Fall is always the most crowded time on the sports calendar as summer sports transition into fall ones and more and more young people pull in activties and worry about back to school. This year, soccer tries to continue its Post World Cup run against a backdrop of NFL and increased college and high school interest while baseball marches into the postseason, golf moves to Ryder Cup talk and on and on… So what about NASCA. Despite its slide in attendance and ratings, the sport continues to engage huge amounts of fans in person, online and in brand activation. They continue to have strong rivalries and vibrant personalities in their drivers. Their fan core remains loyal and the casual fan still tunes in from time to time. Yet the sports biggest problem is their perceived Super Bowl…Daytona…starts the year and doesn’t end it, and their season ending race to Sprint Cup can sometimes be hard to follow and feel its value to those outside the core. A recent study by Taylor PR and adopted by NASCAR will overhaul their PR structure, and despite that, the compelling stories continue to surface for the sport in general, whether it be a BET series with young diverse drivers, a piece on Jeff Gordon and his ties to New York in the New York Times, or a Wall Street Journal piece on small tracks in places like Long Island. Sometimes major sports, like brands, are victims of their own success, and riding that wave is sometimes intoxicating and hard to change when the wave is cresting or ending. Sometimes that change does need a new voice to come in and gove a fresh perspective. Sometimes it take. a look to bring the brand back to its roots, where it is stronger.
Regardless, it appears that NASCAR is recognizing that and is looking at ways to change and amend and grow its public perception, which is a good thing. Having everyone pulling in one direction…race teams, drivers, tracks, TV, digitial, brands…is very difficult and unwieldy but is possible. The stories exist still and there are many new ones to be told. The PR team continues to do so and those messages communicated can continue to be effective. There just needs to be a way to translate that effort to sales and awareness in more of a cohesive Marcom push. Their story can be as loud as their engines and it has been. It just a question of driving it all the time to the right places.