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Motorsports Marketing No Longer Just for NASCAR

April 17, 2017

Source: Motorsports Marketing and Race Car Sponsorship no longer just apply to the race teams involved in the top stock car sanction body, NASCAR. Many local and regional businesses are finding value in advertising and supporting racing teams involved in other forms of competition.

Travel to any local dirt or asphalt circle racing track on a Friday or Saturday night and you will find race cars, full fender and open wheel, covered in flashy graphics and logos of businesses and companies you may have never heard of. Local and regional businesses such as RV Escape from Branchville, New Jersey, a company that sells and rents travel trailers and recreation vehicles, to Halmar International, a construction company with corporate offices located in Nanuet, New York; have devoted themselves to all-out race car team sponsorship programs. Race tracks like those of the Orange County Fair Speedway, Middletown, New York, are built to accommodate tens of thousands of race fans, many whom reside within a 50 mile radius of the speedway dubbed the “Hard Clay.”

With over 20 regularly schedule races over a given race season, means direct exposure of brands, businesses, products and/or services to race fans whom attend such race events. From the hobby class entry-level form of stock car racing, street stock-pure stocks, to the upper tier of regional dirt track racing divisions, big-block modified division, you will find cars donned in advertising from local pizza shops to large regional and national companies. Businesses have discovered the value of race car and racing team sponsorship, which in the past was usually reserved for the elite of racing communities, are now a part of doing daily business in order to compete for local championships. Racing teams are competing just as much off the track as they are on the track, for sponsorship dollars, mainly because there are so few businesses available with marketing and advertising budgets for promoting their products and services at sporting events.

Businesses are finding bargains at local and regional speedways and are seeing a higher return on investment on their sponsorship dollars. Companies are getting far more for their advertising dollar, because the local or regional racer has realized in order to gain a commitment from a business for sponsorship, they must offer much more than just spot on the car for logo placement. Drivers, their teams, and their car have been making themselves available for talent appearances, where they are on site at an event on behalf of the sponsor. Drivers are finding that they are asked to participate in the creation of marketing and advertising collateral such as print ads, video, photos, and social media; repurposed for targeting audiences who have an interest in auto racing and may be potential customers of sponsor’s products.

Racecar sponsorship has transformed from donating a few dollars to an individual who is conducting a fundraising drive so he or she can race; to a full-time job and business of offering a suite of advertising and marketing services to potential corporate sponsors. The evolution has been long coming. There are two major factors to this change. Attendance is up at the local and regional speedways where seats at NASCAR races have gone empty. The economy has been playing a role in the transfer of race fans since the price of admission to NASCAR events are out of reach for the average working class family. So they have been making their way to second best; the local dirt speedway in their own back yard. With the transfer of race fans, brings higher potential customer conversion ratios; so dollar for dollar advertising reach is increasing.

Another factor is that more businesses are searching for creative ways to reach potential customers, where they aim to maximize their advertising dollar. A full-page ad in the local newspaper could cost upwards of $2,000 for a one-time print. That newspaper will usually stay in front of the subscriber for less than a week before it finds its way into the recycle bin. A local business or regional company can enter into an agreement with a local racer for that same amount of money, could have their logo placed on the side of a racer’s vehicle, race car trailer, back of their uniform, on the racer’s website or social media page, and in an unlimited number of pictures taken by race fans.

A night’s worth the full schedule of race events could last up to six hours of entertainment. Most speedways can seat up to 2,500 race fans. If you calculate advertising reach, a business can touch potential future clients for less than .80 cents per person. That is less than the cost of most paid per click ads banner ads on the internet. Calculate that number of race fans multiplied by 20 races divided by your sponsorship commitment (dollar amount) and you can calculate your return on investment per reach. Based on an entire season, if exposed to 50,000 race fans over the term of the race season, a business that spends $2,000 on a sponsorship package would reach each potential consumer for less than .04 cents per race fan per race.

You will find more businesses adopting some level of motor sports marketing program as a part of their marketing/advertising mix. From new and used car dealers to now-regional products like Extreme Kleaner, can be found advertising their brands on local race cars. Some events are captured on video and are syndicated on YouTube and on social media. These are marketing outlets not available to sponsors just a decade ago.

“In order to compete in a regularly scheduled season, and race up front, you must have the sponsor dollars behind you. Racers are willing to be more accommodating to businesses whom choose to put their advertising dollars at work on the side of a race car,” added Tommy Vigh Jr., long time driver at the Orange County Fair Speedway, Middletown, New York.

“What use to be a hobby, is almost a full-time job,” contributed local stock car racer Ron Constable from Layfette, New Jersey, “One will put in just as much work in the shop as is spent behind the wheel. The cost has risen sharply over the last few years so now we must be willing to give more to businesses for their sponsor dollars.”

Samuel K. Burlum is an investigative reporter who authors articles related to economic development, innovation, green technology, business strategy and public policy concerns. He is also a career entrepreneur who currently is the CEO/President of Extreme Energy Solutions Inc., a green tech company located in Sparta, New Jersey. Samuel K. Burlum lends his expertise as a consultant to start-up companies, small businesses, and mid-size enterprises, providing advisement in a number of areas including strategic business planning, business development, supply chain management and systems integration. He is also author of the books, The Race to Protect our Most Important Natural Resourceand Life in the Green Lane – in Pursuit of the American Dream.

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