Sports Career Spotlight

We've been featuring executives from the sports industry since 2001. Naturally, some of these executives have moved onward and upward in their sports careers. We believe these profiles remain relevant and valuable because they highlight the hard work, dedication, brilliant successes, and lessons learned in a variety of career paths through the sports industry.

Mark Dyer

Mark Dyer, President & CEO

Motorsports Authentics


Ex-NASCAR licensing exec takes on an Authentics challenge

Because of its significant backing from Speedway Motorsports and International Speedway, Motorsports Authentics was thought to be a sure-fire hit in motorsports merchandise. But it has stumbled out of the gate, failing to turn a profit in 2006 and on its way to another losing year in 2007. Enter Mark Dyer, whose success as NASCAR’s chief licenser and entrepreneurial spirit made him the pick to lead MA’s turnaround.

Age: 48
New title: President, CEO, Motorsports Authentics
Previous title: Vice president, licensing and consumer products, NASCAR
First job: Busing tables at Shoney’s, Madison, Tenn.
College: B.S., communications, University of Tennessee (1981)
Resides: Concord, N.C.
Grew up: Nashville
Executive most admired: Jack Welch, former CEO, General Electric
Favorite vacation spot: Taymar Ranch, Pilot Point, Texas, where Dyer breeds quarterhorses
Favorite pastime: Tennessee football, golf, riding his horse, Smokey
Favorite movie: “The Godfather”

Why was this the right time to go to Motorsports Authentics? The challenge of a turnaround situation. … I had the support of both the France family and Bruton Smith and Marcus Smith, so that felt right.

Why is MA in need of a turnaround? We’re spending more money than we’re taking in, which we’re in the process of addressing. Mergers are always tough. Jack Welch in his latest book has a great chapter on mergers. It’s hard putting a deal together, but it’s even harder creating a successful culture moving forward.

Is there something to be said for the importance of this business to NASCAR? NASCAR is different because every team can make their own decisions on licensing. Some might be good, some might not be so good. There’s over 200 licensees in the sport right now; that’s probably too many. But there needs to be more than one. One speculation is that we’re trying to take over the whole sport, and that’s just not true.

What is the biggest challenge facing NASCAR? One thing is that the industry just needs to have the patience to let the things in place develop. Maybe it’s a product of our own hype. If we don’t have a finish every Sunday with three cars crossing the finish line upside down, then it’s a bad race. We’ve got the best media partners the sport’s ever had, sponsorship is at the highest level it’s ever been — fabulous sponsors can’t even get in the race — and the stability of ownership that other companies would love to see. There’s a feeling that amidst all the changes, that we need to settle down for a while and be cautious about a lot more change.

This career spotlight is courtesy of the SportsBusiness Journal. CLICK HERE to visit their official website.

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