One could easily argue that the world of professional motorsports, as it stands now, is over saturated.
When you think of professional football, what sanctioning do you think of?
When you think of professional basketball, what sanctioning do you think of?
When you think of professional racing, what sanctioning do you think of?
NASCAR, Formula 1, WEC, IMSA, IndyCar, World Challenge, MotoGP, AMA, WRC, Blancpain Endurance, DTM… and so on.
See the point?
The motorsports landscape is as saturated as it is complex, and this in many ways presents a fundamental problem for media, fans, and sponsors alike. The reciprocal issue comes from the fact that this is a complication CREATED by media, fans, and sponsors alike. Since the automobile presents such a diversity of clientele, the diversity of racing endeavors that springs from it is a natural evolution. Whether it’s a company like Ferrari or McLaren who invest heavily in to Formula 1 due to its heritage as the premier World Championship, or Audi who prefers the open technology platform that the WEC provides, or a company like Chevrolet who prefers the mass appeal among Americans that you get with NASCAR.
NASCAR’s annual “Sprint All-Star Race” is one of the more interesting fan involved events run all year. Acting as a sort of mid-season break similar to the all-star weeks you’ll see in the NBA or MLB, NASCAR’s answer to this is to run a week long series of celebrations in honor of the sport, including the annual pit stop competition, NASCAR Hall of Fame inductions, and all culminating in he annual all-star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The “all-star” race is a very different venue than the traditional NASCAR race. As opposed to 43 cars battling for hundreds of miles in search of victories and championship points, this race is not considered part of the season-long championship, but instead a one-off “fun” race. Considered a throwback to short-track races seen around the country, the event is run as a series of heat races, with the only drivers automatically qualifying for the “feature” event being ones who’ve won races in the previous 12 months, or former all-star winners. For racers who do not automatically qualify, NASCAR also runs a “showdown” race, a qualification round in which the winner advances to the main event.
There is, however, one additional way to qualify for the feature event, the fan vote. In an effort to keep fans involved in the week’s actions, Sprint and NASCAR run a fan poll in which fans can vote for their favorite driver who is not already in the feature event.
When you look at the No. 98 Ford Fusion that competed at the recent Aaron’s 499 at Talladega Superspeedway, it’s easy to be amused, if not snicker, at the Shiba Inu adorned “Dogecoin” sponsorship of driver Josh Wise.
It’s understandable, as it’s entertaining to see such a unique icon on a car that is effectively sponsored by an emerging cryptocurrency.
For those not familiar with cryptocurrency, we’ll briefly summarize. In an official capacity, cryptocurrency is defined as a medium of exchange designed around securely exchanging information which is a process made possible by certain principles of cryptography. Essentially, it’s an internet-based currency that features no regulation from a centralized system, such as the U.S. dollar’s regulation by the Federal Reserve System. While Dogecoin holds no value for a traditional brick and mortar financial exchange, there is a significant rise is the acceptance of cryptocurrency as a valid currency for many online retail outlets. With no centralized regulator, it also serves as a secure way to avoid financial tracking from third parties.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. (April 21, 2014)- Continuing their pursuit of new markets and embracing the digital age with a millennial audience, World Stage Racing’s recent visit to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series’ Duck Commander 500 at Texas Motor Speedway provided a unique opportunity for a select series of students from the University of Southern California (USC). With World Stage holding a long-standing relationship with USC’s Marshall School of Business, a graduate program dedicated to entrepreneurship and innovation in a rapidly changing business environment, a unique opportunity with NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program allowed the group to take a rare look behind the scenes of the nation’s most popular form of motorsport.
“We pride ourselves on inviting unique and fresh perspectives to the sport,” stated World Stage Racing’s Darryl Wong. “USC’s Marshall School of Business, particularly the Marshall Sports Business Institute, is renowned for its fresh thinking and ability to cultivate some of the most innovative minds in the sports business world. It was great to see so much enthusiasm among our group, especially from a circle who are fairly new to the sport. We can’t thank everyone at NASCAR and the Driver for Diversity program enough for their willingness to open their doors to us, they provided a level of access and insight that was refreshing for our team.”
With World Stage Racing specializing in the target-rich millennial demographic, with an emphasis on minorities, the team brought over a small group of students looking to see how NASCAR embraces the young minority and the resulting effect.
The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Vodafone McLaren Mercedes (formerly).
…and now, the Verizon IndyCar Series.
With the recent announcement of Verizon replacing IZOD as the title sponsor of the IndyCar series, the racing world was presented with a very positive note about IndyCar, and racing as a whole.
Verizon, long-time partnered with the Roger Penske family of companies, has been a slow but growing partner in the world of motorsports. Partnered with Roger Penske in 2009, Verizon’s trademark black with red streaks adorned the side of not only Penske’s prototype entry in the Rolex Sports Car Series, but also a part-time entry with the team’s third IndyCar entry as well as NASCAR Nationwide Series.
Over the next four years, starting in 2010, the on-track success of IndyCar driver Will Power pushed Verizon and Penske to focus their efforts on a full-season effort with the Australian driver, earning countless victories en route to three consecutive runner-up finishes, narrowly missing out on the driver’s title on every occasion.
When Williams F1, a once-heralded dynasty of the Formula One circuit, recently revealed their Martini livery (and rebranded name to Williams Martini F1), thoughts among racing historians immediately regressed to the glory days of the 1970’s and 1980’s. As Formula One gained popularity on the worldwide stage, the iconic blue, white, and red stripes of the gin/vermouth liquor became a signature part of the sport, only to slowly fade as the expense and nature of the sport transitioned during the late ‘80’s to present day.
Where this is especially poignant in the business landscape of modern motorsport, is it’s the first time in quite a while that we’ve seen a proper retail brand align themselves with a race team in the interest of branding and exposure, with no equity stake in the team (that we know of).
The brand alignment of Martini & Rossi, an elegant, Italian brand, with the sophisticated and world-renowned sport of Formula One is an obvious fit. Yet in an advertising culture that only continues to grow a wider gap against the operating costs of motorsport, it’s becoming more and more rare to see.