NASCAR, Turner Sports Restructure Digital Relationship To Better Serve Fans

Looking to attract new fans to NASCAR and better serve the needs of existing fans, NASCAR and Turner Sports have restructured and extended their long-standing digital partnership. The new deal extends the partnership through 2016, but NASCAR will assume all business and editorial operations for its digital platforms beginning in 2013. Turner Sports will continue to oversee advertising sales and sponsorships across NASCAR-branded digital platforms.

“This move is about the media, our sponsors, and, most importantly, our fans,” says Marc Jenkins, VP of digital media for NASCAR. “We will build an innovative portfolio of platforms that strives to be as diverse as it is comprehensive. For our fans, our digital platform will become the online destination for all things NASCAR. For everyone else, it will be the vehicle we’ll use to turn them into fans.”

About a year ago, NASCAR identified five areas to focus on to move the sport forward: communicating regularly with the fan base, targeting the next generation of fans, improving the at-track experience, marketing the star power of drivers, and emphasizing the importance of digital platforms and social media.

Under the new partnership, in 2013, NASCAR will take over operational control of all its interactive, digital, and social-media rights, including technical operations and infrastructure of all NASCAR digital platforms.

“They felt the need to have digital evangelize on behalf of the sport and turn folks that might not otherwise know about or be fans of the sport into fans, which is a tall task,” says Matthew Hong, senior VP/GM of sports operations, Turner Sports. “We sat down with NASCAR, and, given that somewhat daunting task of trying to grow the sport and have digital lead the growth of the sport, we worked out that … there were certain things that they should control … and there were certain things that we mutually felt that Turner should continue to control.”

Turner will continue to represent NASCAR’s digital sponsorships and advertising on the site, with the unique users from the NASCAR digital properties rolling up to the Turner digital portfolio.

“Turner Sports has been, and will continue to be, a great partner for NASCAR,” says NASCAR Chairman/CEO Brian France. “Taking a leadership role as it relates to our digital rights is something we as the sanctioning body know is important for the future of our sport, the development of our drivers, and, most importantly, the experience for both our current fans and future followers.”

NASCAR.com and the sport’s other digital and social-media platforms have been managed by Turner Sports since 2001. Operation of such Turner-created properties as TrackPass RaceView and RaceBuddy will be left to the discretion of NASCAR; however, NASCAR and Turner will continue to work together to offer RaceBuddy on TNT broadcasts for at least the next two years.

“Turner Broadcasting and NASCAR have helped make each other successful for more than 28 years through a working relationship that, over time, has evolved with the media and technology landscape,” says David Levy, president of sales, distribution and sports, Turner Broadcasting System. “The latest extension of our partnership is a strategically and fiscally enhanced business model for our company and ensures that NASCAR.com remains a core asset of Turner’s leading digital-ad-sales portfolio. Our unrivaled sports assets and scale offer advertisers the means to deliver the most targeted and relevant marketing messages across multiple digital and mobile platforms and properties.”