Things to consider when investing in motorsports: Part 1

October 24, 2017 / by Kyle Richert

Rule #1. Not all forms of motorsport are created equal.
Motorsports are about as diverse as movies or esports as in there’s probably something for everyone and it can be complicated for a newcomer. Sure, there’s a driver, an engine, tires, throttle, brake, a winner and a loser, but when deciding what series or form of motorsport to invest your sponsorship dollars in, they’re not all the same. There are a number of things to consider and we’ll get to those later.

First, I want to explain why I am writing this. I have been in motorsports my entire life and my professional career revolves around things that go 200+ mph and if they race it, I’ll watch it. From F4 to F1, Sports Car to IndyCar, I love all forms of racing and want to see them all succeed which is getting increasingly difficult to do because of one factor, funding, AKA sponsorship $$$. By the way, if one more person says, “Back in the Hay Day of CART”, I’ll lose it. We know CART is gone and it’s not coming back. Got it. Let’s move on.

What do we know? We know the best drivers don’t always get the rides they deserve; the most dedicated teams don’t always win and the series that look so promising sometimes never make it because of a lack of money to go around, so it’s important you do your research before jumping into sponsoring motorsports and hopefully this helps.

This blog dives into three (3) series (Global RallyCross, Sports Car, IndyCar), how they’re different and what markets they attract, so you can decide where to spend your sponsorship dollars. 

Are Millennials or Generation Z your goal?
iStock-182484411.jpgAhhhh the millennial market, the golden ticket for any series or brand. How do we attract millennials to watch our sport and spend money with our sponsors? Well, one series that has nailed this is the Global RallyCross or GRC series. Short weekend events with back-to-back-to-back racing action, combined with youthful brands like Red Bull, Monster Energy and Rockstar and millennial-targeted manufacturers like the Honda, Volkswagon and Subaru creates thousands of influencers ready to tell their friends how awesome the Red Bull Honda Civic is. SOLD. SOLD. SOLD. 

Maybe it’s a Boomer you’re targeting?
iStock-149072865.jpgIn my opinion, the type of racing that will live on forever is Sports Car racing. Why? Because it’s 100% relatable to what you see driving on the streets. That Ferrari 458 looks like the Scuderia Corsa Ferrari, that Acura NSX looks like the Michael Shank Racing NSX-GT3 and that Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT looks exactly like a…hey you guessed it, a Ford GT. (I know there’s prototype, DPi, LMP and PC racing in sports car that look nothing like factory vehicles, but let’s stick with this for now). These are luxury and/or performance vehicles that attract a completely different demographic than the previously noted GRC series. This consumer is typically further on in his/her career with deeper pockets and willingness to spend money on the finer things in life, like a Ferrari. They are also very brand loyal and their vehicles have credentials that have been defined on the racetrack which is why these brands race in the first place. Want to target a potentially older, possibly wiser demo with a higher household income? Sports Car racing may be just for you.

Or are you looking to hit all demographics?
iStock-157185395.jpgI know I said I would lose it if anyone ever said, “Back in the Hay Day of CART”, but hey, we know it was the golden era of motorsports in the US. So, what lives on from that golden era? Well, the Indianapolis 500 surely attracts a few folks to Indianapolis Motor Speedway each year and the Verizon IndyCar Series continues to visit iconic North American tracks like Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course each year and that CART fan still shows up. The thing is, we know that CART fans are getting older, so series like IndyCar are doing their best to grow its younger, millennial-esque audience to bring the “Hay Day of CART” back and I think they are doing a great job of building that foundation. Young, American drivers like Josef Newgarden, Conor Daly and Alexander Rossi will help the sport live on and thrive in the US and the new universal aero kit will make the on-track action better than ever. So, what does this mean for your brand? Well, I believe we are in the dawn of a new era in IndyCar and if you want to be involved with what’s next, then IndyCar is the place to invest.

I could go on for days and I know that I didn’t touch on the up-and-coming Formula E, the always prestigious Formula 1 and the gold standard of North American racing, NASCAR, but PR told me I have to wrap this thing up, so maybe we will touch those series in Part 2 of this blog. 

If you have a motorsports / sponsorship questions, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected]. I am available 24/7/365…..not even kidding.

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