Wednesday, April 22, 2009

TV Ratings Continue To Deliver A Message


There is a wake-up call being delivered by NASCAR fans nationwide. The only question is, will it result in change?

Here are the latest NASCAR TV ratings from Jayski.com:

NASCAR on Fox posted a record-low 3.3/6 Saturday night for racing from Phoenix. Saturday's 3.3/8 is an -18% drop compared to last year's 4.0/7. FOX's rating at the green flag was just a 3.1/6, down -18% compared to last year's 3.8/7 when a long-running Yankees-Red Sox game drove some viewers straight into the first lap of the race. For the season-to-date, NASCAR On FOX is averaging a 4.9/10 in the metered markets, down -14% compared to last year's 5.7/11.(4-20-2009)

There was a time when the NASCAR on Fox franchise was the face of the sport. That network basically revived NASCAR at a time when the sport was in need of a steady TV partner.

The original development of the Hollywood Hotel and the introduction of the admittedly "West Coast kind of guy" Chris Myers added a new wrinkle to the sport. Myers antics on the air were an interesting contrast to the homespun Darrell Waltrip and the rodeo riding Jeff Hammond.

Topping off the team was the professionalism of Mike Joy and the intensity of Larry McReynolds. With a long history in the sport, Joy has a racing resume that is hard to top. For many fans, Joy is the voice of NASCAR on TV.

Fox is loaded with all the technical toys, a top-notch TV crew and a veteran production team. So, what's the problem?

If Phoenix is any indication, the coverage has shifted from the original priority of showing the racing to the new priority of paying the bills. The Saturday night race telecast was drowned in an embarrassing level of sponsor plugs and commercial elements that were forced into the telecast.

From the Subway sandwiches in the pre-race show through the Monster Moment toward the end, the NASCAR on Fox announcers never had a fighting chance to make this race interesting for the TV viewers. The announcers had been firmly handcuffed by the most powerful group in sports TV, the Ad Sales Department.

Over the years, the cast of the NASCAR on Fox team have become characters unto themselves. None of them are bigger than Waltrip. "Ole DW" has expanded his personal franchise, but it has come at a cost.

Waltrip steps back and forth between Fox and SPEED during these racing weekends, sometimes offering great commentary on the sport. Sometimes, however, he appears as nothing more than a shill for causes like Digger merchandise or the Toyota brand. Working both sides of the street may have finally caught up with him.

While some may try to point to the COT as a big problem where TV is concerned, the issue is deeper. Listening to the races on the radio and following the action on Trackpass offers a very different perspective. While the Fox TV coverage is driven by who is leading the race and the location of the high profile drivers, what is actually happening on the track may be much different. Sometimes, very different.

There are only five races remaining in the Fox portion of the Sprint Cup Series TV package this season. After the news of the continued decline in ratings, it should be interesting to see if the Fox team shakes things up for the remaining events.

Looking for the best racing on the track vs. following the leaders is a fundamental issue that TV has wrestled with for a long time. While the new dynamic of the COT and the rather different style of racing has been mastered by the teams, it certainly has not translated into substantive changes in the way racing is shown on TV by Fox. There has been a lot of the same old thing and it is not working.

This weekend at Talladega, Friday brings an ARCA race on SPEED. Saturday brings a Nationwide Series race on ABC and then a Camping World Truck Series race on SPEED from Kansas. Many fans will have seen three events by Sunday afternoon.

Incredibly, once again this season SPEED and Fox will actually overlap live on the air for thirty minutes as both Fox-owned networks air pre-race shows. NASCAR fans will be forced to choose between two NASCAR TV networks both trying to interview the same drivers live from the same track. Perhaps, not the best way to start the NASCAR on Fox coverage.

Talladega does offer the opportunity to change the momentum of this TV season and get things back on track. Clusters of cars and long caution laps should make the commercial elements a lot less painful than the Phoenix debacle. Great HD pictures and fantastic audio should keep viewers interested.

The only thing missing from this scenario of success is the Fox commitment to stay with the stories of the race and keep viewers updated on the non-superteams. Interview all the drivers who fall out of the race. Show us the rookies, the independents and the teams working to stay in the top 35.

The build-up to the TV coverage of the Talladega Sprint Cup race is going to be huge once again this season. Looking at the TV ratings, however, one thing is very clear. Fans do not and will not take the time to watch the same old coverage. The challenge of pulling fans from the DVR's and TiVo's to get them to watch the race live can only be met by one group. The NASCAR on Fox team.

Live coverage begins Sunday at 1PM on Fox with the green flag waving at 2:19PM ET.

