SBD/Issue 156/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Back In Black: DEI Launches New Fan Club For Dale Earnhardt

Club E, The Name Of Earnhardt's First Fan Club,
Had Been Dormant Since Soon After His Death

Dale Earnhardt Inc. launched a new fan club last weekend at Talladega dedicated to the legacy of their favorite driver. Club E, which was the name of Earnhardt's first fan club in '79, had essentially been dormant since '03, two years after the driver's death. DEI fan clubs subsequently had focused on current DEI drivers, most notably Dale Earnhardt Jr. until his departure in '07. But Earnhardt Sr.'s widow, Teresa, revived the idea of a fan club last year during discussions about ways to connect the driver's legacy with his still-diehard fans. "It's been Teresa's vision to reconnect Dale with his fans and to do it in a meaningful way," said DEI Exec VP & GM Jeff Steiner. "There is an interest in opening more of Dale's artifacts and estate so that we can give the fans more of an experience." To launch the new Club E, Steiner and other DEI executives spent the weekend at Talladega in a camper in the speedway's infield, which is notorious for its parties and outlandish campers. Steiner said he connected with Earnhardt fans and awarded the first Club E membership to a hearty soul from Beaumont, Texas, who was attending his 87th race with his son. The man's camper was actually an old school bus painted like Earnhardt's old No. 3 Chevrolet with the blue and yellow Wrangler colors.

DIFFERENT LEVELS OF MEMBERSHIP: Club E memberships come in three levels -- a free newsletter, a red level at $24.99 a year and the silver level at $49.99 annually. Benefits include discounts at a number of DEI marketing partners, including Carowinds, Kings Dominion, NASCAR HOF and others, and special access to experiential dinners and tours at DEI headquarters. "We sent out surveys to 80,000 people last year and got a 30% response rate, which was amazing," Steiner said. "What Dale fans said is that they want to get to know him in a more personal way. They know about his accomplishments on the track, but what about him off the track? We've got areas that have never before been opened to the fans, but we're going to take these members behind the scenes and open that up to them so they can understand more about Dale's life."

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