NASCAR Starts Loyalty Program
By John Hennessy
On Feb. 10, NASCAR launched the Official NASCAR Members Club in Daytona, Fl. The objective of the program is for NASCAR to reward members and, in the process, learn more about their fan base. Benefits include behind-the-scenes access, such as VIP treatment at races, plus special deals and offers, and NASCAR partner discounts.
Of course the benefits of membership come at a price. NASCAR is charging a $40 annual fee. They hope the 40 million of the sport’s 70 million fans they classify as “die-hard” will join the club.
“Unlike baseball and the NFL, there are no home teams in NASCAR, just a lot of tracks spread across the country,” said NASCAR VP-licensing Mark Dyer. “It’s hard for us to touch each individual community, but this will help. The driving force behind all of our projects is to make NASCAR fan-friendly. The better we do that with our fans, the more we can grow.”
NASCAR has put some muscle behind the program. Racing legend Richard Petty is the club’s chairman. The launch announcement was attended by NASCAR CEO Brian France and 13 of the top 17 racers.
“Affinity groups are usually cautious. They want to check a group out before making a decision to join,” says Dave Hickson, president of Stoneacre Partners, the Charlotte, NC-based firm that manages the program for NASCAR. “But the fact that these (NASCAR legends and executives) showed their support was a great endorsement for the club. It gave it legitimacy and shows that it is fully backed by NASCAR.”
Moderator’s Comment: Will 40 million NASCAR fans be willing to pay $40 a year for membership in a loyalty club?
Loyalty issues aside, the money at stake here is huge! If just 10% of the 40 million members NASCAR believes it can sign actually join the club, NASCAR
will generate $160 million from its loyalty program. For those scoring at home, that’s a whopping $1.6 billion if all 40 million die-hard fans enroll.
Those kinds of numbers should buy members a large amount of loyalty. But will it? This program could be crippled by success. Promises of special access
could be difficult to fulfill if everyone is a member. Think Hertz Gold Club. Do you know anyone who is not in the Hertz Gold Club? That program lost its “specialness” a long
time ago. –
John Hennessy – Moderator