It’s finally here folks, Milwaukee IndyFest begins this week at the historic Milwaukee Mile. This Father’s Day weekend, 26 drivers from the IZOD IndyCar series will roll into town for one of the most exciting races on the schedule. Only this time, there is added excitement found behind the scenes.
With the ever-growing popularity of social media in sports, you can now chalk up IndyCar racing as another group joining the club. Andretti Sports Marketing and ExactTarget have partnered for a new campaign to grow brand awareness and excitement for the veteran race track. Michael Andretti, CEO of Andretti Sports Marketing and former IndyCar driver, has always been a fan of the Milwaukee Mile and is working hard to bring it back to prominence. Together, they have chosen the 26 most influential social media users in the Milwaukee area for 2012, I was quite humbled when chosen for this list. Andretti wants to use social media to give fans a never-before-seen look into the energy, passion and real-time decisions that make racing such an exhilarating sport. The goal is to make this race the most socially connected race in the IZOD IndyCar Series. ExactTarget has paired each social media user with a driver so that, in the days/weeks leading up to the race, they can continue to build buzz around IndyFest and a specific driver (plus it gives each person someone to root for).
This sport is popular all over the world and IndyFest will have fans from around the country joining in on the fun as well. Because many are not from the area, and IndyFest is a 2-day event, part of our job as 26ers will be to provide tourism information such as great lodging spots, ticket information, dining options, local hot spots and the fun night life we have. Each person has the job of promoting IndyFest through such channels as social media accounts like Twitter and Pinterest, blog posts and whatever else their creative minds can think of. One spunky 26er (Carrie Keenan) even created a Spotify playlist for the big race! I’ve even seen Pinterest boards specifically for this event, mine included (“shameless self-promotion”). Wednesday, June 13, Social Media Club Milwaukee will have their monthly meeting as well as an IndyFest tweetup at Translator Digital Cafe.
Follow the hashtag #INDYFEST on Twitter for all the city/race info you need as well as some of the best IndyCar commentary you’re ever going to find! Please feel free to join in on the fun conversation with the Social 26ers as we discuss all the racing fun you can handle.
Milwaukee IndyFest is definitely the perfect family event to attend. The Thursday before the race, there will be a free street party for anyone to attend, hosted by Marcus Hotels and Resorts. There will be driver appearances, live music, the “Kid Zone” and much more. The full schedule of events for the street party is available here. Friday will include autograph sessions, driver practice and race qualifying, with free grandstand seats Friday only. Saturday, the nationally televised race will begin at noon and will be followed with a post-race concert by Smashmouth, free for ticket holders. Full list of the weekend schedule can be found here.
The main issue around this is that having a race at the Milwaukee Mile is a big deal. The economic impact of an IndyCar race in Milwaukee is equivalent to that of an NCAA Final Four. In recent years, the attendance for the annual race in Milwaukee has declined significantly, and even went on hiatus in 2010. The Milwaukee Mile is the oldest continuously operating race track on earth, since 1903. I believe it’s important that Wisconsinites and IndyCar fans everywhere attend so that we don’t lose such a significantly historical place. Come on out, say hi and have some fun!