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80 comments:

Anonymous said...

Darrell Waltrip needs to be FIRED! Its his pompus attitude and disgusting self promotion that has spoiled the entire broadcast. I don't care what he has done for NASCAR, or how funny or likeable he may be. He has ruined TV for me.

stricklinfan82 said...

I previously posted this on the post-Phoenix thread but now that you've posted an seperate entry for this topic I'll copy and paste it here.......

Wow, Jayski says Fox received a record-low rating for the Phoenix Cup telecast. I guess the Fox cartoon at the beginning of the year (that was subsequently re-aired this past week) proved quite prophetic huh? "Ratings are down among humans since you showed up Digger... but they've skyrocketed among gophers so you're hired!"

As for the record-low numbers for the drop of the green flag, I guess the pre-race show that focused solely on the Subway advertisement, the Cheerios advertisement, the Shell advertisement, and (ironically) the 'recycling' of an old Fox cartoon didn't do much to build excitement and keep viewers tuned in for the start of the race huh?

Here's hoping that the folks at Fox will combine our constructive criticisms with the sting of the terrible ratings at Phoenix to re-focus the pre-race show to the racing and away from the sponsored junk and the nonsense like "let's see how much our production assistant sitting in the stands has eaten to this point in the show."

Coming off the heels of a strong pre-race show, let's hope that carries over to the production of the race itself. Talladega would seem to be the perfect place for Fox to have a major rebound. On paper you should have the easiest race to broadcast in the whole season. All 41 or so non start-and-park cars will run together in one small pack all day long, there will be tons of lead changes to keep the excitement high, literally any non S&P driver could win (see Regan Smith before NASCAR botched the call there last fall), and every non-S&P team, driver, and sponsor in the field will be able to get extensive exposure simultaneously through the constant non-stop use of wide shots of the entire pack.

Let's hope Fox takes advantage of this break in scheduling and produces a solid broadcast, which they failed to do at this time a year ago as you may recall.

David said...

Stricklinfan,
I stated the same thing about this being a good rebound week for FOX since Talladega could be produced by chimps in space and should come across decent on TV.

Lets pray this is a rebound race.

Between JD and strick, you guys hit it all.

Anonymous said...

It is not the coverage that needs to change - it is the quality of racing. The coverage is fine, just provide better races and problem is fixed.

I am looking forward to Talladega. The spring race there last year was, in my opinion, one of the more watchable and exciting races of the first half of last season.

Anonymous said...

>If Phoenix is any indication, the
>coverage has shifted from the
>original priority of showing the
>racing to the new priority of paying
>the bills.

Welcome to 2009! This isn't just FOX's priority, this is most fans' priority, as well.

Given how much you covered the economic hardships of the sport in the offseason, it is a little bit surprising to hear you react with surprise that there are more plugs in the broadcast.

The stock market might be on a nice 7-week rally, but the economy is not yet better. In fact, the last 7 weeks of economic "good news" has somewhat masked the fact that the economic crisis is as big and looming and life-changing as it was 3 months ago before Daytona.

Given that we still have to get through GM bankruptcy/restructuring and that the financial institutions of this country are still insolvent, and given that unemployment is still going up, not going down, and given that corporate earnings of every single NASCAR sponsor are going to suffer mightily over the next 12-24 months.... given all this, I think that NASCAR's changes in order to pay the bills are not only acceptable, but predictable. Everyone should have not only seen this coming, but should get ready for more, because the economy isn't getting better yet, it's got a lot of downside left to go.

I would rather FOX pay their bills, even in an annoying fashion, than have the sport more affected on the track. Folks, we are not out of the tunnel yet.

Richard in N.C. said...

JD, How are the ratings going for the N-Wide series on EESPN? Thanks.

Sophia said...

JD, we have been beating this drum so long ya wonder why we try to enlighten the broadcasters. Sigh

What we NEED:

Better direction of CAMERA WORK (MORE WIDE ANGLES, less bumper, in car cams)

Better communication. TELL US ABOUT ALL THE CARS not just the stars of the week.

Don't care about the POINTS.

Talladega was RUINED LAST YEAR BY FOX. So many tight camera shots and in car, EXCESS BUMPER CAMS stank.

Could not tell if they were at Dega or Bristol with the shameful CLOSE UP camera work.

We've all read and heard the same gripes over and over.

IF the racing is better LIVE then TELL US about it ON TV.PLEASE.

Radio can BRING THE EXCITEMENT to us.

Be nice to see wide shots of HEADLIGHTS, not tail lights.

