Friday, October 2, 2009

Is NASCAR Opening Up?



Often considered the sport most heavily dictated by executives, NASCAR may be opening up a bit. If so, it is only a small estimate. NASCAR is at least providing an easy avenue for which to interact and communicate with fans.

Starting last week, NASCAR is going 2.0! One of my favorite blogs to read, The Daily Planet, released an article last week, discussing how NASCAR officials have expanded their offerings on the web to MySpace, Twitter, and Facebook (You will find each of the NASCAR pages linked). In addition to the article, I also obviously noted the signage on the NASCAR.com homepage (which is operated by Turner-Sports) touting the new and enhanced community features.

The development that seemed of the greatest importance, noted by The Daily Planet, was the MySpace page. Last time I used MySpace was in high school, and I deactivated my account. Instead, I am on Twitter following the official NASCAR account, in addition to the tweets posted from NASCAR_com.
Since I started studying the social media phenomena, the main idea is that everything revolves around relationships. Considered a fan friendly sport, NASCAR seems to be providing an easier, more direct line of communication for fans. After all, we the fans are what make the sport go round, or at least what I'm supposed to believe.

The first topic of conversation I noticed on the Facebook, Twitter, and NASCAR.com home page was the topic of a shift to more two-day events. For you non-NASCAR followers, the average race weekend consists of arriving at the track Thursday night, qualifying on Friday, and practice Saturday, before the race on Sunday. The thought is to condense the weekend by practicing and qualifying on Saturday and go racing on Sunday. Logistically, a two-day weekend would work wonders for a team's financial burden of travel and hotel accommodations.

My opinion aside (although I’m not opposed), the various sites lead fans to places like the Community on NASCAR.com or direct Twitter followers to comment on the Facebook page, to leave opinions and thoughts. On Tuesday, the Facebook page had 145 comments. As of Friday evening, I saw more than 560! What a great way to easily, and relatively effortlessly gain voluntary opinions.

Knowing that the stakeholders besides fans, like track-holding companies, team owners, etc, will have a greater influence over any major decisions, NASCAR has proved that they are willing to make changes to please fans and generate better competition (i.e. Double-File Restarts). Plus, any way that owners can save more money to help the cars go faster, should have support in the garage area.

Of all these advances with the social media and the sport I love, I have a couple concerns/thoughts:
1.      People take the opportunity to speak with some authority and intelligence (yes I’m aware of the NASCAR stereotypes)
2.      NASCAR continues to learn and grow with the social media trend, and establish stronger relationships
3.      Hire me! I’ll help do it!
That’s my time for the evening. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic, or take any other ideas to blog about in the future.

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