Location, Location, Location: Engaging the Changing Face of 'NASCAR Nation' with New Media
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATIONEngaging the Changing Face of „NASCAR Nation‟ with New Media Lane Errington MPSM900 June 17, 2010
RUNNING HEAD: LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 1 Location, Location, Location: Engaging the Changing Face of „NASCAR Nation‟ with New Media Lane Errington Georgetown University
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 2EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Once regarded as a bucolic sport reserved for Southern whites, NASCAR has penetratedthe masses to become a force in the American sporting landscape. The demographics of„NASCAR Nation‟ have grown from the stereotypical “beer drinking, Confederate battle flag-waving, and catcalling white southern good ol‘ boys‖ to encompass a fan base upwards of 75million that is remarkably reflective of the American population (Hurt, 2005). As stock carracing becomes a national phenomenon amidst the explosion of new media, NASCAR hasworked tirelessly to create numerous digital initiatives geared toward engaging the sport‘schanging fan base. In the process of attracting new fans, NASCAR is also charged with the taskof retaining the existing fan base that has fostered perhaps the most unique regional culture inAmerican sports. This paper will serve as a commentary on how the iconic NASCAR brand andits stakeholders can continue to embrace and develop an evolving fan demographic to furtherengage fans in the new media space, specifically using location-based mobile technology. Before any discussion of the use and implementation of location-based social networkingwith NASCAR, this technology must be justified as compatible and appealing to its constituents,both on the business and consumer sides. As such, the case will be presented through thefollowing set of objectives. Analyzing the NASCAR brand, discussing brand characteristics, brand value, stakeholders, and success factors. Understanding both the traditional and contemporary NASCAR fan from a demographic and consumer perspective as well as looking at factors influencing recent demographic shifts.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 3 Examining the NASCAR Digital team and their collective efforts as part of NASCAR Media Group and Turner Sports Interactive to create touch points that engage fans and drive revenue streams. Finally, the paper will offer an overview of location-based social networking with the aimof growing the NASCAR brand in the digital and mobile spaces, and discuss applications of thistechnology to NASCAR. The goal herein is to leverage NASCAR‟s unparalleled brand loyaltyby creating a new partnership with Foursquare, the leader in location-based social networking,designed to enhance the race day experience and add value to NASCAR-affiliated sponsors.INTRODUCTION/BRAND AUDIT NASCAR has proven to be a brand that reaches and influences millions of fans andconsumers worldwide. In the 2009 NASCAR Brand Brochure, the auto racing is recognized as: The #1 spectator sport, with 17 of the top 20 highest-attended sporting events in the U.S. and an average of nearly 120,000 spectators attending each NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event. The #2-rated regular-season sport on television. NASCAR also ranks #2 in viewership by women and youth. With broadcasts in more than 150 countries in 20 languages, NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races at 100 tracks in more than 30 U.S. states, Canada and Mexico [See Appendix 1]. The #1 sport in fan brand loyalty. NASCAR fans are three times as likely as non-fans to try and purchase sponsors‘ products and services, and more Fortune 500® companies (over 100) use NASCAR as an avenue to build their brands than any other sport (Schwartz, 2009).
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 4 Regarded by many as a sport with a fractured set of stakeholders, NASCAR relies on thisweb of partners to make the sport go. Considered as members of a family rather than individualsplaying a zero-sum game, NASCAR‘s major stakeholders include: Fans Sponsors Media Drivers Auto manufacturers Licensees Teams TracksA family-owned-and-operated business since 1948, the sport is driven by a strong sense ofcommunity between and ownership among members of the NASCAR family. NASCAR fans embrace sponsors at a level unparalleled by any other sport – its 75million followers are true brand ambassadors. In 2008 alone, licensing revenues exceeded $2billion (Badenhausen, 2010). A study conducted for NASCAR by the market research firm ofEdgar, Dunn, & Company in 2000 and 2001 reported that ―92 percent of ‗hardcore fans‘ and 89percent of ‗casual fans‘ believed that ‗NASCAR drivers could not run their cars withoutsponsors‘ support‘.‖ In comparison to other professional sports leagues, the study also found thatNASCAR fans are ―94 percent more likely to have ‗positive feelings‘ about sponsors than fansfrom other leagues‖ (Newman, 2007). The level of passionate fan engagement through purchasing of licensed product, eventattendance, and media consumption (among other factors) demonstrates NASCAR‘s successfulpositioning as a lifestyle brand embodying the values and culture of its constituents (NASCARBrand Brochure, 2009). Fans are drawn to the family-friendly environment, speed, power,heritage, and drama of NASCAR. Andrew Giangola, Director of Business Development forNASCAR, noted that perhaps one of the greatest draws for fans is access to drivers – if you wantto meet your hero, chances are you‘ll meet him (personal communication, May 27, 2010). This
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 5level of driver availability is a traditional cornerstone unmatched by any other major professionalsport that adds to the brand values of family, community, aspiration, and authenticity. One fannoted after seeing about a dozen drivers signing autographs before a 2009 Sprint Cup Series race,―you can‘t put a price tag on that‖ (Ryan, 2009). As indicated in the official 2009 NASCAR Brand Brochure, major brand attributes of thesport can be broken down into two categories: functional equities (more tangible and associatedwith quality) and emotional equities (emotional responses to the intangibles of the brand). Functional Equities Emotional Equities Edge-of-Seat Action Admired Athletes Intense Competition Athletes who are ―Regular People‖ None-Stop Action Down to Earth Performance Genuine Skillful Competitors Honorable Speed and Power Like a Big Family Thrilling and Exciting Straight Up and HonestDEMOGRAPHICS Scarborough Research (2010) indicates the newest set NASCAR fan base demographicsto follow the following statistics and trends, on average [See Appendix 2]: Gender NASCAR fans are gender neutral – 60% male and 40% female. Age NASCAR fans are just as likely as the U.S. population to be between the Distribution ages of 18-44. Income NASCAR fans are middle/working class, indexing to be just as affluent as Distribution the U.S. population with 45% earning $50,000 or more. Presence of NASCAR is a sport for the whole family. A reported 39% of fans have Children children under the age of 18. Geographic NASCAR fans are regionally distributed in a manner reflective of the U.S. Distribution population to within 3 percentage points in each of four measured regions. Minorities One out of five NASCAR fans is a member of a minority group.While these measurable are largely indicative of the average American, NASCAR fans arereporting higher incomes and education levels than ever before. The traditional white, southern,‗redneck‘ male is no longer the predominant NASCAR fan. Scarborough data confirms that
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 640% of fans are women and 60% live outside the south (2010). A recent study conducted byESPN Sports Poll further proves the increasing levels of education and purchasing power.According to the 2008 study, ―since 2000, the number of fans making $100,000 or more hasdoubled from 7% to 16% of its fan base, and those with incomes of $50,000 or more has risenfrom 35% to 48%. College graduates in the fan base have swelled to nearly one in four, up 33%since 2000‖ (Ryan, 2009).Factors Influencing NASCAR’s Evolving Fan Base Several factors have influenced the demographic shift, including geographics,sponsorship strategy, and globalization.Geographics From a geographic perspective, the regional location of tracks utilized by NASCAR hasundergone a significant shift over the past 50 years. In the 1960‟s and 1970‟s, tracks in thesoutheast accounted for 72 and 75 percent of NASCAR‟s total, respectively. The number oftracks has since been consolidated, and although tracks remain concentrated in the southeast,locations outside of the region have steadily increased over the previous three decades. Southerntracks decreased to 60% of the total in the 1980‟s, and that number dwindled to 47% in the1990‟s and 2000‟s (Hurt, 2005). Construction and opening of new tracks has typically occurred outside of the south.While some southern tracks have undergone renovations, the last twenty years have seenNASCAR expand to new venues in markets outside the southeast at the expense of some of itslong-time track partners including North Wilkesboro, North Carolina (1996) and Rockingham,North Carolina (2003). The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit has recently added stops inPhoenix (1988); Sonoma, California (1989); Loudon, New Hampshire (1993); Indianapolis