Good directing of camera work can go a LONG way to overcoming excess commercials. As can information from the booth (in between the paying of the bills/movie promos, etc)

Let the camera linger on group shots of car clusters, please.

Oh, and stop covering the green flag racing with video rubbish and SAFETY UPDATES.

Split screen.

oh, and since this is all a pipe dream, how about a GOOD ANGLE of the finish line.

Lather, rinse, repeat each race.

Richard in N.C. said...

JD- Just heard on FOX Sports Radio that NBC announced that it lost $45 million on the Super Bowl and that, allegedly, some suspect NBC might have so announced with a view to getting price for Super Bowl rights down in the future. You don't think there could be any chance that FOX & EESPN might be doing less than its best with a view to trying to get some rights concessions out of NASCAR do you?

Dot said...

@ Strick & dear Sophia, DITTO.

Wouldn't you think that if people don't have the disposable income to attend races, they'd be watching on TV? It must be the coverage.

Here are my thoughts.

Don't write the script in the production meeting. Let the stories come to you.

Quit cramming drivers down our throats. Now I know it's too much to ask for all 43 drivers to get coverage but, all Kyle, all Carl and dare I say it, all JR all the time? The JR issue is only going to get worse now that Mark won before he did. Especially now that we're going to 'dega.

Using the Phx race as an example. If a CUP race is fewer miles than usual, make the commls fit the race. A Planeteer mentioned this during the race. Ten lbs of **** in a five lb bag (paraphrasing). I would be much more inclined to buy a product if the sponsor opted for 30 second ticker at the bottom of the screen instead of interrupting the race.

Shorten the pre race and lengthen the post race shows. Just think, if we had a longer post race, we could have seen all those drivers congratulate Mark in VL. Saw it VL and TWIN. Also, the little dust up between JR and Mears. Saw more of that today on either NN or TWIN.

Digger really has to go. And take that Hill(?) guy with him. He probably has a contract so we'll be stuck with him. I bet he won't be back next year.

DW does need to tone it down. I like him and his thoughts about the state of NASCAR. I guess you have to do what you have to do to keep your job.


JD, I hope this isn't all in vain. Do they care? It seems that both FOX and BSPN don't pay any attention to what we fans want.

JD, I have a name for your new band, John Daly and the Planeteers. They can open for TDP Comedy Tour.

Anthony said...

I had a feeling that this would be the post of the evening.

FOX's race coverage was pathetic. Two races ago at Martinsville, I said that it was the best FOX race I'd seen in a long time. Now, two races later, this garbage that was the Subway 500k at Phoenix is what we get.

FOX needs to decide how it's going to broadcast the events and do it the same way each week. I hope this "record low" statement is not exaggerated. Maybe FOX will wake up and realize that the Phoenix approach was all wrong. If it requires firing the staff that ran the Phoenix race in favor of the staff that ran the Martinsville race, so be it. A change needs to be made now. There are no excuses.

Surely NASCAR's got to be worried? But who knows, maybe the money's all they're worried about right now.

KoHoSo said...

Have any of you ever been to a an Internet forum covering all sports and seen what happens when you try to discuss NASCAR (or racing in general)? The predictable responses are "boring" and "nothing but left turns." It is my opinion this happens now because that is pretty much all we have been given since NASCAR unified the television contracts.

Previous to that, we had good, interesting coverage from the pre-Disney ESPN, the late lamented TNN, and CBS where there was much more focus on where the excitement was happening rather than insisting on staying at the front of the field and with pre-determined stories. In my view, that type of coverage was just as much a part of what led to NASCAR's explosive growth in the 1990's as all of the other factors.

It was easy to get people not familiar with NASCAR at least occasionally interested in the sport in those days past because, even if one driver was way ahead, the broadcasters of the time still found things to hold a viewer's interest. These days, I am just too embarrassed to continue to introduce new people to the sport right now.

I can forgive "Boogity, boogity, boogity" (which I have railed against publicly since day one), I can explain away Chris Myers and Dr. Jerry Punch, I can make sure to miss all of Digger except his in-race graphic, and everybody knows by now how inane any ESPN sideline reporter's questions can be no matter the sport. However, how can I spread the joy of the mostly good on-track product when the telecasts miss important action, show only ten or so cars for any length of time during the event when 43 are running at the drop of the green flag, and when the various inserts and pre-produced features add nothing of real value for the new or casual fan?

This is strictly my personal belief. Yes, I believe that NASCAR has lost some viewers because "it ain't like it used to be" and they have moved on. However, I would hazard a guess that much of the ratings downfall has come because the television outlets are no longer giving casual fans the same product that interested them in the sport originally. It has at times become nothing but watching one or two cars do nothing but left turn, left turn, left turn. Americans like action and that's why we generally don't watch soccer. In our sports, we like lots of scoring. In racing, passing is scoring, and it's just as cool to see a "guy off the bench" score as it is a big-name star.

