Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Champ Car Going Where the Competition Isn’t?

Go where the competition isn’t. It’s an old business axiom that Champ Car is apparently following. It sounds self explanatory but let’s examine the business of Champ Car since the new regime has taken over and see just how closely they have followed this self imposed business tactic.

It appears that the five year plan that was developed shortly after the bankruptcy by-out has included the idea that the company should only do business where the competition isn’t, it only takes a moment to realize this must be the strategy.

As for the five year plan, it doesn’t end five years after it is developed, it continues on as long as needed, constantly being adjusted each year to meet the business needs as they change. It is simply a way to effect good business planning.

Let’s start with the management. In my opinion there is no substitute for a single strong leader in any business. Has CC established that? Hard to say what with the collage of actors seemingly involved in the business. I would score them low, although admittedly this may not really have much to do with Going Where the Competition Isn’t.

Venues, any overlaps there with the competition? No more Ovals on the schedule, new venues added some are ground breaking like Vegas, Phoenix and Houston. Score A

Schedule, hard not to have overlaps with NASCAR but it looks like there are only 4 conflicting dates with the IRL on next years schedule. Clearly the December 2 date for Phoenix next year has no competition in the US. Score B-

Chassis, any overlaps? Not that I can see, the new Panoz is purpose built for CC and is not being used by anyone else. But who knows what could happen later. Score B

Engines, nope, KK and GF took care of that long ago buy buying Cosworth. I believe that was a part of the original business plan. Score A

Support series, Atlantics is strong they have new engines and chassis both provided for by the new management. Same issue here with the chassis though. Score B.

A pet peeve of mine has been the reluctance to provide the fans with chance to give input through a survey. Surveys, when properly administered, can yield valuable information.

In the upcoming year, number four of the original five year plan it should be clear that operationally CC will be following the notion of Going Where the Competition Isn’t. And until they have built the business to a level that warrants expansion into competitive marketplaces this strategy is not likely to change.

Also in the upcoming year the new TV package with ABC/ESPN should be helpful in differentiating the series from others. With a full compliment of American racing on ABC/ESPN the casual racing fan will be able to easily recognize the “festival of speed” racing series, a series that clearly has gone where the competition isn’t.

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