FROST: How Valuable Is Heritage In Sport?

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Tim Frost.

WILMETTE, Ill. — As SPEED SPORT celebrates its 85th anniversary, we will take a look at the value of legacy and heritage in sport from a financial perspective.

Motorsports is a passion that provides pleasure to many people. Collecting memorabilia is a popular pastime, and races tend to provide a steady supply of damaged gear.

There is the search for and the thrill of finding that specific item, the pride of possession in owning something unique or the connection to a favorite driver, team or sponsor. The underlying premise of bonding with the past and the feeling of nostalgia are important factors.

The social aspect of memorabilia cannot be overlooked. Those interested in learning about collections will visit the Hall of Fames, or museums. Others who want to acquire items will head to auctions or fan fests.

Purchasing items may turn into a good investment. Swap meets, car shows and auctions have marketplaces where items are bought and sold. To be valuable the collectible should be unique, of limited quantity, in good condition and of solid quality and craftsmanship.

The die-cast market went through big swings. It was attributed to the economic downturn, overproduction and speculation. The best approach was to display and enjoy the aesthetics and memories of your favorite car and driver.

Diversity and specialization are different approaches to collecting. They may be focused on awards, literature, equipment and merchandise. Race shops proudly display their winning trophies. For fans, programs from past races, logoed jackets from old sponsors and autographed body panels are desirable collectibles.

Racing brings together diverse groups. Each has its favorite driver, manufacturer, team or sponsor. The bond that develops from mutual interests should not be underestimated.

In the past, motorsports memorabilia collectors have focused on tangible products. However, the  scenario is changing with technology leading the way,

Sanctioning bodies, tracks and broadcasters own a large amount of content, including race footage from events that canot be recreated. Such content is captured, broadcast and sent to the archives.

Most of the time the goal was to preserve and protect the content. Technology has enabled the ability to make it dynamic and accessible.

There are many ways to repurpose content and profit from content. Preservation remains the key.  Archives are expanding their roles as licensing, reselling and distributing assets to third parties willing to pay.

Broadcast partners may push clips of key moments to social media within minutes of when they happen.  They may also use them to promote the next race. Driving fan engagement is central with highlights or behind-the-scenes footage. Content may also be used in ad campaigns or packaged as historical footage.

Monetization takes a good strategy that goes beyond typical licensing. The rapid evolution of how fans are consuming content requires flexibility from all partners. Having content available for highlight-ready moments is critical.

Moments define sports — from the crashes at Daytona to close finishes at Indy — making this content valuable. Racing is unpredictable and the ability to capture it is priceless to rights holders.