This Sunday kicked off the 2013 NASCAR season, with the 55th running of the Daytona 500. For the better part of a week the fanfare belonged to Danica Patrick. All eyes were on whether history would be made in the “Great American Race.” From her start in the pole position to leading a lap in the race and ultimately finishing eighth, she did not disappoint. There were other storylines leading into the race such as the launch of the new Gen 6 cars, Brad Keselowski’s defense of his 2012 title and the launch of the new NASCAR brand campaign.
Many believe NASCAR and FOX will come away from Sunday’s contest as one of the most widely viewed races. Early overnights indicate FOX earning a 10.0 rating, which is up 30% from 2012’s race (actual ratings will be released later this week). Online, conversation on Twitter alone drove more than 31 million media impressions in just 24 hours.1
Yet as with many sports, NASCAR faces challenges in an ever-fragmented entertainment environment. It is looking to face these head-on: how to reach new audiences, deepen fan engagement via social media, amplify live events and maximize the impact of sponsorship dollars.
So what can brands learn from NASCAR’s approach in 2013?
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