The ongoing debate between NASCAR and its teams over a new revenue model has led the owners of 16 organizations to send a letter to the NASCAR board of directors. That letter is requesting "meaningful dialog" regarding the franchise model system.
The letter was sent to NASCAR via email on May 1, a copy of which was later obtained by the Associated Press. May 1 was in fact the same day that NASCAR's exclusive negotiating window expired with both Fox Sports and NBC Sports on a new television package.
The letter acknowledges that conversations between the teams and NASCAR have been productive, noting a "tentative acceptance of the economic split of a new media deal." However, the main sticking point between the teams and NASCAR remains the charter system. That system ensures that the 36 cars with a charter are guaranteed a spit in the 40-car Cup Series field each week and also a slice 0f the revenue made by the TV package.
Those charters are worth millions and require renewal. The teams would like to see those charters become permanent, but NASCAR doesn't seem to share the same view. That led to the team owners skipping a scheduled April 5 meeting with NASCAR due to the teams being at a "significant impasse" over the charters.
The teams wrote in the letter that an acceptance of the new media deal was dependent on permanent charters.
"We have seen the market for Charters rise since initially issued, but there is currently no real market due to the uncertainty surrounding the pending renewal process," the letter states. "In order to continue to invest in our Teams and the sport as a whole, we need to build long-term value on our Charter ownership that is stable, predictable, and permanent."
As of Friday, NASCAR hasn't publicly responded to the letter.
The charter system was first introduced in 2016 to help create a franchise model that protected team owners' investment in the racing series founded by and independently owned by the France family. Those charters can be held, sold, and leased to other teams, and they can also be revoked by NASCAR.
The current charters are set to expire at the end of the 2024 season, which is also when the current NASCAR TV package expires as well. Last month, the four-person team owner negotiation team told AP that NASCAR was unwilling to even talk about making the charters permanent. That committee includes Jeff Gordon representing Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing president Dave Alpern, RFK Racing president Steve Newmark, and Curtis Polk, who is part of the ownership of 23XI Racing and a longtime business manager for Michael Jordan.
Those four famously went public last fall, revealing that NASCAR's current economic model is unfair with little to no chance of long-term stability. NASCAR, which is run by the son and granddaughter of its founder Bill France Sr., vowed they would work on a solution.
It looks like they have been trying to work on it, but the teams and owners that make up this great sport don't seem to have the same idea.
"Our request is no different than NASCAR's desire to pass along its ownership of a strong and robust property to the next generation of the France/Kennedy family," the teams said. "We seek to do the same thing with our families."
The letter was signed by representatives of 16 different teams, including Hall of Famers Rick Hendrick, Richard Childress, Joe Gibbs, and Jack Roush. Hopefully, NASCAR gets it together before the possibility of a boycott.
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