NASCAR doesn't realize how bad things are UPDATE Brian France's solution to NASCAR's plummeting TV ratings for three straight year:
"We're working on it. Racing is great and over time that takes care of things. We'd like to have better ratings but we will over time.''
"We'll look at everything we can do. Ultimately, the racing, which is phenomenal, will carry the day. That's our product.''
So in other words he has no clue as to why NASCAR's TV ratings are plummeting and thinks everything will be OK, therefore is taking the do-nothing option.
10/08/10 It's not surprising that the first three races of NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup championship have earned low television ratings.
ESPN's coverage of the Chase opener at New Hampshire dropped 28 percent from last year -- from 3.2 to 2.3. The rating for the second race, at Dover, fell 23 percent from 3.1 to 2.4.
Last Sunday's race at Kansas on ABC was also down. It earned a rating of 2.7, averaging 3,741,683 viewers, according to the Nielsen Company.
The funny thing is that NASCAR and its TV partners remain oblivious as to why people aren't tuning in.
In fact, one official at ESPN said she believes ratings are down this season due to the 1 p.m. starting times that put the sport up against the NFL. So exactly when on an autumn Sunday is NASCAR not going to be going up against football?
The facts are there are far too many commercial breaks in today's coverage of NASCAR races, and people are tired of tuning in and seeing some buffoon from the Waltrip or Wallace family telling them just how great NASCAR and its Chase is. [Editor's Note: There are so many commercial breaks because ABC/ESPN were stupid to bid so high for the NASCAR deal. They need a lot of commercial money to recoup their losses. NBC was smart enough to walk away from the bidding knowing all too well it was another NASCAR gets rich scheme.]
The majority of race fans either see right through the Chase and its prefabricated recipe for manufactured excitement or are just tired of seeing Jimmie Johnson win the darn thing year after year after year after year.
Today's drivers also seem out of touch as to why people aren't tuning in.
"I don't really make it part of my day to look at TV ratings," Jeff Burton said. "I do think it's important, but I think some of it is confusing to me. I really believe the racing has been better."
Race fans could also be turned off because Clint Bowyer won the opening race of the Chase at New Hampshire, then was fined $150,000 and had 150 points stripped from his team after his car was found to be 1/64,000ths of an inch out of tolerance during an inspection that was done days after the race was finished.
The ruling seems absolutely ridiculous and leaves NASCAR with questions about its integrity, especially since Bowyer's car passed both pre- and post-race inspection at New Hampshire.
"That's an emotional roller coaster that nobody wants to ride, trust me," Bowyer said. "It is what it is. This sport is very humbling sport, I can promise you."
Then there's the fact that half of the 10 races that comprise the Chase are held at tracks between 1 1/2 and 2 miles in length. These races inevitably turn into follow-the-leader affairs with little or no action unless NASCAR throws a mystery debris caution flag.
Greg Biffle, who won last week at Kansas, believes the TV ratings system is out of date and does not accurately reflect the popularity of the sport.
"I think we're going to continue to fight with this TV rating until we have a way to measure another way of finding out how people keep up with the race," Biffle said. "You can get it on your computer, you can get it on your phone, and everybody is tweeting lap-by-lap. So today you don't have to sit in front of the TV, you don't have to watch it to still be an avid NASCAR fan."
Apparently Biffle hasn't glanced into all of those empty seats. Blame it on the economy or blame it on NASCAR, but this sport remains in a nosedive.
And it's definitely not because of the start times of the races. That's just wrong. Delaware News Journal
[Editor's Note: If NASCAR thinks this high-tech young generation are going to sit around for 4 hours on a Sunday afternoon or Saturday night and watch 1950's technology cars go around in circles, complete with artificial caution flags and managed racing, they have their heads buried in the sand.]