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France champions social media, live events

April 30, 2014, Staff report,

NASCAR Chairman and CEO speaks as part of panel at Milken Institute Global Conference

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Photo courtesy of Milken Family Foundation

NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France took part in "The Business of Sports" panel at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles on Wednesday. France emphasized the importance of social media and the event experience unique to sports.

France was joined by basketball legend and Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Magic Johnson; All-Pro wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and Mamelodi Sundowns FC owner Patrice Mostepe. The panel was moderated by FOX Sports and Showtime sportscaster Jim Gray.


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"Social media is the greatest opportunity and greatest challenge to reach the Millennial fan," France said.

To meet the challenge, France noted the Daytona Rising reimagining of an American icon, the Daytona International Speedway, will have 11 football-field sized areas for social media.

Johnson noted social media is a major component of the Dodgers' business and said that Dodger Stadium is the eighth-most Instagrammed spot in the world.

Speaking from a current athlete's point of view, Fitzgerald said, "With social media there is the chance to gain exposure but there is also a chance you can be exposed."

Mostepe, owner of a South African soccer team, agreed with France and Johnson on the opportunities afforded business by social media.

"Social media offers an opportunity to create revenue and connectivity to your clubs," Mostepe said.

After inking long-term deals last year with FOX and NBC for a reported $8.2 billion, France moved the discussion forward, discussing the event experience.

"Sports has been and always will be the most attractive television content," France said. "Fans want to see it live."

Johnson concurred, saying, "Nothing like being at live sports events. It'll never change. Never. Hearing cars whiz by. You can't feel that anywhere else."

The Milken Institute stated mission is to "improve lives around the world by advancing innovative economic and policy solutions that create jobs, widen access to capital and enhance health." It seeks to act out its mission through its flagship Global Conference, private meetings and retreats in the United States and around the world.

Watch the entire panel discussion below:


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