NASCAR SPONSORSHIP GEARED TOWARD WOMEN

We all know that NASCAR fans are 75% more likely to purchase items that are endorsed by NASCAR or a favorite driver, and 40% of all fans are females with the majority of the purchasing power. So, with numbers as high as these, I don’t see why more sponsors aren’t focusing more on women. A discussion today made me think about what makes a “loyal” fan. A loyal fan is someone who will not substitute another brand based on price or availability. That means that I am not a loyal fan. I don’t feel compelled to always buy something simply because it is endorsed by NASCAR if there is a cheaper substitute. I don’t think NASCAR has any female-only products. I could care less which home improvement store or energy drink is advertised. But I would purchase something that was specifically geared towards women. And not just the stereotypical sponsors like Tide or Target; women aren’t the only people who have laundry needs. I’m talking about brands such as Tampax, Maybelline, Herbal Essences, or Victoria’s Secret.

I think the entry of Danica Patrick would be a great opportunity for sponsors to jump in and target the female fans. I don’t think the men in the sport would jump at the idea of driving the Tampax car, but Mark Martin drove the Viagra car with no shame. I would become a “loyal” fan if a driver, male or female, would seek out a sponsor that supported the primary needs of women.

And that’s the view from here.

JS

NASCAR Considers More Two-Day Race Weekends

Many of NASCAR’s race weekends usually last two or three days depending on which race it happens to be. NASCAR has been looking into making more two-day weekends for the 2010 racing season. One of the main reasons NASCAR would like this to happen in 2010 is because of the hard economic times we are facing today.

By making more two-day weekends NASCAR believes it will help save a tremendous amount of money for many of the organizations in the NASCAR circuit. Even though this approach has been considered for years, many people believe this would be the perfect time for NASCAR to go through with this idea. Many fans, including me, do not realize how much money each team could actually save from cutting down from a three- to two-day weekend. It is estimated that it costs a team $300,000 to $600,000 per car for an average three-day weekend.

So by having only a two-day weekend a small portion of that amount could be saved. Also knowing that they have to run a 36-race season, organizations would eventually save millions of dollars within a season. By seeing how much money could be saved, I believe this would be a great change for NASCAR to make most of the races a two-day weekend event.
CS

The Car of When?

The Car of Tomorrow is causing several different waves through the world of NASCAR. The Car of Tomorrow or CoT has been a working prototype for the last seven years, after Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s crash in 2001. Many believe that new regulations and perfection is needed to help make these mandated vehicles to a level of working performance for the drivers. First the intent of this car was very genuine and well thought. Wikipedia explains, via NASCAR.com, “[t]he primary design considerations were ‘safety innovations, performance and competition, and cost efficiency for teams.’” These are all important factors for a team to be able to race safely, efficiently and for less money. However there are many concerns that these are not enough considerations and cause larger problems.

Just a few of the complaints are the dimensions of the vehicle itself. The bigger, boxier, and less aerodynamic body shapes are creditable causes for less speed and moving agility on the track. These are valid concerns with drivers. The speed and performance of the vehicles is more labored and harder to control for a long amount of time going at speeds we can not fathom, though we would like too. However, there are people who will praise the vehicle for different features such as safety, but will criticize for size and lack of maneuverability.

As a spectator I want to see the effort that a team can put into a car within the guidelines. Each team has mechanical geniuses willing to work hard and promote originality within the cars. This is a sign of the times, everything is standardized and boring. Though it does depend on the driver and how they handle the car, it is also about the team and how far they can get the driver.

No room for design ability, just rules.
That’s the unfortunate view from here.

H.F.

NASCAR, WWE, Attendance and TV

NASCAR is said to be one of the most viewed professional sports on television. The only sport that beats it is the NFL. NASCAR is broadcast to over 150 countries around the world. It is a multimillion dollar business with millions of fans attending and watching around the world. If all this holds true, then why is NASCAR facing struggles with attendance at events and a drop in TV?
The cause of this drop-off in viewership and attendance is unknown to many. It can be a variety of things. The sport’s best drivers are not competing at the same level and some may think they’re running low on the tank. The new drivers that NASCAR brings in, or will bring in, may not have the same racing vibe as the previous drivers. I can somewhat compare this situation with WWE Wrestling.

At first it grew at a ridiculous rate because it was fairly new and everyone wanted to watch their favorite old school wrestlers duke it out. After a couple years, the attitude of the show, the story lines and the wrestlers themselves were getting old. With new wrestlers coming into the business, fans of the old generation were left hanging and not attracted to something they watched growing up and loved. It just wasn’t the same anymore.

