Friday, February 27, 2009

Nascar- Redneck Sport or Marketing Phenomenom?

Well , I have to be honest, I grew up hating Nascar and thinking it was just something that rednecks liked.The T.V. never stopped on a race around our house! Yes, I grew up here in North Carolina right around the heart of Nascar country. I did not know that I lived that close to the heart of things until probably a couple of years ago. Well in the last few years I have to admit that I have been coming around. I actually like Nascar racing now. I still can not sit and watch every lap, because admittedly that can still be found monotonous and boring. Everyone loves a wreck or something exciting right?

So what happened? What made me change my vehement stand on the sport? I have been thinking about it and I think it is due to Nascar's new approach to marketing and their rolling out of new drivers. The sport has become a force to be reckoned with under the guidance of Brian France and the France family. It is only second in terms of T.V. viewership to the NFL. That's pretty impressive and the average fan was found to have a lot of purchasing power with an average income of $80000. Sponsorship in Nascar is second to none and millions of dollars are passed through the sport in the form of advertising. Advertising ranges from commercials to driver appearances to the sponsorship decals on the cars themselves. As you can see Nascar has grown and changed its image. Professionals are drawn to the sport just as well as your average Joe. Surprisingly, women were found to comprise about 40% of the fan base. I have to say that must be due to the fact that the women enjoy fast cars and cute drivers.Plus for me personally, I like to see anything associated with large amounts of money and a fast lifestyle. I must say that I enjoy fast cars and race car driving in itself. However, shows like MTV and CMT cribs and the features on ESPN let us get a look into their personal lives and how they live. I know that it is not all fun with all of the drivers obligations. However, the millions of dollars that the top drivers are able to command through their contracts and commercial deals(among other ways) has got to help make you feel better. Plus dont forget about flying into a different town and racetrack each week and jumping into a race car and flying around the track at nearly 200 miles an hour! At the same time, most of the drivers seem to stay somewhat humble and just love to race.I definitely would love if my son could grow up to be a driver! At almost three, he is already all into it. He knows Dale Junior's name and number and loves to "race" around on his bike.

If you are interested in business and specifically marketing and advertising, you have to take notice of Nascar. You do not have to like the sport to be able to appreciate what they have been able to do. They have been able to transform die hard "haters" like me into admirers of the sport. Is it a redneck sport in the year 2009? I think not ,and I think that they have the potential to push Nascar more into the mainstream in years to come.

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