Cody Sommer talks marketing of the Gateway Dirt Nationals
The Gateway Dirt Nationals is underway in The Dome at Americas Center. It’s a full-blown dirt race, indoors, in downtown St. Louis, Missouri.
Last year, Saturday’s event all but sold out. But where are these fans coming from? How did they get them there? What’s the strategy in general?
Below is an interview where I chatted with event promoter Cody Sommer on the marketing strategies for the Gateway Dirt Nationals.
Did you consider other names?
“Not really. I’m not from St. Louis. I’m would consider myself the average dirt racing fan,” Cody Sommer tells RacingNews.co. “When you think about event names and how you brand them. You’re always suppose to think about what’s going to resonate with the people the best.”
“When I think of St. Louis, I think of the Arch. I think of the Cardinals. I think of the Gateway to the Midwest.”
“If you look at the businesses in the area, whether it’s an insurance agent or car shop, lot’s of Gateway’s. It obviously makes sense for us to adopt a similar mentality.”
It’s the Gateway to dirt racing.
“Most people recognize Gateway as St. Louis. It’s the heart. It’s the Gateway to the Midwest it’s the heart of dirt racing country. It’s the Gateway to dirt racing.”
It kind of is the Gateway to dirt racing. I’ve lived here, my whole life. I really wouldn’t call St. Louis a racing town. Though, in recent years, that might be changing.
We now have the greatest dirt race in the world. All they need to do is step inside that Dome and a dirt fan has been created. But how do you get people in the door?
How do you promote a dirt race to a non-racing city?
“That’s the beautiful thing about our industry and our sport. We sold out of hotels last year, we sold out of hotels this year. We had teams and fans from just about every dang state in the country and we have that again this year.”
“It’s not just about promoting to the St. Louis market. It’s about promoting to your industry. That’s the beautiful thing about it is our industry is willing to travel. But, if you draw a circle around St. Louis, there’s a lot of hardcore dirt racing people there.”
Last year, the announcer see-sawed a battle between Cardinals fans and Cubs fans. The Cardinals cheers were obviously the St. Louis section of the crowd. The Cubs fans were of course from the other side of the river in Illinois.
So my surprise, the Cubs cheers were significantly louder. The Dome is only a few blocks from Busch Stadium, the home of the Cardinals. I think that alone tells you a lot about the marketing strategy and the people that filled The Dome to watch some dirt racing.
“St. Louis isn’t traditionally known as a racing town, call it,” Cody Sommer continues.
“It’s kinda had moments with the Motorsports Park. What they’re doing over there right now, is amazing. It’s such a beautiful thing to me.”
“Take our event. Take what they’re doing over there across the river. It’s like, St. Louis is a racing town. It’s getting there. If you ask Kenny Wallace, he’ll tell you it is.”
2017 GATEWAY DIRT NATIONALS
The 2017 Gateway Dirt Nationals is hosted at The Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis, Missouri. The racing begins tonight!
The event is run through December 14th-16th, 2017 with features events on each night of racing. Each night is a good one, take your pick.
Ticket are available via GatewayDirt.com/tickets