What: Off-road racing events like the Norra Mexican 1000 and teams like Vildósola Racing have earned the attention of mainstream partners in Mexico and beyond.
Why it matters: The fun, renegade atmosphere at rallies and loyal fan base can be attractive to brands, not just those with direct automotive ties.

Caballo del Diablo (NORRA)

Off-road motorsports have a tradition of camaraderie, partying and fun. Events or rallies like the Norra Mexican 1000 bring together thousands of enthusiasts and fans and dozens of drivers for week-long celebrations of the sport. And while the sport maintains a grass-roots feel and renegade roots, international brands are taking notice, scooping up drivers and creating their own events and organizations, fueled in many cases by social media.

One such example is Hoonigan (@TheHoonigans), a community whose slogan “We’re about this life: Cars. Fun. And Debauchery” maybe isn’t meant to be taken 100% literally. But almost. For the past two years, FIAT (@fiathas teamed with Hoonigan in a search for its latest brand ambassador, this month announcing that up-and-comer Micah Diaz of Corona, Calif., has earned the honor. The Hoonigans Wanted Challenge selected Diaz after a 10-driver challenge in four California locations, whittled down from hundreds of entries worldwide.

…[B]rands are connecting with this community, many of them Latinos.
Thierry Neuville Rall Mexico (McKlein-Hyundai Motorsport)

“Congratulations to Micah Diaz for winning the Hoonigan’s Wanted search,” said Steve Beahm, Head of Passenger Car Brands – Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and Fiat, FCA – North America. “And special thanks to all of the passionate enthusiasts who took the time to showcase their abilities.”

While the Hoonigans are tearing it up—and preserving it all, from the build breakdowns posted on YouTubeother brands are connecting with this community, many of them Latinos. Yokohama (@YokohamaTCis the title sponsor of the Mexican 1000, with automotive companies like Savvy Off Road, Steel-It, Walker-Evans and Rigid among the event’s partners. Known as “The Happiest Race on Earth,” what started with 68 entries in Baja in 1967, has grown into an industry all its own. The 2019 National Off Road Racing (NORRA) event will be held from April 25 (tech and registration) through May 3 (Awards at San Jose del Cabo).

The Portada Brand-Sports Summit in Los Angeles on March 15, 2019 (Hotel Loews Santa Monica) will provide a unique setting for brand marketers to learn about the opportunities sports and soccer content offers to engage consumers in the U.S. and Latin America.

Tavo Vildósola (Vildósola Racing)

“The challenge was intense, but competing in the Fiat 124 Spider Abarth was an awesome experience and really pushed me as a driver. Also, the other competitors brought their A-game, which made this event even more rewarding,” said Diaz in a statement.

One of the sport’s premier organizations is Vildosola Racing (@VildosolaRacing), named for Gustavo Vildósola and sons Javi and Tavo, a Red Bull-sponsored athlete from Mexicali, Baja, Mexico, who was one of the celebrity drivers who helped select Diaz in the Hoonigans Wanted competition. With a set of sponsors which includes national Mexican brands like Mexlog (logistics), BraNix (@branixtech) (technology/consultants), Inter Protección (@interproteccion) (insurance brokerage), Vildosola has found more than a niche within racing; it has attractred partners in mainstream industries that want to tap into its fervent fan base across Mexico and into the U.S.

Subscribe to Portada’s daily Sports Marketing Updates!

Cover Image: Micah Diaz/FIAT

What: Fox Sports Latin America will air Spanish and Portuguese language coverage of races at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth this weekend.
Why it matters: These broadcasts are part of NASCAR’s goal of engaging the growing number of Spanish speaking fans in the U.S. and abroad.

Next week NASCAR (@NASCARwill make broadcasting history.

For the first time in the 22-year racing history of Texas Motor Speedway (@TXMotorSpeedway), FOX Sports Latin America will broadcast both the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race and the My Bariatric Solutions 300 Xfinity Series race from on site to Central and Latin America.

The races will air in Spanish to over 40 countries and territories on FOX Sports 3 in all Central and Latin American countries with the exception of Brazil. Both events will also appear on FOX Sports 2 in Brazil in Portuguese with FOX Deportes carrying the NASCAR Cup Series race in the United States.

The Spanish language broadcasts are a key part of the circuit’s quest to continue to engage not just their core, or even a growing number of Spanish speaking race fans in the United States, but to amplify its message to a larger audience where expansion, and brand activation, may increase. By not using a cookie cutter approach to the strategy, NASCAR will seek to capture casual fans for tune in, giving them details for a first-time viewer that the core follower may not need, but are essential in a marketing brand build.

With an expanded global first outlook, the wheels are rolling for a new look and a larger fan base to be tapped.

“NASCAR is always looking for ways to engage new fans, so providing content for a continuously growing Spanish-speaking audience is certainly a priority as we look to introduce more new viewers to the sport, “ said NASCAR’s Brian Herbst, Managing Director, Broadcasting. “The FOX Latin America broadcast will utilize local announcers to give the race broadcast a more personalized feel for audiences across each country. They’ll also take a more educational approach to covering the event, telling the NASCAR story in a way that’s relatable for fans who may be engaging with the sport for the very first time.”

Subscribe to Portada’s daily Sports Marketing Updates!

Daniel Suarez (Wikimedia Commons: 19raLPH)

Overall, NASCAR is televised in more than 185 countries and territories in 20 languages. The areas with live broadcasts include Canada, Latin America, Europe, Asia/Pacific Rim, Middle East, Africa and Indian Subcontinent.

From a team driver perspective, the growth can also be a boon for fan development, and a much-needed enhancement for brands who want to think much more globally and regionally than has happened with NASCAR in the past. “Joe Gibbs Racing (@JoeGibbsRacinghas certainly been on the forefront, along with several others, largely because of Daniel Suarez’s story and the new dynamic he’s brought to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series,” Herbst added.

The integration of partners will be rolled out in the coming weeks, and the ROI for an expanded Spanish-speaking window will take some time, but with an expanded global first outlook, the wheels are rolling for a new look and a larger fan base to be tapped.

Check out the stars of Portada’s Sports Marketing Board, who will meet at Portada Miami on April 18-19 to discuss various topics related to the future of marketing and innovation in sports. Register now!

Cover Image: Texas Motor Speedway