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
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)