In browsing through various articles in regards to NASCAR this month I have found a consistent theme. It seems that there is a serious shortage of fans in the 18-34 year old male demographic. NASCAR is focused on trying to appeal to this demographic. I read one article that stated the 200'x80' giant TV they were having installed at Charlotte Motor Speedway was in effort to appeal to that demographic. Fair enough, I'm sure a 200' TV screen is quite the spectacle, but if I'm not impressed enough by cars racing at 200mph to come out to the track to see the event live, I'm not sure that a 200' screen is going to seal the deal. Beyond the TV screen, I haven't heard much on strategies for appealing to this demographic. I just know that I'm part of it, and I love NASCAR. The question is why? I believe I have the answer.
Growing up, NASCAR wasn't televised much in Canada, at least not over network TV that we had out in the country side. So the only races we got to see were the Daytona 500 & the former Pepsi 400. I remember for a number of years we always seemed to be at my Grandparents during the Daytona 500. In 1993, shortly after coming up with #3 as my favourite number using some convoluted formula that I made up using who knows what for who knows what reason. We were at my Grandparents and someone turned the race on, and on the screen was the black number 3 car leading the race, and it happened to be a Chevrolet. It was a match made in heaven and I was hooked. I could imagine racing that car, leading the race! There happened to be quite a number of spins and wrecks in that race and I found that fascinating. Now, not having cable TV and therefore, only getting to watch 2 races a year, you would think that probably isn't a good way to gain fans. But give me a little taste of what I want, and when I have the ability to get more, I'll jump in with both feet. You can imagine where I was on Sunday afternoons when I went away to college and found out the common rooms had cable TV. Yep, right there in front of that TV, each and every Sunday!
So how did I become a fan in this crucial 18 - 34 year old male demographic? I got hooked when I was 12! So how does NASCAR fix the decline in ratings among this demographic? It isn't a quick fix, it'll take a number of years but I guarantee that it works. Advertise to kids! Put NASCAR ads on all the social media that kids are using these days. Fortunately NASCAR has a video game coming out again. Get NASCAR in the face of youth, get games and apps developed. Lets get Lego & Harry Potter & Spongebob & Xbox etc advertising on the cars. If a childs favourite superhero driver were sponsered by Disney World, I'm pretty sure he'd pick up a bunch of youth in that move right there! Get the tracks to let anyone under the age of 12 get a ticket for free! They're going to spend piles of money at the concession stands anyways, you'll still get your money out of them!
Did R.J. Reynolds teach NASCAR nothing? Get 'em hooked young and you'll have 'em for life! If you want to appeal to the 18 - 34 demographic, you have to first appeal to the youth demographic. When they get to the age NASCAR is looking to appeal to, they'll still be fans!