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 7(1994); Fontana, California (1997); Fort Worth (1997); Las Vegas (1998); Homestead- Miami(1999); Chicago (2001); and Kansas City (2001). Furthermore, NASCAR has pursued a―realignment‖ strategy that effectively weakens the traditional supremacy of southeastern tracksand allows for newer, larger (and large-market) tracks to host more events in what amounts togeographic redistribution of the Sprint Cup Series [See Appendix 3] (Hurt, 2005). Geographic expansion has not only occurred with track locations, but drivers have comefrom increasingly nationally distributed (and global) backgrounds. Joshua Newman (2009)articulates how the geographic redistribution of tracks has affected the regional identity ofNASCAR drivers: ―Further, while between 1956 and 1980 every Winston Cup Champion was born in North Carolina, South Carolina, or Virginia, just one of the past fourteen champions of NASCAR‘s top division hailed from a state inside the geographic boundaries of the American South. Moreover, 2007 marked the first time that a driver born in North Carolina, long considered the birthplace of NASCAR, failed to record a single victory on NASCAR‘s premier circuit. For the 2008 season, just eleven out of 46 full-time drivers in NASCAR‘s Sprint Cup Series claimed hometowns in states lying in the American South.‖The geographic shift of drivers, track locations, and DMAs has contributed not only to a shift infan demographics, but in providing access to new sponsors and other revenue streams.Sponsorship It is well documented that more Fortune 500® companies activate sponsorship withNASCAR than any other sport. Sponsorship accounts for 70% of all team revenues, which in2009 were $92 million on average (Badenhausen, 2010). Over the years, no sponsor has beenmore synonymous with the sport than the title sponsor of NASCAR‟s flagship series. Nextel
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 8replaced Winston as the title sponsor in June 2003 with an investment of $750 million over 10years to rename the signature series as the Nextel Cup Series. At the time, this was the largestsports sponsorship in U.S. history (Sporting News, 2008). In comparison, R.J. Reynolds (parentcompany of Winston) spent $30 million annually to sponsor the Winston Cup for the 32 yearsprior to Nextel. Since that time, Sprint has taken over Nextel‘s sponsorship rights in 2008 as aresult of their merger. According to Amato, Okleshen Peters, and Shao (2008), ―This change insponsorship will allow NASCAR to aggressively target teenagers—something prohibited by therestrictions R. J. Reynolds faced in advertising to youth. Furthermore, the change in sponsorshipwill likely expand the number of Fortune 500 companies seeking NASCAR sponsorships byattracting companies with target markets that are more aligned with those of communicationscompanies than those of cigarette producers.‖Globalization A new frontier for NASCAR helping to initiate the demographic shift has been attractingand engaging the Hispanic community, America‘s fastest-growing demographic. According tothe U.S. Census Bureau, Hispanics have accounted for 50% of the U.S. population growth since2000. According to Scarborough research, ―approximately 8.9 percent of NASCAR fans areHispanic, a 10% increase over 2001, when Hispanics comprised 8.1% of the NASCAR fan base‖(―NASCAR.com launches Spanish-centric website,‖ 2007). A recent study conducted byrEvolution and KnowledgePanel Latino found that 38% of Hispanics are NASCAR fans, ascompared to 42% of the U.S. population as a whole. While this is a strong base to start from, thenumber of avid fans among that group is only 7%. Casual fans (two-thirds) make up the majorityof Hispanic NASCAR followers; these respondents list themselves as only “a little bit interested”
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 9in the sport (Marshall & Tice, 2009). The challenge, then, becomes engaging these casual fansin a meaningful and measurable way. Other key findings from the study include: Hispanics are not entrenched in the NASCAR community the way traditional fans are – they are more isolated traditionally experience the sport through television or video games. Accordingly, marketers are tasked with making the sport more social for this demographic in order to bring Hispanics into the NASCAR family. Most Hispanic NASCAR fans – unlike NASCAR fans in general – do not have a favorite driver. Instead, they tend to gravitate toward winners. Confirmation from other sports surveys that indicate Hispanics as having a “higher- than-average emotional attachment” to sponsors and a “greater-than-average desire to reward them with their business” (Hispanic PR Wire, 2009).Juan Pablo Montoya, an extremely popular Hispanic driver of Colombian descent, joinedNASCAR in 2006 after successful stints Indy Racing League and Formula One. Currently thedriver of the #42 Target Chevrolet for Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing, Montoya has enjoyedtremendous popularity and success since his arrival to NASCAR just four years ago. NASCAR has initiated several other highly-visible globalization tactics over the pastseveral years, including the introduction of foreign auto manufacturers and drivers. Once a sportreserved solely for U.S. auto manufacturers, NASCAR has since introduced Japanese automakerToyota into the sport in 2007. At a time when domestic auto manufacturers were dealing withbankruptcy and bailouts, in addition to a decrease in sponsor dollars as a result of the economicdownturn, Toyota was able to step in and subsidize the operating costs of several NASCARteams, providing a valuable inroad into the sport (Newman, 2009). International celebritydrivers have been lured away from competing racing series to act as entry points into new
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 10cultural markets; these include not only Montoya, but Dario Franchitti (Scotland), MarcosAmbrose (Australia), Max Papis (Italy) and Jacques Villenueve (Canada) as well as former open-wheel drivers Scott Speed, A.J. Allmendinger, and Sam Hornish. The global appeal of thesedrivers certainly helps raise the brand equity of NASCAR on a worldwide scale as well asopening up new international revenue streams (Newman, 2009). These new international driversjoin a crop of young up-and-comers that, coupled with the retirement of perennial fan favoritessuch as Dale Jarrett, Ricky Rudd, and Rusty Wallace, contribute to the shift in fan allegiance. It is clear that NASCAR is now focusing on a much broader constituency than before.The processing of attempting to reach out to fans in new markets while maintaining itstraditional southern roots is not one without risks. This is a classic example of retaining currentcustomers versus acquiring new customers. NASCAR executives understand the significance ofsatisfying avid/hardcore fans, estimating that “for every core fan lost, it must attract at least fivecasual fans to compensate for member consumption” (Amato, Okleshen Peters, & Shao, 2005).In order to preserve stock car racing‟s local/regional cultural brand identity and associationswhile maximizing national/global revenue streams, NASCAR must remain aware of itstraditional customers in digital and new media efforts and incorporate the desires of allconstituents across digital platforms.THE ROLE OF NEW MEDIA AND DIGITAL MEDIA IN NASCAROverview NASCAR is fortunate to have built up an iconic brand over the years, one that is onlybolstered by a partnership with Turner Sports Interactive (a Time Warner company), whoacquired NASCAR‟s interactive rights in October 2000, later becoming the exclusive producer
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 11of NASCAR.com (the official online destination of NASCAR) in January 2001. Working withsuch strong brands as Turner Sports and now Sprint gives NASCAR the tools and resources tocontinue to build a successful digital and new media presence. NASCAR merged its broadcast,digital and images divisions into one central media hub in 2008 to form NASCAR Media Group(Smith, 2009). NASCAR and Turner have together spent the past decade assembling a strongportfolio of digital assets. In 2006, David Levy, President of Turner Sports, stated ―We‘re justaggregating consumers. We really don‘t care what devices they use. It‘s about creating touchpoints. Ultimately, brands will win across all technologies.‖ It is true that brands win. Ratherthan discussing every piece of technology implemented by NASCAR and its stakeholders, it isbest to discuss some success stories and statistics that demonstrate where the technology is goingbefore offering some strategic recommendations for the future.NASCAR.com NASCAR.com was built to aggregate consumers by the same Turner Sports Interactiveteam that built PGA.com, PGATOUR.com, NBA.com, and CNN.com. In the last decade,NASCAR.com monthly viewership has grown to nearly 7 million fans – nearly 1 million morethan the average TV audience for Cup Series races ten years ago (Ryan, 2009). NASCAR SprintCup Series live race streams on NASCAR.com generate a following of (on average) roughly60,000 fans per event (Ryan, 2009). Moreover, NASCAR.com interactive features have provento be engaging, with 2.9 million video plays per month (―Metrics: NASCAR.com‖, 2010). Thesite not only generates high traffic volume, but has a unique following, even among other sports-centric web sites. According to Turner Sports and Entertainment Digital (2010), the percentageof NASCAR.com users who do not visit other sites is remarkable: NFL.com: 81% NHL.com: 97%
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 12 ESPN.com: 57% MLB.com: 85% CBS Sports.com: 91% Fox Sports on MSN: 79%The average NASCAR.com user is a 42-year-old white married male from the South or Midwest.After completing some college education, he earns about $64,000 per year (mid-high income),owns a home, and does not have children in the household [See Appendix 4] (―NASCAR.comUser Profile‖, 2010). NASCAR Digital is able to measure numerous relevant behavioralpatterns, including television and radio, free time, shopping behavior, tech behavior, reading, andonline habits to understand and target their online consumer. NASCAR.com also was re-launched in 2007 with several critical new features.TrackPass RaceView is a paid 3-D consumer interactive application that puts users in the middleof the action, following along with live racing in a virtual ‗video game‘ style format. Exclusiveaccess to a variety of user-controlled live features, including multiple views of each car, in-caraudio, and instant race statistics, provides the sought-after access to drivers in a whole new way.Fans can choose their favorite driver or follow the entire field. The re-launch also marked theintroduction of the NASCAR.com Infield Community, ―a social networking site withinNASCAR.com to connect race fans with shared interests.‖ Designed to be a ―track away fromthe track,‖ this free feature allows fans to create their own personalized pages, upload photos andvideos, and join ‗crews‘ based on affiliations with drivers, teams, tracks, series, geography, orotherwise. As outlined by EyeTraffic Media‟s Andrew Bates, the Infield Community caters tothe four C‟s of social velocity – content, connections, community, and conversations (personalcommunication, June 7, 2010). Users provide content, connect with one another in meaningfulcommunities, and engage each other in conversation through NASCAR.com challenged betweencrews throughout the season. One of the crews is “NASCAR Says,” the official blog of
