Tuesday, January 23, 2007

NASCAR fans more loyal to sponsors than in any other pro sport

After reading recent comments on the previous "Scottish Rite sponsors NASCAR driver" article on this blog, and looking at an anti-SR blog showing photos of beer-swilling rednecks at NASCAR races, I decided to do some research on the true demographics of NASCAR fans.

Talk about a confusing mass of data!

A lot of the demographic info is provided by NASCAR itself, and seems to reflect data collected on site at races, which is vastly different from television viewership.

NASCAR and NASCAR-related websites conveniently don't mention their demographics are for race attendance only. At the races, 60% of the attendees are male, 40% female. For televised races, fans are "predominately males (78%), married (73%), with an average age of 42 years, who owns a home (81%), with 3.4 cars per household. The median household income range is between $35,000 and $50,000 and almost all are employed full time (87%)," according to an independent study by Performance Research, a company specializing in collecting and analyzing sporting demographics.

Both NASCAR and Performance Research paint NASCAR fans as predominately middle class, earning slightly more than the average American. A high percentage say they've had "some college," but I could find no stats showing what percentage were actually college graduates, and none showing a breakdown in types of employment.

Performance Research also points out that they found three types of fan — those with high, moderate or low interest. NASCAR's stats would reflect what I would call a high-interest fan, one who actually attended races.

You can google "NASCAR fan demographics" and look at them yourself.

What I found most interesting is that self-described NASCAR fans are much more likely to buy logo'd merchandise than fans of other professional sports. Seventy-two percent of NASCAR fans say they buy products because they have the NASCAR name on them. Tennis fans are number two at 52%, followed by golf fans at 47%, NBA at 38%, Major League Baseball, also at 38%, NFL at 32% and the Olympics at 28%.

And 40% of NASCAR fans say they will switch brands in order to own the brand that has the NASCAR logo on it.

I would assume this not only refers to brands of auto parts and motor oils and even cell phone providers, etc., who custom-brand their products, but also to gas station coffee mugs and bobble-head dolls with a NASCAR logo imprinted.

Does this tell us that 72% of NASCAR fans are brilliant and loyal, or are they simply blind sheep led to the checkout counters of America?

I mean, I understand a 5-year old wanting a certain brand of cereal because his favorite cartoon character is shown on the box. But adults...?

Is it a masterstroke of genius that the Scottish Rite is now putting their cartoon character, er, I mean, their logo, on a box-shaped automobile? Apparently, NASCAR fans don't think about their consumable purchases; they buy whatever is attached to the logo. And blindly trust what they see advertised on their favorite NASCAR cars.

Is this a good thing for the Scottish Rite? Will thousands of NASCAR fans (or at least 72% of them) line up at lodges and temples to "buy" themselves some of that Scottish Rite Freemasonry they're selling?

Does Freemasonry need more blind followers? Isn't that how the Fraternity got into the shape it's in today, by opening to West Door indiscriminately to bobble-heads who just want to "belong" without studying, understanding, or contributing?

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  1. Concerns about people lining up at our doors I think are valid, if not overstated. Just because a man asks to have a petition doesn't mean I am going to sign it, or that he will pass his investigation - regardless of his favorite sport. If men are becoming Masons simply because they ask that is our fault, not theirs. If we have a concern about the capabilities of men in the context of the Masonic art, we only have ourselves to blame. We should seek to attract the entire spectrum of the qualified population. We should seek to only admit the very best of that spectrum. Advertising in NASCAR causes no problem if we are doing our job in our Lodges.

    That NASCAR fans are more inclined to buy branded merchandise must be considered in the context of the sport. NASCAR fans cannot go to a local sports store and buy a car, unlike footbal fans, tennis fans, soccer fans etc... who can buy equipment and accessories and particiapte in their sport at home. NASCAR is purely a spectator sport, and because fans cannot participate in this activity at an amateur level without incurring great expense - noting that most NASCAR fans are not members of the Sports Car Club of America - branded merchandise is the only way they can publicly support their interests.

  2. That takes us back to a major problem in Freemasonry today, and ultimately the cause of all our ills — the West Gate has not been guarded.

    What I've seen is that anyone can join a lodge if they simply know someone who is already a member. Of course he can join, they say, his daddy's a Mason!

    Investigating committees are a sham. The first time I was appointed to an investigating committee, I called another brother on the committee who had the petitioner's info, and asked for the petitioner's place of employment so I could call his employer.

    "Oh, he's a good boy, a fine fella," said the Past Master. "Don't worry about it; we've got it taken care of."

    That was my first — and last — time being appointed to an investigating committee.

    Once I overheard a petition-signer admit he'd only known a petitioner three months, but "he's okay; his daddy is a Mason down in south Georgia."

    I put another nail in my Masonic coffin when I pointed out that the rules say a signer must know the petitioner for at least 12 months before he can sign a petition. I didn't make any friends saying that, but the petition was withdrawn.

    In my several years as an active Mason, I saw only one petitioner rejected. I was the Junior Warden at the time, and when the box got to me, I examined it and declared it dark. It was SO unexpected that the Worshipful Master had not even noted there was a black ball in the ballot box! A Past Master on the sidelines was so shocked he blurted out, "How many black balls are in there?" in violation of all sorts of rules. I wouldn't tell him, and the floor erupted with demands of another vote.

    I've seen the Tiler be allowed in to vote when he didn't even know who was being voted on. Not knowing didn't stop him from voting, affirmatively I presume, as the petitioner was accepted.

    When the issue with the Mason in my lodge who was convicted in state court of sexual exploitation of a child and in a Masonic trial of two counts of unmasonic conduct, several brethren privately told me "I KNEW I should have blackballed him, but his daddy is a Mason!"

    And so it goes....

    — W.S.


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