How does NASCAR perform among American ethnic communities?

Eddy Sidani
  • September 30, 2020
  • Eddy Sidani
Take a deeper look into the performance of the motorsport property among different ethnicities in the USA.
With the recent announcement of basketball legend Michael Jordan purchasing a NASCAR Cup Series Charter with partner Denny Hamlin (to be driven by Bubba Wallace in 2021) we wanted to take a deeper look into the performance of the motorsport property among different ethnicities in the USA to showcase the significant potential at hand. In a news release, Jordan said “Historically, NASCAR has struggled with diversity and there have been few Black owners. The timing seemed perfect as NASCAR is evolving and embracing social change more and more.” Utilizing our proprietary data, we can analyze the reach and impact NASCAR currently has among various communities in the USA, and which areas could benefit most.

NASCAR has greatest reach among African American community

One of the benefits of using the SponsorPulse platform is that users can filter and sort the data by various demographics. When analyzing NASCAR in the United States, we found that the motorsport property has the most reach among the African American community compared to any other ethnicity. This demonstrates the potential that NASCAR has as over1-in-3 Hispanics and 2-in-5 African Americans have engaged with the motorsport over the past year. Overall, 37% of Americans have engaged with NASCAR in the last 12 months.

Providing value in new markets

The priority of sport marketing managers is to understand the targeted consumer base and then identify best practices to connect with said population. It is important to recognize that different groups of people share different identities and associate with groups that are positive reflections of their self-concepts. The most successful brands and properties find ways to tap into consumer identities and connect with their fans on a personal level, providing value to the consumers and generating excitement and passion along the way. When looking to expand to new markets, one of the best ways to assimilate a property with a new group is to partner with an organization that already shares similar values to the desired community.  For example, the Boston Red Sox partnering with John Hancock Life Insurance Company (a Boston-based insurance company that has strong New England roots), or the Canadian Olympic Committee partnering with Canadian Tire (a Canadian-based retail company that promotes Canadian values).

Our data shows that among the African American and Hispanic communities in the USA, NASCAR scores relatively low in all emotion-based metrics. This demonstrates that while there may be a decent reach amongst these groups, NASCAR does not necessarily have a strong connection with their consumer identities – an area Michael Jordan & co. are looking to help fix. Partnering with brands and sponsors who already have established relationships with these consumer bases may be an effective way for NASCAR to increase these numbers.

Value in your brand = value for your partners

One of the greatest challenges for many properties is finding partnerships and sponsorships that are a good fit for both parties involved. Brands are very specific about the organizations they partner with, as a negative perception of a property can easily rub-off on associated partners. The SponsorPulse platform contains impact metrics that measure the attitude consumers have towards brands that sponsor properties. This data provides insight into the psychological connection people build with their favourite teams and leagues, and allows decision-makers to measure the trust that consumers have in their properties. Properties who score relatively high in these metrics often use this data to demonstrate the power they have in the consumer-buying process.

As of now, ethnic communities in the USA do not necessarily have a strong trust or affinity for brands who sponsor NASCAR. With the recent decision to remove the confederate flag from all events, the increased efforts to become more socially-inclusive, and the creation of Michael Jordan’s new race team, hopefully the motorsport can beg into see an increase in the value ethnic racing fans place on the NASCAR brand and its partnerships.