Gary Vaynerchuk is in Indianapolis, Indiana for his annual VeeCon event.
VeeCon is a multi-day superconference with discussions and performances from iconic and emerging leaders in web3, Business, and Popular Culture. VeeCon 2023 is the 2nd annual first-of-its-kind NFT-ticketed super-conference for the VeeFriends and the Web3 community to come together and learn, share ideas and build lasting relationships.
Podium Life grabbed time with Vaynerchuk to discuss motorsports, media and F1, marketing and attending the Indy 500.
You’re bringing VeeCon to Indianapolis during the month of May. It is a very sacred time. You’re in the Racing Capital of the World. What’s that like?
It’s huge. I was aware of that. When we were debating it, I knew that. Not only did I know that, obviously the Indy 500 week, but like, Comic Con – I don’t tend to do a lot of things by accident. You know, it feels special. It feels ambitious. And I know this is special month. And it is an incredible town.
I know you are a NY Jets fan and have done work with NASCAR in the past. Are you a motorsports fan?
So I didn’t grow up with that interest. So the answer is no, comma, I’m genuinely excited about what’s happening in the genre. And here’s what I mean by that; because I’m worldly and curious, I like paying attention. I’ve always been fascinated that Formula 1 was such a monster around the world and non-existent here (United States), where obviously, the Indy 500 thing is massive. Watching what the Netflix Series has done for general interests. This probably gave us even more momentum to do what you did (start Podium Life). It’s like, absolutely happened. I was in Miami for Formula 1. I’m going to Las Vegas. I’m planning on absolutely making the Indy 500 something I want to go to the next couple of years as well, like, really fully experience it. So it doesn’t come natural to me.
I know what my interests are. Like, it wasn’t about cars, I wasn’t a BMX kid, even skateboarding or surfing, nothing like that. But what I do love is passion sets. And so for me personally, it hasn’t been a genre. But I’m curious, because you pick up on things along the way. They’ll be interesting to me, as I put more time into it, will it click? Will I get into it because I do believe in that like MMA? I really liked it. But, you know, I was such a big boxing guy, and you only have so many hours in the day. But then when we got into the business of MMA, it was Vayner Sports. It gave me the opportunity to watch and now I will watch like random prelim fights, because I’m fascinated by the knowledge of it. So many of my friends that are into IndyCar and now Formula 1 because Netflix taught them what to look for. Now they care. And as I go through that personal journey it will be interesting to see how much it captures my imagination.
It’s no coincidence that F1 exploded after being acquired by a media company, Liberty Media. What advice do you have for the other racing series trying to figure it out?
That contemporary distribution matters. The X-Games is a nonentity if it wasn’t on ESPN. Hockey, fell out of favor in this country for a decade because you couldn’t find it on the Versus channel, gets back on ESPN, miraculously people care. Communication and marketing and awareness matter. And so to your point, what do I say to all of them get more people to watch? How do you get more people to watch? The Indy 500 can film everything over a weekend and have enough content to post on TikTok four times a day for the rest of the year. Do that. Why when Danica Patrick was in the sport was there more awareness? Because people have more general interest in her, thus bringing awareness.
Muhammad Ali mattered for boxing, Hulk Hogan mattered for wrestling. Tony Hawk mattered for skateboarding, Slater mattered for surfing. It’s how it works. Tiger Woods transformed golf. Baseball is big still because of Babe Ruth. You need stars, you need to develop stars and if people don’t know who Helio Castroneves is, well then you have no shot. People know who Sir Lewis Hamilton is and who Max Verstappen is.
Miraculously things happen, entrepreneurship got popular once characters like me came along. Go figure. Like it’s all star power. Right? My favorite quarterback of all time, Joe Namath, was on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Broadway Joe had pretty eyes, could also throw, wore a fucking fur coat on the sidelines, becomes a rockstar like The Beatles, and all of a sudden miraculously, football is profitable. Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan come along in the same five to seven year window. Miraculous like, how do people not understand this? Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey? You’ve got to make stars. Richard Petty, and Dale Earnhardt matter.
Have you thought about representing motorsports through Vayner Sports?
Absolutely. I want Vayner Sports to represent everything in anything and everything. And so I think about all that stuff.
One of the Podium Life co-founders is two-time IndyCar Champion Josef Newgarden. You have a standing invitation for the Indy 500 or another IndyCar race…
I’ll take you up on that! 👀