Daytona 500: How Important Is Danica Patrick To NASCAR?
by alaska303 | on February 24, 2013
Earlier this week, Danica Patrick (@DanicaPatrick) tweeted a photo (above)
with the caption, “This fan made me pull over and ask her for a picture!”
More than 65% of relatively new fans of NASCAR are much more interested in the sport today than they were
a year ago. That was one of the many findings that emerged from Taylor’s fifth annual Consumer Engagement
Survey: NASCAR Fans, first published in November 2012, which was confirmed to Forbes.com earlier this
week. That promising statistic shows that NASCAR is finding innovative ways to engage those who are just
discovering the sport.
One key component to NASCAR’s recent success with engaging fans is the
sport’s commitment to monitor all chatter that has anything to do with
the NASCAR brand.
In January, NASCAR (in partnership with Hewlett-Packard) unveiled a new, first of its kind, Fan and Media
Engagement Center at its headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina. There is a deep understanding that the
NASCAR fan of today, and more importantly of tomorrow, will be different and more exciting for the sport
and sponsors of the sport than any previous generation. ”NASCAR fans are younger, more diverse, more
social-media enabled and a more savvy audience than ever before,”
said Christian Alfonsi, Taylor Strategy’s EVP of Strategic Planning, to Forbes.com. ”We have looked at
engaging at the next generation fan segments of the future – specifically Hispanics and Gen Y. Our finding
was that NASCAR will be able to open up tremendous opportunities for sponsors activating in the
sport. Sponsors can suddenly look at the NASCAR fan base as being much more representative of America.”
And then there is Danica Patrick. After winning the pole, Danica will be in the
best starting spot at the Daytona 500.
What does winning the pole at Daytona mean for Danica and NASCAR’s growth? ”Danica has immense ‘star
power,’ winning the pole at Daytona solidifies her as a competitor, but it also adds to the drama of the
2013 NASCAR narrative,” said Jon Flack, President, Americas & Chief Operating Officer at Just Marketing
International(JMI), to Forbes.com. ”That’s not the only good news from the weekend. The Gen-6 car looked
great, while the improved cameras – especially the Gyro-Cam – allowed us to witness Danica’s landmark pole
like never before. We expected NASCAR’s efforts to enhance the fan experience through technological
advancements and digital marketing to deliver and it did. This is going to be an exciting year for NASCAR.”
Alfonsi echoed Flack’s excitement surrounding Danica’s achievement in conjunction with NASCAR’s unique
ability to effectively engage with its fans. ” Ultimately, fans come to the track or watch race action not for
sponsors; they come for the drivers,” said Alfonsi. ”We see Danica’s historic achievement as really driving
tremendous interest within the millennial fan base beyond just winning.”
There are undoubtedly some huge personalities in NASCAR right now, including
but not limited to Danica, Jimmy Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Brad Keselowski and
Flack added, “The marketing power and social media presence that they have is massive; so anytime they are
making headlines it will mean great things for them, their sponsors and NASCAR.” Right now, the spotlight is
on Danica Patrick, someone who has no problem making headlines and handling same. Her 720,000+
followers on Twitter do not mind the attention Danica is demanding. Neither does NASCAR.
Bonus Video #1 Of Danica Patrick of NASCAR – S.I. Swimsuit edition.
Heres one more Bonus Video with Danica Patrick of Nascar -
An interview with Danica about Hard Times.
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Daytona 500: How Important Is Danica Patrick