I realize that the Cup race at Phoenix had a special set of circumstances that caused it to be more painful to watch than other Fox efforts. They have also done much better at not beating us over the head with that accursed rodent during races.

That being said, Fox is making it almost as difficult to watch an entire race from beginning to end as it is on ESPN. I understand promos, sponsor mentions, and the Such-and-Such feature brought to you by Brand X. What I don't understand is why, in between those things, we can't be shown what makes this sport so interesting no matter how far ahead one car might be from the others. In a world where almost everything visual aimed at the precious 18-35 year old male demographic is nothing but constant action and movement, it totally befuddles me how Fox -- supposedly the most cutting edge of all broadcasters -- can justify showing so many boring and useless camera angles. Is it any wonder that many of the people they brought in as new fans have probably left to watch something more exciting...like poker.

majorshouse said...

Haven't they figured out by looking at how Speed covers the races that less is more? They need to wake up and smell the roses before they lose all of the fans to MRN.

Anonymous said...

I know that I am in the minority here, but I think that Fox hasn't gone far enough in using Digger to grow the fan base and generate revenue for the network. They are bringing in fans of the Cartoon Network, but they need to think even bigger. There are many other specialized audiences out there, and they should use Digger to bring in those, too.

Let's start with the Food Network. Rodents are an underutilized source of food, and Fox could begin promoting rodent barbecue. I see tailgate parties with fans competing in barbecue contests with Digger or the rodent of your choice on the menu. In stead of focusing on dumb old cars or silly drivers, the pre-race shows could focus on the barbecue contest. Cowboy Hammond's image would make him the perfect celebrity judge.

And I guarantee ol' DW will be front and center hawking "Digger Barbecue Sauce" available at his web site.

And to eliminate more of that stupid old racing, that boring time during green flags could be filled up with pre-recorded interviews with drivers discussing their personal favorite recipes.

Yeah, the ratings will skyrocket as the fans of the Food Network discover NASCAR television coverage on Fox.

bevo said...

I really feel for Joy, McReynolds and all of the long time technical people behind the scenes who love what they do and have to watch the product suffer because of these idiots. It's a real simple solution - show the racing.

Anyone who has watched the IRL coverage on Versus can see the difference, and they've only done two races. Look at the amazing job Speed has done with the Truck series over the years.

Anonymous said...

I watch everything Nascar on TV and my view is that the real problem with declining viewership is the quality of the product----the racing! I apply the "...Would you want to spend the time and money to have been there to watch it?" test. The last couple of years has been the foul-handling,single file COT. Throw in a couple of Goodyear tire fiascos and coasting to the finish at 60mph to save gas for good measure. This year, its the pits. Right or wrong,the pit violations and the lug nuts falling off has totally screwed up the competition. The game this year is to arrive really fast,qualify at the front,then get a good pit stall and try to stay out front in the clean air where the car might handle. At Phoenix the leaders were strung out at the end on a one mile track where you'd think a wad of cars would be racing to the checkers. At Texas, I was ready for the checkers at the half way point it was so boring (wait till the 600 Memorial Day!).At the mile and a halfs,15 cars finish on the lead lap with the others 2-5 laps down. At Talledega, everyone will cruise until the last ten laps. Someone will do something dumb from time to time to take out a bunch of good cars. Most of the races are way too long. The broadcast crews have a mix of good and not-so-good talent,but they can't change the quality of the racing. I usually enjoy the Truck and Nationwide races more because there is less BS in the booth,the races are shorter and they race really hard for the whole race. I wrote Mike Helton a couple of months ago and told him that Nascar had real problems. For what its worth....

Todd said...

JD. You know what was a breath of fresh air? Seeing Bob Jenkinks, and listening to him on the IRL race on VS Sunday afternoon. I can't wiat to hear them again this Sunday from Kansas! From a long suffering used to be na$car fan.

Todd said...

oooops that's Jenkins!

Anonymous said...

Everyone is asking for wide shots. Wide shots show empty seats when NA$CAR has said it's a sellout. Wide shots show 50,000 empty seats when NA$CAR says only 10,000 empty seats.

I suspect the lack of wide shots is a NA$CAR dictum.

Anonymous said...

