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And NASCAR's Take: We do listen to our fans

NASCAR's Andrew Giangola (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


   By Mike Mulhern

  DOVER, Del.
  NASCAR's Andrew Giangola, the sport's New York City-based director of business communications, on the issue of NASCAR and its interest in listening to fans, insists the sanctioning body does indeed work hard to get fan input:
  "There are a number of ways in which NASCAR engages with our fans and seeks their interest and opinions," Giangola says. 
   "The sanctioning body has been doing this for years, and while we don't beat our chest or publicize this, NASCAR is considered a leader in sports in including 'the voice of the fan.'
   "Under the direction of (NASCAR CEO) Brian France, NASCAR has heavily invested in consumer research and staffing to be resource for the entire industry, including teams and track.  
   "Today nearly all decisions the sanctioning body makes include some form of consumer/fan feedback before the decision is made.
   "The latest innovation is the creation to include the voice of the fan is the NASCAR Fan Council, which includes weekly conversations with many fans. 
    "The Fan Council is a proprietary on-line research panel created and managed by NASCAR with third-party partner Vision Critical. 
   "This unique fan panel was created in 2008 as part of 'Our NASCAR,' where all stakeholders, including fans, have a voice and play a role in our sport. 
   "The NASCAR Fan Council consists of 12,000 members (our most avid fans) who engage on a variety of topics and questions weekly, monthly, etc. 
    "When interacting with these fans we always first ask 'Is there anything on your mind regarding NASCAR that you would like to share with us?'  
   "Here are some other significant ways our Charlotte-based Research Group connects with fans:
   1.  Quantitative consumer research investments:
   --  Multiple fan input projects throughout the year;
   --  Status check of fan perceptions of NASCAR;
   --  Variety of NASCAR related programs and priorities measured.
   2.  Qualitative consumer research investments:
   --   Focus groups across a variety of markets;
   --   In-home ethnographies;
   --   At-track conversations.
   3. Complete media analysis of actual fan/non-fan behaviors:
   -- Nielsen media research viewership behaviors/consumption:
   -- On-line media behaviors/consumption;
   -- Social/consumer generated media (Buzz).
   "The point is, contrary to your assertion, NASCAR does listen to our fans, and is a leader in sports in the comprehensive way we do so."

Amen fireballroberts! Amen.

Amen fireballroberts! Amen.

A 12,000 person fan council?

A 12,000 person fan council? Quantitative consumer research investments? Focus groups? When I start hearing BS like that it sounds like politicians talking or corporate research gurus who have no clue what Joe Blow thinks, and it just tells me that they really don't care. How about walking about at the tracks and asking the people that show up for the races what they think. Is that so hard to do? Better yet, find some former ticket holders and ask them what they think. They'll catch a recurring theme sooner or later. Fixing the integrity of NASCAR itself would be a good start.

Mike does this group have a

Mike does this group have a email address, phone no or mailing address?

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I've just asked Andrew

I've just asked Andrew Giangola for that info, for you.
good question. I need to know more myself.

What a snow-job! Listening is

What a snow-job! Listening is a passive sport. Change & Implementation of good ideas are active sports! Since we see none... one can only assume NASCAR is listening as they say; but are nothing with the information.

If Nascar listened to their

If Nascar listened to their fans, there wouldn't be the precipitous drops in both attendance and TV viewership. Fans have been saying that they needed to dump the Chase for a long time. They've been telling Nascar that points racing just to make the Chase is boring racing. They've been telling Nascar that the COT is a miserable failure in terms of great racing (but not in driver safety). The fans have been saying that cookie cutter tracks are terrible for racing. And they've been asking Nascar to allow teams to tinker with the cars and allow some ingenuity for the crew chiefs. Heck, everyone knows that if they are allowed to raise the splitter, change the wing for a spoiler and make the tires wider that you'd have better racing. But the fans' input constantly fall on deaf ears, and will continue to do so. France/Helton/Hunter will never admit they've made huge mistakes that have taken a toll on attendance and viewership.

I agree; I do now, finally,

I agree; I do now, finally, accept the chase, for what it is, but I agree with you that the old system was a truer system. Heck, the chase was created to keep NBC in the fold, and NBC bailed as quickly as it could get back in the NFL. Nice partners. Points racing needs to be changed, yes. Tell me how you would do it. Why can we make WINNING mean more in this sport? The COT is not as bad as I say it is, but NASCAR's refusal to allow any changes or fiddling is inexcusable, that's the big problem. The way things are now, the big three have this sport all to themselves, and the tommy baldwins and jeremy mayfields are just cannon fodder. That's simply not right. And I agree, NASCAR execs need to be a little more humble and concede they've made some mistakes. Nothing wrong with that. heck, I have to concede that to them about weekly, when they chew me out for this or that or whatever.

I'm actually a member of the

I'm actually a member of the Nascar Fan Council. I received an e-mail invitation back in May 2008 and decided, what the heck. I used to receive surveys asking a variety of questions about NASCAR, but this year the surveys have mostly consisted of 1) How much of the race did you watch? 2) Rate the TV coverage and 3) How did the race make you feel? (No kidding, ranges from "sad face" icon to "happy face" icon LOL) Yes, there is a space for general comments. Judging purely from my responses to their surveys ... they aren't listening to THIS fan!

Give us some more info on

Give us some more info on this deal. I'm getting nowhere trying to get info out of NASCAR. Did you keep a copy of any of those surveys that you can show us?

Unfortunately, no I didn't

Unfortunately, no I didn't keep any of the surveys. The website is www.nascarfancouncil.com. They do send out quarterly newsletters and I did save the April 2009 one (not sure how to post it here - I'm "computer illiterate" LOL)

I tried the link "Interested in joining" but they aren't accepting new members.

