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Survey zeroes in on 'avid' NASCAR fans

- jutter@charlotteobserver.com
Monday, Nov. 05, 2012

Avid NASCAR fans continue to show increased interest in the sport and there has been dramatic growth among those fans in the use of social and mobile media over a year ago.

Those are the biggest highlights from the fifth survey of self-described “avid” adult NASCAR fans by public relations giant Taylor.

A potential problem in the findings, which NASCAR is looking to address: More and more fans depend upon their mobile devices and want access to them while at the track.

With Sprint sponsoring NASCAR’s biggest series, there are numerous complaints about lack of service each weekend by fans who utilize another carrier.

“What we know from our work with NASCAR is that this has been an area of concerted focus on their part and certainly been an area of concerted focus on the part of the tracks,” said Christian Alfonsi, executive vice president of strategic planning at Taylor.

“There have also been substantive conversations with Sprint, not only as a marquee sponsor but also as a company that is in the business of wireless access.”

Taylor, whose clients include companies such as Coca-Cola, Nike and Amazon, conducts the survey each year to help detail the sport’s consumer engagement for current and new clients.

There was plenty of good news for NASCAR in the survey’s findings.

Half of fans surveyed said they were “more” or “much more” interested in NASCAR today than they were one year ago. This increased to 61 percent in the subset of 18- to 34-year-olds.

In the 2011 survey, 71 percent of fans surveyed said they were extremely or very likely to recommend NASCAR to friends and family. That increased to 78 percent in this year’s survey.

The biggest increases were seen in relation to NASCAR fans’ use of social media.

Among the fans surveyed, 74 percent visit Facebook regularly, 52 percent use YouTube regularly and 27 percent use Twitter. Twitter showed a 35 percent increase over 2011.

In addition, more than half of all fans said they visited social media sites regularly for NASCAR content.

“This year’s survey really confirms NASCAR can deliver to potential new sponsors the digital, mobile and socially-enabled consumer of the future,” Alfonsi said.

“Very clearly within the avid fan base, this is a pool of consumers who want to use these channels to drive their engagement and their passion of the sport in NASCAR.”

Utter: 704-358-5113

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