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Sale of NASCAR Merchandise Soars Along With the Sports' Growth

Aug 17, 2007
From it's humble roots in the South, NASCAR racing has grown to almost unbelievable popularity across the entire nation in recent years. From the first races run in 1948 to the current NEXTEL Cup and Busch series, NASCAR has become arguably the number one spectator sport in America, boasting 75 million loyal fans. And, interestingly, 40% of those are women and 53% work in white-collar or skilled labor jobs. The numbers continue to be impressive; annual attendance at races is over 7 million and upwards of 275 million Americans watch on television.

Those who follow the circuit attribute several factors to its' success. One of those is a formula that no other spectator sport matches. Week in and week out, the best teams (drivers) are competing head to head against each other. Unlike, for instance the NFL, where you may have to wait weeks for that big matchup, you can watch number 1 versus number 2 every week. It's almost like having the Super Bowl of this sport every week.

Years of tradition and a grass roots beginning are also given credit for the sport's popularity. The origins of the sport in the "bootlegging" days and the humble background of many of it's initial stars seems to be attractive to fans in this day of the spoiled, pampered, arrogant professional athlete.

All of this has led to big business. From television revenues to licensed merchandise sales, NASCAR is big business today. NASCAR merchandise sales now have exploded to exceed $ 2 billion annually and the markets continue to remain strong.

Race fans seem to have a huge appetite for merchandise that shows support for their favorite driver, whether it is by wearing NASCAR apparel, buying accessories for their car or truck, or even decorating their home. NASCAR wall clocks, desk clocks, even throw blankets, sheets and wall tapestries are showing up in homes everywhere.

Within this huge market, strong sub markets appear. NASCAR collectibles have become big just by themselves. A variety of items from plaques and autographed pictures to diecast cars are snatched up, partly due to popularity, but also in hopes of appreciation in value for the collectibles market.

While the NASCAR diecast part of the market has softened recently, it is still respectable in strength. As drivers change their paint schemes, it allows manufacturers to expand the products several times over in this niche and that helps keep sales moving.

Apparel such as NASCAR jackets, jerseys, t-shirts, etc appear to be growing in popularity as manufacturers roll out expanded products and are even including more high end items like leather jackets and specialty items like jewelry. The true fanatic can even outfit the entire family with recent introductions of complete NASCAR kids clothing and youth lines.

Where will it all end? I don't believe we know, but when I see corporate secretaries wearing NASCAR hats and white collar managers wearing NASCAR shirts with pictures of "Junior" plastered on them, I question if there is a limit to this market.
About the Author
David Stargel publishes several NASCAR related websites in addition to writing about all sorts of NASCAR related topics.
NASCAR-THINGS
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