Professional sports should be exciting. Audiences should be fully enthralled in the drama that unfolds on the screen, field, court or stadium in front of them. The sheer athleticism should shock and awe with such force that mere fans should be left with jaws on the floor and eyes as big as Kermit the Frog. And then there is NASCAR….
NASCAR is unlike any other professional sport out there. Yes it has skilled athletes, it takes place in arena and it even has a playoff system now but that is where many similarities end. NASCAR does not have muscle-bound athletes of incredible height or athletic ability, unless you count the leaping ability of Carl Edwards.
Simply put, the sport is just different. The fan culture is such that you either love the sport or, like most of the United States, you couldn’t care less about it. The added “redneck” factor that the typical NASCAR fan is known for doesn’t add to the accessibility of becoming a fan. Think about it, when you think of a racing fan, you think of these guys…
Whether all the fans are like this is irrelevant if that is what people assume the typical fan is like. And if this is the perception, NASCAR has an image problem. The best way to then reposition itself is to sell the sport itself but given the unique quality it offers, even this is difficult. The best way is, as the band Live knows all about, is “Selling the Drama.”
If all a casual fine might know, or see on ESPN, about NASCAR is the impressive crashes, the driver brawls and Danica Patrick; why not use it? The drama on the track can be captivating, especially when it finally gets to the final laps, but it is not exactly stimulating to watch cars go round and round so highlight something else. Like the NHL, sometimes it is necessary to showcase the accompanying drama.
And as you can see below, thanks to an impressive commercial spot from ad agency Ogilvy, NASCAR is at already on the right track (pun intended).