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NASCAR digital and social media numbers continue to grow in 2016
During his State of the Sport press conference prior to the Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway earlier this month, NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France relayed an anecdote about watching a scaled-down, highlight-driven Duke college basketball game on his laptop. The story painted a broad picture of the shift in fan consumption habits. And for NASCAR , that has meant a shift in strategy to serve fans who want an immersive experience, whether attending live in-person, watching on TV, or engaging with sports at home or on the go. By all metrics, NASCAR ’s digital and social media numbers have shown strong growth over the 2016 season, validating a strategic choice to reach race fans in the multifaceted ways they opt to consume NASCAR content. Consider these numbers: Overall, NASCAR drew 256 million social engagements across all its digital platforms, an 87 percent increase year-over-year, and a massive increase of video content views. NASCAR saw a 14 percent growth in followers across its social and digital platforms. Of particular note was a spike in the growth of Snapchat followers after NASCAR announced its partnership with that platform in February. NASCAR competitors and fans provided live content from four races, starting with the Daytona 500 , under the aegis of "Snapchat Live Story." The Daytona 500 itself saw a 63-percent increase in race day impressions, while engagement with NASCAR content tripled. "It’s been fantastic," said Jill Gregory, NASCAR senior vice president and chief marketing officer. "I think that what it has done is validated our strategy that we set out at the very beginning of this season, when we talked about leading with digital and social and really trying to talk to our fans where they were and going to reach them at all the places they consume NASCAR . "We started that with our 'Ready.Set.Race' campaign and the Hashtag 500 around the Daytona 500 , and it’s really just continued to build throughout the whole season." The Hashtag 500, the race to win Dale Earnhardt Jr .'s firesuit, generated 13,000 NASCAR -related mentions in a single minute, a high-water mark for NASCAR content since the advent of the sanctioning body’s Fan and Media Engagement Center. Central to the success of the 2016 digital and social media campaign was heavy promotion of #TheChase across all platforms, leveraging Twitter, Vine, Periscope, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat to engage fans throughout the 10-week playoff. Capturing the drama of the Chase, which concluded with Jimmie Johnson claiming his record-tying seventh NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship, was the digital film series "Ready.Set.Chase." All told, the five-film series garnered more than 13 million views. "I think we’re seeing it at NASCAR , and obviously we see it happening across the sports and entertainment landscape, that fans want to customize their experience regardless of what they’re watching or looking at," Gregory said. "If we want to talk to those fans, we have to go places that are convenient for them. "If they’re watching on their mobile app, if they’re watching via NASCAR .com, if they’re watching on television, it’s our job as the league to provide all of that great content in all of those places and then make sure that we deliver the right experience for each of those platforms."
NASCAR , Monster Energy announce premier series entitlement partnership
RELATED: Official NASCAR release " NASCAR Nation reacts to news LAS VEGAS – NASCAR announced on Thursday at Wynn Las Vegas a multi-year deal that will make Monster Energy only the third entitlement sponsor in premier series history. The length and terms of the deal were not disclosed, but both parties hailed the partnership as the perfect fit for both brands. "Monster Energy is a brand built on excitement and enthusiasm, qualities that align with NASCAR ," said Brian France, NASCAR Chairman and CEO. "This sponsorship position is the most unique in all of sports and entertainment, and we are thrilled to have a partner that will help us further elevate the series. Today's announcement is the culmination of a thorough search, one that resulted in the right partner at this important time in our sport’s history." Monster Energy has existing sponsorships with a number of motorsports sanctioning bodies, athletes and teams, but the NASCAR deal signals the biggest sponsorship step in the company's history. "Monster has built its brand on racing and motorsports, and NASCAR is the pinnacle of motorsports in America," said Mitch Covington, vice president of sports marketing at Monster Beverage Company. "It's American racing; we're an American brand that's a global company, and NASCAR is, too. When the opportunity came along to further associate yourself with a sport like NASCAR , it was the perfect fit for us. … NASCAR is just a hard-hitting, close-racing, fun property to be associated with." Along with naming rights to NASCAR's top series, Monster Energy will also hold race sponsorship to the NASCAR All-Star Race and become the Official Energy Drink of NASCAR . Monster Energy also said it will continue to sponsor Stewart-Haas Racing 's No. 41 car. Thursday's announcement is the culmination of a lengthy and thorough search by NASCAR to find the successor to Sprint, whose entitlement sponsorship will end on December 31, 2016. Steve Phelps, NASCAR executive vice president and chief global sales and marketing officer, said that the sanctioning body spoke with numerous companies throughout the process, ultimately choosing Monster Energy for a number of reasons, not the least of which was its lifestyle culture. "We have the good fortune of finding a brand that we believe works for our sport," Phelps said. "They're going to bring their lifestyle to their activation. … They're going to bring their brand, their excitement, their energy to this partnership, and the fans are going to be the winners. It's all about engaging the fans and having the fans have unique, fun experiences whether at the race track or through different mediums, through social, digital, content." Phelps said a number of ancillary details will be announced in the coming weeks. Among those still under discussion is the name of the series, the series mark and the championship trophy. Under the agreement, energy drink sponsors already involved in NASCAR may remain in place. Potential sponsors from the energy drink category will not be eligible for future sponsorship if not already involved in the sport.
