OPINION: Barstool Sports Coming into NASCAR Presents a Massive Opportunity
“Saturdays are for the boys,” but Sunday’s are for NASCAR, fast cars, and turnin’ left.
That saying couldn’t be truer for this weekend’s Kobalt 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, as Barstool Sports has opted to come on Chris Buescher’s JTG Daugherty Racing’s No. 37 Chevrolet as an associate sponsor, along with Natural Light, for this weekend’s race.
First, some background information. Barstool is a satirical and men’s lifestyle blog that regularly produces online content including articles, blogs, podcasts and videos. Dave Portony, who founded Barstool, describes their content as “sports/smut,” and their slogan is “by the common man, for the common man.” They focus on sports, but also have a heavy portion of their organization devoted to women, similar to another popular online blog “Total Frat Move.” If you want more information yourself, just check out their website.
SAFTB has become a common line for frat boys nationwide (myself included, shoutout to Michigan State Alpha Epsilon Pi). But with Barstool’s partnership with Natural Light, the new slogan of “Naturdays are for the boys” is right smack dab in the center of the deck lid of the car.
This whole thing, Barstool coming into NASCAR, might seem like a joke to most casual fans of the sport. Because most of what Barstool does is exactly that—satirical.
Newsflash: it’s not.
The biggest opportunity that NASCAR has had in decades to attract a younger, millennial audience, something that the NASCAR community has been hammering down the throats of drivers, sponsors, fans, teams, etc. for the past few years, has been handed to them on a silver platter. If they’re smart, they’ll take it, run with it, and never let it out of their grasp.
Barstool Sports came to NASCAR on their own. NASCAR didn’t ask.
Heck, I doubt most people in the sport even know what Barstool is. In a 2011 study done by Scarborough Research, only 12 percent of NASCAR fans fall into the 18-24 rage ange. The majority, 42 percent to be exact, fall in the 35-54 age bracket. I’m sure NASCAR appreciates its longtime hardcore fan base of middle aged men, but they want new, young, fresh faces.
Barstool is the answer. Over 50 percent of Barstool’s viewership falls into the 21-34 age bracket, with a whopping 83 percent of their viewership being male. Obviously, NASCAR would like to attract more females, but as long as Danica Patrick is in the sport, that won’t be an issue.
Their website gets over 200 million monthly page views per month and 6.7 million monthly unique visitors worldwide. They also have a social media outreach of 1.5 million and have an army of “Stoolies,” who regularly make their way onto sports television shows promoting the company with signs, t-shirts and of course, the internet trend for that week.
During the week of Super Bowl 51 (where they became famous or infamous for getting their credentials revoked, you make the call), Barstool had a nightly one-hour show on Comedy Central that received rave reviews. Fast forward a month or so, and now they’re in NASCAR.
I know what you’re thinking. You’re skeptical. So was I. When a friend introduced me to Barstool and Pardon My Take, I had no clue what this crazy form of information was intended to do for me. But it’s comedy. It’s something out of the norm. But it’s popular, and it’s working.
You (and I) probably felt the same way when NASCAR announced new competition enhancements for the 2017 season, which included an overhaul of the points format and the advent of stages into races. All NASCAR asked you is to give it a chance.
And that’s what I’m asking you to do here. Just give Barstool in NASCAR a chance. Heck, if you're a Stole, just give NASCAR a chance.
But the real opportunity comes in the form of two individuals: Big Cat and PFT.
Dan Katz, better known as Big Cat, and PFT Commenter (real name unknown) host a podcast called “Pardon My Take” (which I listen to religiously as “an award-winning listener”). It is Barstool’s No. 1 podcast by a long shot and currently sits No. 51 on the iTunes charts, No. 4 in the sports and recreation category, has over 9,200 reviews and hundreds of millions of downloads in just over one year of existence.
On the March 2 episode of PMT towards the end of the show, Big Cat mentioned that they would be at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with the whole Barstool gang this weekend.
“We said we wanted to get into NASCAR,” PFT said. “We did it that quickly. Can you believe it folks?” Big Cat added. Twitter was also filled with photos of the No. 37 car, as well as excitement for the race.
Wheels up to Vegas. Huge week coming culminating in our first ever NASCAR Race at the Kobalt 400 and a Barstool/Natty car ? #NattyTour— Pardon My Take (@PardonMyTake) March 6, 2017
And of course, I had to put my two cents in there. I’m really excited for this.
Think about it: a podcast (one of the fastest growing forms of media) that is downloaded by millions of people, the majority being those coveted millennials that NASCAR so desperately wants, by two guys that get it talking about NASCAR.
Full disclosure: I’m a Stoolie, and—again—I couldn’t be more excited for this. Why?
I’m going to be in Vegas to witness this legendary weekend.
I’m making it my personal mission to meet Big Cat, PFT, their producer Hank as well as any other members of the Barstool gang and become the new Stingray Steve of NASCAR for Pardon My Take (loyal listeners understand.)
This. Is. The. Answer. This is where the new fans will come from. This could bring NASCAR back into the spotlight.
And step one is this weekend.
Instead of “Viva Las Vegas,” for this weekend, it’ll be “Viva La Stool.”
Davey Segal is a junior sports journalism major from Rockville, Maryland. He attended his first race in 2002 at Dover International Speedway with his father, and fell in love with the sport immediately. He would love nothing more to graduate from Michigan State University with his journalism degree and begin to cover America's No. 1 motorsport as a profession. He writes about the sport for Speedway Media, Fronstretch and Impact 89 FM and proceeds a weekly podcast about all things NASCAR. He enjoys only one thing more than sitting on his couch every weekend and watching the action unfold: being at the race track to see it for himself.