As a fan, an Asian American, and a former Marketing Director for a NASCAR race, I want to take a moment to talk about how the recent ban on the confederate flag is not only the right socio-political move, but also a critical marketing strategy to keep the sport alive and growing.
One of the biggest issues NASCAR struggles with is getting new, young fans. As a result the marketing of the sport is at times overly accommodating to their aging, legacy fanbase, afraid to try anything new for fear of alienating the paying customers they do have. This creates a rapidly growing delta, not only between the sport and new fans, but also between the sport and our evolving culture.
In 2004 while living and working in Charlotte, North Carolina I had the opportunity to attend an honored Southern pastime: my first NASCAR race. As someone who studied and worked in the sports industry and a sports fan, I had followed NASCAR and knew there was more to its success than tailgating and turning left, so I was excited at the opportunity to see it in person.