Immersive Experiences Helping to Lure New Fans
By Tripp Baltz, Head of Research, Boomtown Accelerators
NASCAR is doubling down on gaming, AR/VR, and immersive experiences as it builds a fan base for the future.
The motorsports company has notched big wins recently in attracting new fans in a younger target audience, one that is more interested in playing virtual games rather than watch live events.
The organization’s focus on augmented reality, virtual reality, and other immersive experiences is a long-term play to develop community, Boomtown team members learned at the recent NASCAR Tech Summit in Daytona Beach, Fla. Time-honored business principles are at play: Meet consumers where they are, not where you want them to be. Create tools that are relevant and cool. Find new ways to monetize experiences.
Unlock Virtual Cars with ‘Speed Hub’
A shining example: In March, “NASCAR Speed Hub” made its virtual debut on Roblox. The Hub is an immersive experience that lets players design cars, unlock exclusive virtual items, play mini-games and connect to other popular experiences on the platform.
Later this year, eNASCAR, the esports arm of the parent company, will hold several virtual events using the iRacing game via PC platforms as well as Xbox and PlayStation. One of the three sanctioned eNASCAR leagues, the Coca-Cola iRacing Series, features 40 of the best sim-racers in the world competing for their share of $300,000. Whoever sits on top with points in the end will walk away with an impressive $100,000.
NASCAR is leading other sports organizations with its expanding presence in the metaverse. ITs goal, according to company executives, is to spur the generation of digital natives to create their NASCAR story on their own terms and show their passion for racing in their own way.
This fits with a larger trend we’ve been seeing in sports tech – the personalization and customization of experience. Today’s fans – young and old alike – want their sports, games, and matches the way they want them.