Street & Smith’s Motorsports Marketing Forum continues In N.Y. Street & Smith’s Conference Group’s 8th Annual Motorsports Marketing Forum continues today at The InterContinental in N.Y. The opening panel, “NASCAR Branding Strategies: Corporate Marketers Speak Out,” includes Chevron Motorsports & Marketing Manager Ann Barker, AAA Dir of Membership and Brand Marketing Darlene Entringer, Sprint Nextel Dir of NASCAR Marketing Dean Kessel, UPS Motorsports Marketing Manager Laura Kouns and Coca-Cola North America Dir of Motorsports Marketing Ben Reiling.
Yesterday’s panels included “The Media Landscape – Deals and Innovations That Are Broadening and Strengthening the Fan Base,” which featured NASCAR Images President & CEO Jay Abraham, Turner Sports Senior VP & Exec Producer Jeff Behnke, ESPN Motorsports Coordinating Producer Jill Frederickson and Speed President Hunter Nickell.
The Issue: How concerned are you with NASCAR’s recent ratings decline?
Behnke: “The way viewers and fans consume their NASCAR with phones and Blackberries and on the Internet shows me that people are still getting their NASCAR, even if it’s not on TV.”
Abraham: “All sports leagues are experiencing double digit declines in ratings. We’re still a strong number two behind the NFL in the sports landscape, though.”
Frederickson: “We’d hoped the ratings would be higher when we got back into the sport, but we’re still happy with them. The real challenge is how do we measure ratings now because people don’t rely on TV entirely anymore for their NASCAR.”
Another panel, titled, “Sponsorship Deals With Sanctioning Body, Team/Driver and Track,” included Nationwide Advertising & Brand Officer John Aman, Aflac Second VP & Dir of Branding, Advertising & Marketing Services Al Johnson, NASCAR VP/Corporate Marketing Jim O'Connell, Hendrick Motorsports Dir of Marketing Pat Perkins, SMI Exec VP/National Sales & Marketing Marcus Smith and ISC VP & CMO Daryl Wolfe.
The Issue: Why align with a driver?
Johnson: “The fans gravitate to a driver and to a brand, and that’s what we’re interested in right now.”
Perkins: “Anytime you align with a specific driver or team there is a certain amount of unpredictability. The one thing we can’t control is performance, but if we operate the right race team and our business properly and we’re advocates for our partners’ businesses, then things will work out.”