After a couple of years of slumping ticket sales, NASCAR has decided to team up with retail giant Walmart to offer discounts on tickets and merchandise. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The stock car racing league is traditionally one of the nation’s more popular spectator sports, but it has seen its ticket sales decrease due to weak economy. In fact, some races that in the past had been sold out a year or more in advance, had empty seats on race day in 2009 and last year.
With the Walmart deal, which commences with the Daytona 500 this Sunday, February 20, NASCAR is offering ticket packages for select races that include four tickets, four hot dogs, four beverages and a race program for $99, which is half the regular cost. The deals are available on a special NASCAR page on Walmart.com, but the number of packages are limited per race.
NASCAR’s estimated fan base totals about 75 million, many of whom already shop at Walmart, which like many retailers has carried NASCAR merchandise for several years. Adding ticketing makes the arrangement the largest retail promotion in NASCAR’s history.
“This program will allow us to get even deeper into product development over the coming years with Walmart helping us deliver exciting new products at affordable prices to our fans,” Paul Brooks, senior vice president of NASCAR, said in a statement. Brooks is also president of NASCAR Media Group and a board member of the NASCAR Team Properties division.
NASCAR lowered ticket prices for many races in 2010, but attendance still was down by about 10 percent for much of the season. Late last season, Michigan International Speedway announced that it would continue its ticketing discounts in 2011.
Walmart also will host events at stores where there are tracks, including appearances by famous drivers and real NASCAR racecars.
“We know our customers are NASCAR fans, and we continue to look for ways to provide unforgettable family experiences as well as greater value in every aspect of their lives,” Stephen Quinn, chief marketing officer for Walmart U.S., said in a statement.