Daytona Dawns, NASCAR Looks For More Latino Engagement

What: NASCAR is continuing its work in Latino marketing, with the Daytona 500 leading off the year Sunday.
Why it matters: By taking active steps to engage the Latino community, NASCAR can build a fan base which has not traditionally been strong but has shown potential for growth.

The 2018 NASCAR (@NASCAR) season kicks off with the Daytona 500 Sunday. As the sport looks for new ways to grow market share and a wider and more diverse audience, it is turning, smartly so, to the Latino base which it has struggled to engage with in the past.

The cultural shift to follow auto racing of any kind is still a challenge for the demo. However NASCAR doesn’t just see the opportunity, they are taking active steps to embrace and nurture the challenge.

The new, increased focus has started to reap rewards, with a multicultural audience going from 20% to 24% in the past five years (source: Nielsen Scarborough). Still, there is a lot of work to be dome from the grassroots to the brand side. We looked at five areas NASCAR is going to better drive the Latino marketplace.

  • Providing fresh and relevant content through NASCAR Latino: NASCAR Latino (@NASCARLatino) social channels keep content new and interesting to fulfill the need for drama and excitement. It guides new fans along their fandom journey by helping them find a favorite driver, answering their questions, and providing access to the sport.
  • Engaging new fans through social media Influencers: NASCAR has partnered with a group of influencers who enable their followers to experience NASCAR through a new lens. The influencers share their at-track experiences on race weekends across a variety of channels—and in doing so help bring NASCAR to new audiences.
  • Community involvement and partnerships: Industry-wide collaboration is key in helping the sport engage the Hispanic community. NASCAR has initiated a Hispanic Marketing Co-Op program to provide track partners with resources such as research, creative, and funding to aid in marketing to Latinos. The goal is to extend reach to the Hispanic community throughout all race markets. In addition to the tracks, NASCAR has teamed with broadcast partners like FOX and FOX Deportes to create more relevant and relatable content. In 2017, NASCAR partnered with FOX for a documentary short film titled

    Aric Almirola (credit: Wikimedia/Sarah Stierch)

    El Corredor, which shares the story of Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Aric Almirola (@Aric_Almirola) as he journeys to Cuba to discover his roots.

  • Media Immersions: NASCAR has expanded non-endemic media presence at tracks by inviting multicultural and Hispanic media to experience the sport first-hand and bring the experience to Hispanic viewers. NASCAR has also partnered with local radio stations as well as digital and social media outlets to promote the races and bring exclusive deals and opportunities to Hispanic community. Hispanic media coverage of NASCAR increased 62% year-over-year in 2017.
  • NASCAR Drive for Diversity Awards: Held annually during Speed Weeks, the NASCAR Diversity Awards recognize and honor diversity leaders in the motorsports industry. The awards are the leading means to identify accomplishments in diversity and inclusion throughout the motorsports industry and serves as a platform to highlight, promote, and strengthen relationships with industry leaders in the diversity and inclusion space.
  • This year, PEAK was awarded the NASCAR Partner Award. From engaging the Hispanic demographic in Mexico by sponsoring the NASCAR PEAK Mexico Series, to broadening the scope of interest and partnering with Joe Gibbs Racing and sponsoring Hispanic driver Daniel Suarez in both the NASCAR XFINITY Series and the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, partners like PEAK lead by example and support NASCAR in bringing the sport to a new culture.

Is the NASCAR Latino engagement on par with sports like baseball and basketball? Of course not. The cultural shift to follow auto racing of any kind is still a challenge for the demo. However, NASCAR doesn’t just see the opportunity, they are taking active steps to embrace and nurture the challenge. Will it drive results with more Latino drivers and personalities? Maybe down the road. The real win is in casual fan engagement. Like NASCAR fans in general, Latino audiences are extremely brand loyal. Creating more Latino NASCAR fans would be a double win for loyalty, and that mix would be racing gold.

Top image: Daytona_International_Speedway (credit Wikimedia Commons-Nascarking)

Joe Favorito @joefav

Joe Favorito has over 32 years of strategic communications/marketing, business development and public relations expertise in sports, entertainment, brand building, media training, television, athletic administration and business. The Brooklyn, New York native has managed the day-to- day activities in strategic communications for: Two of the world’s hallmark sports and entertainment brands (the New York Knickerbockers and Philadelphia 76ers), the world’s largest professional sport for women (the WTA Tour), the world’s largest sports National Governing Body (the United States Tennis Association) and the world’s largest annual sporting event (the US Open). He also oversaw the strategic planning, investor relations, communications and digital business development of the International Fight League during its two year run as a Mixed Martial Arts venture and a publicly traded company. Favorito serves on the boards of the Weinstein Carnegie Group, New York Sports Venture Capital, the National Sports Marketing Network, the Drexel University Sports Business program, and Columbia University’s Sports Management program (where he is an instructor in Strategic Communications and Director of Industry Relations). Joe also maintains a well trafficked blog on the sports marketing and publicity field, “Sports Marketing and PR Roundup,” on the website joefavorito.com, as well authoring the first- ever text on the sports publicity industry (“Sports Publicity” published in August 2007 by Reed Elsevier and updated in 2012 by Taylor Publishing with a third printing coming in 2018), which is used in over 60 sports management programs in the U.S. He has been a guest speaker on sports marketing, social media and communications at a host of institutions, including Princeton University, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University, the University of Florida Law School, New York University, the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and many others. He is also a frequent spokesperson on the industry for publications ranging from Ad Age and The New York Times to NPR and CBS News. A graduate of Fordham University, Joe, his wife and two children reside in River Vale, New Jersey.

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