NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France has moved up two spots from 12th to 10th, in Sports Business Journal‘s 50 Most Influential People in Sports Business, released Monday.
In 2013, the major piece of business news was France and NASCAR helping strike its new TV deal with FOX and NBC, the latter returning to showing NASCAR races in 2015 for the first time since 2006.
This year of course, France and NASCAR’s overhaul of the Chase for the Sprint Cup format produced one of the more exciting and dramatic seasons in recent memory, capped off by Kevin Harvick taking his first title in a four-driver, winner-take-all format.
While France ranks behind the four commissioners of the four major stick-and-ball sports – NBA commissioner Adam Silver tops the list, with the outgoing/incoming combo of MLB commissioners Bud Selig and Rob Manfred fourth, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell fifth and Gary Bettman ninth – it is still a sign of NASCAR’s standing in the general sports world that France remains solidly in with that group.
The list is American-focused no question, but even with that being the case it’s obvious that NASCAR remains still head-and-shoulders clear of any other major racing category in this country. France is the only racing individual on the list; there is no sign, nor would you really expect there to be of F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone or Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles, the head of INDYCAR’s parent company.
Not even other NASCAR team owners such as Rick Hendrick or Roger Penske are on the list, although Penske’s accomplishments were hailed in a recent Fortune article.
All interesting to note, no question. Also of note, NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus slots in just behind France in 11th place.