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 13NASCAR public relations. The Infield Community was positions not as a replacement to othersocial networking sites, but as a destination for specific NASCAR-related social networking.Advertisers are also able to host pages in the community as well as individual crews, tying intoother sponsored content on the website (“NASCAR site set for first…,” 2007).Social MediaSocial Networking NASCAR social media outlets have taken off in the last several years. NASCAR drivers,teams, tracks, sponsors, and the league itself all maintain active presences in social mediaplatforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace. Some introductory statistics are below:Facebook NASCAR 573,483 fans Miss Sprint Cup 99,781 fansMySpace 375,692 friendsTwitter @NASCAR 18,728 followers @MissSprintCup 10,516 followers @JPMontoya 149,128 followers @KevinHarvick 41,134 followers @KaseyKahne 35,113 followers NASCAR‘s Facebook page generates over 70,000 page views per week. Highlights ofthe site include regular discussion topics, exclusive videos, and weekly photo galleries.Discussion topics posted by NASCAR are highly interactive, regularly yielding hundreds ofcomments and ―likes‖ [See Appendix 5]. The page also links to the official Facebook pages ofall active drivers, teams, and tracks. To give an example of just how much new media ischanging the way people receive information, after a controversial wreck at Atlanta MotorSpeedway, Carl Edwards updated what essentially amounted to a public statement to Facebook.―The update was quoted and referenced by media across the world in the days after the race.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 14Over 6,500 people commented on the status within the first 24 hours, with almost 15,000commenting in the first week‖ (―Social Media in NASCAR,‖ 2009). NASCAR‘s Twitter page is another key communications avenue to interact with fans,drivers, and media. The page contains lists of personalities (owners, crew chiefs, and formerdrivers), tracks (28), drivers (49), teams/team reps/sponsors (56), and league feeds (11). At leastten drivers have followings of 15,000 or more. Twitter has been used by NASCAR officials as abreaking news source, an outlet for promotions and giveaways, and even a platform for liveinterviews. Miss Sprint Cup, the Sprint-branded ambassador who travels to NASCAR races acrossthe country almost every weekend, has become a social media fixture for the Sprint Cup Seriessince 2008. Miss Sprint Cups Twitter account currently has over 10,000 followers, while herFacebook page has attracted over 99,000 fans. Her blog, currently the most popular on thecommunity page of NASCAR.com, has generated 82,500 followers and more than 3.2 millionprofile views. Whether it is interviewing drivers, hanging out in the garage area, or joining thepost-race celebration in the winner‘s circle, Miss Sprint Cup ―…enables [Sprint] to reach anaudience less endemic to [auto] racing,‖ said Tim Considine, general manager, NASCAR SprintCup Series sponsorship (Schwartz, 2009). Considine goes on to elaborate on this strategy: "Were not out there having Miss Sprint Cup talk about the latest sale price on the new BlackBerry device. But, lets say Miss Sprint Cup takes a picture with her new BlackBerry Tour, uploads it to Facebook and mentions the device in the photo caption. The handset gets mentioned in a very real way, and weve shown some of the devices capabilities without it feeling like a product pitch…What‘s amazing is the levels of
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 15 response; every time she posts there‘s 80, 90, 120 responses from fans, 98 percent positive‖ (Schwartz, 2009). Social media is also driving sponsor dollars. JR Motorsports co-owner Kelley Earnhardt,the sister of superstar driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and daughter of the great Dale Earnhardt, said ofthe power of social media: "It used to be you could talk about (traditional media) impressionsand TV ratings, but now they want actual physical people they can touch. Now we sit inmeetings with potential sponsors and talk about Facebook and Twitter. They ask, How manyFacebook friends do you have? They want actual bodies to touch‖ (Associated Press, 2010).Following this idea, many prominent NASCAR sponsors are working to engage fans via highlyvisible and interactive social media programs. In addition, external organizations have createdsocial networking communities; in 2007, Dale Earnhardt Jr. helped launch InfieldParking.com asa community specifically devoted to auto racing.Citizen Journalism In July 2009, NASCAR embraced another forward-looking social media trend bycreating the NASCAR Citizen Journalists Media Corps. This conglomerate of 28 blogsembraces the changing media landscape by bringing together the best independent sources ofNASCAR information with the largest audiences under one umbrella. The review process forinvitation to the corps evaluated web sites on factors including professionalism, reporting andcommentary, and use of social networking tools. Members receive access to NASCAR‟s media-only site, media-driven events and other inside information as well as the opportunity to applyfor credentials at races. With the stated goal of increasing the depth of knowledge of the fanbase, NASCAR is not only able to provide greater fan access to the sport but also to generatemore media exposure. Although NASCAR still focuses the lion‟s share of its investment on
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 16traditional media, incorporating the blogosphere into their media portfolio looks to be a strongasset going forward (“NASCAR announces…,” 2009).Fan Council Embracing another trend first popularized by European soccer clubs, NASCAR tookgreat steps toward channeling the voice of the fan by beginning the 12,300 member NASCARFan Council in 2008. With members from all 50 states and 20% of the membership consisting ofbloggers, NASCAR uses this “advisory board” as an efficient channel to connect with and betterunderstand some of its best consumers through online opinion surveys (Ryan, 2009). This tacticseems one of the best ways to complete a two-fold objective: (1) engaging fans through newmedia and (2) listening to the avid, traditional fans that helped build the sport into the spectacle ithas become. Regular consultations with this groundswell of supporters led to two importantstrategic changes in 2009: the “double-file restart” rule following cautions as well as “earlier andconsistent TV start times” (“NASCAR honored with…, 2009). NASCAR‟s willingness to listento and implement fans suggestions as de facto consultants has led to the receipt of two nationalawards: the Forrester Groundswell Award in the Business-to-Consumer Listening category andthe Vision Critical 2009 Panel of the Year Award (“NASCAR honored with…, 2009).Digital and New Media User Research The NASCAR Fan Council and the Ipsos NASCAR Brand Tracker have both providedvaluable research for the NASCAR Market and Media research team. According to a study fromthe NASCAR Brand Tracker, fans spend an average of 80 minutes per week following NASCARon the internet and 30 minutes on mobile devices; 30% watch streaming race highlights, and28% follow NASCAR online while watching NASCAR on TV, exhibiting second-screenbehavior [See Appendix 6]. One in five fans is active on Twitter, while over half use Facebook
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 17(“NASCAR Fans and Digital/Social Media,” 2009). A 2009 NASCAR fan survey conducted byTaylor PR found that 57% of fans want news about their favorite driver through online or newmedia sources, including NASCAR-generated online media (40%), driver and team web pages(11%), and social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter (6%) (Sporting News, 2009). Additional results from an August 2009 NASCAR Fan Council study revealed thatcontrary to the Brand Tracker study, 39% of avid fans use Facebook and only 10% are active onTwitter. This may lead marketers to target casual fans in social media as opposed to avid fans.Of those who responded positively to using Facebook and Twitter, 97% access social mediathrough their home computer, 27% via work computer, and 28% through a mobile phone.Female and respondents under 35 years old were more likely to access and want informativeupdates from social media in all forms than males and those over 35 years of age. Fans alsoresponded mostly favorably to potential ideas for Twitter updates from the track on raceweekend, including ticket and merchandise promotions, photo/video, trivia and other contests forprizes, as well as live race updates (“NASCAR Fans and Digital/Social Media,” 2009). Furthermore, SBRnet Market Research provides additional insight into the demographicsof NASCAR‟s online computer and mobile users. Computer users are 80% male, 71% of whichare 16-49. A striking 80% of computer users have household income of over $50,000, and 62%reside in either the south or west regions (“Online computer viewers,” 2009). Mobile users are82% male predominantly between the ages of 16 and 49 (83%) and making $50,000 or more.Respondents from the south region alone represent 56% of mobile users (“Online mobileviewers,” 2009).