First, to improve me watching the TV on the race, show the ENTIRE field, not those whose sponsors poney up extra money after investing millions into a team; dump Waltrip. He's a goof-ball trying to recover money from his failed, extremely failed, attempt at being a car-owner. He was not a factor for years in a race. He's not involved now. Never was very popular.
They need to interview more drivers who drop out. The radio does a better job, all around. Even the PRN folks.
Barney Hall, Dave Moody, et all, are the best. I don't even watch.

Anonymous said...

Fellow Orbiters:
This column is one of the most poignant in recent Nascar history...not to mention sports history.
For the FOX appologists who defend the blatant over-commercialization of telecasts as necessary because of a "down" economy,or who think its a "strategy" to get future rigts fees reduced, I'm sorry to say you are wrong on both counts.

The problems with this sport that we all love(d) so much boil down to this. The sanctioning body and the execs charged with televising are detached from the sport. They are not fans, not engaged, not passionate. On the tv side, the FOX tv truck is packed with their NFL crew. Enough said.
The CEO at NASCAR would rather be a hollywood mogul or the owner of an NFL franchise. Enough said.
Thus, we end up with homogenized cars, nose-to-tail-"racing", innocuous drivers who speak in rehearsed sound bytes, networks with a dozen on-camera talking heads, each with a personal agenda that trumps knowlegable reporting, and media executives who actually believe their own, incestuous corporately generated public relations exaltations.
When I wrote on this blog and declared that I turn FOX off at the first sighting of Digger, I expect that FOX execs dismissed me as an ignominious little person.
Not so easy to dismiss now, eh?

Ken said...

I fear the flood of commercials and promotions instead of racing will increase. Ad rates are determined by the number of viewers. When viewership drops, ad rates drop and they have to increase the number of commercials to bring in the same money. As a result of the increased number of commercials, viewership drips some more. The result is more commercials and on and on.

If they would deliver a higher quality product with fewer interruptions, the ratings would increase and they could increase the ad rates. They would suffer in the beginning but gain i the long run.

Anthony said...

The official report is up on Caws N Jaws: From the national anthem at 8:30p/et to the waving of the checkered flag at 11:39p/et, there were 52 minutes of commercials. That equates to 28% of the broadcast.

The Samsung 500 broadcast from Texas was 34 minutes longer, but only had 6 more minutes of commercials.

Does this mean that FOX needed to put the same number of ads in a shorter race? Does this mean that FOX wanted more ads because it was prime time? I'm not really sure what to make of those stats up there. That's stooping to TNT's ridiculous amount of commercials.

JoeR said...

While I am not surprised by all the negative comments about the FOX coverage and announcers, I will disagree on the quality of the race this past Saturday night. Why? Because MRN made the race exciting with its coverage. By turning down the FOX crew and cranking up the radio - gives the best experience of watching the race.
While I used to watch all of the Nascar programming, now my routine is getting updates on Jayski and turning on the race approx 15 minutes before the green flag to catch the pre race ceremonies (and sync up MRN with the FOX broadcast).
Having been a long time NASCAR fan, I have found that it has not been as interesting anymore - blame the COT, blame FOX, blame TNT, blame ESPN. I don't know - I think its a combination of all. I just wish I could get that feeling back of getting excited about the next race as opposed to saying "oh well - lets see if this race and race coverage will be better today".
Thanks JD for giving us an outlet to share our feelings - hopefully, NASCAR and FOX are listening.

Tracy said...

Three letters: MRN.
How many of us watching the race on TV muted the sound and turned on the radio? Show of hands?

It's not the racing, it's the coverage. I've been to tracks where the race was really good, gotten home, read the race blog and wondered if we were watching the same deal. Sure, the COT has problems. But there's still plenty of excitement. Carl Edwards at 'Dega last fall, humm??? Kyle Busch putting Junior in the wall at Richmond? Michael Waltrip jamming Casey Mears's tail until he hit the wall several times, hmmm...not boring at all. Three wide at Phoenix looked exciting to me, until the screen went into commercial after commercial after commercial...

I have nothing against DW - when he's on his game, he's wonderful, giving insights and commentary that are among the best. Same with Larry Mac, Jeff H, etc. But when they start to play the stupid stuff,i.e., the Rutledge pieces, and then they add in that tattooed guy who looks like a crack addict, I'm outta there.

I saw more of the race on TWIN last night than I did Sat. night on Fox.

Anon at 3:26 - priceless! Laughed until I cried.

Al Gaskins said...

You are missing it all together. The TRUE Nascar fans don't give a damn about all the prerace crap. We don't need all the polically correct crap like some reporter in a skirt trying to act like she knows what she are talking about. Don't need some cartoon thing. Just show the race like ESPN use to. Also, the fad is over. The jump on the Nascar band wagon just because it was COOL is over.

