What is the most interesting thing about how NASCAR fans are taking in their raceday experience in 2015 versus how habits were even a few years ago? Today’s fans want – no, need – to be connected to the world outside of the event they are at and to the information they want to have instantaneously 24/7. Just because they’re at the track, and watching the world’s best drivers top 200 mph down the backstretch, doesn’t mean that they can’t be connected to social media or getting the stats online for their favorite driver.
At many tracks the NASCAR Sprint Cup, XFINITY and Camping World Truck series visits, Wi-Fi in the stands is a thing the young fans of today can only dream about. Until recent years, if a fan wanted to hear the race in real-time, or listen to their favorite driver’s in-car driver/crew chief communications channel, they’d have to buy or rent an analog scanner from vendors in the souvenir area trackside.
So how do you solve these two issues, and continue to draw in new, young fans who want to consume media and their NASCAR racing in different ways than their parents did?
Introducing FanVision Puck.
FanVision, founded in 2010, has worked to revolutionize the way in which NASCAR fans experience a race when they are at the track, and is again evolving how fans will consume the sport with its newest product, FanVision Puck.
FanVision Puck is more than just a device to get up-to-the-second race stats, hear in-car audio, view replays and live coverage. It also connects your own mobile phone to a private, in-venue network at the track, and simultaneously charges your phone while you use it. That’s right; the device charges your smart phone. That means no more changing batteries throughout the race weekend and more time in your seat enjoying the action.
This revolutionary new product from FanVision will launch in 2016 at Daytona for Speedweeks at the famed race track. According to FanVision CEO Andrew Daines, the company is also currently in talks with track promoters to include a link to the FanVision Puck software directly from the mobile app for the track. So at Daytona next February, fans attending the race and interested in renting FanVision Puck will simply rent the device, attach it to their phone and use the mobile app they very well may have already downloaded on their phone, saving the data and space on their mobile phones having to download an additional app.
“We’re excited about it! It’s probably the first new product for the fans to come out in NASCAR in a really long time,” Daines says. “FanVision Puck is our attempt at taking everything that people have come to know and love about the FanVision device and put it onto their smartphone.”
FanVision Puck also has the benefit of using its own in-venue, private network connecting to each device, so now even if there is no Wi-Fi or weak cellular signal at the track, that won’t matter. There is also no data cap on FanVision’s network, meaning worrying about how much data your mobile phone is using up at the track to stream a broadcast of the race, or look up timing and scoring stats, is a thing of the past.
There is no doubt that many fans are on their mobile device more than desktop or even watching TV in today’s instantaneous world. So how has today’s fan viewing habits, use of cell phones, and the way they consume NASCAR Racing changed how FanVision approached the new product?” Daines continues. “We consider fans mass-usage of their cell phones and just their overall hunger for more content as the biggest opportunity for FanVision. We just think the modern fan wants more content. They want it now. And we’re happy to be building and selling products that meet that need. We just think it’s a perfect time to be in the business because fans are so hungry for content.”
There’s more to the FanVision story than just a new product and one smart CEO, looking to revolutionize the way NASCAR fans take in a race at the track. FanVision has seen a rise in popularity year over year. In 2014 alone, the company saw 10,000 users rent a device on average each race weekend, and just this past April, NASCAR signed a new deal with FanVision to exclusively carry the products through 2019.
“We just have to say a huge thanks to NASCAR because without the stability of a long-term contact that we were able to get with NASCAR, we wouldn’t have the stability and the confidence we needed to go out and spend all this time and money on research and development needed to bring FanVision Puck into the marketplace,” Daines explains. “So having a stable relationship with NASCAR has been the major driver for us in being able to get FanVision Puck out the door finally and have more innovation in the industry.”
The story doesn’t end there! In addition to NASCAR fans, FanVision also supports teams and spotters that use their devices each weekend at the track. But that buy-in from those in the business didn’t come as a surprise to the company.
“It’s always been our goal to create products that people needed, they didn’t just want them. So it’s been a pleasant surprise that the teams and spotters have used FanVision also as a utility, or a professional tool. We are very glad that we built something that the industry uses- not just something that’s fun and cool, but something they use to do their job.”
The numbers support, Danies’ theory about usage in the NASCAR world as over 600 devices are used by media and professionals (team-use, spotters, owners, driver’s family, etc.) every race weekend.
FanVision is continuing to change the game when it comes to having a different, more immersive experience on raceday. With that comes the question- will FanVision someday replace the analog and digital scanners that many fans rent or have bought trackside for so many years?
“The way we think of the scanner versus the FanVision is the scanner is audio-only, as are pretty much all of the scanners out there right now are. FanVision is the best scanner experience you can get because its digital. There’s no delay in cycling through driver’s channels. We definitely hope that the fans will recognize the advantage over analog audio [scanners] with FanVison, it’s just the progression. Every technology goes through it over the years, whether it was your VHS to your DVD, or CD to MP3 every technology goes though it and we’re just smack in the middle of it.”
Right now pricing for FanVision Puck is still being worked on, but Daines said that the company is really trying to tie-in the rental of a FanVision product to the purchase of your tickets at each track, creating one, flat price and seamless experience for fans.
Look for the new FanVision Puck at Daytona International Speedway and all other International Speedway Corporation (ISC) races throughout the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup season. Until then, don’t forget to check out fanvision.com before your next trip to the track to find out about how to rent your FanVision!