Sunday, February 10, 2008
SI.com - Writers - Bruce Martin: Throwback approach won't save NASCAR - Tuesday February 5, 2008 4:08PM
The above link to an Sports Illustrated article is very interesting, especially with its relationship with country music in the beginning of the article. It talks about generally that NASCAR's ratings are down and sales are down at some tracks. One of the fixes that is being tried by NASCAR is bringing back country music and the article mentions year's past where the drivers were so much more accessible to the race fans.
I can remember myself in years past, during race weekend here in Richmond, you had to schedule out what lines you were going to get in to me drivers. They were everywhere in the days leading up to race day. Now, there may be one or two around. This is something country music artists haven't lost. You go to a newer country music artist's show and there is a good chance you can meet them. The more established artists, it may require a fan club membership or something of that nature, but there is a pretty good chance if you do your homework in advance, you can meet those artists, for the most part anyway. This is one idea NASCAR should take a look at.
The writer is right in that just changing the music isn't going to help. However, country music is at the core of the fans of NASCAR and always has been. The people responsible for opening concerts, National Anthem performers, and other marketing ideas should embrace country music to communicate with the fans. I really do think that would help so much. Now, its not the only thing that needs to be in place to help sales and viewers. Things such as competition level, other sponsors, marketing, ticket prices, and everything else that goes into making any product sell. NASCAR should though take note at the country music industry in the way it treats fans and get NASCAR back to being about the fans, rather than feeling like a corporate business. I know, NASCAR is a big business, but it doesn't have to "feel" that way. Get back to the grassroots.
The country music industry should take note of this, and remember to never let the grassroots and the relationship the artists have with fans never go away.