This has about as much double

This has about as much double speak as Orwell's "1984".

Focus groups? Quantitative research investments? These are the same things that GM and Chrysler used and look where they are now.

The problems with focus groups, etc is that the questions that get asked and the selection of answers don't always fit the needed reply. A good example would be "Do you love the COT?" the answers would be "I love it madly", "I love it", "It's OK" and that would be it. No sort of negative response allowed. I've taken enough surveys to know a little something about how they're written.

If they want real, honest-to-goodness opinions, they need to talk to real, live race fans face to face. But as this would involve work and NASCAR has gotten lazy of late, it won't fly.

I agree. It's time for NASCAR

I agree. It's time for NASCAR bosses to face the fans.

What an absolute load of BS.

What an absolute load of BS. If NASCAR really listened to the fans, do you really believe their TV ratings would be down so much, not to mention attendance at the tracks. If NASCAR really listened, this moronic car of tomorrow (today) wouldn't exist. It has produced nothing but crappy racing, and in my opinion, is without a doubt the most ridiculous looking thing to ever be invented. I used to watch races to see the battles between Chevy, Ford, and Dodge, now all I see are a bunch of generic boxes on wheels circling a track. I won't even get started on how stupid the Chase to the Championship is.
The only thing Brian France JR., et al, are interested in is $$$$.

I've asked Andrew Giangola to

I've asked Andrew Giangola to respond to all this stuff. I still think a townhall meeting with Brian France and the fans is a win-win situation: and put it on TV. If Obama and McCain can take the heat, certainly a sports boss can handle it. Let's do it on Speed TV on Friday, with a crowd, at Loudon, at Daytona, at Chicago, at Indianapolis, with Steve Byrnes moderating, not some of those other TV flacks.

I would like to make a

I would like to make a comment and have it read by the people responsible for the commentary of all nascar racing events. I am big fan of nascar but would like to see the commentators spend more time educating the fans on all the drivers. Each and every one of these guys are living their dream and have a story to tell as to how they got to where they are today. If Nascar really wants to identify their sport as being family orientated then share more stories of these drivers. Family, friends, sponsors, communities, I am sure all have been responsible for every driver they seem to overlook. I understand I can research every driver especially in todays simple world of internet. BUT, I do not understand how a race coverage on average of 2 plus hours long does not have time to mention all 43 drivers let alone sponsors. If Nascar had any idea on how to run a business and keep this sport alive which relies on sponship would require that the announcers talk about all drivers, their sponsors and how they got to where they are today. As a fan and a spectator the american dream is what drives people to reach their goals each and every day, majority of which do it with limited means. I am disgusted with hearing about the same top teams and what they have to overcome to stay on top. I want to hear about the teams that do everything possible and don't even get a minute of airtime!!! If Nascar "as a business" wants to continue to fill the stands and assure the sport stands the test of time then mention the sponsors. You mention all 43 teams and their sponsors how ever difficult it may be to do in 2.5 to 3 hours may give the sport continued support you couldn't imagine. If (and I do) own a business I would never consider sponsoring a car only to promote it myself. And 1 final thought, if you are good enough to make it to the show "nextel cup" then stay there. Don't go back to your roots every saturday to take a drean=m away from a up and coming driver that probably has as much talent, minus the experience as most of the nextel guys. Advice to the nextel drivers - focus on your job and not keeping your competion or fear of the young talent (that have earned every right to be there as you did) from taking your job. If you are as good as you think you can;t be beat. Go back to the days when you put the guy in the wall because he didn't race you clean. Teamates didn't exist, 1 driver - 1 number on the car = 1 winner!!

NASCAR is not really

NASCAR is not really interested in the fans or the drivers that it "allows" to race. All it is interested in is the money generated from sponsors and TV contracts...period! I don't need to remind anyone that Carl Long and Jeremy Mayfield are just the latest examples of NASCAR pushing its' weight around to crush anyone that it doesn't like (or who doesn't bring enough sponsor money to the table!). My point is that NASCAR has become a hugh business that has forgotten where it came from. The "little guy" was the type of person that made NASCAR what it is today by buying the products of the sponsors and watching the racing on TV. What NASCAR has done with Carl Long and Jeremy Mayfield is really wrong in the opinion of this 40 year plus fan of NASCAR. They have really shown the world that they are only interested in one thing, that is, that they are ALWAYS right and anyone who challenges them will be ruined. Did they really have to bankrupt both of these people and keep them from EVER making a living in NASCAR again? What a sorry excuse for a sanctioning body NASCAR has become. If you don't have deep pockets and are not well connected politically, then you have no place in NASCAR any more. What a sad day for everyone in Stock Car racing. I guess the only true racing left is at the local dirt tracks that are NOT NASCAR sanctioned!!!

Joey's dad should not be

Joey's dad should not be allowed in the pit area, Joey is old enough to take care of himself. Mr. Helton I am a fan of Nascar not drivers please take look at your inspectors see if they are properly doing there job and are fair to all cars owners. Try too make a deal with one net work , maybe two so the quality remains the same, FOX and ESPN or ok but TNT sucks.

Hi, I watched the nationwide

I watched the nationwide race last night. I thought it was a very good race. I was delighted to see how the race ended. Kyle Busch has to be the best driver in Nascar. I know Kyle won because of two tire change but still it takes Kyle to make the end move. But I think Kyle's crew chief is excellent. He never forgets to reginize Kyle and how he did on the race track. He really deserves an award for being so good at what he does. Sometimes it's the unsung heros that are miss when they do a good job. Lance is a very good crew chief I think some one should tell him he is very intelligent. I was wondering if some one could let me know if you received this message.

Thank You,

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