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 18SWOT for NASCAR Digital The following SWOT analysis was developed from a personal interview with GeoffLester, Director of New Media, NASCAR Media Group (personal communication, June 4,2010). STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES • Turner Resources • Limited control • No overhead, risk on capital • Inability to react quickly • Quality as opposed to speed • Reactionary approach • Numerous partners to work with • Inability to directly promote ticket • Connection to other stakeholders sales (tracks own rights) • Limited mobile platforms (Sprint) OPPORTUNITIES THREATS • Leverage existing partnerships • Measurement of new media • Educating rest of company • „Traditional‟ fan backlash • Focus on the future • Existing sponsor deals prevent asset optimization/breadth/depth Operating under the Turner Sports Interactive portfolio certainly has its advantages forthe NASCAR Digital team. The group enjoys a world-class web site built on the backbone onsome of the most successful sites in the world (i.e. CNN.com, NBA.com, PGA.com). SinceTurner owns NASCAR‘s interactive rights, the league is able to benefit from Turner‘s top-notchresources while avoiding overhead costs as well as risk on capital, expenses, and said resources.The combined forces of two devoted teams (NASCAR in-house and Turner) leads to the abilityto generate a high-quality product offering, and NASCAR‘s formidable field of sponsors helpdrive a great deal of revenue via interactive advertising and branded digital content. TurnerSports works with NASCAR‘s affiliates to improve their digital presence and connect a fracturedindustry in the online space as well. In 2008, Turner worked with Roush Fenway Racing,NASCAR‘s second-most profitable team, to produce the team‘s web site (Fisher, 2008). Finally,
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 19NASCAR Digital has benefitted from the recent consolidation of NASCAR‘s broadcast, images,and digital groups into the NASCAR Media Group in 2008 (Smith, 2009). Although NASCAR benefits greatly from working with Turner Sports Interactive, thereare also weaknesses to their „subordinate‟ position, first and foremost being limited control overtheir own digital destiny. Since Turner is such a large company that owns so many web sites,NASCAR‟s ability to be nimble and react quickly is sometimes hampered as they are just one ofmany Turner Sports and Entertainment Digital properties. Lester also discussed that NASCARprefers the strategy of „don‟t necessarily be first, but get it right‟; this reactionary approach cansometimes be a negative if an organization waits too long to respond to market changes. Sprint‟stitle sponsorship of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series also limits the platforms on which NASCARcan spread digital content, namely on mobile devices, where iPhone and Android applicationsmay not be able to be created. Finally, NASCAR has run into problems in not being able to selltickets on its website; in stock-car racing, the tracks sell tickets and maintain their ownrelationships with ticket providers and brokers. The digital team, with an obviously stronginterest in making sure tickets are sold, looks to use their media inventory to support ticket salesthrough banner advertising driving users to track websites. Turner would prefer that tracks paythem directly to advertise in those spaces. This is an example of the type of negotiation thatmust occur in order to support what on the outside seems like an obvious collaborative move. Opportunities lie in leveraging the Sprint title sponsorship and being in such closeproximity to a leader in the communications industry. The digital team also intends to do morein the way of educating the rest of the company executives and constituents, regarding thetechnology they develop and its importance in driving revenue. A continued focus on the future
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 20and maximizing upcoming media rights renegotiations is also a critical opportunity for theNASCAR Digital team. The major threat to new media continues to be accurate measurement of programs. Asmentioned before, the partnership with Sprint, while providing access to the strong asset base ofa digital leader, prevents relationships with other leading companies such as Apple and Google,who could potentially further optimize digital/new media initiatives for NASCAR (Aumann,2009). Finally, a threat to the success of NASCAR Digital is the backlash from „traditional‟ fansthat come from a different culture and era.LOCATION-BASED TECHNOLOGY AND MOBILE SOCIAL NETWORKINGOverview NASCAR fans have clearly demonstrated a trend toward connectivity to digital andmobile platforms, and location-based technology is widely regarded as the next logical step inthis direction. Taking this trend to the next level involves the incorporation of location-basedtechnology, and specifically location-based social networking (LBSN), to NASCAR‟s mobileproduct offering. This technology can add value to sponsors and encourage digital fanengagement, providing an additional touch point particularly in the mobile space. LBSN is notto be positioned as a simple profit-and-loss marketing initiative; this is a fundamental shift in theway people connect with each other and with brands. As a new, cutting-edge technology, it iscritical here to demonstrate how LBSN can help NASCAR and its stakeholder network to betterunderstand their fans and customers, target them more accurately, and use this information todrive revenue and ultimately increase the bottom line.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 21Value of LBSN There has been much hype about the potential of location-based technology in the pastyear. The real value to advertisers remains the ability to reach the “on-the-go user, who is readyto buy and consume” near the point of sale (Nakao, 2010). Location-based check-ins providemore accurately targeted advertising for businesses large and small. Platforms such asFoursquare, Gowalla, and Yelp allow for check-ins at places, rather than map coordinates,making data more valuable for highly targeted advertising and promotions and also worth thepotential privacy headaches for many early adopters of the technology (Betancourt, 2010).Inherent to the technology is the ability for businesses to reward frequent customers.Knowledge@Wharton, the online business journal of the Wharton School of Business, describesthe value for business users as follows: “Although Foursquare and competitors like Gowalla are the subject of most of the current headlines, experts say the true potential lies in companies knowing exactly where customers are and pitching offers or offering services based on the spots these customers frequent. As smart phones become more common and social networking gains a broader audience, consumers are consciously sharing more information than ever about their daily routines. That information makes it easier for businesses to advertise or offer special discounts that fit what someone is doing at a given moment” (2010).The goal for businesses, such as NASCAR, should be to have a strong LBSN infrastructure inplace that engages consumers, drives revenue, and is easy to scale up as the base of userscontinues to grow and ultimately reaches a critical mass.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 22Usage Trends A recent Nielsen study indicates that, currently, “21% of American wireless subscribersare using a smart phone as of the fourth quarter 2009 compared to…14% at the end of 2008.”Almost half of the respondents (45%) indicated that their next device purchase will be a smartphone. Roger Entner, Senior Vice President, Research and Insights, Telecom Practice, furthercomments that “with falling prices and increasing capabilities of these devices along with anexplosion of applications for devices, we are seeing the beginning of a groundswell. Thisincrease will be so rapid, that by the end of 2011, Nielsen expects more smart phones in the U.S.market than feature phones” [See Appendix 7] (2010). A 2010 survey conducted by research firm GroundTruth found that social networkingsites maintain a 60% share of U.S. mobile traffic (with the next closest category garnering only13.65%) (Dredge, 2010). The Mobile Marketing Association‟s latest Mobile Consumer Briefingsurvey also found that while only 10% of those surveyed use mobile location services at leastonce a week, this number spikes to 63% among smart phone users (Betancourt, 2010). A newreport from eMarketer extrapolates that by 2013, there will be 56.2 million mobile socialnetworkers in the U.S. alone of an estimated 607.5 million worldwide (“Location-based socialnetworks…,” 2010). Furthermore, a 2009 report from Gartner, Inc. indicates the expectation thatmobile advertising will grow exponentially from about $500 million in 2009 to $13.5 billion in2013 (Moore, 2010). One important consideration for would be location-based social networking providers isthat should Facebook or Twitter find a valuable entry point into the location-based market, theywill benefit from their already built-up networks of mobile users. Facebook‟s status as alooming category killer is the location-based battlefield is evident; with more than 100 million
