SBJ/May 28 - June 3, 2007/Media

Community area on gets official launch was planning to officially launch a community part of its site this week, following two weeks of operating the social-networking area as part of a soft launch.

Turner Sports Interactive, which holds the interactive rights and operates the site for NASCAR, soft-launched the community part of the site May 14. That part of the site, which has a link at the top of the home page’s menu, is designed to allow fans to meet each other, upload photos and videos, write blogs, and create personalized pages.

“For the past several years, we have been focused mostly on spectators, providing a place for them to come in and consume things,” said Michael Adamson, vice president of new media creative for Turner Sports. “Community is that next level of involvement. It’s all about the fan being able to participate. To us, that’s what ‘community’ means.”

The community pages are free to consumers. Turner and NASCAR plan to sell sponsorships around them.

The soft launch provided few surprises. People uploaded a lot of photos, but not a lot of videos. Most users voiced opinions and started groups.

Visitors to the community part of the site also viewed three times more pages than the average visitor, Adamson said.

“If we can find a meaningful way for fans to get involved with our digital properties, they will reward us with loyalty and trust, and the payoff will come with ratings and sponsorships,” Adamson said.

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