NASCAR reveals multi-year partnership with Monster Energy for Premier Series Entitlement
RELATED: NASCAR , Monster Energy announce deal " NASCAR Nation reacts DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR and Monster Energy announced today a multi-year agreement for the premier series entitlement as well as the prestigious annual NASCAR All-Star Race. Monster Energy, which will begin its tenure as naming rights partner on Jan. 1, 2017, will become only the third company to serve as the entitlement sponsor in NASCAR premier series history, following RJ Reynolds and Sprint/Nextel. As part of the agreement, the brand also becomes the Official Energy Drink of NASCAR . "Monster Energy is a brand built on excitement and enthusiasm, qualities that align with NASCAR ," said Brian France, NASCAR Chairman and CEO. "This sponsorship position is the most unique in all of sports and entertainment, and we are thrilled to have a partner that will help us further elevate the series. Today's announcement is the culmination of a thorough search, one that resulted in the right partner at this important time in our sport’s history." NASCAR premier series races long have been a bucket-list destination for sports fans throughout the country, and starting next season, Monster Energy will elevate the event experience to an even higher level. As part of the agreement, Monster Energy will engage with fans in creative, innovative ways at all race tracks where the premier series will race. " Monster Energy has an established and versatile history in motorsports, and we’re thrilled to take this historic next step," said Rodney Sacks, Monster Beverage Chairman and CEO. "We feel strongly that our brand is a perfect fit for this sport and its star athletes. We look forward to interacting with the millions of passionate NASCAR fans week-in, week out."
Comcast XFINITY earns NASCAR's Marketing Achievement Award
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Comcast will be honored with the 2016 NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award for its support of the NASCAR XFINITY Series™, known as the series "Where Names Are Made." The company, which also serves as the Official Entertainment Provider of NASCAR ®, will be recognized at the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards today. Entering the sport with a historic 10-year entitlement agreement last year, XFINITY is changing the way fans experience NASCAR by introducing live race stats and data directly to the TV through their XFINITY X1 platform. XFINITY X1 provides an insider's look at the action taking place across NASCAR ’s three national series each race weekend, along with custom video content, weekly exclusive VOD content, live leaderboards, up-to-the-second race stats, interactive championship point standings, and much more. At the track, Comcast engaged fans, the industry and media at its state-of-the-art activation space, the XFINITY Zone. The award-winning fan zone allowed thousands of fans to interact with drivers and utilize the technology that is changing the live sports TV experience. Off the track, Comcast is working to recognize charitable efforts of NASCAR team members through the Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award, which was created in 2015. "The innovation that Comcast delivers through its XFINITY brand drives deeper engagement and is transforming the way fans consume our sport," said Brent Dewar, NASCAR Chief Operating Officer. "Our partnership with Comcast is one of the most unique and powerful in all of sports, and our work together this year has helped elevate the NASCAR XFNITY Series to new heights." In year two of the partnership, NASCAR and XFINITY collaborated on changes that differentiated the series and further integrated the XFINITY brand into the sport. The introduction of an elimination-style Chase and a new Dash 4 Cash format enhanced competition, spiked fan interest, and generated even more drama around the series. The competition changes were accompanied by a new visual identity, providing the NASCAR XFINITY Series with its own distinct look across digital, social, at-track and on broadcast. "We are honored and excited to accept this year's NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award, as it is a direct reflection of the successful and progressive partnership we've had with NASCAR since entering the sport in 2015," said Matt Lederer, Executive Director of Sports Marketing at Comcast. "All of us at Comcast are committed to continuing to find new and innovative ways to bring fans closer to the sport they love through XFINITY products and services." Comcast's integrated marketing strategy was expansive: · NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers captured more than 70 unique, first-person social videos that were shared as part of Comcast’s "My Chase" program · Produced original television creative promoting the series throughout the season · Created the XFINITY Zone, an 85-foot-by-85-foot display area that showed off X1 technology, and hosted fans across 14 NASCAR events · Hosted the first-ever "off-campus" NASCAR Fuel For Business Council meeting in Philadelphia, welcoming nearly 50 Official Partners to facilitate business to business opportunities · Comcast and Pocono Raceway hosted NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers around the Road 2 Pocono, which included a City Hall proclamation and a parade lap down the streets of Philadelphia. Other previous winners of the NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award include Sunoco; Coca-Cola; Mars, Incorporated; Nationwide Insurance; Sprint; and Toyota. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion's Week will culminate with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards. NBCSN presents complete coverage of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards on Friday, Dec. 2 beginning at 7 p.m. ET with " NASCAR America," followed by the red carpet at 8 p.m. ET and the awards broadcast at 9 p.m. ET. Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio will also begin coverage at 8 p.m. ET.