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 23mobile users as of April 2010, Facebook‟s share of the current 400 million overall users is boundto increase (Dredge, 2010). The rapid growth of mobile social networking is further illustratedby comScore research findings that Facebook showed an increase of 112% in its mobile userbase (up to 11.8 million users) from January 2009 to January 2010. Twitter increased its ownmobile user network to 4.7 million, raising its base by 347% in the same year time period(“Location-based social networks…,” 2010).Success Factors Location-based mobile technology is clearly the next “battleground” for mobile operatingsystems (Nakao, 2010). But a variety of success factors must materialize to bring thistechnology to the mainstream. Developing a business model for LBSNs is not without itschallenges. Kevin Nakao, VP of Mobile & Business Search for WhitePages, targets four keyfactors as critical to the expansion of location-based social networking (2010): A dramatic increase in user base. Even a million global users translates to a minute share of a given local market; most games and location-based applications still reach only a small percentage of the population. Circumventing this „long tail‟ of local user adoption is vital to achieve scale and attain return on investment. Increased frequency of user check-ins (revealing location and other information). Interest from business looking to embrace LBSN as a new revenue stream Users must become more comfortable with the privacy issues inherent in this technology and ways to overcome said issuesFurthermore, the mobile space is still developing standardized methods of revenue generationand building scale with location-based services. Accurate measurement continues to be apriority. Finally, developing broadened awareness of LBSNs and their value will be necessary;
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 24Edison research indicates that “Only 7% of Americans are aware of location-based socialnetworks‖ (Betancourt, 2010).Foursquare As one of the top LBSNs available, Foursquare focuses on aggregating locationinformation for networks of friends. Users check-in at a restaurant, mall, stadium, bar, or otherlocation and broadcast their location to friends. Points and badges are earned for checking-inregularly or at specified times – with the ultimate goal of earning enough points to become“mayor” of a given location. This gaming model adds value because it has the “potential to gainbroader appeal because the services tap into a persons natural desire to belong to a community,and to gain social status by becoming a recognized "expert" in knowing the hot spots in his orher home turf” (“Location-based social networks…,” 2010). Combining friend finders and social city guides with an added layer of fun gamingmechanics on top, Foursquare has found footing mostly in areas of high density. The applicationhas exhibited tremendous growth in its first 15 months, “and now has 1.2 million users, whohave checked in 40 million times” (Treadaway, 2010). As of March 2010, Foursquare had over1.5 million venues logged into its system, with an expanding network of over 1,200 businessesoffering special deals to Foursquare users, perhaps most notably Starbucks (“What isFoursquare,” 2010). The sporadic check-in system of “geo-triggers” also works to address theconcern of location-based features‟ drain on battery life of the mobile device (Nakao, 2010). Foursquare users treat location information differently than other types of socialnetworking content; in contrast to Facebook or Twitter, keep their networks small, typicallyaround 6 or 7 friends (Wong, 2010). Foursquare founder Dennis Crowley uses the analogy of abirthday party to describe the pattern of intentionally small friend networks. "If you were going
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 25to invite people to your birthday party, you wouldnt invite your 5,000 Twitter friends. Youdpick the 20 friends youd want to invite. Each check-in is like a mini version of that” (Wong,2010). As such, Foursquare has developed a number of features to mitigate privacy controls,such as choosing whether you want to send check-in information to Facebook friends and/orTwitter followers in additional to Foursquare friends. From a business perspective, Foursquare has the potential to redefine the way companiesexecute customer loyalty programs. Information provided from this application can help crafttargeted advertising and special promotional discounts. For example, in August 2009,Foursquare executed a partnership with 8coupons, a “hyper-local” mobile coupon vendor, tooffer discounts at trendy New York City venues. As Foursquare users came within a three blockradius of a relevant deal, the application automatically served up location-aware coupon, drivingtargeted business at the point of sale (Van Grove, 2009). Other promotions include mayorspecials and frequency specials.Measurement One of the most critical pieces of location-based technology is determining the bestmetrics for ensuring a positive return on investment and return on objectives. Now more thanever, firms need a valid return on investment for their marketing spending; brand exposure andincreased awareness are often not enough to justify the expense. While a discussion aboutmarketing as an investment, not an expense, could prove valuable, providing meaningfulmeasurement statistics can be just as effective. According to Mashable writer Chris Treadway(2010), some potential user metrics to consider include: What is the percentage of users who have checked in during the last day/week/month? What about inactive users?
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 26 How often do people check in? Is this figure improving or declining? What is the average time spent per day using the application (per user)? How does a check-in turn into revenue for the LBSN application provider, advertisers, and/or businesses? In early 2010, Foursquare rolled out an analytics dashboard to business users in order totrack who is coming into their stores. Some of the data available includes total check-ins, uniquevisitors, male-to-female ratio, social media-sharing (i.e. how many users send check-ins toTwitter/Facebook), top visitors, and check-in time breakdown [See Appendix 8]. Possible futureopportunities could include tying purchase information (on top of check-ins) to customerrewards. For large-scale businesses, this would be a valuable tool (providing increased scale ofuser base) to determine what works on a location-by-location basis as well as a source ofconsumer behavioral information (Van Grove, 2010). As of now, Foursquare is mostly lookingto build its business analytics dashboard with the best features possible in order to build itsbusiness client base. The prevailing metric for monetizing Foursquare is thought by many to be a new model:cost per check-in. Foursquare users can receive promotions, coupons, or other rewards bychecking in to a business. The premise of cost per check-in is that “the business owner wouldpay for that check-in if, and only if, the consumer redeems that offer…The performance-basedmodel would better align incentives – encouraging businesses to offer special deals toFoursquare users – and value – as businesses only pay for actual conversions” (Goldman, 2010).Furthermore, cost per-check-in “[differs] from the click-through model that only directs anonline user to visit a web site, check-ins actually get real „live‟ bodies to walk through a[business‟s] door where they are more than likely going to spend money, solving the age-old
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 27return-on-investment (ROI) issue that a brand requires on an ad spend” (Callari, 2010). Thisnew model could ostensibly provide the elusive direct link to ROI that many social mediamarketers covet.NASCAR Application of LBSN NASCAR is an organization that could see a great deal of benefit from the value oflocation-based social networking. As the NASCAR fan community trends toward embracingsocial networking, LBSN is the logical next step. With several marquee sponsors (Allstate,DEWALT, Jack Daniel‟s, Jim Beam) choosing to exit after the 2009 season, demonstratingadded value for is necessary to retain NASCAR‟s laundry list of remaining sponsors (Miller,2009). Geoff Lester, Director of New Media for NASCAR Digital, indicated that his group hadnot looked into location-based technologies, but was aware that they need to get up to speedquickly (personal communication, June 4, 2010). Since NASCAR currently does not use anylocation-based technology in its marketing, implementing such a campaign could provideadditional revenues for tracks, sponsors, and in turn, NASCAR at the league level. Leveraging location-based technology to engage fans accomplished several goals forNASCAR. First of all, it brings social networking to the track. With the proposed plan fortrack-side check-ins, social media enthusiasts can interact with fellow fans and sponsors as partof their race day experience. Tracks could use location-based technologies to set up check-inpoints at different seating sections; under this scenario, Kasey Kahne fans or Carl Edwards fanscould connect with one another. This capitalizes on the aforementioned ability of LBSN to “tapinto a persons natural desire to belong to a community, and to gain social status by becoming arecognized "expert" in knowing the hot spots in his or her home turf” (“Location-based socialnetworks…,” 2010).
