There’s big news in the world of the NASCAR Nationwide Series! To start, the series will no-longer be sponsored by Nationwide Insurance. That means NASCAR had to find a new title sponsor for one of the sport's three major racing series. Are you ready to welcome the new sponsor, ranked as one of the most hated companies in the country, to NASCAR starting in 2015? Get ready, here comes Comcast and the NASCAR XFINITY Series?
Yep, Comcast has bought the naming rights to the series and will brand it under its entertainment umbrella which is named XFINITY. The big question is if the company, known for horrible customer satisfaction, will be able to win the hearts of NASCAR fans.? Or, does it really matter if you like or dislike Comcast? After all, the series and the sport many people love now has a sponsor in place for the next decade.
NASCAR announced the rumored 10-year deal at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C. on Wednesday. The change happens beginning on January 1, 2015 – that’s when the NASCAR Nationwide Series will become the NASCAR XFINITY Series.
Comcast has a huge Hurdle
To be perfectly honest before I go any further let me say this. Comcast treated me like dirt over a decade ago during a several month long journey into a customer service nightmare. That means I’ll never use them again unless I move somewhere and that’s the only service available. Sure, my story is not important in the huge scheme of things. But, it does open up a window of insight. I’m not the only one. And there are plenty of surveys to back me up.
I decided to have a totally unscientific and impromptu test. I mentioned the new sponsor to ten people who I knew were race fans on some level. The response was overwhelming. Eight people made a face followed by a disgusted “Eww” sound. One said he was fine with Comcast / XFINITY and the last person said they didn’t care. That person said that they never watched the races because he got tired of looking for the right channel so he listened to Sirius NASCAR radio instead.
Out of the ten people eight had Comcast / XFINITY in the past. Two never dealt with the company. Five of the ten people questioned still had Comcast / XFINITY. Everyone questioned that has Comcast / XFINITY, or has had them in the past, said they had a bad experience with them at one point. The two that never dealt with the company said they went elsewhere for service because of the bad reputation.
The Plus Side
Comcast is a massive company that owns other brands such as NBC Universal so there’s hope that NBC will give NASCAR more love than EPSN corporate did. To be clear, I’m not talking about the ESPN NASCAR crew that worked the sport on a daily basis.
Also, Comcast is known for being tech and new media smart. Hopefully they will put some of that knowledge to use while rebuilding their reputation with old fans while reaching out to new fans. Oh, Comcast offers service to customers in 40 states so they have a huge footprint in which to promote NASCAR.
You can either love Comcast / XFINITY or hate them. Either way it’s fantastic that they’ve stepped up and made a commitment to NASCAR. Doing so helps ensure that the soon to “Former” Nationwide Series (and Busch Series before that) will continue to move forward.