Certain industries seem tailor-made for utilizing videos as part of a social media or PR campaign. Sports is one of those industries and race fans have long understood that videos help them feel closer to their favorite drivers. Teams like Level 5 Motorsports owned by lead driver Scott Tucker have capitalized on that desire by providing a variety of videos, each designed to inform and entertain, building an audience for their races and for their brand.
Auto racing may not be as popular as the big four sports (baseball, football, basketball, and hockey), but it is the fastest growing sport in terms of television audience and tickets sold. It has a passionate and loyal following like most sports. While only a small fraction of football fans have ever seen an NFL game from the stadium, a significant percentage of race fans have attended a professional race in person. With so many different race series (NASCAR, NHRA, ALMS, Formula One, etc), racers and teams need to find a way to make a connection that turns race fans into their fans.
Profiles Aren’t Enough
Level 5 Motorsports is owned by driver Scott Tucker. The team competed in the American Le Mans Series for the past four seasons as well as racing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. They have also competed in the Ferrari Challenge, the Rolex Sports Car Series and the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup. Tucker has won three drivers championships in ALMS while the team has won four trophies. However, it isn’t just victories that make the team a fan favorite, it’s their ability to use videos to communicate and entertain.
The team has a YouTube profile, of course, and they regularly post videos offering followers an inside view of the workings of a professional race team. Scott Tucker has his own YouTube page where he is able to share his personal views and experiences with his fans.
An expertly run page with frequent updates is something every business should do, but Level 5 takes it a step further. They lift the videos out of YouTube and share them in other social media. The individual racers and the team maintain accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, even LinkedIn. They have an official team website as well as sites and blogs for the various drivers and videos of races, practices, and interviews all get embedded regularly amongst the regular news posts and race recaps.
This type of coordinated sharing of video content provides context to the viewer, something a descriptive line on a video fails to do. Good videos also allow drivers to weave narratives through their season, such as Tucker’s quest to win reach 100 career victories or the team’s path to a third straight ALMS championship.
Videos Build Anticipation
Any athlete or athletic team can use videos to build interest in upcoming events. Level 5 routinely does this by sharing videos about upcoming races. The goal is to build anticipation of the event and get fans excited about watching the race. A well-produced video can benefit the team in three distinct ways:
- More fans come to the track to watch the race and cheer on the team or individual driver
- More fans watch the television and/or live streaming coverage of the race with a larger audience resulting in more races being covered in the future and the bonus of top teams getting a share of the broadcast profits
- More fans will flock to social media, blogs, and websites immediately following the race to find out results – some may even take to social media during the race to share their own reactions
In August, Level 5 took part in the Orion Energy Systems 245 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Prior to the race, the team shared the video below on YouTube and in social media profiles to build interest:
The team is based in Wisconsin, so they consider Road America to be their home track. Getting fans to the race to support the team was an important goal. Marino Franchitti earned the pole position for the race and teammate Simon Pagenaud started in third position. With thousands of fans cheering them on, Tucker and Pagenaud won their classification with the second Level 5 team of Franchitti and Ricardo Gonzalez taking third.
Interviews Provide Insight
A more obvious use of videos to communicate with fans is the interview. Scott Tucker is regularly interviewed by race magazines and websites as well as providing analysis for television. He shares such video clips across his internet portfolio as a way to give fans insight into his motivations, goals, and team strategies.
The post-race interview in particular is an excellent way to connect with fans. Tucker is able to express his delight in an unexpected win, his support of successful teammates, and, yes, his disappointment on those instances when Level 5 fails to perform as expected. Having a window into a driver’s reactions helps fans feel closer to the drivers and can even draw them further into the experience.
At the recent Baltimore Grand Prix, Tucker was involved in a crash. Though not hurt, he was forced to abandon the race, which hurt his chances at winning the overall drivers championship for the season. Because Franchitti and new teammate Guy Cosmo were able to avoid the crash and take the victory, the race was still a success for Level 5.
The video below was shared by Tucker and Level 5. In it Tucker speaks about the events in Baltimore and the team’s outlook for the rest of the season:
Reading a race report or even watching a race video can give a fan the opportunity to experience the event without attending. This is true of pretty much all sports. However, modern video equipment offers sports teams another way to reach out to fans — it can put them in the driver’s seat, at least figuratively.
The introduction of “helmet cam” has led to a plethora of videos showing all sorts of sports from the perspective of the athlete. Whether they are using the literal head camera or some other mounted video, race teams are sharing videos of tracks around the world. Level 5 has put cameras inside cars during practice laps to give fans a driver’s eye view of a track.
In early 2013 the team was preparing for the 12 Hours of Sebring. They ultimately took first and second place at the race, but for some fans it was the video below that was more intriguing. It shows the view from Tucker’s car as he completes a test lap on the Sebring track:
Sports as Model
While Tucker and Level 5 have mastered the use of video to promote their endeavors before, during, and after races, these same tactics can and are being used by sports teams and individual athletes around the web. More importantly, this strategy can be adapted to almost any business model. Every business needs to build anticipation for products, events, or services. They can draw in customers and clients by providing insight into their process, tactics, and goals. Best of all, they can offer that unique perspective, the “insider’s view” that, while it can be described in words or audio, truly captures the imagination when it takes the form of a well-made video.