My sons invited dad to tag along to a Sporting KC game on Saturday and the stadium was packed. I have been writing for sometime about the lack of this age group at the local racetracks, well guess where they have gone, to the sport of soccer. This generation grew up playing soccer, they can quote all the members of the USA National Soccer team as easily as we could quote everyone starting the Daytona 500 at the same age. Many of us put our sons in soccer rather than have them play football. Football was too violent. Those with daughters put them in soccer because of Mia Hamm and the USA team of 1990s. Both my sons played soccer in college. As I was sitting there observing everything it suddenly hit me this group of young adults grew with this sport, love the excitement of the sport, the challenge of the sport, and the low scoring does not bother them because of the continuous action.
We have to promote our sport of racing to this group and add the amenities this group is accustomed to such as “LOUD” Speakers. When we were younger we would put in speakers to match our eight tracks and play our music loud! Our parents and grandparents would tell us to turn the music down it would cause us to go deaf before we were 30. Well guess what the speakers at the stadium were loud, very loud.
Another thing I noticed, the best seats cost extra money. Where does everyone rush into a racetrack to sit – the top seats. Hmm, the blanket brigade which scurries to claim their territory at the local track might have to pay a tad bit more if the owners try to match what other sports are doing. In addition, instead of stopping by a beer shack to grab a drink, the soccer park had areas where the fans paid extra to sit and be served in those area. Valley Speedway has their party porch and Lakeside Speedway has their suites, but just think if our race tracks added an area where you could be outdoors, watch the races, bring several friends and belly up to the bar to be served by your own waiter/waitress. This appears to be something the young adults prefer.
Sporting KC also has the Cauldron, the rowdy area where the wild and fun loving group sit. We see this at the race track when a small group join together to root on their favorite driver, but nothing like a whole section. And before someone gets the idea rowdy is approved, fun rowdy is approved, name calling rowdy destructive rowdy is not.
As Mike Johnson, Lakeside Speedway owner has stated, we are only the caretakers, currently we are the caretakers for Lakeside Speedway. We should always be watching for our replacement so we can hand it off to the younger generation, my question is who is there to hand off your position, whether it be driver, owner, pit crew, official, concession worker, tow truck operator, or pack truck driver. We need to invest in our 20 and 30 year olds, get them to the track, compete for their business, and get them back to the sport we all love.
Lets make our sport as exciting and fun loving as the sport their generation grew up playing, let’s bring them home!