Why is Iowa Corn 300 attendance decreasing so much?

Scott Dixon pitstop Sunday
Scott Dixon pitstop Sunday
2011 Crowd – easily double or triple 2017. Attendance has dropped every year since.

A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I was looking at some of the photos of yesterday's Iowa Corn 300 and it was clear to me that less than 1/4 of the seats were filled. I read that the track seats 30,000 so that would put the attendance at less than 7,500. I guess if you add in the campers they might have had 7,500 people there. What is going on with this race, I remember the grandstands used to be almost full? Why does IndyCar appear to be in such a downward spiral? Mordichai Rosen, Los Angeles, CA

Dear Mordichai, Yes despite IndyCar's claims of growth the facts are the facts. The IndyCar oval races are certainly in a downward spiral attendance-wise. This year's TV ratings are overall down from 2016 and 2016 was overall down from 2015 so it is clear IndyCar is not growing.

However, NASCAR and other motorsports in the USA, have also seen major drops in attendance and TV ratings so it is not just an IndyCar problem. While F1 is seeing a decrease in the average age of its fanbase, and a corresponding increase in popularity, American motorsports is not connecting with the youth of this country.

American motorsports also give everything away for free on social media so why should fans bother to attend races or watch on TV when they can get everything for free on social media while they go about their daily business. They can then watch the entire race for free later on YouTube, which generates zero TV ratings and hence zero sponsor value.

Bernie Ecclestone for years limited F1 news on social media and that helped to drive higher TV ratings and race attendance, leading to huge sponsor investment. Now that Liberty Media has taken over for Ecclestone, and appears more willing to give away information on social media, it will be interesting to see the impact on F1 in coming years. Mark C

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