Edited by Robert M. Morgan, Janet Turner Parish and George Deitz
Chapter 10: NASCAR: driving relationship equity through the sponsorship supply chain
Watching dozens of drivers fight through a pack of multimillion-dollar machines at speeds well over any highway legal limit is breathtaking, and coupled with the thunderous rumble as the cars race past the grandstands onlookers can’t help but have goose bumps. Unlike with most sports, these spectators don’t just watch an event; NASCAR fans feel the rush, live the sport and experience a race. Over 100 000 fans roar with excitement from the stands, and millions more watch from home, mesmerized as billions of dollars scream around oval tracks. Each week high-speed, heart-pounding, adrenaline-pumping excitement entices millions of fans to watch NASCAR on television, attend races and even make weekend trips just to follow a driver. From humble beginnings as a regional interest in the southern United States in the 1940s, the National Association for Stock Car Racing (NASCAR) is responsible for generating increasing nationwide demand for NASCAR tickets, gear, television shows and, most importantly, marketing sponsorships. According to the MRI+ database, in the fall of 2008 over 50 million people watched NASCAR on television and over 17 million attended races throughout the season. Of these, nearly 29 million fans watched events more than once a month, and over 2 million attended more than one race per month. Additionally, when compared with previous years, the number of fans attending and watching NASCAR events more than once a month increased 15 percent and 17 percent respectively.
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