Miles thinks IndyCar's TV ratings are going to improve
Marshall Pruett: We always talk about TV at some point, so let's close on that topic. Team owners tell me every week – and I'm sure they tell you every day – that they need higher ratings to increase the value of the sponsorships they're trying to sell. The network races bring higher ratings, which is what you'd expect, but are there any immediate moves you can make to bring the cable ratings up?
Mark Miles: The first thing I'd say is we obviously want to have higher, stronger television ratings. Even with the ratings that we have today, there's a lot of value in our business-to-business sponsorships. So to me the way I think of it is, OK, yeah, but we want to get beyond that and be more appealing for commercial brands, but we're looking at how to improve the overall value for our teams, and it isn't only through ratings.
It's business-to-business and brand building. I think we did a pretty good job as a sport with the first part of that but we've got to get ratings up in the right direction to be confident in that and to move toward being a more powerful consumer brand.
Look, there is a market for live television and lots of live television programming. We have existing relationships [with NBCSN and ABC] to go for a few years. Both of our partners just were involved in new arrangements with NASCAR, which are very substantial, and I am more convinced after this weekend than at any other time that those new arrangements will make opportunities for us.
So we met this week with John Miller at NBC Sports for two and a half hours, and from an NBC perspective, they showed us the data on what happens to our ratings when we overlap with other motorsports programming like NASCAR. It makes a material difference. The ratings are much better when we don't air at the same time as NASCAR, and that probably isn't a surprise. Well, if NBC and NBCSN broadcasts NASCAR and IndyCar, we won't be overlapping, we're told. So that in and of itself is what the analytics suggests will be a measureable improvement.
Their strategy is to build what they call the strongest motorsports vertical; they're going to have a dedicated guy from PR in motorsports, their sales force will be oriented that way, and all the rest of it. They're going to pay more attention in general to motorsports and NASCAR for sure is a big part of that. But the programming possibilities, to lead in and come out of strongly rated shows will help us. One way or another, I think our ratings should improve. Racer.com