Independent Studies

Study:

Winners and Whiners

In the on-going battle between IndyCar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway president Tony George and his Indy Racing League, there will be no winners, only whiners. It has been said time and time again that the racing fans will ultimately decide the fate of each series. Both IndyCar and Tony George have placed considerable hope that the sentiment will fall in their favor.

Finally, the enthusiast will be heard. Through RaceStatR – Indy, the first of a two-part study of Indy racing fans, (conducted by Performance Research – a Newport, RI, sports market research firm) the racing fans get a chance to speak out.

With regards to the controversy, when asked which side or opinion they most agreed with, racing fans (47%) generally agreed with the overall position of IndyCar (27% agreed with Tony George, and 26% were undecided), yet three-fourths (75%) are still planning to watch the IRL sponsored “Indy 200” to be held in Walt Disney World, Florida.

What’s a sponsor to do?………… Fans are clearly frustrated with the situation. As an industrial designer from NJ stated, “I don’t care if they (IndyCars) are the fastest, most expensive, most advanced cars, I just want to see close racing…….. If Tony George can put on an exciting show with last year’s cars and second rate drivers, I’m gonna watch it!” Others weren’t so polite………..

“I think he’s (Tony George) a spoiled brat and completely wrong, but I’ve been following the Indy 500 since I was a kid, listening to it on the radio with my dad,……I don’t care if they (Indy 500) race teenagers in go-carts, the race is an American tradition, and I’ll still watch it.”

Apparently that’s what the majority of race fans believed. Given the choice of the Indy 500 or the CART / IndyCar USA 500 held at the same time, nearly 3 out of 5 (58%) of racing enthusiasts claim they will watch the Indy 500 regardless of what happens.

Unfortunately, all of this bickering is hurting the overall level of interest in Indy racing. In fact, while many racing fans expect to “Gain” interest in Winston Cup (48%), and SuperTruck racing (46%) in the coming year, only 26% expected to “Gain” interest in Indy type racing. In fact, almost one-third (30%) are expecting to “Lose” interest in Indy type racing in the future. (Compared to 6% for Winston Cup, 9% SuperTrucks, and 10% Formula-One)

In addition, measurements of trust and loyalty attributed to sponsors of Indy type racing are also suffering. When given the choice of two products of a similar price, 39% of Indy race fans mentioned that they would “Almost Always” or “Frequently” choose a product or service because they were a sponsor over one that is not. This represents a decline of over 29 percentage points from figures that were collected in a similar 1994 IndyCar fan study.

According to Bill Doyle, Vice President, Performance Research, “Corporate sponsors are caught in the middle. Although it’s clear that the CART / IndyCar series has a strong reputation, a following throughout the season, and a better chance of survival than the IRL series, a sponsor simply cannot afford to abandon the national attention of the Indy 500. To most race fans, this is clearly the premier motorsports showcase – nobody recalls the winning drivers or sponsors of years’ past Michigan races, but any fan can tell you the winner and his sponsor of the Indy 500………..”

“As a consultant, from a research perspective, I would strongly recommend sponsors support their IndyCar teams, yet do everything they can to ensure an IRL entry in the Indy 500.”

The data for this study was collected by telephone and on-site by Performance Research. The telephone data collection was conducted immediately after the Indianapolis 500 race broadcast and consisted of 211 random nationwide telephone interviews with NASCAR fans that watched the complete race (May 8). The on-site data collection consisted of responses from 229 fans interviewed at the Portland International Raceway, June 25, and 225 fans interviewed at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, August 13. The margin of error is less than one percent.

Full List of Independent Studies

United States Studies
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Study of Olympic sponsorship at Vancouver

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A look at how visitors connect to the commercial clutter of Times Square.

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Study of Olympic sponsorship at Sydney

Americans Welcome Return of Formula 1

Study of sponsorship at the Indianapolis US Formula One Grand Prix

Sponsors Still Live Dream Despite Scandal Nightmare

Consumer attitudes to the Olympics following Salt Lake City Scandal

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Consumer attitudes toward corporate sponsorship of the arts

Watch Out For The Ambush 1996

Study of Olympic sponsorship (Atlanta)

Winners and Whiners

Indy Car Study

Loyal NASCAR Fans Please Stand Up

Racestat: a comprehensive analysis of the NASCAR audience

Olympics, What Olympics? Sponsors, What Sponsors

Study of Olympic sponsorship (Lillehammer)

AT&T Win Official Race With Sprint

Study of Olympic sponsorship (Barcelona)

Winter Olympic Viewers “Can’t Beat the Feeling”

Study of Olympic sponsorship (Albertville)

Naming Rights, Naming Wrongs

Consumer reaction to sponsorship of arenas and stadiums

Europe Studies
The Wild, Wild East? Sponsorship in Poland

Study explores attitudes to corporate sponsorship among Poles.

Why Do American Formula One Fans Value Sponsors?

Compares and contrasts opinions of visitors to both the 2000 US and 2000 British Formula One Grand Prix.

HOWZAT!! For Sponsorship

UK cricket sponsorship – beyond awareness

British Football Fans Can’t Recall Euro 2000 Sponsors

Research into sponsorship effectiveness at Euro

Caution Flags Fly as CART Set for New Arrival

Attitudes of F1 racing fans to the introduction of US motorsports in Britain

Sponsor Loyalty Left by Roadside

Research at the British F1 Grand Prix

Sponsors Find Home in Dome

Millennium Dome sponsorship awareness study

American Companies Welcome As Smoke Clears From F1

Research among European Formula 1 Grand Prix

Rugby World Cup Findings Are Black And White

Research at the Rugby World Cup