NASCAR President highlights 2023 Sport Management Symposium
Steve Phelps, president of NASCAR, provided a thoughtful and candid keynote on April 19, 2023, to a standing-room-only audience in Turner Theatre, kicking off the fourth annual Sport Management Symposium.
As head of one of the most popular sports sanctioning and operating companies in the world, Phelps initiated a conversation around the event’s theme, “Sport Sponsorship and Branding in the Digital Age,” discussing how sponsorships, marketing and branding have changed and will continue to evolve in today’s marketplace.
Phelps offered his unique perspective to a crowd of more than 200 individuals detailing the strengths and areas of growth for NASCAR. In recent years, Phelps has been credited for being at the “forefront of stock car racing’s turnaround,” helping introduce the Next Gen car, one of the sanctioning body’s most ambitious projects.
Following Phelps’ keynote, the symposium shifted to panel discussions titled “Technology and Social Media: New Paths for Sport Sponsorship” and “The New World of NIL and College Athletes as Brands.” The latter featured Jon Seaton ’23, a defensive lineman for the Phoenix football team, and Ericka Link ’24, a member of the Elon volleyball team, who have successfully leveraged their name, image, and likeness rights.
For more information, read the event’s full release on Today at Elon.
Keynote with Steve Phelps, President, NASCAR
“Technology and Social Media: New Paths for Sport Sponsorship” Panel
Chris Bayly ’08, Winstate Sports & Entertainment
Jake Horowitz, 160over90
Lauren (Hoffmann) Street ’03, Richard Childress Racing
Kara Wagner ’16, G’17, Baltimore Orioles
“The New World of NIL and College Athletes as Brands” Panel
Jon Seaton ’23, Elon University football
Ericka Link ’24, Elon University volleyball
Steve Phelps was appointed president of NASCAR in 2018 and currently oversees all operations, competition and commercial endeavors for the auto racing sanctioning body, including the management of 15 racetrack facilities and the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) sports car series. In his 17-plus years at NASCAR, Phelps also served in the roles of chief operating officer and chief marketing officer.
During his tenure with NASCAR, Phelps won Adweek’s prestigious Sports Marketing Executive of the Year and was named its Brand Genius Award winner in the “sports” category. In recognition of his leadership elevating the sport during the 2020 pandemic, Phelps was named a finalist for Sports Business Journal’s Executive of the Year, with NASCAR likewise named a League of the Year finalist.
Prior to joining NASCAR, Phelps was executive vice president of sales and marketing for Wasserman Media Group. In 1990, Phelps began a 14-year tenure at the National Football League where he served as vice president of corporate marketing. A native of Vermont, Phelps resides in Daytona Beach, Florida, and has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Vermont and an MBA from Boston College.
Chris Bayly '08
Chris Bayly ’08 is the founder of Winstate Sports & Entertainment, a full-service sports brand marketing agency. Founded in 2018, Winstate focuses on elevating the challenger brand through sport by implementing cost effective and innovative tactics. Prior to establishing Winstate, Bayly designed and implemented sport marketing campaigns for clients such as Pepsi, Bose, Jeep, Time Warner Cable and others. He received his undergraduate degree from Elon University and a graduate degree in sports management from Columbia. He resides in Alexandria, Virginia, with his wife and son.
Jake Horowitz is a senior account manager at 160over90, a global full-service cultural marketing agency. He started his career at Red Bull working on its sports marketing team focusing on athlete and event partnerships. The events and athletes ranged from niche, such as tricking and wake-skating, to some of the largest global sports like Formula 1 and the NBA. From there he moved to Endeavor, which owns 160over90, where he works in the brand consulting division with Anheuser-Busch as his client. In his time there, he has grown to lead long-term strategy for the brand in sports, looking at consumer and cultural trends, and helping adjust the portfolio to reflect a more modern consumer. Most recently, he helped bring Anheuser-Busch back into Formula 1 for the first time in two decades and was named one of Sports Business Journals New Voices Under 30.
Ericka Link ’24
Ericka Link ’24 is a junior majoring in media analytics at Elon University and competes on the university’s volleyball team. An active social media user, Link is a member of the 2022 World Wrestling Entertainment NIL “Next in Line” class, a collaborative partnership with 15 college athletes nationwide that allows them to monetize their image and use WWE resources to build their personal brand. Beginning in 2020, the Hedgesville, West Virginia, native grew her TikTok platform to more than following 1,500,000 followers and was collaborating with brands such as PSD Underwear, Kulani Kinis, and Starface.
Jon Seaton ’23
Jon Seaton ’23, a strategic communications major and Elon University football player, is a bona fide TikTok star with nearly two million followers on the social media platform. The defensive lineman garnered national media attention in February using his NIL deal to partner with Outback Steakhouse and the nonprofit organization Fighting Pretty to host a breast cancer charity event. Seaton is a member of the inaugural WWE NIL “Next in Line” program, a collaborative partnership with 15 college athletes nationwide that allows them to monetize their image and use WWE resources to build their personal brand. The Hillsborough Township, New Jersey, native is also founder and CEO of Big Boy Council, a clothing brand for large men.
Lauren Street is the senior director of marketing and business operations for Richard Childress Racing, a professional stock car racing team that competes in the NASCAR Cup Series and the NASCAR Xfinity Series. In the cross-functional role, Street focuses on maximizing partnership ROI and fostering interdepartmental collaboration. Street also oversees marketing direction for the RCR brand, marketing services and branded merchandise. She first joined RCR in 2011 as a partnership marketing manager and has contributed to several areas of the company, most recently leading the content and digital media team.
Kara Wagner '16, G'17
Kara Wagner ’16, G’17 is the manager of digital experience for the Baltimore Orioles. Following her 2017 graduation from Elon’s Interactive Media graduate program, she served as a digital media assistant for the Baltimore Ravens, completing two full-season internships with the NFL franchise. In fall 2019, she joined the Orioles organization as a digital experience coordinator and was elevated to senior coordinator two-plus years later. At Elon, Wagner majored in dance performance and choreography as well as strategic communications.