future.
The RTA’s main goal, as I understand it, is to create a forum where teams can work together to help drive down costs in the sport, and drive the sport’s growth. Basically, they want to form a single voice to address issues facing the teams and the sport.
They feel that as a single unit, they will have more power.
Rob Kauffmann, co-owner of MWR and first chair of the RTA, said:
With the encouragement of NASCAR and the manufacturers, the teams have met in various forms and forums over the years to explore areas of common interest. This simply formalizes what was an informal group. The key word is ‘Collaboration’. We all have vested interests in the success and popularity of stock car racing. By working together and speaking with a single voice, it should be a simpler and smoother process to work with current and potential groups involved with the sport. Whether it be looking for industry-wide travel partners or collaborating on technical issues – the idea is to work together to increase revenue, spend more efficiently, and deliver more value to our partners.
It makes sense. A single team doesn’t have as much clout to go to, say, a hotel chain to try to get a group discount. But, with nine teams, they have much more bargaining power to have that hotel chain give them a discount, which will drive down costs. The same could be said for a parts manufacturer, an airline, or an insurance provider.
But, some don’t see any benefit. Bruton Smith, chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc, said of the RTA:
I don’t know anything about it that’s good for what we do. I don’t see anything that’s going to be good for the sport. Nothing. What little bit I know about it right now, it seems it will damage the sport. If NASCAR needs us, we’re there with NASCAR on the deal. We’re there every day, every hour, if they need us.
There is some concern that the RTA may use its power to demand a larger cut of the TV money, or that they might use their power to force NASCAR to make changes that benefit them.
And, that could very well happen. But we’re so early on that it’s hard to say that there is no benefit, as Smith put it. We don’t even know fully what it is, or what it plans to do, other than a few vague goals. So, it is too early to tell whether or not it will be a benefit to NASCAR. But, to blast it the way Smith did seems premature.