How does the typical race fan stay in tune with what’s going on in the sport – social media of course. Many race track, promoters and series’ have embraced social media and understand that it is the best way to stay in contact and keep the fan interested in what is going on at the track. Some say that social media keeps fans out of the grandstands, but I am not a true believer of that. If a fan is not able to make it to the track, but wants to know who won a race or where their favorite driver finished in a race, it is important that they can access this kind of information.
In the case of Nascar, they have adopted many apps to keep their fans engaged and up to date. They have the Nascar Mobil app that fans can download to their phones, pick their favorite driver and have all the stats at their fingertips. They also introduced the Race View Mobile app, which allows the fans to watch the action from where ever they are. These apps have been very well received by the fans and continue to evolve and gain more followers as the season progresses. Many teams have also incorporated apps into their social media repertoire, like Hendrick Motorsports. This app gives the fan a look at what is happening race day as well as keep the Hendrick fans updated on all the latest news. Just last year when Nascar rolled out their new social media plans they saw an increase in their fanship. “Raw traffic figures, however, have shown somewhat mixed results. Internal cross-platform metrics show its average monthly unique visitors rose 11 percent, from 6.5 million last year to 7.2 million this year; more than 2.4 million mobile applications were downloaded; and fantasy racing participation rose 52 percent, to 259,000 players. Engagement on days of Sprint Cup races rose 24 percent between February and September and then increased 35 percent between September and December, when the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship took place.” (Mickle, 2013) With Indy Car racing, there are also apps out there that let you follow the action, but there are less apps available for this series than in Nascar. Indy Car has some work to do with social media and mobile apps.
Having involvement in racing myself, I was able to find an app called Race Monitor, which offers a number of tracks and series to choose from to follow live timing and scoring. They offer over 100 series for you to choose from the Skip Barber Race Series to Nascar Home Tracks races. It gives a fan in the grandstands the ability to follow along live and to keep track of what’s happening around the country.
With Verizon as the title sponsor for the Indy Car Series, they introduced an app for Verizon customers to have access to the sport. Now, the main issue I see with that is if you are not a Verizon customer, then you cannot get the app. That is a limiting factor to the fans that don’t have Verizon as their wireless provider. However, Sprint does the same thing with their customers; they have a Nascar app that they offer to their subscribers only. In my opinion this is not a great idea, because you are excluding fans and rewarding your loyal customers, but that doesn’t make it right.
All in all, race fans have a large number of apps to choose from to get news on their drivers, teams and local tracks, but there is still a lot of room for improvement.
Mickle, T., & Fisher, E. (2013, December 2). Accessibility key in NASCAR.com changes. Retrieved October 12, 2014, from http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Journal/Issues/2013/12/02/Leagues-and-Governing-Bodies/NASCAR-website.aspx