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Volume 24 No. 117
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Motorsports Marketing Forum: Compelling Digital Content Seen As A Necessity

Several industry execs joined NASCAR driver Dylan Kwasniewski to talk about creating compelling digital content on the final panel of the opening day of the '13 NASCAR Motorsports Marketing Forum in Las Vegas. Kwasniewski's season in the K&N Pro Series East was featured in the AOL documentary series, “Flat Out,” and Network A Senior Programming Dir Annie Fast said the key to finding the right athlete for digital content is whether they are “excited about it, not just available for it or willing to sign on.” She said that an athlete's social media presence also is key. Fast: “Are they going to be able to get the word out about this content?” NASCAR VP/Entertainment Marketing & Business Development Zane Stoddard added, “We need a great story, and oftentimes, what happens is, somebody like Jimmie Johnson, his story doesn’t have the obstacles that we like for great storytelling. … For us, the more compelling story is somebody like Dylan, who’s on his way up and still has obstacles and dreams that he wants to achieve.” Meanwhile, Wasserman Media Group Senior Dir of Social Media & Digital Zack Sugarman said athletes starring in digital content “need to feel some sort of ownership, to get excited about the project, for it to be successful. More times than not they’re going to bring something up that no one else in the room has said before.” Kwasniewski agreed, and said he had “a lot of creative control” in the “Flat Out” series.

Schumacher stressed that drivers' stories should
be relatable to avid sports fans 

BEING ABLE TO RELATE: Sprint National Sponsorships, Sports Marketing Manager Ryan Schumacher said, "From a sponsor's point of view, we want the untold story that makes Dylan or Jimmie Johnson relatable to the avid fan. That's what it's all about. ... We want that connection. It's the untold stories that make it relatable to get someone to engage in that content." Stoddard said, "What we need (athletes) to understand is that we need to know how they feel. For people to get engaged, they have to care about our drivers and subjects of our stories."

GOING MOBILE: Fast said that 40-50% of views for Network A "are on a mobile device ... so it's a very personal connection." Fast: "The audience is right there. They're able to comment and feel like they’re part of the story sometimes." Schumacher also said Sprint’s mobile traffic "is through the roof." Schumacher: "Anything you produce, from mobile content to branded content, if it's not mobile-optimized, don’t waste your time with it."

For more from the Motorsports Marketing Forum, please see our On The Ground blog.