The Spectacles have made their way to Daytona.
NASCAR will use Snap’s new camera sunglasses this weekend at the Daytona 500 in Florida to give fans a behind-the-scenes look at the season-opening annual race.
A group from NASCAR’s social media team will be out and about at Daytona donning the $129 Spectacles, which just went on sale online and lets people record first-person 10-second video clips from a camera embedded in the sunglasses.
NASCAR already pushes content to Snapchat via the Live Stories feature, but now it will do so with the sunglasses to show not only the vehicles themselves but also scenes from everywhere around Daytona — the pit, the tailgates, the celebrities, the driver motorhomes, etc. It’s similar to how we saw the NHL’s Minnesota Wild utilize the Spectacles in November.
NASCAR also plans to hand the Spectacles to Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr., a popular driver on NASCAR’s minor league circuit who will wear the device and serve as a “host” as he checks out the action during Sunday’s race.
“We have a very young audience on Snapchat and one that is pretty casual,” NASCAR Social Media Managing Director Scott Warfield told GeekWire. “We want to give them a sense of what it’s like to attend an event. The end goal with our Snapchat content strategy is to have kids across the country and world say to their mom or dad, ‘that seems really cool, I want to check out a NASCAR race.'”
Can Spectacles be a game-changer for sports teams and leagues looking to give fans more behind-the-scenes content on social media? One advantage it offers is that marketing staffers don’t need to hold a smartphone to record video. It’s also easy to hand the specs to someone like Wallace Jr. or the team mascot and offer up unique point-of-view perspectives.
Using the Spectacles is just one example of NASCAR’s broader social media strategy. Warfield explained how NASCAR is different than traditional ball sports like basketball or football.
“We have a unique challenge,” he noted. “Not everyone grows up playing NASCAR.”
That challenge also creates opportunities to leverage digital content and social media tools like Snapchat, particularly given the younger audience using those platforms who might not be familiar with NASCAR beyond cars racing around in a circle.
“We want to give them a sense of what our sport is all about: speed, power, young drivers, family,” Warfield said. “You will see a lot of those themes pulled through on our social platforms. We think it’s a really good look for our sport at a place that tends to make the product a little more digestible. We can break down a race into a handful of highlights or snack-able content that this younger fanbase is attracted to.”
Last year, NASCAR said it drew 256 million social engagements across all platforms, which was up 87 percent year-over-year. It also saw a 14 percent spike in total followers on social media.
NASCAR, which took complete ownership of its digital and social media rights from Turner Sports back in 2013, also now paints Twitter handles on the outside of its driver vehicles.
At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last month, NASCAR CEO Brian France spoke on a panel with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and U.S. Olympic Committee CEO Scott Blackmun about growing fanbases using today’s digital technologies.
France also talked about the unique qualities of NASCAR — “you don’t play our sport on the sandlot,” he noted — and how that translates to social media. Asked about what NASCAR is focused on in the future as it relates to attracting more fans, France said “consumption trends.”
“That’s what we will be watching carefully,” he said. “How are people consuming it? What types of ways? On what device? At the speedway or outside on TV? It’s all changing fast. We want to part of it.”