Interview with General Manager at Nissan Motorsport, Nick Ryan
Nick Ryan is the current General Manager at Nissan Motorsport – the Official Factory Team of Nissan competing with four leading V8Supercars in the widely recognised world’s best touring car category.
Over the last ten years, Nick has lead negotiations and procurement of partnerships for platform rights holders including Team, Corporates and Stadia including the delivery of multi-million dollar sponsorship budgets per annum.
Nick has been involved with the AFL, V8 Supercars, NRL, soccer and a host of others in various roles during his career and we sat down with him to have a chat about the evolution of the Motorsport industry.
What led you to become the CEO of Nissan motorsports?
It wasn’t an underlying passion for motorsport that led me down this path but more where my career developed. I started out working at a boutique sports marketing agency that had exposure to most sports but also a core focus on Motorsport. I am sports mad so I very much enjoyed working across the other sports, however, working within Motorsport unearthed a deep passion for the business behind the racing let alone the competitiveness that takes place on the track.
The last 10 years for me have been fully focussed on Motorsport and working across all aspects of our operation including 60 full-time staff and 19 separate departments. The journey continues.
Have you seen an evolution in the motorsport industry with technology?
The simple answer here is to highlight the technology that is involved to go racing. Naturally, this evolves over time to be incredibly sophisticated. It’s amazing the level of development and technical insight that goes into making cars go fast incorporating 3D printing applications through to driver well-being.
What also excites me is the technology applications we use to improve the efficiencies of the Team through to the various technology that sits behind our commercial programs to showcase return including sales driven lead nurture programs.
Other than your kids what keeps you up at night regarding work?
Where to start… unfortunately the balance between engineering departments ability to spend versus the income derived from the market is not easily aligned. This is a very expensive sport and the only way to succeed is to spend. Sometimes you need to be quite creative to build these revenue streams. Challengingly these ideas come in the early hours of the morning when sleep is also a necessity.
Where do you want to see sports cars in 5 years?
The sport of Supercar racing is about to distinctly change. In recent years we introduced new manufacturers but the principal of four-door sedan racing remained. The next phase is a fundamental shift in the product with Mustang already announced to race from 2019 replacing the falcon. Expectedly several others are to join shortly also with a fresh product. This only assists with greater market relevance and general interest in the sport. Our numbers for viewership and attendance at events remain strong but this will only support this further and hopefully bring a new group of fans to the sport.
The sport is shown to be dynamic, not only in the racing product but also with our events and regions where we race which will expectedly see the category back in Asia in the not too distant further. Needless to say, the next 5 years will be exciting.
There is a lot of rumour in the market regarding supercars ownership, what is ur PR line about this?
Business as usual… Archer Capital who owns a majority stake in the sport will shift the sport off their books at some point with the fund closing shop in the next couple of years. We will wait to see where this heads but there is enormous value in the sport and regardless of the ownership structure, I see no effect on the racing and outstanding product that we have.
Who do you think does good work in the sports industry and why?
We work closely with an agency called Greenroom Digital who are also involved with most major sports in Australia. There have always been challenges in Sponsorship of showcasing tangible sales that the partnerships deliver. Their sophisticated programs back-end promotions that profile and lead nurture an audience to drive sales outcomes. The sales are mapped and provide a genuine value of return from the partnerships. This ensures with all the other great partnership deliverables that we have a 360 approach to value.