Sports marketing is an ultra-competitive arena where brands, leagues, teams and agencies are constantly battling for consumer consideration.
The same can be said for motorsports. Over the years, we have seen teams, drivers, sponsors and even fans come and go, leaving the leagues constantly working to develop the next hot thing to keep their brand in the forefront. Whether it’s marketing their drivers via social media, showcasing the sport from a different angle or transforming the race-day experience, leagues have turned up the wick on their marketing strategies.
Here are three current motorsports marketing trends and what could be next.
NASCAR is P1 on social media, showcasing its drivers, providing instant highlights and showing a humorous side. One of their biggest tools has been the GIF. NASCAR has produced multiple GIFs for dozens of drivers, making it simple to search and post reactions using your favorite driver on Twitter. From spins to wins and everything in between, there is a virtual reaction available that speaks the same languages as young fans. Great move.
Another angle they’ve done a great job with is the instant highlights. If a great pass happens on track, NASCAR has it in GIF form by the next lap. No matter where fans are following from, they get to see the big moves and wild celebrations.
Television producers are always looking at different ways to enhance the viewing experience and some broadcasts rival being at the event. Today, led by innovations from IndyCar, you can now ride along with a driver as they go flat out, like this ride at Texas Motor Speedway. The Visor Cam brings you into the cockpit and gives you a first-person view of what it’s like to race an IndyCar. You can almost feel it. A unique viewing experience, the Visor Cam was also adopted by NASCAR during the Monster Energy Cup event at Sonoma Raceway last month.
It’s More Than a Race
We would all agree that going 200+ MPH in a vehicle is anything but boring, however, leagues, properties and promoters have started implementing alternative strategies to enhance their event traffic. Weekend-long festivals with headline acts to support the race have become a hit in helping grow the event’s brand and reach a new audience. In July, Indianapolis Motor Speedway introduced 400 Fest, a two-day festival headlined by popular musical acts Major Lazer and The Chainsmokers, which drew thousands of race fans as well as new blood to the facility. The race will always remain the main event and the biggest draw, but alternative entertainment has been well received in the markets it has been tested.
The future is driven by technology on and off the race track, whether properities look to adopt technology to enhance the stadium experience like we see in the Big Four (NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL) or use technology as a platform to interact with sponsors, drivers and brands. Technology helped the sport reach its pinnacle, and it will continue to move the sport forward.
Innovations like the above are happening constantly. Other leagues, brands and properties can take a page out of those playbooks and form a stronger connection with fans as well as reach new ones.
Better yet, try something else that no one else is doing. If it works, you’ll become an industry leader. If it doesn’t, good job on trying something new. Go back to the drawing board and give it another shot.