IndyCar's dumbed down spec cars just are not exciting enough (Update) UPDATE Another reader writes, Many thanks for publishing the articles I have written and the comments I have made for AR1 since 2010. After reading "IndyCar's dumbed down spec cars just are not exciting enough,"...I wonder, is this a sign that more people are getting the message? I've been pounding the keys on this for some time and AR1 has been publishing these ideas for three years.
Links to articles on AR1!
"IndyCar's success will be won or lost at the track"
"Don't blame TV for racing's drop in popularity"
"It's 2011 already. We need to start thinking that way."
Long Beach Grand Prix: Fun, sun, IndyCar racing - Makings of a perfect day
Hopefully, Indy Car's new management will get the message and focus their attention on the areas that need the most help. The television crisis will be diminished when the more pressing problems are addressed. I believe Indy Car needs more fans to get more TV viewers, not more TV viewers to get more fans.
Thanks for your willingness to get this opinion more widely distributed. Brian Mackey
05/24/13 A reader writes, Dear AR1.com, As we come into the "Super Racing Weekend", I wanted to make a couple of observations regarding the past weekends TV viewership and various forms of racing.
First off, the NASCAR All-Star race at Charlotte was on a Saturday night, and was telecast on SPEED. Now, I know you have mentioned before that the NBCSN is a drag on IndyCar, and is a problem that is hampering the growth of the series. While yes, NBCSN has a limited reach, SPEED is not the most widely distributed network either. With 2010 reach numbers SPEED reaches 77 million homes, while Versus at the time reached 75 million, so they are similar in size.
The All-Star race on SPEED received a 3.0 rating, with 3.7 million viewers, making it the most watched 2013 telecast on SPEED, and the second most watched sporting event for the weekend on cable.
To put this into perspective, the NASCAR Truck Series race on Friday night on SPEED got a .9 rating with 1 million viewers. It was the #1 most watched sporting event for the day (Friday), and dwarfed other motorsports (other than All-Star) for the weekend. NHRA on ESPN2 got 497,000 viewers, while Indy 500 Qualifying averaged 290,000 viewers (sat/sun) on NBCSN.
My point is that IndyCar doesn't have a network problem, it has a viewership problem. The sport is not capturing the attention of its fan base to go and watch the races on TV, the fans are not captivated by the sport enough to change their viewing habits to watch IndyCar on TV. NHRA drag racing got nearly double the viewers of IndyCar, the Truck Series got nearly 4 times more viewers than IndyCar, and the All-Star race got 13 times more viewers… all on networks with similar household reach. Until IndyCar can get the same numbers on NBCSN that the Truck Series gets on SPEED, then it is not a distribution problem, it is a consumption problem. I ask your readers out there: "What would make you want to watch IndyCar on TV"? Steven Sudler