Why NASCAR TV ratings continue downward death spiral According to the MikeMulhurn.com webpage, the Fox TV brass don’t have a clue as to what’s happening to the viewers! We have an idea, though. The fans would get excited about a good feud, take for example Kyle Busch. He’s the perfect villain and can get the young and the old fans riled up. But, nobody’s really challenged him? Compounding the problem is NASCAR constantly threatens the drivers with retribution such as penalties if they misbehave on the track. NASCAR racing is in the entertainment business, pure and simple. And things have not been entertaining on the track.
Here’s something else. The old-time fans feel tuned out. As we have said before, NASCAR blundered when they chased away the old guard viewers in favor of getting the new younger crowd. Let’s face facts. The younger crowd can’t really afford the best tickets in the house. The question is, would they still go if they could buy the tickets? And why are they not watching it on TV? Some will tell you that it’s a short attention span. The younger crowd, as fickle as they are, deserted NASCAR.
There’s also the Saturday night racing issue. Saturday is date and party night so that’s where the young crowd go. Furthermore even the older crowd block out Saturday night for entertainment. Even when people are home on Saturday there’s always something to watch on the tube not necessarily racing. Another thing to consider is a dull race on a Saturday night and the viewer will switch to something else. All that puts NASCAR in a real bind. They don’t know how to get the old guard back and they haven’t a clue on how to motivate the younger viewers to return. We think they should have left everything alone and stayed with Sunday afternoon races.
Another point here. There’s too much technical but not enough basic information on the TV broadcasts. The tech info should be directed to the new fans. In the case of Fox’s Darrell Waltrip, he explains what’s going on the track from a technical point of view and that’s good. With the exception of last weekend’s win by Mark Martin, the NASCAR Cup races have been predictable. When that happens it means that the show is stale.
We base part of our hypothesis on the following. We know of a group of over 50-year old race fans that couldn’t wait until the Daytona 500 came on to the TV screen in years past. Recently, this same group could care less about the Daytona 500 and any other subsequent races. We can recall reading several fan forums, in the past years and the biggest complaint was that NASCAR didn’t need them (old-time fans) anymore. At the same time, NASCAR was moving races out of the southeast and starting the races later in the day to insure that the finish would be in prime time. We also recall there were complaints about some of the anchor booth announcers. They constantly spout the party line and stay away from controversy. It isn’t just one or two issues but a number of them making things go wrong. We have to say that NASCAR and the TV networks have a major problem on their hands. The situation now is that they have to sort it all out and go from there. We wish them well. We can understand that the ailing economy is the culprit in trying to sell tickets. With most of NASCAR’s races airing on the free TV, not cable, the ratings should be higher, not lower. MotorsportNewsNetwork
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