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PBR brings in NASCAR driver Austin Dillon as GM of N.C.-based team

NASCAR driver Austin Dillon will "wear a new hat" in '22, serving as the GM of a PBR team "based in North Carolina while continuing to compete in the NASCAR Cup Series" for Richard Childress Racing, according to John Newby of HEAVY.com. Dillon will be GM of the Winston-Salem-based Carolina Chaos, which will "compete in the inaugural PBR Team Series season." RCR issued a press release and "confirmed that the organization will run the team as it takes on the 10-event season." The Carolina Chaos will call Wake Forest’s Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum home. The inaugural schedule will include 10 events and "will culminate with a trip to Las Vegas." The Team Series playoff event will take place at T-Mobile Arena on November 4-6, 2022 (HEAVY.com, 1/6).

ROPED IN FINANCIAL BACKING: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Erich Schwartzel notes PBR has established eight new franchises for its Team Series and "lassoed some billionaires to help make it happen." The teams will be owned by a "collection of high-net-worth individuals" who bring an "interest in the sport, experience owning other teams -- and expertise in commoditizing the lifestyle of the American cowboy." Each owner paid "around $3 million for each team." Johnny Morris, the Founder & CEO of Bass Pro Shops, is the owner of the new Missouri Thunder, which will be "based in an amphitheater in a development he’s building in the Ozarks." He got into bull-riding for the "branding opportunity." Morris said, “You pull into our parking lots, you see a lot of pickup trucks. You see a good portion of fellows who come in the store are wearing cowboy boots. This lifestyle isn’t foreign.” Thomas Tull, a former entertainment exec whose Western equine brand Teton Ridge owns the new Arizona Ridge Riders, is also a part-owner of the Steelers. The new Team Series will be "broadcast on CBS channels and Pluto TV." Teams will compete for a "season’s worth of winnings totaling $6 million." Even teams that "never win a match will end the season with about $400,000," while the champions can "expect to walk away with about $1.6 million" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/7).

PBR TEAM SERIES FRANCHISES
NAME HOME CITY OWNER
Ariat Texas Rattlers Ft. Worth Fisher family
Arizona Ridge Riders Glendale Teton Ridge
Austin Gamblers Austin Egon Durban
Carolina Chaos Winston-Salem PBR (operated by Richard Childress Racing)
K.C. Outlaws K.C. Pulley Systems
Missouri Thunder Ridgedale Johnny Morris
Nashville Stampede Nashville Morris Communications Company
Oklahoma Freedom Oklahoma City PBR (operated by Prodigal)
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PBR teams chart

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SBJ Spotlight: TikTok’s threat to traditional sports media

While tech companies are consumed with finding ways to compete with TikTok, almost no one in conventional media “spends any time talking about it,” said Recode senior correspondent Peter Kafka in an Spotlight interview with SBJ’s John Ourand. “To me, that’s just an obvious disconnect.” Kafka authored a recent column headlined, “It’s TikTok’s world. Can TV live in it?” He said the main response to TikTok’s growth from traditional media execs has been to “punt and hope it’s someone else’s problem a quarter from now or two years from now.” But Kafka said that ignores the trend of conventional broadcast audiences growing older while a billion younger consumers spend most of their media time watching short video after short video. “If you’re in the business of getting anyone under the age of 30 to look at what you’re putting on a screen, you have to think about the fact that you’re probably asking them to put down TikTok and watch your thing instead,” said Kafka. “That’s a very difficult ask. … [TikTok] is insanely addictive.”

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