How drivers and leagues are connecting with motorsports fans like never before

October 6, 2017 / by Kyle Ginty

iStock-173015172.jpgSports entities are constantly working to keep their fans engaged in their sport by energizing fans in new and unique ways. Now, there are more avenues for fans to follow the sport of racing and their favorite driver off the track than ever before. 

Encouraging drivers to think outside the driver’s seat

It’s critical to motorsports that drivers are able to share their personality with their fans. Motorsports is one of the most personality-driven (get it?) sports and is dependent on driver storylines.

We’ve seen drivers try new things lately – breaking out of the world of motorsports and meeting fans where they are. For example, multiple drivers have started podcasts – a great tool to not only control your message, but to engage fans in a more personal way. NASCAR drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. (“Dale Jr. Download on Dirty Mo Radio”) and Ryan Blaney (“Glass Case of Emotion”), and INDYCAR driver James Hinchcliffe ("The Mayor on Air") are a few that have given race fans more access than ever.

It’s also important to be able to reach fans through non-endemic opportunities. NASCAR driver Kyle Larson has been sharing his professional athlete dad-life on The Bump, a website dedicated to pregnancy, parenting, and baby information. Just recently, Larson discussed the trials of potty-training his three-year old and has shared tips and tricks for balancing work and family life. Not only is Larson reaching a new audience of potential NASCAR fans, but reaching his current fans in a different environment.

Social, Social, Social

Social media is still king in terms of connecting to fans before, during and after a race. NASCAR loves their gifs (and so do we!), and uses them as well as anyone in sports. INDYCAR has been pushing out 🔥🔥🔥 video content on Twitter and Instagram (like this great tribute to Helio Castroneves).

This is nothing new, but it’s still crucial to promoting storylines throughout the season and keeping fans engaged. Capitalizing on storylines is critical. INDYCAR and others capitalized on famed F1 driver Fernando Alonso driving in the Indy 500 this past May. The whole racing world was in love with the Alonso storyline, using #AlonsoRunsIndy on Twitter. Similarly, INDYCAR had 5 drivers in the hunt for the championship heading into the final race at Sonoma and was able to promote an exciting finish to the season. 

As soon as the INDYCAR season was over, driver Charlie Kimball and his wife Kathleen set off on a cross-country tour of National Parks and have been sharing the experience on Instagram and Twitter using #KimballsGoKamping. Fans can follow along with the Kimballs as they eat sandwiches on top of mountains, make guacamole at a campground and get stuck in a traffic jam with bison. This is a great example of a driver taking their personality and passion outside of racing and sharing it with their fans on social media.

Motorsports fans have more opportunities to engage with the sport than ever before. Whether a fan is one of the millions of NASCAR Twitter followers or follows their favorite driver on Instagram, access is the name of the game.

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