In the race for riches in the sports world, NASCAR is on the right track. The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing serves as the sanctioning body for stock car racing, one of the most popular spectator sports in the US. It runs more than 100 races each year in three circuits: the Nationwide, Camping World Truck, and its signature Sprint Cup Series. Featuring popular drivers such as Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart, the Sprint Cup draws millions of fans to the tracks each year. In addition to organizing and promoting the races, the association negotiates broadcast rights and licenses the NASCAR brand for merchandise. NASCAR was founded in 1948 by Bill France Sr. and is still owned by the France family.
NASCAR races are broadcast in 150 countries in 20 languages. It sanctions more than 1,200 races at 100 tracks in more than 30 US states, Canada, Europe, and Mexico.
NASCAR is headquartered in Daytona Beach, Florida and operates through offices in eight cities across North America.
In addition to its three primary national races, NASCAR runs four regional races, one local grassroots series, three international races, and GRAND-AM Road Racing (competition on road courses with different classes of cars).
Traditional sports fans might look skeptically at the mix of high octane fuel and horsepower, but NASCAR operates in much the same way as other sports leagues. The association generates most of its revenue from television broadcasters willing to pay ever increasing sums for the right to carry NASCAR events. Walt Disney's ABC and ESPN, Time Warner's TNT, and News Corporation's FOX and SPEED channels all air racing events under a joint broadcasting package worth $4.4 billion. The television deal began in 2007 and runs through 2014. Another significant portion of revenue comes from corporate sponsors: telecommunications giant Sprint Nextel sponsors NASCAR's premier racing circuit under a 10-year, $750 million marketing deal that began in 2003.
The racing organization continues to work on expanding its fan base beyond the core audience of Southern white males to include more urban and female fans. Part of that effort has included the construction of new race courses outside of the South. Coincidentally (or perhaps not), the France family also controls publicly traded International Speedway Corporation (ISC), the largest racetrack operator in the US, which now has facilities in Chicago and New York.