August 17, 2015
By Adam Stern
NASCAR this week will announce a deal with Mexican movie star Eugenio Derbez to develop a full-length comedy — a project the sanctioning body hopes will accelerate its courtship of the Hispanic market.
Aside from being NASCAR-centric, the precise plot of the movie has yet to be determined. But Derbez, who has raced competitively in Mexico and was ranked No. 1 on Variety’s 2014 “Power of Latinos” list, finds his “sweet spot” in comedy, which is why the movie will go that route, according to Zane Stoddard, NASCAR’s vice president of entertainment marketing and content development. NASCAR’s Los Angeles-based entertainment marketing division and Charlotte-based NASCAR Productions will collaborate on the film.
A partnership between Derbez’s production company, 3Pas Studios, and Pantelion Films — a joint venture in which Lionsgate is involved — will have the right of first refusal for the movie. Benjamin Odell, a partner at 3Pas Studios, will serve as the film’s producer, while Stoddard will be executive producer. NASCAR hopes to have production finished in 2016 in order to release the film nationwide in early 2017.
For NASCAR, the film would represent another box to check off on its new content strategy, which was launched 2 1/2 years ago as a way to fuse together NASCAR’s core marketing objectives with its content offerings.
“We felt that for us, the energy we spend in developing content is better spent aimed at younger, more diverse audiences,” Stoddard said. “In order to do that, we needed to continue to develop content with our broadcasters for the core fan, but the new piece of it was that we would be particularly aggressive in developing what we call off-channel content.
“We’re particularly excited about this project because it’s the heart of what we set out to do with our new content strategy: Do some things that we think are unexpected — if not disruptive — by partnering NASCAR with one of the biggest Hispanic entertainers in the world.”
Aric Almirola and Daniel Suarez, two Hispanic NASCAR drivers, will help consult on the direction of the film. Other Hispanic-related content initiatives that NASCAR is working on include a docuseries with Mexican star William Levy that was announced earlier this year but is still in the development stage. Meanwhile, Stoddard said NASCAR also has a deal in place for another film with Lionsgate, though he wasn’t ready to share details yet.
“Partnering with Eugenio is going to automatically bring in a segment of the Hispanic audience that may not currently be NASCAR fans but will come watch because it’s Eugenio,” Stoddard said. “So I think it has the ability to be very influential.”
Source: Sports Business Journal