SBJ/Nov. 4-10, 2013/Leagues and Governing Bodies

NASCAR to expand Hispanic marketing

Editor's note: This story is revised from the print edition.

Eight months after investing more than $1 million on Hispanic marketing initiatives in Phoenix, NASCAR plans to expand its Spanish-language advertising efforts into key markets such as Texas, California, Illinois and South Florida.

NASCAR plans to develop Spanish-language radio, digital and TV ads for the 2014 season that racetracks will be able to use in their local markets. It will be up to the racetracks to select the media outlets and make the advertising purchases to reach Hispanics.

The move comes on the heels of NASCAR’s success in developing creative for the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship that all 10 Chase tracks tagged with their own logos and featured in local advertising.

“For our general market work, we have toolkits for tracks to use,” said Kim Brink, NASCAR’s vice president of marketing. “We want to do the same thing next year on the Hispanic fronts where we provide newspaper, radio and digital spots that they can just tag.”

The plan comes on the heels of a seasonlong Hispanic marketing campaign in Phoenix, which hosts this weekend’s Chase race.

NASCAR selected Phoenix at the start of the season to be a test market for Hispanic outreach. The sport is trying to diversify its fan base and is working hard to cultivate Hispanic fans. It bought Spanish-language advertising across TV, radio and digital media in the Phoenix market. It also hosted its first NASCAR Mexico series race of the year at Phoenix International Raceway in March, and more than 15,000 spectators came out to the event.

Brink said NASCAR is conducting surveys in the market designed to gauge how effective the marketing effort has been at reaching Hispanics. Early results have been encouraging. Awareness of the sport among Hispanics in Phoenix is 90 percent, 30 percent more than the national average, Brink said.

The number of Hispanics who are aware of NASCAR and consider themselves fans of the sport is two times greater in Phoenix than nationally.

“It set up to be a fantastic test market and it’s been tremendously successful,” said Bryan Sperber, Phoenix International Raceway president. “It was about being multifaceted and not just having one thing across the board, but having the race and everything from word-of-mouth to digital to paid advertising. I feel good about what we did and how we’re set up for 2014.”

NASCAR also saw some gains on national TV among Hispanic viewers this year. Total viewership on English-language broadcasts is up 35 percent from a year ago, according to NASCAR.

Brink said NASCAR discovered that many Hispanics in Phoenix were unfamiliar with the sport. As a result, a lot of the advertising it developed was focused on educating potential fans. It will take that same approach with the advertising it develops next year for use in markets in California and Texas.

“This is a long-term proposition,” Brink said. “We’ve got great results already. Over time, with all the efforts, we hope to keep growing that Hispanic fan base.”

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