NASCAR WCUP: Growth of NASCAR Shifts Into Overdrive
15 October 1999Growth of NASCAR Shifts Into Overdrive
NEW YORK, Oct. 15 -- America's passion for NASCAR continues to grow as more than 10 million spectators will fill grandstands, suites and infields while more than 112 million families gather in their living rooms to watch NASCAR events in 1999. "Hundreds of thousands of those fans also happen to be Dodge owners who have begged us to rejoin the most successful racing series in this country," said Jim Julow, Vice President - Dodge Division. "NASCAR's Winston Cup Series presents an excellent opportunity for Dodge marketing. NASCAR fans are our kind of customers -- the most brand-loyal fans of any sport in this country." NASCAR contributes part of its success with fans to its more than 50 years of tradition and a unique formula. Unlike any other sport, NASCAR fields the best teams playing in the same field every week providing fans with the opportunity to watch the NFL equivalent of a Super Bowl -- every week. Of the top 10 largest sporting events in the country, each surpassing 100,000 spectators in attendance, 9 of the top 10 are NASCAR events. "Motorsports is the fastest-growing sport in America," said Tim Frost, of Frost Motorsports, LLC, and an independent financial consultant for the motorsports industry. "It is a passion shared by millions who closely follow the racing circuits week-by-week. Its immense popularity has propelled the sport into a vibrant and thriving business worth more than $1 billion and has made it a worldwide pastime." NASCAR attendance has increased nearly 65 percent in the 90s. Three of the top four motorsports series are NASCAR sanctioned events: NASCAR Winston Cup Series, NASCAR Busch Series, and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. The most popular series, NASCAR Winston Cup, attracted 6.3 million people to its 33 events last year alone. Perhaps a more significant measure of the sport's growth is its television ratings, which have increased at a faster pace than attendance. From 1994 to 1998, television ratings for motorsports have increased by 26 percent, an average of 6.5 percent per year, with NASCAR Winston Cup again leading the way, according to Frost. Total gross viewership of NASCAR in 1998 was approximately 190 million. "Network and cable television ratings for NASCAR Winston Cup are second only to the NFL, excluding playoffs and the Super Bowl," Frost said. A third measure of growth in any sport is that of corporate sponsorship, another area where motorsports has excelled in the last several years. Sponsorship spending on auto racing in North America is projected to be $1.2 billion in 1999 compared with $1.099 billion in 1998 and $565 million in 1990. (See chart below.) North American Spending on Auto Racing Sponsorship: 1990: $565 million 1995: $845 million 1991: $595 million 1996: $920 million 1992: $650 million 1997: $990 million 1993: $705 million 1998: $1.099 billion 1994: $770 million 1999: $1.2 billion* *Projected "Motorsports efficiently reaches males 18 to 49, but because the appeal of motorsports also spans children, teens and women (up to 40 percent of the spectators at major events), it has become a business and marketing venue that is unrivaled," Frost said. The multiple demographics of the audience, according to Julow, "gives Dodge and its dealers an opportunity to extend our marketing message to this incredibly diverse and loyal group of people." Sponsorship is not only increasing, but sponsorships are paying huge dividends to corporate sponsors -- specifically in NASCAR. NASCAR features the most loyal following in all of sports -- 72 percent of fans purchase NASCAR sponsor products over competing brands. Finally, over the last five years 10 new racetracks have been constructed or proposed across the United States. These facilities cost from $40 to $150 million to build and can seat up to 150,000 spectators.