HomeGrown: Sports & Entertainment Media

Whether it's Daytona or Bristol, in-car cameras buckle NASCAR fans into the passenger seat.

"Can you imagine going in the huddle with Peyton Manning and seeing what he's seeing," asked Andy Jeffers. "There's not another sport- Baseball, basketball or football- that you can get in and see the passion, see what's going on with the driver, like you can in NASCAR."

And, Andy Jeffers' Knoxville Company, Sports & Entertainment Media, helps create the view.

"Each week we do eight in-car cameras for the Nationwide Series and eight for the Sprint Cup Series."

Jeffers works with Broadcast Sports Incorporated, Television Networks TNT, FOX & ESPN, driver teams and sponsors to make sure the in car cameras are sold, positioned and broadcast every race.

"You just make sure that decal pops on national broadcasts; the sponsor's very happy!"

It's a father-son tradition. Andy grew up on Bristol Motor Speedway's pit row.

"I always came with my dad," he said.

A political and sports writer turned sales & marketing genius, Andy's father, Lyn Jeffers, was an avid sports fan and visionary.

"He saw things before they happened," explained Andy.

And, he saw NASCAR's business potential back in the '70s and '80s.

"My dad did a lot of sponsorships for teams. Pet Dairy was one that he brought into the sport."

ESPN caught on and decided to cover the sport in 1981.

"ESPN decided they wanted to do NASCAR and with that they needed help from people who understood the sport. My father's name kept popping up," said Andy.

Jeffers not only shared his auto racing expertise with ESPN, but also a pretty brilliant advertising idea. He suggested selling sponsorships for each in-car camera during the race.

"CBS would always throw a camera in, put in a name plate and a driver number, but no sponsorship. Seeing that, my father was like, 'You take this to a sponsor and tell them they can see their driver during the race; it was an easy sale.'"

And, it proved to be incredibly profitable.

"He handled the truck series, what is now the nationwide series and sprint cup series all through the '90s and the explosion of NASCAR."

The company- then Sports & Entertainment Marketing- was on the fast track. However, in 2004, it hit a major bump in the road. Lyn Jeffers was diagnosed with a brain tumor. NBC was covering NASCAR at the time.

"They called me and said, 'Can you come help us? Do you know what your dad did?' And I was like, 'A little bit.' And, my father was still in frame of mind, so he helped me along."

Father and son tweaked the company's name from marketing to media to incorporate Andy's background of writing and video production for multiple cable networks and University of Tennessee Athletics.

"I had to learn the sales and marketing side."

Andy took the driver's seat. His dad passed away in 2006.

"It's the hardest thing I've gone through-- you lose your best friend."

Today, almost a decade later, Andy carries his father's legacy from track to track nearly 38 weeks of the year.

"Never fails, I bump into someone in the garage and they'll say, 'Are you Jeffers? Lyn Jeffers' son?' There's no greater honor than somebody coming up and saying, 'Hey, we remember your dad. He was a great man.'"

Before the race, Andy handles the sponsorships of the in-car cameras and coordinates the placement of each one, just like his dad did. He even secures the decals himself.

And, when the green flag drops, Andy's where his dad would be, in the booth side by side the TV announcers.

With more than 30 years of auto-racing experience from public relations and TV production to sales and sponsorships, Sports & Entertainment Media carries on a vision that's revolutionized NASCAR.

"It's always nice talking to people and they'll say, 'Hey, without your dad this wouldn't have happened.'"

Sports & Entertainment Media, HomeGrown in Tennessee.


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