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NASCAR's Brand Momentum

As the 2013 NASCAR season kicks off in Daytona, we believe the timing is ripe for brands to pay extra attention to the sport. Here’s why.

1. New wheels.

The new Gen 6 car has been the talk of NASCAR fandom for the entire off-season. Not only is this a good marketing opportunity for manufacturers Ford, Toyota, and Chevy: it’s also an injection of extra excitement for the fans.

In a sport that’s always changing, and where the milliseconds make all the difference, what will Gen 6 mean when top competitors are hugging the curves? We’ll find out soon enough.

2. Fresh faces at the finish line.

Danica Patrick started the season off right by winning the pole at the Daytona 500. Will this be the year she gets her big breakthrough win? What about Darrell Wallace, Jr.? Brad Keselowski had a great 2012 season, and Michael Waltrip Racing had a big year as well, so the tone has been set for fresh faces in the spotlight.

Who will be the next Young Guns, and will they find success both on and off the track? Time will tell, but this much is certain: emerging, young stars and teams are catching they eye of fans and sponsors plus drawing new fans to the sport.

3. Revitalized fan experience.

As the world goes social, so goes every major sport. NASCAR had huge social growth in 2012, taking its own social media in-house for greater content control, as well as forward-thinking social media policies that have allowed for incredible engagement from the driver perspective. Entities like SPEED are already doing a great job of driving viewer engagement on the second screen.

Digital and social priorities are even being built into the infrastructure of these races. Both Daytona and IMS are requesting large capital expenditures to make the fan experience better: think broadband and much, more.

The fan experience is evolving rapidly, both trackside and at home. As fans expect more—more access, more content, more connectivity—we’re excited to see NASCAR and its sponsors keep pace.

4. New opportunities.

Brands, take note. 2013 is a buyer’s market for NASCAR. Pricing resets for major stars means open inventory and a great opportunity new and existing sponsors alike. We’re seeing a lot of innovation and efficiency among existing sponsors. And for new brands, it’s a golden moment to make a splash. NASCAR is definitely an opportunity worth exploring.

So, out with the old, in with the new. This is a year of change, of revitalization, of high-speed growth for NASCAR and its fans, drivers, and sponsors. Gear up, marketers!

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