Founded more than 50 years ago, NASCAR has become one of the hottest spectator sports in the world. It has also become one of the biggest marketing opportunities to date. Why would anybody make that claim? Just look at all of the cars racing by, each one decorated with the colors and logos of various Fortune 500 companies. How did NASCAR get this way?
Even though NASCAR started in 1948, it wasn't until 1971 that corporate sponsorship emerged and had the backing of RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company through its Winston brand. NASCAR's premier division was now known as the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. By the mid 1980s, Fortune 500 companies not only were involved in sponsoring NASCAR Series, but individual races and teams as well. (History, 1)
Why would an already successful business want to market their product at a NASCAR race? One of the reasons is that a tremendous crowd always attends the event to see automobiles with the appearance of a streetcar race door-to-door. In 1994 alone, the NASCAR Winston Cup Series drew 4,896,000 fans for 31 events. (History, 3) Each one of those fans has a favorite driver, and they are loyal to that driver. Which means that they will support the company that sponsors them by buying the product that is displayed on the car.
This is where marketing research and market segmentation come into play. The owners of NASCAR do extensive research (i.e., take off of work and go to a race) of the type of person that would attend a race. Based on that, they try to appeal to that person so that they will want to go to more NASCAR events. Not everyone is going to enjoy watching cars race around for four hours at a time. Research is needed to find the type of people who will enjoy it, and will be loyal to the sport.
Using the marketing mix concept, can you picture the four P's (product, price, place, and promotion) of marketing? It is very evident at a NASCAR event. The product is the race itself. The price is set to make it affordable for...
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