The Next Generation of Racers are Living in Technology

As Motorsports promoters, we are always looking for ways to find and encourage the current as well as the next generation of racers.

We want them to get the bug for racing and carry it forward: Motorsports is a great way to be part of a community and help build a community. It strengthens local economies. It builds character and self-esteem. Most of all, racing is just crazy, fun and the most fun you can have with your clothes on.

We’re also always looking for new and better ways to serve our drivers, sponsors and fans, to get new ones, get more of them, encourage them, engage them and keep them involved in the sport we all love.

To do that, I believe we have to understand and take advantage of the profound changes going on around us.

The internet and smartphones are radically altering our world; industry, culture, education, sports, entertainment everything is being affected.

Technology is on a continuous loop of improvements. With each update, our expectations of how well it works get higher and higher. When confronted with websites or applications that do not meet those expectations, we punish them by going elsewhere at the click of a button.

If you don’t believe how much our lives have been affected by tech, try this experiment: Count how many people are staring at a computer or phone screen the next time you go out to eat. Or at the next racing event you go to. If you pay attention to it, you’ll be amazed at how many people are living in their technology.

Yesterday I found the following slides that hammer the point home. Henry Blodgett from Business Insider posted up some fascinating graphs about Digital Media (websites and mobile apps) vs. television, print, and radio. In the slides, he points out the change that is going on as we speak.

This slide shows how people are consuming information. As you can see, people are getting less information from TV, less from radio, almost nothing from print, and a smidge from other sources. And the amount of information they are getting from those sources is declining rather rapidly over just a year.

Now look at the last columns showing how people get information from Desktop/laptops and mobile phones. In that same period, it is rising at a faster clip than the other sources of media are declining. This change makes it very clear that people are electing to leave the traditional media world for the ease of use and immediacy of getting info via their phones and computers.

Does this mean TV, print, and radio are going away? Well at least for TV, not anytime soon, and TV makes way too much money. However, if my lively hood depended solely on radio and print, I would be at least nervous. It also means that for motorsports, getting out front online is crucial to finding racers.

Let’s move on to the next slide. This one shows that right now, YouTube makes more money via ads than CBS television does! That is astonishing! Keep in mind, CBS has been around for eighty-nine years – Youtube has been around for just eleven! YouTube is a potential revenue source for motorsports. Not many could afford to buy ads on CBS or somehow get a story about racing on CBS, but anyone with a computer can get some video on YouTube and reach potentially millions more who are interested or could get motivated to participate in motorsports.

Finally, the last slide is mind-blowing. This one shows how people are getting their media by age groups, and it clearly shows it is generational: The younger the consumer, the more important it is to provide them a good experience on their phones when interacting with you.

We can back that up here at Raceday. We’ve seen the numbers of users on Raceday using their smartphones skyrocket, year after year. That’s why we’ve made sure every aspect of Raceday for drivers works beautifully on a smartphone, no matter which of our plans you choose. It’s about ease of use, convenience, and immediacy.

My whole point with this is the same reason why we are so passionate about Raceday: To better serve the current generation of racers, fans, and sponsors, and to find the next generation, motorsports as a whole needs to radically embrace the online world and take advantage of the new possibilities.

The bad news is that embracing it can mean radically altering how you go about your business.

The good news is that there is an army of smart, tech-savvy people, probably in your ranks, who would love to help.