NASCAR announced Monday that kids ages 12 and younger will be admitted free to all NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races starting in 2017.
The concept isn’t something radical or new. Many tracks already have programs that will give children free admission for the support races leading up to the Cup event. The age range is from 12 and under to 17 and under, and all require a paying adult. What Tuesday’s announcement means is that tracks will have a consistent offer wherever NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races are held.
Many tracks also already have offerings geared towards kids, including youth autograph sessions, youth garage tours, kids’ clubs and designated kids’ zones. There are also family zones that are intended for families with children at many tracks.
NASCAR has allowed kids in the garage area during “cold” periods on race day pre-race for parents with proper credentials since 2011. Parents are required to sign a waiver and get the child a pass. Monday’s program will open up the opportunity for even more kids to experience the sport of NASCAR.
Any good marketer will preach that selling something to an adult who is parent is much easier if you can involve the child. So appealing to parents by allowing them to bring their kids and save money at the same time, is smart business.
Another important part of the move by NASCAR, or any business for that matter, is the building of a future fanbase for the sport. Young NASCAR fans grow up to be adult NASCAR fans so getting kids in the seats for free will translate to many of them becoming paying adults in the future. Anyone who has seen a NASCAR race in person knows the spectacle it can be. Television can’t do justice to the excitement of seeing a race in person. And as any parent will tell you, part of the joy of raising children is the shared experience of making memories; memories that those children will remember and pass on to their own kids in the future.
So while admitting kids for free to a NASCAR race isn’t new, standardizing it and more importantly marketing it, is a brilliant move. It should help to ensure that the stands at tracks will have butts in the seats for many years to come.