A look back at the 2018 INDYCAR season
Scott Dixon won the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Series Championship, but from where we are sitting, there was more than just one winner of INDYCAR this year. Brands strategically connected with their audiences in the sport through an authentic consumer journey to drive results and meet their sponsorship objectives.
Drivers of brand awareness
INDYCAR continues to benefit from a highly engaged fan base. Through the first eight months of the year, INDYCAR had increased growth on all three key social platforms, with two platforms tracking well above their five-year growth rates YTD.
The social media follower growth for INDYCAR in the 2018 season:
- Facebook: +30% YTD
- Instagram: +42% YTD
- Twitter: +11% YTD
How INDYCAR drivers ranked in growing Twitter followings in 2018:
- @robertwickens: 9.5k added | 61% gain
- @12willpower: 6.5k + | 6% gain
- @hinchtown: 6.2k + | 4% gain
- @conordaly22: 6.2k + | 10% gain
- @josefnewgarden: 6.1k + | 10% gain
Overall engagement on social media increased for both drivers and INDYCAR. Engagement for drivers across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram increased 11 percent, while INDYCAR engagement increased by 6 percent on the same channels. More drivers are taking more control of their content management. INDYCAR drivers know they need to personally invest in their own brand to stay connected to their fans and audiences.
Team growth on Twitter in the 2018 Verizon IndyCar Season:
New Aerokit means new liveries for INDYCAR
- @team_penske: 6.1k added | 4% gain
- @FollowAndretti: 5.8k + | 5% gain
- @SPMIndyCar: 4.1k + | 14% gain
- @CGRTeams: 2.9k + | 7% gain
- @RLLracing: 2.6k + | 9% gain
The debut of the 2018 INDYCAR design was met with rave reviews, exciting headlines and praise from drivers, fans and all those who were involved in the new release. After more than a year of work and teasing, the bolder, safer and more thrilling Aerokit takes fans back to the low-line turbocharged INDYCAR of the early 1990s while giving it a sleek look that is attractive to a new generation of drivers and fans – and offered new placements and design for brands. For a full rundown of the new liveries, click here.
To download our motorsports white paper, On the Right Track: Why Marketing through Motorsports Drives Brands Forward, click here.
NBC Sports buys exclusive rights to INDYCAR
INDYCAR will significantly increase exposure for the series beginning in 2019 through a media rights package with NBC Sports Group. Announced in March 2018, the multiyear deal will put eight races, including the 103rd Indianapolis 500 and its qualifications, on NBC next year. This means there will be three additional races on free-to-air television next year, and the remaining will air on NBCSN. (Viewership on NBCSN is up 60 percent over the past five years.) All 2019 INDYCAR races will be streamed live on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.
Celebrating five years with Verizon
Verizon’s INDYCAR Series Title Sponsorship was formed to provide unprecedented exclusive access to corporate guests, Verizon customers and fans alike while featuring the advanced technology Verizon provides in the sport. At the end of the 2018 season, Verizon celebrated a successful five-year run as the IndyCar Series title sponsor. After this year, Verizon will focus on its continuing long-standing partnership with Team Penske.
INDY 500 welcomes more than half a million fans
Tell us if you’ve heard this one before: The Indianapolis 500 is the world’s largest single-day sporting event in the world, and the events, practices, races and concerts leading up to the Indy 500 are what make the race iconic in sports and entertainment. More than half a million fans had a one-on-one interaction with the Indy 500 this year in the days leading up to and race day, and that doesn’t account for off-site associating events, television and streaming viewership or radio and streaming listeners.
Crown Royal honors military heroes
Crown Royal and the Andretti Autosport partnered in 2018 to honor military heroes heading into the Indianapolis 500. For the second year in a row, and as part of the brand’s “Live Generously and Life Will Treat You Royally” campaign, Crown Royal enabled race fans of legal drinking age to submit names of their military heroes for display on the Crown Royal Wall of Gratitude. Each name was engraved on a five-inch gold plaque and, when placed side-by-side on the Wall of Gratitude, the plaques equaled the length of one complete lap around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
To officially green flag the initiative, Andretti Autosport CEO and Chairman Michael Andretti and Crown Royal Director of Whisky Engagement Stephen Wilson, along with INDYCAR drivers Alexander Rossi and Marco Andretti, each submitted their own military hero’s name to the Wall. Submissions were accepted online and in-person during a variety of at-track executions leading up to the biggest weekend in motorsports, including at the Andretti Autosport Hospitality during Grand Prix of Long Beach weekend and during the Armed Forces Qualifying Weekend and Indy 500 weekends in Indianapolis.
AMR joins INDYCAR
American Medical Response (AMR) became the entitlement Partner of the AMR INDYCAR Safety Team, expanding their presence in motorsports. AMR also provides medical support for entities including high school, collegiate and professional events including the NFL and the MLB.
to read Part II of our 2018 INDYCAR season review, where we take a look at the new technology defining the sport.