Anonymous said...

Regardless if you change thecontent of the coverage, when someone isn't watching they won't see it. I left NASCAR behind last year with the COT. I tape the race fast forward through the embarrassing Momma/Baby duck portions and catch the end if I'm not asleep already. My wife refuses to watch it so it is past her bed time when I tune in. Commercials, I never see them. For me, the TV coverage of a boring event is boring coverage of a boring event. Whether FOX or NBC, they can't change the quality of the product they cover. You can turns a sow's ear into a silk purse. The proof of the pudding is the telecast is free. And folks still aren't buying. It can't get any cheaper and the racing won't get any better despite who is covering the race.

Anonymous said...

Folks, you're missing the big picture here. Brian France said what would be covered. Toyota, Hendrick Motorsports, Juan Pablo Montoya,and Dale Jr. Guess what? That's about all we get except for maybe the occasional wrecks,blown engines, a quasi-Top 10 rundown, and pit stops. And even those aren't covered that well because they interfere with the dictated coverage.

If you want to improve the coverage, first get rid of Brian France and his dictated coverage. Then can DW and the rest of the shills. And finally, get rid of the abomination that's being passed off as a race car and get something that resembles what we actually drive. Maybe then we can have something that resembles racing and race coverage.

Ken-Michigan said...

I'm confident that that vast majority of us would be more forgiving towards FOX if we were at least seeing FOX making an attempt to make their coverage better.

Granted, we all probably watch these events more closely than some viewers, but after nearly a decade of NASCAR ON FOX....FOX is under the impression that the show is about THEM & not the race.

DW is not the reason I watch.
Hammond / McReynolds are not the reasons.
FOX "phrases" like Hollywood Hotel - Overdrive - Knock out qualifying..etc are not reasons I watch. And Digger, well, give me a gun.

I'm expecting a network to give NASCAR the respect it deserves. We want to see races back in the pack, while still not losing touch with the leader (split screens would suffice).
Many of us want drivers interviewed or at least acknowledged, if and when they depart from competition. Nemechek and others would probably land more sponsorship, therefore enhancing competition IF they were covered by the network - instead there are times that we dont even see them period.

Cover the "bad news" stories.....example from Phoenix.
Richard Childress Racing, Clint Boyer came into the race 4th in points, was dog meat during the race, drops 2 spots in points after 26th place finish. Harvick 30th. Cover this stuff !

Hornish had a great run for Penske, didnt hear or see much about it.
Reed Sorenson had a badly needed good run, and I'm not sure if I saw the 43 car all night.

It's almost insulting coverage to those of us who have followed the sport for over 30 years.

Could I do better ?.... damn right I could !!

But we did have a 90 second feature on FOX's John Madden retirement... all is well in FOX LAND !

Anonymous said...

Brian France said what would be covered.

When did he do this?

I don't buy it, because if NASCAR can't even keep a network from dumping out of a race when it runs too long, there's no way they can dictate coverage.

Anonymous said...

We don't need all the polically correct crap like some reporter in a skirt trying to act like she knows what she are talking about.

I have yet to see anyone wear a skirt while reporting on NASCAR.

And based on your comments, I can tell you there are plenty of women out there who know more about racing than you do.

GinaV24 said...

Anon:3:26 -- funny, oh my gosh, funny! I might tune in for that!

This TV coverage is a lot different than what it was back in 01 when the first contract came out. I was excited to watch Fox and the pre-race shows and I enjoyed the racing, but this stuff isn't watchable any more. Chris Meyers should be allowed to adapt -- the "no nothing" shtick is old and I just cannot listen to DW any more. DW has chosen self-promotion and forgotten that the broadcast is NOT about him, but about the racing. He always had a big mouth, that was his claim to fame as Jaws, but it has gone so far over the top at this point that he has lost all credibility with me as a fan. He never drove the stinky COT and yet was willing to stand there and say that NASCAR was right (a lot like Mikey)and yet what the fans see if lousy racing. A lot depends on the weather as to I will be sitting in front of my TV watching the race "live" at Dega. If it is typical restrictor plate, I can watch the start, then come back and watch the last 20 laps,so the DVR may be the way to go, especially if the weather is nice. Sorry, but NASCAR races have gone from being "must see TV" to "why bother"! I can "see" the race through the radio announcer's voice better than missing the action because the commercials take precedence.

Adam said...

I knew there was a reason why I only watch the end of NASCAR races as opposed to the whole race anymore.

Bad coverage, too many ads, select attention on the field, and bad racing.

