We really appreciate everyone's feedback, especially as it relates to our promotion of these events. For the last several years, I've wondered what kind of impact advertising on forums like this one has for us. I can obviously look at the analytics and see how many folks click through on ads, but I also acknowledge part of the value of running banner ads is increasing familiarity with a brand and/or event, which may cause someone to act at a later date, even if they don't click that day. However, the fact that we ran ads on this forum for the Portland event and none of you noticed them suggests that was clearly not an effective means, just as the threads
I've started in past years to promote events here had almost no response.
We also ran ads in a wide variety of magazines, from Hot Rod to Car & Driver, but those clearly missed the mark with you guys as well. Fortunately, our promotional efforts seem to work well in at least some areas, as almost all of the events sold out last year and all of them are expected to sell out this year. One of the few that didn't sell out was Pike's Peak, but the track wanted the series there and made a deal that basically ensured we wouldn't lose money if there was a bad turnout (and it was decent at 47 cars).
We now have two years worth of registrations and a good idea of where folks are coming from to attend these events, regardless of where the events are held. We always hope to get more new competitors to attend, but because the series is only in it's third year, there is still a conservative mindset when it comes to scheduling. There is a greater degree of safety in holding events where you can draw from a radius and events like Power Tour probably stick to the Midwest for that reason.
We know Road America will sell out and it's a bucket list track for a lot of folks and Optima's home track, so we'll go there every year. We had a great response at Charlotte and NCM Motorsports Park and everyone wanted to go back, so they were included again in 2016. We know we'll sell out at Auto Club, so we'll go back there again and we know folks want to go to Las Vegas because it's Vegas and they want more time on the OUSCI track, so we'll visit there again. We want to have at least three West Coast dates and based on past attendance at Thunderhill and Portland, we know Thunderhill is the obvious choice.
Circuit of the Americas was a no-brainer and we expect that will be the first to sell out, as no one is sure when we'll get back there again, if ever. PPIR made us another offer too good to turn down and everyone loved the experience there, so we'll head back there again. That leaves two new tracks in New Jersey Motorsports Park and NOLA to round out the schedule with one more event than we had last year. We don't know what the turnout will be at either one, but I know we've heard from a lot of people in the Northeast who are wanting more in their area, just like you guys would like another one in the Northwest. The turnout at Pittsburgh was good enough from folks in that part of the country, that we were willing to venture even further East to NJMP in 2016.
There will be a few who still want us to host an event in their backyard and some have requested that of locations that don't even have road courses. The nature of our events requires a certain type of venue that is not necessarily even available at every road course and the size of our fields has now limited us even further, as we've started to grow out of some of the tracks we've run at in the past. We also have limitations in the schedule with available dates. PIR happened to have what we needed in terms of a venue and date in 2014, we just didn't get great registration.
I'd love to see us return to the Pacific Northwest, but I don't want to mislead you guys either. It would be great to see a half dozen cars from Portland and/or Washington make it down to Thunderhill and I'd consider that a big turnout, since Ryan Volk is typically just about the only guy we see out of that region. Even a turnout like that probably isn't going to convince anyone that we need to go back up there, when we had three times as many cars from California make the trip to Portland. I hope we get to a point soon, where we don't have to worry about where or when we schedule an event, because we know people will make a point of being there. Maybe this will be the year where we gain that confidence and we'll make it back to the Northwest in 2017?
eCare Manager, OPTIMA Batteries