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Guessing hauler return won’t be what NASCAR fans expect

Old-school NASCAR fans seem to be rejoicing since hearing the news that merchandise haulers will be returning to race tracks as soon as later this month at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. I don’t want to be a “Negative Nelly” but I have a feeling they’re going to be at least somewhat disappointed if they’re expecting to go back in time to the days of each driver having his/her own merch hauler with his/her likeness and race car plastered down the side. You know, back in the day when a parking lot of these haulers served as a virtual town of stores, each peddling wares of a specific team/driver.
Back in those days, and they weren’t so long ago, considering Fanatics took over at-the-track merchandise sales just a couple of years ago in 2015, and that’s when the haulers were phased out in favor of a tent “superstore.” Why am I know thinking about the popular analogy of the old “Mom and Pop” stores falling by the wayside and a Walmart Supercenter rolling into town? But I digress.
Back when fans went from hauler to hauler if they had multiple fave drivers, individual race teams ran there own at-the-track, hauler sales program. Hate to break it to you, folks, but we’re not going back to those days. Fanatics is still running the show.
“If all we were doing was dumping the tent to go to haulers, I know we’d be taking a step backwards … and we would probably see (our numbers) drop because the tent shopping experience is a better shopping experience” is what Fanatics Retail President Ross Tennenbaum told ESPN’s Bob Pockrass in a phone interview.
According to Pockrass’ report, which was a basis for the report, here, at Auto Racing Daily, Fanatics is still going to have mini-stores inside race tracks. Meanwhile, 11 merchandise haulers will be located outside the track at entry gates. I could be wrong, but I’ve gotten the idea that the tent is being broken up, via the smaller in-track stores and haulers to locate merchandise in multiple locations to reach more fans. According to Fanatics, the primary reason for the return of some haulers is because some fans aren’t in the general location of the big tent; the multiple locations are to reach more fans.
I’m thinking the 11 haulers that are to be brought to the track won’t be placed in close peoximitt to each other, since Fanatic’s primary reasoning for bringing them back is to reach more fans in more areas of the race track property.
For that reason, I have a feeling these haulers aren’t going to be like the ones of old. I’m thinking they’re not going to be driver-specific. If the goal is to put merch in front of more fans, I’m thinking the desire will be to satisfy as many drivers’ fans as possible at each hauler. I’m thinking the haulers are going to, pretty much, be smaller versions of the tent, minus the shade and air-conditioning.
Besides, in the ESPN interview, Tennenbaum said that fans’ complaints about the tent replacing the hauler never had anything to do with negative shopping experiences, just the inconveniences of not being close to the tent and the absence nostalgia lost by the haulers’ removal. I beg to differ. I’ve heard all kinds of complaints about experiences from shopping in the tent.
If Fanatics is returning to the old hauler model, Tennenbaum probably wouldn’t have felt the need to sugar-coat the tent. Besides, scroll back up; he said that would be a “step backwards.”
I could be wrong. It definitely wouldn’t be the first time. We’ll just have to wait to see.
Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (facebook.com/nascarexaminer)

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Posted by on May 10, 2017. Filed under Blog by Amanda Vincent,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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