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« Based on NASCAR precedent, Gordon should not(and should) be racing this weekend | Main | Things Keselowski might say in his acceptance speech »

Keselowski’s demographic won’t rescue NASCAR

By admin | November 19, 2012

 Brad Keselowski has over 300,000 followers on Twitter.

By Richard Allen

A story that appeared on the website SportsBusinessDaily.com(http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Daily/Issues/2012/11/19/Marketing-and-Sponsorship/Keselowski.aspx ) on Monday offered the idea that 2012 Sprint Cup champion Brad Keselowski has the opportunity to reach a new audience due to his social media prowess. The web post relied heavily on a piece written by USA Today journalist Nate Ryan in which he scribed that “NASCAR has a five year plan aimed at hooking a younger demographic with a heavier emphasis on techonology and cutting-edge cultural touchstones, and Keselowski seems to live right in its sweet spot while also being uniquely qualified and eager to deliver its message as the eighth-youngest champion in Cup history.”

And so continues the story of NASCAR grasping for an audience aside from the one it once had but for whatever reason decided to kick to the curb. How many times has this same attempt been made?

Since 2001, the powers that be in NASCAR along with their television partners have pinned their hopes more on personalities and less on the actual racing product. The result has been a generic car racing on generic tracks aiming toward a contrived championship battle over the final ten races.

At first, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. was made the focal point of the sport. As NASCAR’s most popular driver, his name and face were stamped all over the coverage of Sprint Cup racing and everything related to it. Even when the third generation driver’s statistics dropped off dramatically, he was continually made a centerpiece of broadcasts, marketing and advertising campaigns.

After several years of less than spectacular performance, Junior has experienced a resurgence. However, even with its most popular star running well again, attendance and television ratings have failed to rebound.

Lesson learned, right? Surely those who make the decisions have realized that it’s what’s on the track, not one particular individual, that sells the sport. Well, not exactly.

Instead of refocusing their efforts toward the on-track product, the personality promoting machine was put back to work when IndyCar driver Danica Patrick was lured to join NASCAR two years ago.

While it may have seemed to many that Junior, with his mediocre results, had received more attention than was appropriate during his lean years, the hype surrounding the new arrival gave a new definition to the word disproportionate.

Still, grandstand seats have been left vacant in places at which tickets once were rarely available. Again it seemed as though the bombardment of individuals over racing had failed to provide the desired result.

Now, the suggestion has been made that Brad Keselowski and his 300,000+ Twitter followers can bring about the influx of a new, younger demographic. The leaders of this sport are misguided enough, please don’t encorage them.

The results will be the same in terms of attendance and ratings as long as personality alone remains the emphasis no matter who the personality may be.

Rather than “a heavier emphasis on techonology and cutting-edge cultural touchstones”, how about a heavier emphasis on the actual product so that 2013 is not filled with 500 mile parades capped off by fuel mileage coasts?

Topics: Articles |

8 Responses to “Keselowski’s demographic won’t rescue NASCAR”

  1. Tyler West Says:
    November 19th, 2012 at 9:34 pm

    Rough and tough racing will putt butts in the seats and not BS gimmicks!!! You would think they have learned that by now. Hard racing and some altercations is what racing is all about. But unfortunately the powers that control the sport have lost their way. Who cares if the sport is not main stream, the main stream sucks anyway. Hard racing, colorful drivers, and a little physicality will do wonders. Not trying to attract the fools out there who don’t understand what racing is anyway.

  2. Russ Says:
    November 19th, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    While I understand the desire to cultivate a new wave of fans to replace those who will inevitably leave ( mortality not dissatisfaction) I dont see this plan as being successful.
    The product is for the most part boring, the hyper commercialism is insulting, and the core fan can no longer see it as affordable entertainment.
    The digital media is revolutionizing our world, but it does have its limits. Wail till they try to monetize that media. I for one am looking forward to seeing how that will turn out. As of yet I don’t think many of Brad’s 300,000 Twitter followers have made it to the track. followers

  3. Sue Rarick Says:
    November 20th, 2012 at 8:42 am

    To put Brad’s 300,000 twitter followers in perspective the 200th most popular has over 3 million followers. Here is the list if someone is bored enough to look up where Brad fits on the list: http://twittercounter.com/pages/100

    It’s really kind of sad that Nascar is building on a person that is not even the most popular Nascar driver on Twitter (I think he’s number 5). Even the most popular Nascar driver (Danica) has only 600,000.

    Sometimes Nascar reminds me of the guy that decided to sell ice cubes on the Titanic.

  4. Benjamin P. Glaser Says:
    November 20th, 2012 at 8:44 am

    I have pretty much given up on Sprint Cup. Next year I will spend my time focusing on the Nationwide series (which is shaping up to be heck of a good fun) and the Truck series.

    I am genuinely looking forward to the racing in Nationwide with Regan Smith, Brian Vickers, Austin Dillon, etc. It is going to be good hard racing with a real championship race.

  5. midasmicah Says:
    November 20th, 2012 at 9:02 am

    Good article, Rich. I’m just happy JJ didn’t win the championship again. But nothing is going to change until they improve the on track racing and quit manipulating the finishes,

  6. Offkilter Says:
    November 20th, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    Minus brad and his tweeps, it seems like this article has been written every other week this year.

  7. Tony Geinzer Says:
    November 20th, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    Even though the Anybody But JJ or Hendrick Crowd had their Field Day, but, I feel as a NASCAR and Racing Citizen, more racing like Rusty and the King and not just sanitized PR.

  8. Rich Norton Says:
    November 20th, 2012 at 9:02 pm

    A lot more short tracks and road courses would do wonders for NASCAR. The parade of 1.5 mile tracks are wearing thin, and if we must have a chase, at least make it representative of the whole season.