Small Crowd Leaves Uncertain Future For IndyCar’s Milwaukee 225

UPDATE #2 As we wrote below, IndyCar should black out the TV broadcast in the local market to boost ticket sales at the track – an old NASCAR trick when the series was growing. The Milwaukee 225, the IndyCar auto race Sunday at the Milwaukee Mile, attracted a crowd of no more than 15,000 spectators, putting its return to the Mile in doubt.

It did attract more television households in the Milwaukee market on Father’s Day.

The Milwaukee 225 on WISN-TV (Channel 12) had a local rating of 2.9 or 26,131 households. The overnight rating for the race nationally was 0.9 or about 1.04 million households.

So if even half of those 26,131 (or more because 1 household equals about 1.3 viewers) people who sat home in Milwaukee instead came to the race track, the IndyCar race would have had attendance of almost 30,000 and everyone would have called it a success. Mark C.

06/20/11 A reader writes, Dear, You are correct that NASCAR owns the ovals, but their attendance at Michigan Sunday was down 40% from its good years. When you plaster a market with free ticket giveaways for years you kill it. Why should fans buy a ticket when a freebie may be just around the corner. And when NASCAR was growing they always blacked the race out in the local market to help ticket sales. Why doesn't IndyCar do that? Dave East

Dear Dave, Yes IndyCar should consider blacking out the local market to boost ticket sales at the track. Why buy a ticket when you can watch it on TV for free? Mark C.

06/20/11 IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said that next year's Milwaukee 225 "is a 50-50 proposition after a crowd of no more than 15,000 came out to the Milwaukee Mile on Sunday." AB Promotions' Chris McGrath said that his group, which revived the race after a one-year hiatus, "would go over the financial data from the weekend and then meet with Bernard." The race's fate "could be decided as early as this week." It is possible the race could go back to Chicagoland Speedway "at the request of title sponsor Izod." Bernard: "I'm hopeful there's a chance we could have both races" MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL.

A crowd of about 86,000 attended the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 on a "near-perfect day for racing" yesterday at Michigan Int'l Speedway DETROIT FREE PRESS.

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