NEW YORK, Nov. 5, 2012 – Dramatic growth in social and mobile consumption, and a strong propensity to share content with others, are propelling interest in the sport among avid NASCAR fans to the highest levels seen in five years. This is among the key findings that emerged from Taylor’s fifth annual Consumer Engagement Survey: NASCAR Fans.

Half of avid fans surveyed say they are more interested in the sport today than they were just a year ago. Interest is even greater among avid fans that are relatively new to the sport. Of those that have been fans for less than five years, 65 percent say they are “much more interested” in NASCAR than they were a year ago. Significantly, the likelihood avid fans will recommend NASCAR to others increased to the highest level seen since Taylor has been conducting the survey, with 78 percent saying that they are either “extremely likely” or “very likely” to recommend the sport to friends and family.

“There could not be a better time for sponsors to engage with the avid NASCAR fan base,” said Christian Alfonsi, Executive Vice President, Strategic Planning at Taylor. “The surge in enthusiasm among avid fans over the past year is significant, continuing a trend we have been watching develop over the past several years. And these fans are sharing their passion for the sport through social and digital technologies on an unprecedented scale.”

Social media continues to grow as a preferred channel for avid NASCAR fans, with usage highest among younger avid fans. Nearly four out of five of those ages 18-34 experience NASCAR content via social media. Especially noteworthy has been the growing use of YouTube among avid fans. More than half (52 percent) of avid fans now visit YouTube to view or share video content, a 25 percent increase compared with 2011. YouTube use is even more prevalent among 18-34 year olds, with nearly 70 percent visiting the site regularly.

Twitter use has also skyrocketed, growing 35% just in the past year. Facebook remains the top social media destination overall for avid fans, with nearly three quarters saying they visit the social networking site regularly.

Taylor’s research provides a unique snapshot into mobile device usage among avid NASCAR fans. Those who attend races are relying more on mobile devices at-track, with nearly half reporting that they use a smartphone or tablet to enhance their experience. Even when they watch races on television, avid fans are using mobile devices more than ever with 35 percent of them (55 percent of 18 – 34 year olds) saying they “like being able to engage with NASCAR on multiple screens when watching.”

“The mobile and social revolution among avid NASCAR fans continues to accelerate,” Alfonsi said. “With the benefit of five years of data, the trend is clear: Avid fans will continue to embrace social media and the sharing of NASCAR content in ever-increasing numbers. Stakeholders in the sport must provide a compelling mobile and social experience in order to remain relevant with these fans of the future.”

This is the fifth year that Taylor has conducted its annual independent study of media and brand consumption among avid NASCAR fans. For the 2012 survey, a national sample of 1,500 self-described “avid fans” was queried in September 2012 on topics ranging from sponsor loyalty, to media consumption behavior, to driver affinity. Fielded by Toluna, a global research company, the survey was supplemented with extensive trends research and analysis from Taylor’s Brand Counsel Group and motorsports practice.

Other findings of the survey include:

  • An impressive 82 percent of women who describe themselves as avid NASCAR fans say they would recommend
    the sport to family and friends
  • Loyalty to sponsor brands among avid NASCAR fans remains strong
  • Younger avid fans are particularly loyal to sponsor brands: 71 percent of avid fans ages 18-34 said they were
    “more likely” or “much more likely” to purchase a sponsor’s product
  • Nike, Google and Apple were among the brands avid fans said they would most like to see as sponsors in the