Jun 29, 2011 at 01:35 PM
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NASCAR Gets Into Social Games, Takes Sprint With It

Properties looking to provide added value to partners are increasingly turning to social games. Coming on the heels of several big sponsorship announcements from social games behemoth, Zynga, NASCAR has crafted out a co-branded social experience within the popular Facebook game, Car Town, created by Cie Games. The NASCAR Pro Championship presented by Sprint, which it says is the first-ever NASCAR social gaming experience, will launch to coincide with the coverage of TNT’s Summer Series and will run through the conclusion of the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in November. According to AppData, Car Town has 8,273,241 monthly active users.

The NASCAR Pro Championship presented by Sprint will be free to play and will provide millions of NASCAR fans and Facebook users with the opportunity to compete against their friends in a sponsored race and complete challenges and activities that will earn them virtual rewards. Race winners will accumulate prizes to add to their Car Town garage.

As title sponsor, Sprint will be heavily integrated into the game with race graphics throughout, including a branded vehicle, race entrance, victory lane and leaderboard. Players can earn Sprint-branded virtual rewards by watching a NASCAR 101 video featuring Miss Sprint Cup, by visiting Miss Sprint Cup’s Facebook page, and by sharing a picture of their virtual car with their Facebook friends. Sprint-branded promotional media and calls-to-action from NASCAR.COM, Yahoo! NASCAR and TNT NASCAR coverage will drive viewers online to play the game.

Car Town, launched in 2010, allows players to use virtual currency to purchase, collect and customize virtual cars and build their dream garage. Owners can race against their friends and perform a variety of tasks that earn points they can use to purchase additional cars or car-related products and services.

“Through our NASCAR.COM features including video highlights, live leaderboards and RaceBuddy, fans can engage in an interactive viewing experience,” said Justin Williams, senior director of business operations for NASCAR.COM. “Adding the NASCAR Pro Championship presented by Sprint allows us to reach fans already engaged in social media gaming and continue to provide them with a fully immersive NASCAR experience.”

“We’re excited to launch the NASCAR Pro Championship presented by Sprint as a complement to the Daytona Challenge launched by International Speedway Corporation, alongside many of the NASCAR teams, earlier this year,” said John Martin, Managing Director, NASCAR Digital. “The NASCAR industry continues to be uniquely positioned through the partnership with Car Town to introduce the excitement of stock car racing to a new generation of fans.”

Look for social games to continue to gain steam as a mechanism for providing added value to partners in the technology or mobile communications category.

Hat tip to @cannonjw