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 28 Another recent sports-centered Foursquare partnership with the NBA focuses on theclassic rivalry between the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics. Fans are encouraged toshout “Go Lakers!” or “Go Celtics!” upon checking in to any location, and receive a customteam badge indicating their association. This is somewhat of a different value proposition in thatthe game is based on content, rather than location, but initial fan feedback has been extremelypositive [See Appendix 10] (Spoon, 2010). NASCAR could adopt this „shout-out‟ game toencourage fans to earn badges from their favorite drivers, teams, or sponsors. This could be yetanother way to encourage social community among NASCAR Foursquare users and connectrewards from sponsors to driver loyalty/association. Perhaps more importantly would be using location-based social networking to tap intoNASCAR fans extreme brand loyalty. The use of an application such as Foursquare would beideal to this end. In a NASCAR race day setting, where dozens of sponsors activate experientialmarketing programs and teams sell merchandise outside the track, there are numerous potentialcheck-in points available [See Appendix 9]. A map of Michigan International Speedway‟s FanPlaza reveals a myriad of opportunities. For example, a fan could visit activation displays frombrands such as McDonald‟s, Heluva Good, Best Buy and Ford, while also visiting merchandisetrailers for drivers #14 Tony Stewart and #11 Denny Hamlin. As listed on his personal website, Stewart alone has sponsorship deals with Office Depot,Burger King, Old Spice, Chevrolet, Coca-Cola, ArmorAll, Bass Pro Shops, Oreo Cookies, RitzCrackers, and Oakley. Research has shown NASCAR fans to be loyal customers of the brandsthat sponsor their favorite driver. Therefore, location-based technology provides the opportunityto capitalize on this brand affinity. Through Foursquare, just by checking in to Tony Stewart‟smerchandise trailer, a fan could automatically receive bar-coded coupons for a percentage off
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 29their next trip to Office Depot, a free value menu item from Burger King, or a notification thatOld Spice deodorant is sold nearby with a link to a commercial starring Tony Stewart.NASCAR could broker deals with league sponsors, track sponsors, and driver sponsors toincorporate the interests of each into this interactive game. Even sponsors who do not have thebudget to spend on the full activation display or footprint could feasibly set up a virtual check-inlocation at the track for a reduced price. Tracks could also encourage fans to check-in to multiple areas of the fan plaza byoffering a badge for checking in at a certain amount of locations. NASCAR could also offer aticket discount off a fans next ticket purchase at that track for each Foursquare check-in pointvisited. In this case, fans could become the mayor of the Michigan International Speedway byvisiting more check-in points than anyone else – and in the process, get the full NASCAR raceday experience. They could be rewarded with passes to tour the pit area or a priority parkingspace at the next Sprint Cup Series race (tracks typically host two races per season). Rewarding repeat attendees is a great way to build loyalty, connect with fans, and showthat you care; particularly at a time where it is more of an economic drain on the average fan toattend a race. NASCAR could even reward fans with virtual tickets in targeted geo-locations toleverage expiring or unused inventory. Sprint could act as the sponsor/advertiser of theFoursquare themed race day game, providing an added benefit to the title sponsor of the seriesand generating more mobile exposure for the aspiring category leader. Sprint could alsoostensibly also provide national mayor specials for the mayors of every track, creating anelement of social status to the social networking game. Of course, it becomes the responsibilityof the staff to engage the consumer once he or she checks in to their activation display. But thegoal of getting potential customers to the point of sale is realized through this Foursquare model.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 30 Sponsors or partners that engage in this campaign, as well as NASCAR on a corporatelevel, receive several key benefits from this proposed program. First of all, Foursquare user dataprovides a better understanding of their consumers, especially those in the mobile space – whothey are, what they like, where they go, etc. Users could update geo-tagged photos to Facebookor Twitter that capture the NASCAR race day experience and leave feedback about the variouslocations they visit, offering further intelligence to NASCAR partners. Secondly, companies areable to offer more accurately targeted promotions and advertising to their most loyal customers.Away from the track, fans could add sponsors as friends on Foursquare and receive tips ornotifications if they are close to a participating location. Finally, and likely most important toNASCAR and sponsors, is the element of revenue generation. For companies partnering withNASCAR, the game gets some of their most brand-loyal users to the point of sale (or to the pointof brand interaction) both at the track and, later, away from the track. Sales in conjunction withFoursquare promotions could be tracked and noted for each retail location (take Burger King, forexample). And of course, intangible elements such as brand loyalty tied to future purchasedecisions could be an indirect revenue consideration. Measurement and data collection are two key elements of this proposed framework.Foursquare can let NASCAR know who is attending races, where they go before and after therace and their thoughts on the overall experience. This could lead to partnerships with in-markethotels, restaurants, or even gas stations (Shell is an official NASCAR sponsor) providingadditional fan touch points. Based on the earlier assertions that the NASCAR fan basedemographics is, in fact, a microcosm of the American population, comparative calculationshave led to an estimated 2.38 million NASCAR fans using the Foursquare application by Q32011 [See Appendix 10]. This is a group that, simply, cannot be ignored. Operating under the
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 31previously discussed cost per check-in model, costs for one check-in from each of thispopulation would lead to the following costs.Rate (per check-in) Cost (per check-in)$0.10 $238,000$0.25 $595,000$0.50 $1,119,000While these figures may appear high to some, it is critical to remember that each check-in bringsa customer already demonstrated as being extremely brand-loyal to the point of sale. Dependingon the product or service offered by the sponsors, returns on this investment will be nothing shortof exponential.CONCLUSION NASCAR is in an excellent position to implement location-based mobile technology.They have a massive fan base that already uses digital and new media technology, a portfolio ofbrands unmatched by any other professional sport, and a set of second-to-none organizationalpartners, most notably Turner Sports Interactive. The proliferation of location-based socialnetworking is not just an idea – it is a certainty. While the program may not be an immediatestarter, now is the time to begin strategic conversations relative to this technology and how it willimpact NASCAR‟s business model. NASCAR can do well by being forward-looking andengaging Foursquare in a partnership that effectively leverages its brand portfolio to betterunderstand the end consumer, target him or her more accurately, and ultimately drive revenue.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 32 ReferencesAmato, C.H., Okleshen Peters, C.L., & Shao, A.T. (2005). An exploratory investigation into NASCAR fan culture. Sport Marketing Quarterly, 14. Retrieved from http://business.nmsu.edu/~mhyman/M454_Articles/%28Spectators%29%20Amato_SMQ _2005.pdfAssociated Press. (2010). NASCAR sponsors seem to be in driver‟s seat. MSNBC.com. Retrieved from http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35315129/ns/business-sports_biz/Aumann, M. (2009). Cutbacks announced for NASCAR‟s largest sponsors. NASCAR.com. Retrieved from http://www.nascar.com/2009/news/headlines/cup/01/26/ economic.slowdown/index.htmlBadenhausen, K. (2010). NASCARs most valuable teams. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/2010/03/24/nascar-most-valuable-teams-business-sports-nascar- 10-teams.htmlBetancourt, L. (2010). Why hasn‟t location reached the mainstream yet? Mashable. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2010/05/13/location-mainstream/Callari, R. (2010). If Cost Per Check-In Was A Reality, Foursquare Would Be $40 Million Richer. Inventor Spot. Retrieved from http://inventorspot.com/articles/ if_cost_checkin_was_reality_foursquare_would_be_40_million_riche_41603Dredge, S. (2010). 60% of U.S. mobile internet usage is social networking. Mobile Entertainment News. Retrieved from http://www.mobile-ent.biz/news/36854/60-of-US- mobile-internet-usage-is-social-networking
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 33Entner, R. (2010). Smartphones to overtake feature phones in U.S. by 2011. Nielsen Wire. Retrieved from http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/consumer/smartphones-to-overtake- feature-phones-in-u-s-by-2011/Fisher, E. (2008). Turner signs Roush Fenway Racing as part of digital push. Sports Business Journal. Retrieved from http://www.sportsbusinessjournal.com/article/58027Fisher, E. (2006). Crossing media borders. Sports Business Journal. Retrieved from http://www.sportsbusinessjournal.com/article/50066Giangola, Andrew. (2009). Social media in NASCAR. [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from NASCAR, Inc.Giangola, Andrew. (2009). Social networking-NASCAR for media. [PDF document]. Retrieved from NASCAR, Inc.Goldman, A. (2010). Will Foursquare cash in on those check-ins? Connectual [coporate blog]. Retrieved from http://connectual.com/blog/full/foursquare-ads/Hispanic PR Wire. (2009). New Study Finds 38% of Hispanics are NASCAR Fans, but Engagement is the Opportunity. HispanicBusiness.com. Retrieved from http://www.hispanicbusiness.com/news/newsbyid.asp?idx=145310&cat1=newsHurt, D.A. (2005). Dialed in? Geographic expansion and regional identity in NASCAR. Southeastern Geographer, 45(1). Retrieved from http://muse.jhu.edu/content/z3950/ journals/southeastern_geographer/v045/45.1hurt.pdf“Location-based social networks come out swinging.” (2010). The Where Business. Retrieved from http://news.thewherebusiness.com/content/location-based-social-networks-come- out-swinging
