It’s been a rough couple of years for Nascar.
Hindered by slumping television ratings and a reduction of core audience engagement, Nascar is looking to maintain the return of some lost momentum in 2011. And according to Nascar CMO Steve Phelps, social media is poised to play a vital role in Nascar’s comeback and re-branding.
Phelps recently shared with AdAge his vision and goals for the immediate future of Nascar.
“We are hiring someone new,” Phelps admits with regard to Nascar’s social strategy and those directing it, “and a big part of the job will be training an entire industry — from driver reps to driver teams to our own internal teams — on social.”
“On the digital side,” he says, “we’ve had a relationship with Turner since 2001, where they operate Nascar.com. That relationship has served our industry very well. That said, our agreement goes through 2014, and we will probably go in a different direction after that. Not because Turner has done anything wrong, but because in the future it will be important for us to control our own message and content. They have allowed us to take portions of their rights back. For example, all the Twitter feeds that we do come from our internal team and are not run by Turner people anymore.”
According to Phelps, using social media and mobile marketing as effectively as other major sports have – the NBA, MLB, NHL, and NFL – is a paramount goal for the new year and a cornerstone of Nascar’s efforts to attract new, more diverse fans.
So far, Phelps said Nascar has “done some small things” in terms of attracting multicultural audiences. “At three of our race tracks we did heavy up-spending in those markets buying media. We had a virtual garage tour in Spanish. The Nascar website can be viewed in Spanish, as well, but that’s basically just a translation. Looking ahead, we’re in discussions with a Spanish-language outlet to create digital content for us, and we hope to have meaningful content live in 2013.”