I believe that NASCAR is somewhat going the same way. I may be wrong or I may be right. It is just an idea to provide. Something new may have to be provided in order to remain the big business that NASCAR is. I think something needs to happen to spice things up a bit to give it an edge of entertainment and drama. As some may say, Danica Patrick may be coming to NASCAR. That can tip NASCAR fans good or bad; it all depends on how the fans take it. We may just have to see what the business of NASCAR can provide to its loyal viewers and see if a renewed interest in the sport can begin again.

And that’s the view from here.

AM

WOMEN AND NASCAR

There has been a lot of talk about the possible addition of Danica Patrick to the NASCAR circuit next year, but one has to ask does NASCAR need her?
Women make up to 35% of the viewer audience of NASCAR, higher than both the NFL and MLB. With the power of the marketing of NASCAR, would the addition of Danica help to open up some market that seems closed because it is a male-dominated sport?
Now may be the best time for Danica to move to NASCAR and help them open up to new marketing partners. With women controlling more than half of the private wealth in the US by 2010, and women being involved in over 60% of new vehicle purchases, women’s purchasing power continues to grow.
With track attendance down, perhaps NASCAR needs to consider expanding its base? But can the men of NASCAR really market products that they cannot use or have no practical experience in? Revlon may not fit the model of the typical NASCAR product, but one can only imagine a potential tie-in or sponsorship with Danica. This partnership would provide a true women’s only product that the women who already attend the track could get behind, but this would only work if Danica comes to NASCAR and becomes a true contender; otherwise she runs the risk of being the Anna Kournikova of motorsports.
And that’s the view from here.
DS

IS IT DALE JR.’S FAULT – OR DIGGER’S?

A serious issue in NASCAR is the decline of ticket sales and television viewership. Everyone has their own theory, from the new cars to the economy to Digger. Digger, an animated gopher that pops up on Fox broadcasts, has taken the most flak. Digger only shows up on the turn camera; it pops up and screams when cars go by so it is not featured that often in a race. Still, many people despise it. In fact, in a USA Today article, Fox Sports Chairman David Hill stated that a NASCAR executive sent him an e-mail blaming Digger for the drop in viewers, that every time he shows up, people turn off their television sets. Hill had another reason, stating that “if Dale won, more people would watch”. This statement actually makes a lot of sense.

People go to sporting events to cheer for their driver/team/ horse/player, etc. When their favorite starts doing badly, they gradually start to lose interest. Although there are always die-hard fans (such as Detroit Lions fans), there are those who will just stop watching, period. Dale Jr. has not won a race all season, and in the last race at New Hampshire on Sunday, he was doing very well and was looking at a top three finish when he hit the wall. The lackluster performance he’s had the previous season, while not that bad as he did make the Chase, has really hurt his fan base. People are not going to show up if they know Jr. is going to place 12th and Kyle Busch is going to get another win. They go to see Jr. win and do well, much like how they go to see Tony Stewart be a jerk and Jeff Gordon (hopefully) hit the wall.

How can NASCAR get these viewers back? Really, there is not that much they can do unless Jr. (or whoever the driver is) starts winning or at least starts doing better. I, however, would like to think if they made Ward Burton a commentator, then ratings would skyrocket, but that’s just me.

And that’s the view from here.
AS

MARTIN’S NEW CONTRACT AND DANICA-CONNECTION?

Just before race weekend in Richmond, Nate Ryan (USA Today) and Dustin Long (Virginian-Pilot) spoke to our Business of NASCAR class. One of the topics was whether Danica might make a switch to NASCAR from Indy Racing. Both Nate and Dustin indicated that all signs point to such a switch–but at a much slower pace than other open-wheel drivers. One scenario has Danica driving a few races (Camping World and/or Nationwide) before the Indy season begins and a few after the season ends. One of the problems with that scenario is finding a sponsor willing to put up bucks for such an approach.

Now it’s announced that Mark Martin has extended his contract with Hendrick Motorsport through 2011, with GoDaddy.com as a sponsor for 20 races each season. Is it a coincidence that GoDaddy.com is also Danica’s sponsor? Is this a prelude to Danica dabbling in NASCAR for a few races each of the next two seasons before moving over full-time (with Hendrick after Martin’s departure)? Let’s wait to see how this plays out at this season’s end but I have even money that this scenario is not out of the question.

And that’s the view from here.