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 34Knowledge@Wharton. (2010). How to generate buzz on social networks. Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/2010/04/23/foursquare-facebook-yahoo-entrepreneurs- technology-wharton.htmlMarshall, D., & Tice, D.C. (2009). Engage Hispanic race fans through speed, success, community. Sports Business Journal. Retrieved from http://www.sportsbusinessjournal.com/article/61513Metrics: NASCAR.com. (2010). Turner Sports and Entertainment Digital. Retrieved from http://tsed.turner.com/nascar/metricsMiller, G. (2009). Sponsor loss a problem for NASCAR. AOL Fanhouse. Retrieved from http://motorsports.fanhouse.com/2009/09/24/sponsor-loss-a-problem-for-nascar/Moore, G. (2010). Foursquare leads new mobile advertising model. Mass High Tech: The Journal of New England Technology. Retrieved from http://www.masshightech.com/ stories/2010/04/26/daily10-Foursquare-leads-new-mobile-advertising-model.htmlNakao, K. (2010). 5 things you need to know about location-based social media. Mashable. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2010/03/19/location-based-strategy/NASCAR. (2010). About NASCAR.com. NASCAR. Retrieved from http://www.nascar.com/ guides/about/NASCAR. (2010). NASCAR.com user profile. NASCAR. Retrieved from NASCAR, Inc.NASCAR. (2009). Brand Brochure [PDF Document]. Retrieved from NASCAR, Inc.NASCAR. (2009, November 2). NASCAR honored with two major awards for listening to fans. [Press Release]. Retrieved from http://www.catchfence.com/2009/sprintcup/11/02/ nascar-honored-with-two-major-awards-for-listening-to-fans/
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 35NASCAR. (2009). NASCAR announces citizen journalists media corps. [Press Release]. Retrieved from http://www.nascar.com/2009/news/headlines/official/07/17/ citizen.journalists.announced/index.htmlNASCAR. (2007). NASCAR.com launches Spanish-centric web site. [Press Release]. Retrieved from http://www.nascar.com/2007/news/headlines/official/09/13/ en.espanol/NASCAR. (2007). NASCAR site set for first change in 5 years. [Press Release]. Retrieved from http://www.nascar.com/2007/news/headlines/cup/01/22/nascar.com. improvements/story_single.html#page2NASCAR Market & Media Research. (2009). NASCAR Fans and Digital / Social Media. [PowerPoint slides]. Retrieved from NASCAR, Inc.Newman, J.I. (2007). A detour through `NASCAR nation: Ethnographic articulations of a neoliberal sporting spectacle. International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 42(3), Retrieved from http://irs.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/42/3/289 doi: 10.1177/1012690207088113Newman, J.I., & Beissel, A.S. (2009). The limits to “NASCAR nation”: Sport and the “recovery movement” in disjunctural times. Sociology of Sport Journal, 26(4), Retrieved from http://hk.humankinetics.com.proxy-um.researchport.umd.edu/eJournalMedia/pdfs/ 17691.pdfOnline computer viewers: professional - market research/demographics. (2009). SBRnet Sports Business Research, Retrieved from https://campus.georgetown.edu/webapps/portal/ frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_2_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2F launcher%3Ftype%3DCourse%26id%3D_126195_1%26url%3D
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 36Online mobile viewers: professional - market research/demographics. (2009). SBRnet Sports Business Research, Retrieved from https://campus.georgetown.edu/webapps/portal/ frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_2_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2F launcher%3Ftype%3DCourse%26id%3D_126195_1%26url%3DRyan, N. (2009). Identity crisis: can NASCAR reach old, new fans effectively? USA Today. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/sports/motor/nascar/2009-07-01-nascar- identity-crisis_N.htmScarborough research examines NASCAR fan demographics. (2009). Sports Business Journal. Retrieved from http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/article/127802Scarborough research examines NASCAR fan demographics. (2007). Sports Business Journal. Retrieved from http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/article/109622Scarborough Research USA. (2010). 2010 NASCAR fan base demographics [Press Release]. Retrieved from https://nascar-assets.americaneagle.com/assets/1/Page/2010%20 NASCAR%20Fan%20Base%20Demographics.pdfSchwartz, M. (2009). NASCAR: Driving social media. Ad Age. Retrieved from http://brandedcontent.adage.com/integratedmedia09/news.php?id=111&pid=17Smith, M. (2009). Facility a media hub for all things NASCAR. Sports Business Journal. Retrieved from http://www.sportsbusinessjournal.com/article/62474Spoon, R. (2010, June 3). Foursquare teams up with NBA for Lakers / Celtics Final. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://ryanspoon.com/blog/2010/06/03/foursquare-teams-up- with-nba-for-lakers-celtics-finals/
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION 37Sporting News Wire Service. (2008). Five years later, Sprint pleased with NASCAR deal. NASCAR. Retrieved from http://www.nascar.com/2008/news/features/06/25/ nextel.sprint.evolution/index.htmlTreadaway, C. (2010). Are location-based services all hype? Mashable. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2010/05/26/location-hype/Van Grove, J. (2010). Foursquare courts business users with check-in analysis features. Mashable. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2010/03/09/foursquare-business- dashboard/Van Grove, J. (2009). Foursquare: Check in, tweet … and now save money on beer. Mashable. Retrieved from http://mashable.com/2009/08/07/foursquare-partnership/“What is Foursquare?” (2010). The Week. Retrieved from http://theweek.com/article/index/ 200751/what-is-foursquareWong, W. (2010). Online trail fraught with risks. The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved from http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/technology/bal-online-trail-0319,0,3702519.story
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATIONEngaging the Changing Face of „NASCAR Nation‟ with New Media Lane Errington MPSM900 June 17, 2010
Roadmap• Brand audit• Demographic analysis• NASCAR Digital – Overview – Research – SWOT analysis• Recommendations – Location-based social networks – NASCAR-specific applications 2
Brand OverviewNASCAR is the…• #1 spectator sport – 17 of the top 20 highest-attended sporting events in the U.S. – 120,000 spectators (average) attend each SCS race• #2-rated regular-season sport on television – 75 million fans worldwide – Broadcast in more than 150 countries in 20 languages• #1 sport in fan brand loyalty – Fans 3x as likely as non-fans to try and purchase sponsors products and services – More Fortune 500® companies sponsor than any other sportSource: 2009 NASCAR Brand Brochure 3
Brand Attributes Functional Equities Emotional Equities Edge-of-seat action Admired athletes Intense competition Athletes who are “regular people” Nonstop action Down to earth Performance Genuine Skillful competitors Honorable Speed and power Like a big family Thrilling and exciting Straight up and honestSource: 2009 NASCAR Brand Brochure 4
The NASCAR Family of Stakeholders• Fans• Drivers• Teams• Sponsors• Auto manufacturers• Tracks• Media• Licensees 5
NASCAR Fan Base Demographics 60% male 40% female Just as likely as the U.S. population to be ages 18-44 As affluent as the U.S. populationSource: Scarborough Research USA+ 2009 6
2010 NASCAR Fan Base Demographics A sport for the entire family 60% of fans outside the South 1 in 5 fans is a member of a minority groupSource: Scarborough Research USA+ 2009 7
Factors Influencing Changing Demographics• Geographic expansion Track Distribution – Tracks 1960-1969 1980-1989 – Drivers – DMAs• Title sponsorship change – Winston – Nextel 1970-1979 1990-2003 – Sprint• Globalization – Hispanic markets – International drivers – Auto manufacturers 8
NASCAR Digital • Turner Sports Interactive • NASCAR Media Group – Digital – Broadcast – Images • NASCAR.com – 7 million monthly viewers – 60,000 live streams per race – 2.9 million video plays per month – Unique viewership 9
NASCAR.com User Profile The NASCAR.com user is… • Male • Age 42 • White • South/Midwest • Some college • $64K income • Married • HomeownerSource: NASCAR Digital 10
Average Number of Claimed Hours Spent Following NASCAR in the Media Among Fans 6.06.0 5.55.0 Total Fans 4.3 Avid Fans4.0 3.9 Casual Fans 3.13.0 2.72.0 1.6 1.6 1.3 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.11.0 1.0 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.8 0.7 0.7 0.6 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.3 0.4 0.3 0.40.0 2008 2009 2008 2009 2008 2009 2008 2009 2008 2009 On television On the radio On the Internet On newspapers/ On mobile device* magazines Means include 0 Q. For each of the following types of media, please indicate about how much time you spent following NASCAR in that media type in a typical week. Source: Ipsos, NASCAR Brand Tracker Base: NASCAR Fans 11
Social Media Websites Visited (not specific to following NASCAR) Fan Avid Fan Casual Fan (n=334) (A) (n=190) (B) (n=144) (C) Facebook 53% 52% 56% MySpace 41% 38% 45% Twitter.com 20% 19% 20% Skype.com 9% 7% 12% Flickr.com 9% 9% 8% LinkedIn 4% 3% 6% Blogger.com 4% 4% 4% Other 2% 4% C -I have not used any of these websites in the past month 32% 35% 29% Q. Have you used any of the following websites in the past month? Letters indicate the value is significantly higher than the value in the corresponding column at the 95% confidence level. Source: Ipsos, 2009 NASCAR Brand Tracker Base: Follow NASCAR on the Internet 12
Q. You mentioned in a previous survey that you participate in the social media/networking websites Facebook and/or Twitter.How do you access social media/networking websites?Source: NASCAR Fan Council Survey, Fielded August 11-17, 2009 *Significant difference between gender/age 13