Myers Brothers Awards recognize NASCAR's best, remember Betty Jane France
RELATED: NASCAR , Monster Energy announce entitlement deal LAS VEGAS -- On what turned into a remarkable day on all accords, NASCAR introduced Monster Energy as the new premier series entitlement sponsor, celebrated Jimmie Johnson 's historic seventh championship and honored the late Betty Jane France with the prestigious NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Award for her decades of philanthropic work Thursday afternoon. Approximately 500 people attended the traditional Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon at the Wynn Las Vegas resort -- an afternoon later capped off with the big entitlement announcement before the industry's drivers, teams and corporate stalwarts. Fittingly one of NASCAR's ascending stars, Chase Elliott started the day off accepting the Sunoco Rookie of the Year award. The Hendrick Motorsports driver, who celebrated his 21st birthday on Monday, thanked his parents -- including father NASCAR Hall of Famer Bill Elliott -- his team and many people important in his high-accelerating career and life. He also made a point to recognize Jeff Gordon ’s six-year old son Leo for an important high-five just before the season-opening Daytona 500 -- a race Elliott started from the pole position. "That was a neat moment and it put everything in perspective," Elliott said, smiling. "I can say I truthfully feel at home now, and I think that says a lot."
Reactions to Monster Energy being named NASCAR entitlement sponsor
NASCAR announced on Thursday in Las Vegas that Monster Energy would become the new entitlement sponsor of stock car auto racing's premier series. Needless to say, the NASCAR community was thrilled with the news. Happy to see the fusion of @ NASCAR , the sport I love & @MonsterEnergy , the brand I love. Future is bright...proud to be part of both. #KB41 pic.twitter.com/CpwnZRrukH — Kurt Busch (@KurtBusch) December 1, 2016 Wow! @MonsterEnergy https://t.co/asVCzDghNZ — Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) December 1, 2016 Cutting edge brand that has the potential to bring a millennial fan base to our sport. https://t.co/tqpAf52B0F — Brad Keselowski (@keselowski) December 1, 2016 Big for the sport. https://t.co/avLVnaR6bg — Ryan Blaney (@Blaney) December 1, 2016 Pretty fired up about this. Welcome @MonsterEnergy https://t.co/72QVMLe4S8 — Ryan Truex (@Ryan_Truex) December 1, 2016 Looks like @MonsterEnergy will be the new sponsors for the Cup Series! # Nascar pic.twitter.com/dRvhWz8o9j — Joey Gase Racing (@JoeyGaseRacing) December 1, 2016 Wow that's great! Hopefully this will bring a younger crowd to @ NASCAR . Congrats @MonsterEnergy ! https://t.co/04gtBzVRMh — Tanner Berryhill (@tannerberryhill) December 1, 2016 Way to go @ NASCAR , big initiative to engage younger audience. This is a huge step in that direction! @MonsterEnergy — Darrell Wallace Jr (@BubbaWallace) December 1, 2016 Awesome to see @MonsterEnergy as the new entitlement partner. Great brand with a lot of energy. Can't wait for Daytona # NASCAR — Ben Kennedy (@BenKennedy33) December 1, 2016 Excited for @MonsterEnergy to sponsor the series i think it's a great move for our sport! — Ty Dillon (@tydillon) December 1, 2016 We're excited to hear @MonsterEnergy , "The Official Energy Drink of Pocono Raceway " is now sponsoring @ NASCAR 's Premier Series in 2017! pic.twitter.com/LTlx3AodjZ — Pocono Raceway (@poconoraceway) December 1, 2016 Thrilled to have you on board, @MonsterEnergy ! https://t.co/YBRfWos4KE — Richmond Raceway (@RIRInsider) December 1, 2016 Welcome to the @ NASCAR family @MonsterEnergy ! We'll see you soon for #Speedweeks and the #DAYTONA500 ! https://t.co/oRIZmXJQoo — Daytona IntlSpeedway (@DISupdates) December 1, 2016 It’s Official, Monster Energy replace Sprint as the new NASCAR Premier Series Sponsor! # NASCAR Welcome to the Family @MonsterEnergy — Martinsville Spdway (@MartinsvilleSwy) December 1, 2016 Welcome to the family @MonsterEnergy @ NASCAR pic.twitter.com/eCHuHPEjpJ — Steve O'Donnell (@odsteve) December 1, 2016
H2H: Debating Johnson's place in NASCAR history
