Enlightened executives are revving up business meetings by shifting them to California Speedway in Fontana for the Richard Petty Driving Experience. After all, there's nothing quite like a couple of laps at 150 miles per hour to clear a department head's corporate cobwebs and spark a creative session in the track's adjoining conference suites.


The track is one of 25 nationwide raceways that operate the Richard Petty Driving Experience. Locally, it conducts drive and ride along programs for approximately 50 days a year at the California Speedway with corporate customers accounting for 60 percent of the participants and individuals accounting for the balance. Most corporate customers who can put the pedal to the metal for about $400 tend to come from the Los Angeles area, but others come from Riverside County, San Bernardino County and even Las Vegas to ride on the only track in Southern California that hosts NASCAR races.


With last week's addition of video recording technology to the cars, participants will be able to relive the experience over and over with a DVD recording. The option of buying a DVD ($89-109) supplements the framed still photos ($17-$109 depending on the size) that are available to participants.


"To date we have not seen a decline in the photography side of our operation and have been pleasantly surprised on how customers really see the two as complementary to each other," said Chris McKee, director of promotions for North Carolina-based Richard Petty Driving Experience. "The photo is something that people display in their office while the video is more personal."


The cars used by participants were retrofitted with cameras that digitally record drivers as they circle the track. The most challenging part was finding a vendor who could supply the company with video equipment that could withstand the wear and tear.


"We have been looking at the feature for several years," said McKee. The company finally partnered with Virginia-based Trivinci Systems and uses its product called "Race Keeper" to record the video. After each day's events are completed, the video is downloaded and processed. A DVD is mailed out within a few working days.


Big Ten Ad Blitz

Los Angeles-based Worldlink, a multi-platform advertising sales representation firm, and the Big Ten Network have entered into an exclusive advertising sales agreement. Worldlink will represent the network for all short-form direct-response advertising sales. The network is available in 29 million subscribers through various satellite and cable networks.


"It's an exciting network because they are focusing on providing live events across a variety of sports and there is access to high-definition programming," said Linda Kalm, Worldlink executive vice president.


The Big Ten Network was officially launched on August 30 following the expiration of the conference's television deal with Walt Disney Co.'s ABC and ESPN networks. It is co-owned by the Big Ten Conference and Fox. Its launch was subject to harsh criticism by football fans who were unable to watch games broadcast on the network due to disputes between the network and cable operators Time Warner, Comcast and Charter. None of those three large cable systems currently carries the network.


"There's been fragmentation in the media marketplace that creates issues when you put the business deals together, but from the advertiser's perspective it creates opportunity," said Kalm.


New Soccer League

A new women's professional soccer league has been formed under the temporary title of Women's Soccer LLC and will begin play in 2009. The league was formed by seven investor groups, including Los Angeles-based Anschutz Entertainment Group, which will own the L.A. franchise. The team will play its games at Home Depot Center in Carson. Other franchises include Boston, Chicago, Dallas, New Jersey/New York, St. Louis and Washington D.C.


The league had funding to begin play in 2008, but chose to delay a year due to a number of factors including other world soccer competitions such as the 2007 FIFA World Cup in Shanghai (currently ongoing) and 2008 Olympics in Beijing.


Sports Council Endorsement

Alan Rothenberg has been re-elected to a two-year term as chairman of the Los Angeles Sports Council. The organization works to bring major sports events to Southern California.


The prominent attorney served as chairman and chief executive of the 1994 World Cup Organizing Committee and founded Major League Soccer (the league champion is awarded the Alan Rothenberg Trophy). He was inducted into the U.S. Soccer Hall of Fame this year.


In 2003, Rothenberg founded Los Angeles-based 1st Century Bank and currently serves as chairman. He is also a partner in Los Angeles-based Premier Partnerships.


Also re-elected as the organization's vice chairmen were Richard Cook, chairman of Walt Disney Studio, and Robert Rollo, partner with executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles.


Staff reporter David Nusbaum can be reached at (323) 549-5225, ext. 236, or at dnusbaum@labusinessjournal.com.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.