Diversifying NASCAR

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Way back in 1947, when Bill France Sr. created the National Association of Stock Car Racing (NASCAR) it’s unlikely that he and the roughly twenty other white men in the room with him, had the advancement of women or people of color in mind. And that was par for the course in America. While they met to form what would become one of the premier motorsports organizations in the world, Jim Crow was in full swing and women earned only 46 cents for every dollar that men earned. But just as Jim Crow has been eliminated and women have come closer to earning their fair share, NASCAR has made progress and given women and people of color access to the organization. Last Saturday, NASCAR’s Multicultural Development’s Division invited various groups to be a part of its NASCAR Opinion Leaders activation at the Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS) during the NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series double header to see some of that progress. In partnership with Minorities in Sports (MIS), GladiatHers.com was in the middle of the action.

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Amber Balcaen: The Underdog of NASCAR

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NASCAR and women are not synonymous; not yet anyway. But there’s a woman, Amber Balcaen, who hails from Winnipeg, Manitoba who’s working her absolute hardest to change that. She is the only Canadian to compete in the 2014 and 2016 NASCAR Drive for Diversity Combine and the 2015 Bill McAnally Racing Drivers Expo. In 2016, she became the first Canadian woman to win a NASCAR sanctioned race in the USA and earned Rookie of the Year in the NASCAR Whelen All American Series for Lee Pulliam Performance. Now signed to Martin-McClure Racing as their NASCAR K&N Pro Series East driver, this full-time racer and part-time student is poised to take NASCAR by storm. We got the chance to chat with Balcaen about her journey to racing, women in NASCAR and lots more. Find out what she has to say, you won’t be disappointed…

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NASCAR’s Future: Madeline Crane

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If you follow GladiatHers® on Instagram (and you definitely should be) you a got behind-the-scenes look at the Atlanta Motor Speedway for this year’s Rinnai 250 and Active Pest Control 200. We’ll give you a recap later this week, but we wanted to make sure you got a chance to meet one of NASCAR’s up and coming GladiatHers®, Madeline “Maddy” Crane. The nineteen year old veteran racer from Georgia is poised to leave her mark on the sport. Check out our interview below:

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THE WOMEN WHO’VE MADE NASCAR HISTORY

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For many, NASCAR is synonymous with fast cars and the men who drive them. Historically, women were relegated to being scantily clad race starters, trophy girls and wives. But just as women have progressed in other sports, women have come a long way in NASCAR. Long before Danica Patrick hit the scene women began making strides in NASCAR. Today, in honor of Women’s History Month and NASCAR Week we’re highlighting some of those historically significant women who dared to go beyond trophy holding trophies and photo ops and into NASCAR boardrooms and cars.

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NASCAR WEEK: What is NASCAR?

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Hey y’all! I’m supa dupa excited to announce that it’s NASCAR Week here at GladiatHers.com! *cue applause* All his week we’ll be posting about NASCAR. The week will culminate in GladiatHers.com making an appearance at the Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Rinnai 250 and Active Pest Control 200 Races. Exciting, right?! Be sure to check the blog, Instagram and Twitter daily for updates and lots of great information. Today we’re kicking things off by making sure that you’ve got the basics of NASCAR down so that you know exactly what to expect and what’s going on on race day. So here’s the 411 on NASCAR.

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Beyoncé on Sports Marketing

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Earlier this week the Beyhive and the whole internet was abuzz after the sagacious Queen Bey came off of her thrown and delivered a brief essay on equality.  With a focus on equal pay, Beyoncé encouraged both women and men to demand that women be treated as equals in the workplace.  I’m the first one to tell you that I’m no Beyoncé Stan and that she’s probably not one of the first celebrities I would look to for advice, but I admit that she was spot on with her assessment.  Women have never been treated equally in the workplace.  And that lack of equality in the workplace has translated to disparaging/disproportionate treatment in the marketplace.  Women have been force-fed products that align with archaic ideas of what it means to be a woman and producers have avoided making efforts to market “boy toys” to female consumers.  Women get sold vacuum cleaners and cookware, not Chevy’s and lawn mowers.  Unfortunately, the sports world is no different.  For years, major league sports have done little to market their sports and their products to women.  The NFL, NBA, MLB, NASCAR and NHL have all traditionally been boys clubs where women were only allowed as cheerleaders, wives or girlfriends.  Recent statistics show; however, that women have eased their way from being supporting cast members to legitimate fans.  The growth of female sports fans should definitely be cause for consideration for the marketing departments in major league sports. 

Here are a few quick facts that should encourage any sports market strategist to take heed to female consumers.  As Beyoncé correctly pointed out, women make up more than 50% of the population.  And according to various economic sources, women control about 80% of spending in the U.S.  At least 40% of the fan base in each league (NFL, NBA, MLB, NASCAR, NHL) are females.  These numbers mean that if major leagues are only focusing their attentions on the 50% of the population that is responsible for only 20% of spending decisions, they’re missing out on a large amount of revenue.  Women spend money on things for themselves, but they also spend on things for their families and friends.  They make decisions about date nights, family outings and girls’ trips, and they encourage other women to spend their money in the same ways that they spend money.  With all of these opportunities for women to make decisions about spending, major leagues are doing themselves a great disservice by not catering to female their consumers. 

While most of the major league organizations have not been aggressive in targeting their female fans, one has and its efforts have paid off handsomely.  The NFL, with its annual breast cancer awareness campaign and revamped clothing lines aimed at women, has seen a remarkable increase in revenue and female fan participation and satisfaction.  The more attractive the products are to women, the more women have been inclined to purchase products and attend games.  While the MLB made efforts by joining with Victoria Secret to create a line of women’s tops and the NBA made those horrible high heels, there is still more that can be done, much more.  For example, leagues (the NFL included) can target other women’s health issues, like heart disease, osteoporosis and autoimmune diseases (like lupus and diabetes); conduct more family-oriented activities; improve access to restrooms throughout stadiums and tailgating areas; and continue to increase variety in apparel.  The benefits (to the leagues and the fans) of considering the female fan’s interests far outweigh any initial costs and changes can be made without disrupting the male fan experience, what’s not to love.  

If someone would have told me that I was going to wake up this morning and use Beyoncé as a point of reference for a sports article, I would have laughed.  Beyoncé’s words; however, rang true and are relevant even in sports.  Female athletes, coaches and executives get paid less and are far less represented in the media than their male counterparts.  With so much inequality among the engineers of sports, it’s no wonder that marketers haven’t taken a more aggressive approach to improving upon the female fan experience.  As time progresses and women’s sports grow, I have a good feeling that women will be able to demand more.  More as athletes, more as coaches, more as execs, and more as fans.