RELATED: Champion's Week preview " Streaming schedule When Jimmie Johnson made history at Homestead-Miami Speedway with his record-tying seventh championship, it gave the sport of stock-car racing a moment to reflect on the accomplishment and to debate Johnson's place in its history. With just more than a week's worth of a cool-down lap of their own to let the moment sink in, our Holly Cain and Kenny Bruce offer their perspectives on the newly crowned "Seven-Time" in this week's head-to-head: 1. With a seventh championship tying Jimmie Johnson with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, how do you rank the three considering the eras in which they competed? Cain: Accessing seven-time champions is ironically a no-win situation. Each driver earned the big trophy in markedly different eras under far different circumstances. Petty's team had to be as tough as it was good. Earnhardt's team was tested against future Hall of Famers under a new and increasingly bright spotlight. And Johnson had to earn his titles under multiple championship scenarios against a field of competition representing the deepest talent level in the sport's history. Bruce: I agree with Holly to a point. You can't fairly compare the three drivers because their success came in such different times. The sport was so different when Petty won his seven titles, with teams racing as many as 62 times a season. It was a test of endurance as much as anything. Earnhardt won his titles when attrition was still a concern, but the cars were better and depth of talent within the teams greater. Johnson's success has come under various points formats, various rules packages and against some of the best talent the sport has ever seen. But … if you're ranking the three purely on a "most talented" level, then it's a no-brainer. The answer is … 2. Would an eighth championship in Johnson’s column change your view? Cain: Should Johnson win an eighth -- and I believe he will -- there should be no lingering doubts about his toughness, tenacity and talent -- the latter something this seven-time champ is never given enough credit for. Bruce: It depends on the circumstances. I already believe he's one of the best to ever compete in the sport, so one more title won't really change how I view him there. But if he continues to compete at such a high level and can still be successful, I'll be even more impressed with any future accomplishments. 3. How do you assess the chances of Johnson and the No. 48 team achieving title No. 8? Cain: For Johnson to have earned seven trophies under a revolving door of championship competition and format changes is a triumph in and of itself. At only 41 years old -- two years younger than Earnhardt when he won his seventh and the same age as Petty when he hoisted his seventh -- there is reason to believe Johnson has an incredibly favorable shot to make more NASCAR history. The pressure is off. Petty ranked in the championship top five only three more times after winning his seventh title. Earnhardt was runner-up two more times (in 1995 and 2000). Johnson and his Hendrick Motorsports crew chief Chad Knaus really only have more history to aspire to, and lots of time to attain it. It's "all good" was never more apropos. Bruce: The current championship-determining format doesn't lend itself to repeat champions -- witness three different winners in the three years of the elimination format. No driver has made the final four all three times either. And there's a very good chance that once you make it to the final, you have to win the race to win the title. It took the No. 48 team three years to make it to the final round and I don't think it’s a given that they'll be back next year. Under other formats, I'd rate their chances as great. Now, though, I’m less willing to be so positive. They've got time, but that's what we said about Jeff Gordon , too, when he began pursuing title No. 5 -- in 2002.
Watch NASCAR's Victory Lap on the Vegas Strip
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NASCAR makes Monster announcement
NASCAR .com's Jonathan Merryman gets you up to speed as NASCAR and Monster Energy announce a multi-year partnership for the premier series entitlement.