Walmart Signs Up to Offer $99 Ticket Special
Walmart is taking its low-price promise to NASCAR this season, partnering with nearly a dozen tracks to sponsor a special ticket package that includes four tickets, four soft drinks, four hot dogs and one souvenir program for $99.
The ticket promotion, which will be offered for 18 of 38 Sprint Cup races in 2011, serves as the first example of how Walmart plans to activate its new licensing agreement with NASCAR.
The world's largest retailer signed an agreement earlier this year that allows it to develop apparel, home goods and other products bearing NASCAR, driver and team imagery and marks. It is promoting that affiliation at stores and on SPEED, and NASCAR officials anticipate Walmart also will spend on promotions at the track and team level.
"Since I've been working here for 10 years, we've been looking for ways to get Walmart involved," said Terry Kalna, International Speedway Corp.'s managing director of partnership sales and marketing. "As excited as we are about this, we're more excited about what else is still to come for NASCAR, the sport and the company."
Walmart, which is working with The Marketing Arm's Millsport agency on its NASCAR activation, worked with ISC and Speedway Motorsports Inc. to strike promotional agreements allowing it to offer the promotion. The participating ISC tracks are Auto Club Speedway in California, Darlington Raceway, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Michigan International Speedway and Watkins Glen International. The participating SMI tracks are expected to be Atlanta Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway and New Hampshire Motor Speedway. It is working on similar partnerships with Dover and Pocono.
Walmart paid a promotional fee to the tracks for the rights to sponsor the ticket package. Terms of those promotional fees were not available and vary from track to track.
Walmart plans to promote the ticket offering at retail and during "Trackside" on SPEED, a weekend race program it is presenting this season. It will direct fans to a special web page -- Walmart.com/NASCAR -- where it provides a link to the ticket package and promotes the NASCAR apparel it sells.
No purchase is necessary in order to buy the $99 package.
"We talked about that, but it came down to: Let's do something for race fans, let's help them out," Kalna said.
ISC and SMI executives expect the promotion to help boost ticket sales at a time when attendance has been soft. Admissions revenue at the companies in 2010 decreased $35 million and $24 million, respectively.
"The exposure for races -- that's a huge value," SMI vice president of business development Mike Burch said of the promotion.
The current agreements don't include at-track signs or on-site activation rights, but Kalna said tracks are optimistic that Walmart could add those elements to its spend later this year.
"You'll continue to see this Walmart deal evolve," Kalna said. "It will be good for the sport."