The best way for sports leagues to make sure everyone is watching is to own the day. The NFL started this by creating Super Bowl Sunday as its marquee event. Everyone knows exactly when it is, and everyone is focused on the Super Bowl the second Sunday in February. There are other events that are similarly hyped such as Kentucky Derby Day, NBA All-Star weekend, The Final Four, and the College Football Playoffs. Faced with the challenge of drawing new fans to stock-car racing, NASCAR and Fox have embarked on creating Daytona Day for the Daytona 500.
As fans can see from the advertisements, Daytona Day is no different than any big sporting event. It is characterized by preparation, partying, and fun times with the Daytona 500 as a reason to get together with friends and watch the event on live TV. With the current ad, the race almost seems secondary, but it is actually the crucial reason why people are getting together to celebrate.
The month of February marks the doldrums of the year-round sports season. After the Super Bowl there aren’t that many major events for advertisers, marketing partners, and the media to activate around. Football is over, the NBA is just getting past the All-Star break, and the NHL and NCAA basketball are wrapping up their regular seasons. Unless fans get really excited about MLB Truck Day and pitchers and catchers reporting there is not much else to get excited about.
That is why the ‘Daytona Day’ campaign could be a stroke of genius. Some demographics may not be big racing fans, but making ‘Daytona Day’ an event rather than a race is a smart grab at casual viewers who may not have known when the race was going to happen. Daytona Speedway has gone through some major changes so it is interesting to see that the marketing and advertising campaign on television has gone through a similar evolution as well.
Michael Colangelo is Managing Editor of The Fields of Green and Assistant Director at the USC Sports Business Institute.