Daytona Rising Highlights and Lowlights at the Daytona 500

If you attended #Daytona500 #Speedweeks last week you got to personally experience the $400 million Daytona Rising project. If seeing the closest finish in Daytona 500 history wasn’t enough, the buzz was all about the venue.  While on-the-track racing continues to be NASCARs main attraction at Daytona,  the 2016 Daytona International Speedway’s (DIS) official unveiling of #DaytonaRising was full of highlights, and some lowlights as well.

Highlights

You have to admit that ISC branding DIS the “First Motorsports Stadium” is unique (we’ll get to that later). Over $400 million spent over three years we believe these are the top ranking highlights.

  • NOTHING beat the racing – 2016 – Closest #Daytona500 finish ever. Can’t ask for a better one than that.

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  • Escalators to a Sponsor Designed neighborhood – brilliant idea. As far as the term “injectors” go, Florida Health won that contest hands down!

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  • The First level (one of 4 levels) was awesome. Bars, Food Kiosks, and the View of the track were all planned out well and worked out great for all the visitors.

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  • New Jumbo Trons: For around the track viewing, two new Jumbo-trons were very much in need – good job. They could have been even bigger (like at AT&T’s Dallas Cowboy Stadium)!

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  • New seats were great – 21 inches and a cup holder – great. Armrests for most and space in front and underneath.  So people can get by now without having to get up. Great.

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  • Tri-Oval Club past Picture Experience – great seeing mix of winners and fans.

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  • The Help! While all part time – the people who worked the Speedweeks were fantastic. Always willing to help and assist, friendly, and courteous.

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  • The Ticket – it was great to see a premium event get a premium ticket.

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Lowlights

As with any new venue, there are going to be some kinks to work out. Understood. But there are also some design flaws that if someone just took the time to have a focus group (or ask some fans) what the great stadiums have, they could have been quickly addressed.

  • A Motorsports stadium – So What! Every major National sport in America has a stadium. You’re late to the show (we also believe Bristol is arguably the first NASCAR stadium). And the new DIS sign – really- you should be ashamed – get a bigger one and get some LED lighting on it at least!

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  • Injectors – They’re not injectors – they’re escalators. Marketing Hype – stop using the term. Fans don’t like “being injected”.

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  • The driver and fan trailers – The Fanatics experience was sad – gone are all the mom/pop drivers who used to travel from track to track trying to make a living.
  • No small vendors anymore – where’d the little booths go? No Helmann’s mayonaise, Chile, or Fritos samples anymore.
  • Where’s the Waiters? Go to any stadium and you have a waiter getting anything you want and bringing it to you. Why not at DIS?
  • Men’s Bathrooms – Tri-Oval Experience’s showed that the men’s lines were twice as long as traditional Woman’s bathroom lines. We experienced over 50 -75 deep lines on Saturday!

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  • Wifi is only good if the carriers have the bandwidth – needs those two AT&T guys!

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  • The DIS App and the Daytona Rewards program could barely deserve 1 star at BEST. Lot of work to do.

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  • Food is still not what it should be – prices are reasonable for being a “stadium”  – e.g. get more healthy alternatives. Below is one venue list. (And no you don’t have access to Harry J’s or the Roadhouse).

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  • First Floor TVs at the overhang to the track need to be there, just like at harness racing tracks.

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  • The Sprint Fanzone was WAY oversold – overcrowding and aggressive fans to get on the field.

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  • Stop the announcer from saying “Leave the Ballfield” at the conclusion of the Sunday Concert (2nd year doing it). It’s NOT a ballfield.
  • Doug Flutie Sunday onstage in the Sprint Fanzone as a feature guest highlight – Really?
  • Leaving Parking in Lots 2 and 3 were ridiculous – took over an hour on Saturday and almost 2 hrs on Sunday.

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Missed Opportunities

  • Build a mall Inside the track – It would keep the track open year round. Shops/kiosks etc. Build a mall inside the track like Foxboro, MA would’ve been a great idea.
  • The Tri-Oval Club – It took two days of racing just to figure it out.  The club is on the wrong side – it needed to face the track with a sight line to the track.

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  • Promoting Stage 2 of Daytona Rising – are they still going to build the town with the main street behind ISC headquarters?
  • Events AFTER the Races are needed – keep more fans from running to the exits all at once.
  • Post Race Survey – We got one that looked like it came from DIS, but it was all about sponsors, so we’re suspect and did NOT complete.

Conclusion:

$400 million is a lot of money – but it was well spent. Better job than the $1 Billion the NY Giants spent to build MetLife Stadium for sure!

ISC now is working to determine if this experience is worth expanding to other tracks. The answer is obvious. Increase and improve the fan experience, and the fans will come to the track.

Did you go to the #Daytona500  and see #Daytonarising? What did you think? Post your comments.