Fox, ESPN, and TNT can learn from Versus coverage of the IRL. Only two races in and they have excellent coverage that I hope is arond for a long time.

Anonymous said...

West Coast Diane said:

@Ken...major ditto...lower ratings = reduced ad $ = more ads!!

@Sophia...bingo!

@Tracy...yes...the Daytona race I attended didn't bear any resemblance to what was shown on TV!!

JD...if you haven't seen it, Larry Mac has article on Fox website ripping into PC drivers, COT that isn't working, etc...hmmm. (@ FOX guys...now WATCH your coverage..or lack thereof...some of it is the COT, but a lot is the presentation).

JD...Re: above article. Couldn't even read comments after Larry Mac article because people are crude, rude and foul. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU...for providing a place for a civil discussion.

Anonymous said...

Most every comment here is negative about the racing and the race coverage.Both are very painful to watch. DW and his crew are just"AWFUL".They all need to go. Bring back people like Johnny Hayes,or some people like that with a genuine attitude. It's soooooo painful to just listen to the start of the race with Larry & DW doing stupid thing they do. Guess what, the coverage and the racing goes down hill from there. I can't believe a true race fan can stand to watch and listen to that group for 3hrs any more.I could go on forever here,but old B France better get in tuoch with the real world out here that made his family so rich and famous.

Anonymous said...

Ken from Michigan is right on the money. I WANT to see it all! On radio, I do...

PRN and MRN specialize in racing and NASCAR and have LOADS more experience in presenting the broadcasts than all the TV people combined. Because it's radio the announcers can't fall back on pictures; the words they speak must paint the picture for the listener. That's why more and more people turn off the TV sound and turn UP the radio because you're getting a far superior and complete "picture" in your mind of what is happening. Waltrip's, Hammond's and Larry Mac's years of experience in the sport does not equal the kind of skill with the english language required and used weekly by the MRN and PRN reporters. The radio producers also have the benefit of working together all year long in just one sport...not moving around or doing just a few weeks here and there like the TV people.

One more comment on the endless self promotion by Darrel Waltrip: I was driving on I-35 south of the Oklahoma border in Texas this weekend and happened upon a place called DW's Adult World. Almost stopped in to see if I could buy the wife a cute little Digger teddy. Almost.

Anonymous said...

waltrips are the biggest problem,Every race I've ever shut off or passed on(cup/trucks) was because off one or the other. Biased coverage is a close 2nd if you don't believe it, put you're self in the seat of a Bodine or R.Gordan fan for about 3 to 5 races and you'll see where a lot of us went. When you watch football noone makes it hard to be a Lions fan but if thay did ??? ...

Anonymous said...

I agree with your article and most of the comments, and one poster made mention of Larry Mac's article where he cried about the drivers and the COT car. TV needs to accept part of the blame and maybe even a big part. If TV talks about the good points of the COT, they immediately mention one of the negatives. If safety is mentioned, two sentances after they are again talking about the wing or splitter. TV should be objective and be calling the races, not expressing opinions. We don't need to hear announcers opinions. JD has mentioned here before how unprofessional it is when announcers go into business for themselves and start giving opinions, there is no place for it. The reason the ratings are down isn't because of the COT, drivers or Dale Junior, it is Fox's poor choices in what they are presenting to the viewers.

Terry said...

I wish that I could get MRN radio where I am. Until that happens, I'm stuck with the crap we have. I hope FOX figures it out, and does a better job this weekend in Talladega.

James said...
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James said...

My interest in watching Nascar has really declined this year. I was talking with my wife about it and I haven't really been able to figure out why, but I think your article points out part of the blame. I remember turning on a race and listening to experts like Joy discuss the nuances of racing, the track, the cars, DW throwing in some good driver perspective, and teh West Coast guy keeping everything inline.. I feel like I don't get that any more. Maybe they've had their time and it's time for some new faces. I don't mean hiring broadcasters from a competitor. I mean some guys that have been in Nascar, but are retired and would have new things to say. There should be plenty of previous Crew Chiefs, racers, or other Nascar types that were well liked that can be the new face of Nascar. Hearing the same thing from the same guys after 10 years gets a bit old. That may be harsh but it's reality, I think.

Do I think that'll ever happen? Hell no. They'll continue to do stupid things like that deplorable Digger character. Yikes! What were/are they thinking? Then when they do change crews it'll be some same old face like a Wallace brother instead of fresh new faces that can carry them for the next 20 years.

It's not just Fox. Unless ESPN and TNT make some changes I don't see myself watching most of those races.

Anonymous said...

