Texas speedway's ticket campaign makes waves

By Tripp Mickle
Special to Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service

Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage doodles for inspiration, and while drawing last spring, he developed an idea for a new marketing campaign driven by "hot cars and hot chicks."
The resulting "No Limits" campaign, which launched in August with a $500,000 Goo Goo Dolls concert at the House of Blues, features MMA-style lettering, an edgier Texas Motor Speedway logo, flashy hot rods with flame paint schemes and scantily clad women known as "The Great American Sweethearts." The campaign is featured on 15 area billboards, poster-sized calendars, online and print advertisements.
The cost of the campaign is far greater than anything the speedway has spent in the past. The $500,000 party alone cost $400,000 more than the speedway had ever spent on a previous campaign, Gossage said. But the results have been encouraging.
Since rolling it out, the speedway has seen season-ticket renewals surge to more than 80 percent, well above its historic highs of 70 percent, Gossage said. The season-ticket packages include tickets for 12 events at the speedway.
"That's quite strong," he said. "We finally found something that moves the needle a bit, and that's what we're always looking for."
The campaign has not triggered a high number of new sales, but former season-ticket holders have begun buying packages again, Gossage said. He expects a "No Limits" Garage Party at the AAA Texas 500 Sprint Cup race Nov. 7 to trigger new sales. The speedway will turn the Nationwide Series garage into an entertainment complex with a giant pool that will host wakeboarding demonstrations. It will be free to season-ticket holders.
"We want people to see it and say, 'Why can't I go in there?'" Gossage said. "You just have to buy season tickets. We want them to want the forbidden fruit."

Tripp Mickle is a reporter with SportsBusiness Journal.