Females & those under 35 more likely to want information compared to males & those 35+Q. What NASCAR information do you want to receive updates on from the social media/networking websites (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, etc.) you use?Source: NASCAR Fan Council Survey, Fielded August 11-17, 2009 *Significant difference between gender/age 14
Engaging the Power of the Groundswell• Website re-launch – TrackPass – Infield Community• Social media – Facebook – Twitter – Citizen Journalism• Fan Council 15
SWOT Analysis – NASCAR Digital STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES • Turner Resources • Limited control • No overhead, risk on capital • Inability to react quickly • Quality as opposed to speed • Reactionary approach • Numerous partners to work with • Inability to directly promote • Integration with stakeholders ticket sales (tracks own rights) • Limited mobile platforms OPPORTUNITIES THREATS • Leverage existing partnerships • Measurement of new media • Educating rest of company • „Traditional‟ fan backlash • Focus on the future • Sponsor deals prevent asset optimization/breadth/depthSource: NASCAR Digital 16
Location-Based Social Networking• Three main goals 1. Gain a better understanding of fans and customers (data collection) 2. Create more accurately targeted advertising and promotions 3. Drive sales and add value to sponsors as well as the race day experience “Although Foursquare and competitors like Gowalla are the subject of most of the current headlines, experts say the true potential lies in companies knowing exactly where customers are and pitching offers or offering services based on the spots these customers frequent. As smart phones become more common and social networking gains a broader audience, consumers are consciously sharing more information than ever about their daily routines. That information makes it easier for businesses to advertise or offer special discounts that fit what someone is doing at a given moment.”Source: Knowledge@Wharton (The Wharton School of Business) 17
Location-Based Social Networking• The next battleground for mobile operating systems• Challenges – Increase in user base (personal and business) – Increased frequency of check-ins – Consumer education – Standardized methods for revenue generation, measurement, and building scale 18
Smart Phone Usage• 21% of Americans own smart phones as of Q4 2009• More smart phones than feature phones in the U.S. market by Q4 2011• Social networking sites are 60% of U.S. mobile traffic• Estimated 56.2 million mobile social networkers in the U.S. alone by 2013 (607.5 million worldwide)Sources: Nielsen; GroundTruth; eMarketer 19
Foursquare• “A cross between a friend- finder, a social city-guide and a game that rewards you for doing interesting things”• “On-the-go” user• 1.2 million users• 40 million check-ins• Business applications• Measurement is keySources: Foursquare.com, Mashable.com 20
NASCAR LBSN Strategy• Social interaction with other fans• Fan plaza areas – Experiential marketing displays – Merchandise trailers – Virtual check-in locations• Integration with sponsors, tracks, drivers, etc.• Reward repeat attendees for brand loyalty• Results – Revenue generation – Brand exposure/awareness – Added digital touch point 21
“We‟re just aggregating consumers. We really don‟t care what devices they use. It‟s about creating touch points. Ultimately, brands will win across all technologies.” David Levy, President, Turner Sports April 2006, World Congress of SportsSource: Fisher, E. (2006). Crossing media borders. Sports Business Journal. 25
Recap• Iconic brand• Changing fan demographics• Increasing digital fan engagement• Location-based social networking model 26
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE MEDIA CONTACT: Lane Errington firstname.lastname@example.org 123.456.7890 NASCAR ANNOUNCES FOURSQUARE PARTNERSHIP LOCATION-BASED SOCIAL NETWORKING INITIATIVE TO DEBUT IN 2011CHARLOTTE, NC (June 21, 2010) – NASCAR has announced a partnership with mobile application providerFoursquare to create a new location-based social networking program. Set to debut in the 2011 season, theprogram will create check-in points in strategic locations at partnering tracks throughout the year. Theselocations could include sponsor activation displays, driver merchandise trailers, and virtual check-in locations.Under the Foursquare model, fans who download the free application to their mobile phone can gain access toexclusive offers, information, and media content from the NASCAR family of sponsors by „checking-in‟ atlocations of their choice. Fans can then use Foursquare as an avenue for further interaction with their favoritebrands away from the track. Several prominent drivers and sponsors have already committed to theFoursquare race day program, including Tony Stewart and his group of sponsors, including Office Depot, OldSpice, and Burger King.“NASCAR fans are increasingly active in the new media space and are proud of their status as the most brand-loyal fans in sports,” said Geoff Lester, NASCAR Director of New Media. “Foursquare is an industry leaderthat will provide us with the resources to create programs that enhance the race day experience for our fansand foster more impactful with our second-to-none group of sponsors.”“Partnering with NASCAR is a monumental opportunity for Foursquare,” commented Dennis Crowley,Foursquare CEO. “We look forward to demonstrating the full value of our applications in the best business-to-consumer marketing environment in American sports.”For more information, please visit www.nascar.com/foursquare.About NASCAR:The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing Inc. (NASCAR) is the sanctioning body for one of North Americaspremier sports. NASCAR is the No. 1 spectator sport -- with more of the top 20 highest-attended sporting events in theU.S. than any other sport -- and is the No. 2 rated regular-season sport on television. NASCAR races are broadcast inmore than 150 countries and in 20 languages. NASCAR fans are the most brand loyal in all of sports, and as a resultmore Fortune 500 companies participate in NASCAR than any other sport.NASCAR consists of three national series (the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series, and NASCARCamping World Truck Series), four regional series and one local grassroots series, as well as two international series.Also part of NASCAR is Grand-Am Road Racing, known for its competition on road courses with multiple classes of cars.NASCAR sanctions more than 1,200 races at 100 tracks in more than 30 U.S. states, Canada and Mexico. Based inDaytona Beach, Fla., NASCAR has offices in New York; Los Angeles; Charlotte, N.C.; Concord, N.C.; Conover, N.C.;Bentonville, Ark.; Mexico City; and Toronto.About Foursquare:Foursquare is a mobile application that aims to encourage users to explore their neighborhoods and then reward peoplefor doing so. We do this by combining our friend-finder and social city guide elements with game mechanics - our usersearn points, win mayorships and unlock badges for trying new places and revisiting old favorites. Foursquare waslaunched in March 2009. For more information, visit http://www.foursquare.com. ###
TEXT FROM POST UPLOADED TO GEORGETOWN BLOGhttps://digitalcommons.georgetown.edu/blogs/jle37/CAPSTONE PROJECT – Location, Location, Location: Engaging the Changing Face of‘NASCAR Nation’ with New MediaThe capstone project has been a challenging, grueling, and rewarding experience for me. From theoutset, I was aware of the challenge that balancing my first full-time job, starting in early May, wouldpresent with regard to completing my Capstone project. As a result of working full-time, includingsome weekends, I was forced to be meticulous with my free time and focus my efforts on timemanagement and creating self-imposed deadlines with relation to the project.My project, in a nutshell, is a commentary on how the iconic NASCAR brand and its stakeholders cancontinue to embrace and develop an evolving fan demographic to further engage fans in the newmedia space, specifically using location-based mobile technology. NASCAR has been demonstratedas maintaining the most brand-loyal fan base in professional sports, with more Fortune 500companies using NASCAR as a brand-building avenue than any other American sport. My plan is toleverage that loyalty and create a new partnership with Foursquare, the leader in location-basedsocial networking, to enhance the fan’s race day experience and add value to sponsoring brands.Three main goals of the program include: 1. Gain a better understanding of fans and customers (data collection) 2. Use that information that create more accurately targeted advertising and promotions 3. Drive sales and add value to the NASCAR race day experience and sponsor networkWhen I began my research in early May, I reached out on Twitter to anyone who had connections toNASCAR that might be able to help me with my project. I received a response from NASCAR’sofficial account within a minute’s time. This was an early indication that I was dealing with anorganization who was clearly dialed in to the voice of the fan in the digital space. Through this singletweet, I was able to connect with two great NASCAR executives that provided me with valuable first-hand knowledge as well as documents that have proven to be some of my most valuable resources.My capstone project has evolved from a set of strategic recommendations for NASCAR Digital to amuch more focused program in an discipline that I have been forced to learn on the fly. I knew goingin that I needed to be more knowledgeable in the digital/new media space, as this is where much oftoday’s marketing programs are taking place. My topic has stretched and challenged me in ways thatmay have been frustrating at the time, but now I can appreciate the struggles and successes of amonth spent expanding my personal brand to new heights. Perhaps one of the toughest challengeswas finding ways to monetize a technology that does not have a proven standard method for revenuegeneration, measurment, and building scale.This was an incredible opportunity to apply my learnings from a year in the Georgetown SIM programto a topic that I was clearly passionate about. I look forward to sharing my findings with others,including perhaps reviewing my final product with members of the NASCAR Digital team, and I amconfident my passion for this topic will stand out.