2012 IndyCar TV ratings plummetUPDATE #2 A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, I read your post and have to agree, painfully. As a former open wheel racer and team owner, I am as hard core as it gets, and as loyal of an IndyCar fan as there is… but… I am pretty much done with it. I used to get excited about watching or attending a race, now I really don’t care if I miss one and honestly realized I did not even bother to set the DVR to grab them this year. How sad is that? There is simply nothing in the product that makes me want to sit and invest 2-3 hours of my life to watch an event on their schedule. From time to time I find time in airports etc to watch an event online but even then, the cars are horrible to look at and the broadcast does not give me that rush of hearing a screaming v8 at 15K rpm or more like the turbos of old afforded us.
Give me a car that looks like the RedBull x-1 concept or the Ferrari concept showing off the canopy (looking like a fighter jet) and I would get interested again so long as it had 800+ HP and sounded amazing. Time to change the game and the formula , it needs to be wildly fresh not just mildly different … go get those former f1 tracks, charge a reasonable sanction fee (not the 50+ Million Bernie charges) and scoop them all up and stop fighting over 1.5M sanctioning fees in the USA that nobody can pay. Hell, create a sexy new wildly different car and formula and go sell it to those who got punted by Bernie, and show them up with a cooler offering… this can be done. I get the excitement back just typing up the potential, but alas, we are stuck with crap and I am out! Mike Earle - CEO AIO TV
Another Reader writes, Dear AR1.com, Just read your article on the Indy Car television ratings (or lack thereof) and I couldn’t agree more. Great championship battle and great racing, mean nothing if you can’t get anybody to watch. Perhaps IndyCar needs to buy time on Network television, and build some viewership, it may be a worthwhile investment. As for the new Dallara, it has grown on me to some degree but is still a clumsy looking race car. Swift, Lola et al. submitted some great looking proposals. The whole review process sounds like it was a dog and pony show , and the Dallara (Thanks to Brian Barnhart) was a foregone conclusion. Randy Bernard has a mountain to climb, perhaps the owners should cut him a little slack in light of the past CART/IRL leadership. Regards, John Swope
09/26/12 IndyCar has lost tons of fans to NASCAR over the last couple decades, but this latest news may be even more concerning because this is one unified series we're talking about. A drop of over a quarter of your television viewership is staggering and the brass is going to need to seriously consider some big changes for the 2013 season to draw some viewers back in to open wheel racing. As predicted by AR1.com on numerous occasions when we saw the new car, it was so ugly it would drive fans away and indeed that has happened. And with no body kits for 2013 the cars will remain just as ugly and more fans will be turned off. You can disagree with us all you want, that is your right, but we know for a fact race fans like cool looking and cool sounding race cars. The new IndyCar needed a knock your socks off for both look and sound and it didn't score on either. Just ask Bernie Ecclestone how important the sound of an F1 engine is to his ability to sell the sport to race fans.
09/25/12 According to Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal, IndyCar pulled its lowest viewership to date on NBC Sports Network, averaging 292,000 viewers, down 27 percent from 402,000 in 2011 and 62 percent from the 778,000 it averaged in its last year on ESPN in 2008. ABC races were down 17 percent from last year.
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