BLOG | by Liam Randell

Just how big an impact will the retirement of the Holden brand in Australia have on V8 Supercars and the wider sports industry?

Holden has been a much-admired and loved brand for countless generations of Australians and its long and proud history won’t easily be forgotten. There’s no doubt that the company has had a challenging few years but the announcement last week that Holden would cease operations altogether by 2021 still came as a shock for many.

Following the announcement, YouGov Sport looks at how Australians, and more specifically Supercars fans, feel about the news and what kind of impact it will have on the sporting landscape going forward.

“She’s a beauty” – Prime minister Ben Chifley (1948) when welcoming the first home-grown Holden vehicle.

Overall feelings of sadness towards Holden no longer manufacturing cars was shown to be the same for both Australians and Supercars fans (48%). The brand has competed in the championship since its creation.

A further 35% of Australians and 22% of Supercars fans had no real feelings about the issue. The most interesting finding was that just 11% of Australians said they were happy about the announcement compared to a significantly larger portion of Supercars fans (28%). I wonder how many of those supporters happy about the news are passionate Ford fans?

 (Nat Rep, n=1,046, Supercars Fans n=314).

Now for the big question; if Holden is no longer taking part in V8 Supercars, would fans be more or less likely to follow the sport? In order to best explore this question let’s compare Avid Fans (‘top interest’ in V8 Supercars) against what we’ll call ‘Core Fans’ (‘top interest’ + ‘somewhat interested’ in V8 Supercars). 36% of avid Supercars fans suggested they would be less likely to follow the sport compared to 32% of core fans.

The biggest difference between the fan groups was for those ‘much more’ + ‘more likely’ to watch, with a 10% differentiation (avid fans 17% vs core fans 27%). While these findings highlight the challenges Supercars has in limiting a potential loss of fans, they also show an opportunity for the sport to find a way forward which both attracts new audiences and engages better with current fans.

 (Avid Fans, n=77, Core Fans n=314).

In good news for sports codes and teams, one final finding from the YouGov Sport Australia study found that 62% of Australians believe that if Holden was to cancel all sports sponsorship it would have no effect on fan attitudes towards the sports or clubs they currently sponsor. Just 16% of Australians indicated a more negative outlook on a sport or team as a result of any cancellation.

 (Nat Rep, n=1,046, Supercars Fans n=314).

BLOG | by Liam Randell

Research Analyst

Liam currently leads client facing and research services for the AFL and all 18 clubs, Tennis Australia, the NBL amongst a host of other key clients. He’s also an avid Triathlete with a love for all things sport.


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