You can’t get away from e-sports. The market is super lucrative!
NASCAR, like a number of other corporations keen on attracting a younger audience, thinks e-sports could be a successful tactic. Two different bodies within the stock car racing association are separately developing e-sports championships that aim to commence this year, one of them perhaps in time for the season-opening Daytona 500 on February 18.
In early January, Sports Business Daily reported that Blake Davidson, the sanctioning body’s VP of licensing and consumer products, was working on an e-sports championship that would take place at tracks during race weekends. Tournament players could choose to play in either NASCAR Heat 2, a more casual, entry-level racing game for the Xbox and Playstation, or opt for the deep-end seriousness of iRacing. Overhauled tracks like Las Vegas Motor Speedway might use their own screening areas to host virtual racing events, but it’s more likely that specially equipped trucks would travel between tracks.
As a work in progress, it isn’t yet clear how many tracks will host events, but International Speedway Corp and Speedway Motorsports Inc., which together own 20 NASCAR tracks, had signed on to the campaign. Involvement by the three independents, including Indianapolis Motor Speedway, isn’t clear. Nor are we clear on details like how the championship and payouts would work. NASCAR hasn’t announced a start date yet, but the digital flag could drop before the season.