Starting gridPublished February 20, 2012
Tuning up for TV talks
Though its current broadcast agreements with Fox, ESPN and Turner run through 2014, NASCAR already has held preliminary discussions with tracks and teams about its upcoming television negotiations. The sport is expected to begin holding preliminary conversations with its network partners before the end of the year. If ratings increase for a second consecutive season, then it’s likely NASCAR will look to begin formal negotiations sooner rather than later.
Designing a digital future
Having completed an agreement to regain its digital rights from Turner, NASCAR will spend much of 2012 determining what the NASCAR.com of the future will be. Will teams have their own pages? What about drivers? Who will write for it? How much video will be offered? Where will social media go? Answering those questions and more will take most of the year and go a long way to shaping the online experience fans have when the sanctioning body flips the switch on a new site in 2013.
Dialing for Danica
The most famous female driver in motorsports history will test her mettle in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. She will compete in 10 races and success in any one of those events could attract immediate mainstream media attention, which could attract casual fans and result in a spike in ratings. At least, that’s what NASCAR executives hope.
Searching for sponsors
NASCAR teams have seen a number of stalwart supporters — Home Depot, UPS, Crown Royal — decrease or abandon their sponsorship commitments in recent years. As a result, teams have had to cobble together more sponsorships across each individual car. That’s led to contraction at some teams and adjustments internally at others as teams bulk up their sales and servicing operations to help sponsors get a positive return on investment.
Winning on Sunday, selling on Monday
Ford attracted a tremendous amount of attention in January when it unveiled its new-look, 2013 Ford Fusion. It is the first of a series of cars that will be unveiled this season that will result in stock cars on the track that look more like cars on the showroom floor. Manufacturers hope the new cars of 2013 will result in stronger brand affinity and increased sales.