Motorsports Attendance Declining, Except Among New-Car Buyers

Motorsports attendance and TV viewership is declining but that trend isn’t true for new-car and truck buyers. Attendance and TV viewership is increasing among that group, according to Foresight Research.

This year 12 percent of all new car/truck buyers attended a race before making their decision on what to buy. Likewise 22 percent of new vehicle owners watched motorsports on TV. Compared to five years ago, motorsports TV viewership increased from 20 percent to 22 percent, while attendance went from 8 percent to 12 percent.

Millennials are one driving force behind the trend, according to Foresight Research. Millennials are four times more likely than older generations to attend a race and twice as likely to watch it on TV.

According to Foresight Research, motorsports helped influence a vehicle purchase for 4 percent of auto buyers in 2013, and 13 percent this year-a 300 percent increase.

“There are a lot of compelling reasons contributing to the acceleration in motorsports,” said Steve Bruyn, CEO at Foresight Research. “In addition to the increase in millennial car buyers (who are more likely to be motorsports-influenced), auto racing provides a trifecta of value to involved automakers: deep engagement among buyers with the sport itself, strong connection between ‘high value’ customers and motorsports, and avid fans that act as a catalyst for word of mouth.

“This deep interest encourages vehicle purchase and vehicle accessory purchase at a greater rate than average, and even participation in racing among the fans themselves. That means more revenue at the dealership, on the track, and in the aftermarket. Then they tell their friends,” Bruyn added. “Motorsports fans were the source for advice among one-quarter of all buyers. Start doing the math and that is a lot of marketing value beyond the race itself.”

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