SBJ/March 14-20, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

NHRA rolls out greatest moments contest to boost Facebook fan base

With an eye toward strengthening its Facebook fan base and raising the profile of its 60th anniversary, the NHRA last week launched its first social media contest.

The sanctioning body will post two to three of what it’s calling its 60 Greatest Moments each week until August and will tally the number of “likes” that each moment receives in order to narrow the list to 20 top moments. Those 20 will be posted on a specially designed Facebook tab, and fans will have the chance to vote and narrow the list to 10 by early September and to five by the last race of the season in November.

The NHRA is in discussions with partners regarding a presenting sponsorship to the Facebook program. It hopes to finalize those conversations this spring, said Gary Darcy, the NHRA’s senior vice president of sales and marketing.

“Anything we can do to provide proprietary content or special experiences for fans of the NHRA Facebook page is a good thing,” Darcy said. “Hopefully, it’s something they have fun with and can engage with around our 60th anniversary.”
The NHRA had 195,170 fans on Facebook when the promotion started. By comparison, NASCAR has 1.3 million fans on its site, while IndyCar has 33,700 fans.

The series hopes that promoting the 60 Greatest Moments countdown at races and across stakeholder Facebook pages for teams and tracks can increase the size of its Facebook fan base. Darcy believes increasing the size of that fan base will help the series engage fans more effectively, something that ultimately would allow the series to provide more value to corporate partners, foster more ticket sales and encourage more television viewership.

The NHRA has put more resources into social media in the last six months with those goals in mind. Last month, it named Michael Padian, a public relations manager, as its director of social media.

“We’re a teenager trying to assert ourselves and become a grown-up,” Darcy said. “There’s such an opportunity here with our passionate fans and there’s so much more we can do. I’d like to see [social media] fully integrated into everything we’re doing and to truly maximize it.”

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NHRA, Media, NASCAR, IndyCar

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