NASCAR Sees Most Watched Finale, Record Online, Social, and Merchandise Numbers

MS_110115_15NASCAR Season Concludes with Most-Watched Finale Since 2005, Digital and Social Consumption Records and Growth in Merchandise Sales
Viewership for Finale Peaked at Nearly 12.4 Million Average Viewers

Banner Year across Digital and Social Media Highlighted by 4.1 Billion Social Media Impressions and 1.1 Billion Page Views

NASCAR Next Alumni Sweep Sunoco Rookie of the Year Awards across Three National Series for Second Consecutive Year

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 1, 2015) – The sport fittingly crowned a first-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, Kyle Busch, in what was a transformational season that saw the championship format produce a series of records, milestones and firsts on and off the track.

The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship Race on NBC and NBCSN was the most-watched finale since 2005 – peaking with nearly 12.4 million average viewers. This concluded a successful first season of the largest and most lucrative television partnerships in NASCAR history with FOX and NBC.

A record number of fans consumed NASCAR through digital and social media in 2015. NASCAR amassed 4.1 billion social media impressions, 1.1 billion page views – up more than 20 percent from 2014 – and a 34 percent year-over-year increase in its mobile audience.

In addition, driver merchandise sales at tracks increased more than 20 percent since the Fanatics Trackside Superstore launched in July.

NASCAR Next, a program that identifies and nurtures young drivers, produced the Sunoco Rookie of the Year winner in all three national series: Brett Moffitt in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series; Daniel Suárez, a NASCAR Drive for Diversity graduate, in the NASCAR XFINITY Series; and Erik Jones in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

“We had unprecedented collaboration with stakeholders this season and saw many positive results in our effort to innovate, better serve our fans and grow the sport,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. “We will continue to work tirelessly this offseason to further improve the fan experience at every turn and look forward to kicking off next season at the Daytona 500 where fans will experience the unveiling of the world’s first motorsports stadium.”

NASCAR today also announced the top five selling drivers for the 2015 season at the Fanatics Trackside Superstore. Dale Earnhardt Jr. topped the list at No. 1, followed by Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson and newly crowned champion Kyle Busch rounded out the list at No. 5.

Other milestones, records and firsts achieved during the 2015 season include:

Competition:
· Jeff Gordon broke Ricky Rudd’s Iron Man record with his 789th consecutive start on September 27. He joined the likes of legends Cal Ripken, Jr. and Brett Favre who hold records for most consecutive games played in baseball and football, respectively.
· For the first time since 1993, two different drivers, Joey Logano and Kyle Busch, won three consecutive races in a single season.

Sponsorships:
· New or renewed NASCAR Official Partnerships with nearly a dozen brands this season, including: 3M, Fanatics, Ingersoll Rand, Microsoft, Sherwin Williams, Sun Edison, Universal Technical Institute, and K&N Filters as the entitlement sponsor of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series™.
· In 2015, nearly 1 in 2 Fortune 100 companies relied on NASCAR to build their brands.
· Partnerships with Fortune 500 technology companies grew by 66% over last two years.

Merchandise:
· In partnership with Fanatics, NASCAR created a centralized location for merchandise at each track, which led to the average transaction growing by 75 percent.
· The three tracks that saw the most significant sales growth were Homestead-Miami Speedway (+100%), Phoenix International Raceway (+66%) and Talladega Superspeedway (+62%).

Diversity:
· In addition to the aforementioned diversity breakthroughs on the track, NASCAR partnered with RISE, a recently formed non-profit to promote diversity and equality through sports. NASCAR Chairman Brian France was named to the Board of Directors and will help steer the initiative alongside the commissioners of the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB, and other top sports executives.
· Roush Fenway Racing pit crew member Mike Russell became the first African American Drive for Diversity graduate to win a national series championship.

Technology:
· For the first time, cars featured a digital dashboard instead of analog gauges. The new technology will be mandatory for all NASCAR Sprint Cup vehicles in 2016.
· Air Titan 2.0 track-drying technology helped save numerous races and improved the race experience for fans, teams and partners.
· State-of-the-art pit road technology was seamlessly implemented this season to increase the accuracy and safety of pit road officiating.
· NASCAR Sprint Cup Series post-race inspections from the NASCAR R&D Center were streamed live to fans across the world.

Entertainment Marketing:
· Nearly 230 million viewers watched NASCAR drivers appear in 77 primetime shows, including American Idol on FOX, The Soup on E!, Real Housewives on Bravo and Penn Zero on Disney XD.
· More than 120 celebrities appeared at races this season, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kid Rock, Vince Vaughn, David Spade and Adam Sandler.
· Originally produced TV and digital projects, with more than 150 appearances by NASCAR drivers, tracks and partners, generated 50 million viewers.

Tracks:
· NASCAR announced multi-year sanctioning agreements with tracks for the first time. The landmark five-year agreements will provide fans more time to plan and tracks more time to promote, sell sponsorships and build the fan experience.
· Throwback weekend at Darlington celebrated the storied history of NASCAR with unprecedented industry support including 32 retro paint schemes, by honoring 14 NASCAR Hall of Famers and through a variety of 1970s-themed food and entertainment.

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