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500 Festival hires Atlanta marketing exec as CEO

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Bob Bryant, a veteran sports marketing executive from the Atlanta area, has been named president and CEO of the 500 Festival, the Indianapolis-based organization announced Wednesday morning.

Bryant will assume the position June 10, becoming the fourth president and CEO in the 500 Festival’s history.

He’ll succeed Kirk Hendrix, who stepped down March 1 to take the same positions at AAA Hoosier Motor Club. Hendrix had led the group since 2003.

The 500 Festival, founded in 1957, produces and promotes 50 annual events and programs in celebration of the Indianapolis 500.

Bryant currently is tournament director at the BB&T Atlanta Open, an ATP World Tour men’s professional tennis event that runs July 20-28.

He also runs his own firm, Team Works Marketing Inc. Its clients include the United States Tennis Association, the ATP World Tour, Cartoon Network, Kellogg’s and the Georgia Force of the Arena Football League.

“I am extremely honored and excited to be selected to lead the 500 Festival into this next chapter,” said Bryant in a prepared statement. “Indianapolis is clearly a community that has deep roots in racing and has proved itself time and again that it can host world-class events. I look forward to building on the reputation of this established organization.”

Bryant also spent five years at Turner Broadcasting and the Cartoon Network, mostly as vice president of the Off-Channel Commerce department, where he promoted the Powerpuff girls and managed NASCAR and tennis-related events.

“Bob has a strong track record of success and innovation in the event field,” said 500 Festival Chairman Ted Dickman. “He truly understands how a city comes together for large-scale events. We are thrilled that Bob and his family will be joining the community in this important leadership role.”
 

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  1. Really, taking someone managing the regulation of Alcohol and making himthe President of an IVY Tech regional campus. Does he have an education background?

  2. Jan, great rant. Now how about you review the report and offer rebuttal of the memo. This might be more conducive to civil discourse than a wild rant with no supporting facts. Perhaps some links to support your assertions would be helpful

  3. I've lived in Indianapolis my whole and been to the track 3 times. Once for a Brickyard, once last year on a practice day for Indy 500, and once when I was a high school student to pick up trash for community service. In the past 11 years, I would say while the IMS is a great venue, there are some upgrades that would show that it's changing with the times, just like the city is. First, take out the bleachers and put in individual seats. Kentucky Motor Speedway has individual seats and they look cool. Fix up the restrooms. Add wi-fi. Like others have suggested, look at bringing in concerts leading up to events. Don't just stick with the country music genre. Pop music would work well too I believe. This will attract more young celebrities to the Indy 500 like the kind that go to the Kentucky Derby. Work with Indy Go to increase the frequency of the bus route to the track during high end events. That way people have other options than worrying about where to park and paying for parking. Then after all of this, look at getting night lights. I think the aforementioned strategies are more necessary than night racing at this point in time.

  4. Talking about congestion ANYWHERE in Indianapolis is absolutely laughable. Sure you may have to wait in 5 minutes of traffic to travel down BR avenue during *peak* times. But that is absolutely nothing compared to actual big cities. Indy is way too suburban to have actual congestion problems. So please, never bring up "congestion" as an excuse to avoid development in Indianapolis. If anything, we could use a little more.

  5. Oh wait. Never mind.

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