Wednesday, June 1, 2011

On Fan Accessibility In IndyCar

Looking back on what was the Month of May at Indy, I think one of the things that impressed me most was the continuing access I’m granted as a fan of IndyCar.

To be clear, I’ve attended plenty of other types of sporting events. I’ve attended Fan Appreciation Day for the Kansas City Royals. I’ve attended regular-season and playoff games for the Indianapolis Colts. I’ve been to AA and AAA baseball games, and as a student, I watched several Purdue football games up close.

Young fans grow up to remember these moments.
Image courtesy of IndyCar Media

None of the above offer as much fan accessibility as the IZOD IndyCar Series. Consider this, just in the Month of May alone, my daughter met Alex Tagliani, Townsend Bell, Alex Lloyd, Dan Wheldon, Pippa Mann, and Ed Carpenter. As just a regular fan, I got to meet all of the above plus Bertrand Baguette, Jay Howard, and Davey Hamilton. John Andretti and Ryan Hunter-Reay almost ran me over (my bad). I met Rick Mears, both in and out of an autograph session. I grabbed the autographs of Arie Luyendyk and Jimmy Vasser. Amazingly, I was able to meet 500 legend, businessman, and innovator Andy Granatelli. This was all done just as a fan, nothing special or nothing that any other fan couldn’t do.

Few sports have the sort of fan interaction with their stars as we do in IndyCar, and it isn’t just for the Indy 500. The series does an amazing job of organizing autograph sessions, meet n’ greets, and other special fan events. IZOD IndyCar Series and Mazda Road to Indy teams and drivers have embraced Twitter and social media, ensuring that even fans from far away can still be a part of news and contests in close to real-time.

Whatever else you think of what IndyCar is doing these days, they’re really offering fans a lot of ways to keep close to their sport. I'd encouraging them to continue to focus on bringing in the youth as well; offerings such as making Gasoline Alley admission allowed for ages 9 and up, as well as the excellent IMS Kids Club, are really positive steps. I'd love to see the IZOD IndyCar Series as a whole embrace that direction as well.


  1. I don't know of any other sport in which the stars are so accessible, or so willing to show the fans their gratitude for support. On the other hand, I saw Emmo walk through Pagoda Plaza and no one appeared to recognize him...and that was a shame. Couldn't get my Sharpie and item out in time before he disappeared into a suite, though :-(

  2. Great point. If IndyCar can keep this aspect up, it may very well wind up being their trump card that every other sport winds up trying to imitate.