Jon

WHO IS THE WINNER?

In NASCAR, there seems to be two winners in the race. There is the logical winner, who is the driver that can make it across the finish line first and then there is the driver that can make the most money during a race.
The logical winner, which is the driver that comes in first, does a lot of work to make sure that he is first. These winners have to make sure their crew can work cohesively to ensure efficiency and effectiveness during all practices and races. Then they have make sure the engineers operating on their cars have done everything they can to create a lean, mean racing machine that adheres to all codes and qualifications that NASCAR officials have put into place. Along with the car and the crew, the driver himself has to make sure that he has the stamina to endure the race that he is in. When all of these things come into play, there’s potential that the driver will be in 1st place at the end of the race.
Then you have the other winner of the race, who is the driver that makes the most money. This driver has to have the crew, car, and the stamina like any other driver that strives to get that 1st place slot, but there is a little bit more that occurs during the race. How this driver becomes a winner is based on different sponsorships that can be accumulated. The car and driver are essentially turned into fast-paced, moving, and sometimes breathing billboards for many companies and/or products that are available for consumer use. Each racing team and driver accumulates money from the sponsors that are on the cars and how much is received from these sponsors is relative to the location of advertisement on the car itself. The main sponsor has its advertisement in the main locations such as the hood of the car and the suit of the driver. Then you have the sponsors that are located on the front quarter panel of the car. Although the driver pays to have them placed on the car, if that particular company or product is endorsed during the race then the driver gets compensated. So essentially, the team and/or driver is making an investment to increase their wealth based on advertisements during the race.
Now the final question is this, “Which winner would you like to be?” Would you like the pleasure of personal achievement or do you want financial wealth. Now the best part of it is no one said you couldn’t be BOTH winners!
And that’s the view from here.
NG

NASCAR, DRUGS AND PUBLIC IMAGE

In recent news, NASCAR reported suspending three members for substance abuse violations. This wasn’t a huge shock to the public since NASCAR has adopted a random drug testing policy new for this racing season. The three employees, who were crew members, were suspended at Bristol Motor Speedway two weeks ago. These suspensions come after driver Jeremy Mayfield’s suspension, which was a result of Mayfield testing positive for methamphetamines during his random drug screening at the beginning of the season. Currently, a total of ten crew members and one driver (Mayfield) have been suspended since the beginning of the testing at the start of the season.
So what does this mean for the business of NASCAR? Mayfield’s suspension has been the topic of heated debate presently. NASCAR has been receiving strong opposition to its decision since this is the first time a driver has ever been submitted to random drug testing, failed, and subsequently suspended. Critics from USA Today claim “overriding suspensions would make the program not credible.” Not only would the program be a failure, but NASCAR itself would be viewed as less credible as well.
In addition to a lack of credibility, Fanhouse.com reported NASCAR has been receiving enormous amounts of bad publicity from the situation just as the race season had begun. This is a huge concern with the recent decline in attendance and viewership that the business is already facing. With costs on the rise for NASCAR, buying “good” publicity will be even more costly to fix the damage these suspensions have caused.
So where do the fans come in? Will we see a shift in fan loyalty? Since we view NASCAR as a tightly knit community, it seems only right to assume that NASCAR fans want their favorite drivers to be good role models for their community and for their children, the younger fans. Will there be another decrease in attendance and viewership due to a loss of interest? Will loyal NASCAR fans not want to deal with the politics and consequences of this new drug testing policy? Or will they stand by their sport as the season progresses? It seems only time will tell, but with the race season well underway and eleven people already suspended, the future does not seem promising.

And that’s the view from here.

LH

NASCAR’S Economic Impact Felt Widely

Richmond International Raceway is located in Henrico County, Virginia. Henrico has a population of about 300,000 people and has been ranked one of the best places to work, live, and play. And on race weekend, it becomes an even better place to play.

A few times a year, fans from all over the country flock to Henrico County to watch the NASCAR races. This year, more than ever, Richmond and Henrico welcomed fans with arms wide open.

Over the past few years, Richmond has joined the rest of the country in feeling the effects of the slumping economy. Sales have decreased in a variety of different retail stores and many businesses have been struggling to survive. In the weeks around race weekend, people start coming to Richmond and this migration has a great impact on our economy. Restaurants, gas, campgrounds, and hotel sales skyrocket during this time, and we couldn’t be more thankful. The business Richmond receives from NASCAR is astonishing, and thus another reason why Richmonders love the race! And that’s the view from here. RR