NASCAR’s New $53 Million Production Facility Revs Up Ahead of 2024 Season
Facility offers flexibility for NASCAR and rightsholders to work in new ways
NASCAR’s new $53 million, 58,000-sq.-ft. production facility in Concord, NC, is set to be fully functional in January, signaling a new era for NASCAR Productions, NASCAR Studios, and MRN Radio and the 140 employees who will call it home.
NASCAR owns the facility, giving it much more control over the physical space. When fully operational, it will have eight control rooms, three studios, a dozen edit suites with 10-Gbps connectivity, and more, all humming with activity and content creation around one of racing’s top brands.
“The old building [in Charlotte, NC] was built more for long-form documentary-style shows, which we were doing a lot of 20 years ago,” says Steve Stum, VP, operations and technical production, NASCAR. “The new one is built more for live event production. This sets us up for future production that the old building wasn’t capable of.”
The eight control rooms will handle a number of functions. Two main control rooms will be capable of large-scale remote productions. The others will be used for the international feed, the video-screen shows at the track, OTT services, studio shows, and alternative broadcasts.
“Each of the two larger control rooms has an audio room and a submix room as well as an announce booth and EVS operations,” says Stum.
There are plans to build a remote race-control room that will communicate with officials at the track. SBG Race Watch software (which is used by some of the racing teams) will help deliver up to 100 video inputs to a 9- x 32-ft. LED screen.
“All the feeds will be on the screen, along with the replay systems,” says Stum, “so the officials here can work on the race much like the NFL does. It gives us the ability to have everything we need in the future at our fingertips right now and in one place.”
The beauty of the facility is that rightsholders have a lot more flexibility when it comes to figuring out how to produce race coverage. New rightsholder The CW, for example, plans to do its race coverage out of the facility.
“There are a bunch of ways we can go,” notes Stum. “As we get into next year, we are talking to the broadcasters to see what we want to do and what they want to do. How do we make production more efficient in the future? If everybody wants to go to Daytona and be all together, we can do that. Or we might all be back here if it’s a smaller race like Martinsville. The key is flexibility, and we are in a good position to do Rolex and truck and ARCA races from here. That allows us to get dialed-in for 2025.”
The studios include an 1,100-sq.-ft. space and are different sizes to meet different needs, such as daily or weekly studio shows for everything from domestic to international needs. LED screens are expected to play a role in those studios.
Having control rooms available for alternative broadcasts opens up a wealth of options in an era when serving niche audiences is more important than ever. Spanish-language coverage, kid-focused coverage, or female-focused coverage all could make sense in a world where digital offerings are expanding.
There is also a studio that can be used by on-air talent to call races off- tube.
“We wanted to make it different than having talent stand shoulder-to shoulder watching a bank of monitors,” says Stum. “We have built three podiums that they can use and have a conversation while looking at a Samsung 146-in. 4K monitor. And we have a couple of cameras on the roof at the track covering the whole track so they can see everything without things like poles in the way.”
Look for more details on the new facility in January when SVG goes onsite to report from behind the scenes of an actual production.