Saturday, April 17, 2004

NASCAR courts growing Hispanic fan base

"Just like a new flame, NASCAR is turning heads. It also is attracting a record number of fans who are Latino, a coveted demographic. According to a recent nationwide study, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing is the fastest-growing spectator sport among Hispanics in the United States. The Hispanic NASCAR fan base increased 23 percent from 1999 to 2002. National Basketball Association games came in second among Hispanics in the United States, with the fan base growing 10 percent during the same time period. In Arizona, 30 percent of the Latino market is watching NASCAR races on TV, and the number appears to be growing as the market expands, according to a recent study by local researchers who periodically poll Latino households in the Valley."

"Armando Fitz, who co-owns two NASCAR Busch Series cars with former NFL quarterback Terry Bradshaw, said NASCAR has adapted its marketing, targeting younger demographics and Hispanics."

"'It's not the typical advertising they used to do five to 10 years ago,' said Fitz, who was born in Cuba but moved to Nashville when he was 2. 'It just happens right now that Hispanics are falling in love with the sport, which is great.'"

"Yet NASCAR officials realize they are just beginning to tap into the market. The Formula One, Champ Car World Series and the Indy Racing Leagues all have Hispanic drivers. But there is no full-time Hispanic driver in NASCAR's top three touring circuits: the Nextel Cup, Busch Series or Craftsman Truck Series."


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