Could the message be that NASCAR was just a passing fad for the American public, and it has run its course? There is nothing wrong with it returning to 2nd tier status. Maybe that will force every team to drive down costs.

Daly Planet Editor said...
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Daly Planet Editor said...
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Newracefan said...

First problem
Minutes of race broadcast: 137
Minutes of commercials: 52
The percentages are way off no wonder we couldn't figure out what is going on.

I do not however blame Mike, Larry, DW etc (except maybe Meyers acting like a goofball, we know this is an act). I do blame the producer/director they are the ones controlling what we see and how we see it. We know there is racing out there, people who have gone to the race tell us this. Those watching Trackpass can see it, the radio guys are obviously at a different track the the TV guys. I remember hearing the booth guys calling for the camera because of an incident it's like they are not allowed to look out the window anymore and I think all the interruptions are throwing Mike and the boys off their game. Every time they start to get their rhythm back it's off to another sponsor bit, video clip or commercial. For example I knew there was going to be a wreck between Robby and Mikey, I could tell from pit command that they had been going at it for a while and with individual and collective history it was a given instead we had junk. DW use to bring it up and the camera would be there now it's a video reply because we were off doing something else. I really don't think they forgot how to call a race I think they are being told how to do it and who ever is telling them needs to be locked in a room with Digger cartoons playing over and over again until he gives in.

The big guns are also to blame for trying to cram in so much sponsored crap and commercials. I guess they haven't figure out that if they continue to provide an inferior product they are going to lose money so more commercials and sponsored items will not garner more money because you will not be able to charge top dollar for something no one is watching. Sponsor a little clip at the bottom or part of the ticker. I'll notice and probably utilize your product. Make me miss the racing on a regular basis, I'll avoid your product even if I use to buy/use it.

Soph thanks for reminding me about how BAD Talledega was last year, now I won't get my hopes up and will have the alcohol handy.

hotaru said...

Some possible X factors to all this:

Digger
Goofy psuedo-hype
the commercials/sponsor plugs during the races
Select coverage of a few (mostly ESPNs Nationwide coverage)

Hmmm... no wonder ratings are so low.

glenc1 said...

Those who blame it on the racing apparently haven't actually been to one (and in this economy, I can't blame anyone for that.) But I've been watching and attending for over 10 years and I don't see anything wrong with the racing when I'm *there*. People have had complaints with whatever cars they've driven and whatever rules have been required--some are just better than others. NASCAR was going for safety with this (and it matters--even from the most cynical, heartless standpoint, a sport can't afford to sacrifice its stars). Now, I'd be the first to say I'd rather see cars that had more differences, but I really don't care about manufacturers, and I don't think the racing has been bad--there are battles going on, you just don't see them on TV. (I hate plate racing, but that's just a personal thing--you could turn on the last 25 laps and you'd pretty much see the same thing as the rest of the race.) In any case, I pretty much agree with JD, Stricklinfan, Dot, etc. And I do feel bad for guys like Mike Joy who really do love this sport. To be honest, the commercials don't bother me as much as the poor coverage when they're showing the racing, but if they're going to do more ads, they really need to get NASCAR to look at the split screen option (I've never figured out why they're not interested in that.)

And I just have to say, Wendy Venturini and Krista Voda don't wear skirts during coverage and they know exactly what they're talking about. Krista's been a fast and smart student, and Wendy grew up with it. With anonymous comments like that, I have to conclude dinosaurs still roam the earth...

Anonymous said...

You can't sell a product that is bad, no matter how poorly or well you market it. The underlying problem is that NASCAR races have become boring and predictable. With the COT track position is all that matters and a car out front stays out front.

As a result, pit incidents become the determinate factor in the outcome more frequently. That is not racing.

The incredibly long intro-shows (Talledega coverage starts at 1:00 pm and the race at 2:19) make every race seem the same in importance. The Super Bowl has a four hour intro, but regular season games 5 minutes. I almost never watch any pre-race--it is all commercials, shills and self-promotion anyway.

Get back good racing and the audience will return.

Matt Humphrey said...

This is another fine TV analysis by The Daly Planet.

The lower ratings don't surprise me. The commercial saturation is too much for the casual TV viewer, Digger is despised and a race with long, green-flag runs isn't going to hold your attention for 3-4 hours.

Heck, you'd think the ratings would've received a bump by Dale Earnhardt Jr. leading a chunk of this race and creating some late-race drama at the end.

Interesting.

Anonymous said...

Maybe NASCAR should return some of the TV money it collects with the current deal. The networks need to show commercials to pay bills and make a profit.

Unfortunatly for the networks, they bought into NASCAR when it was at its peak of popularity. Plus, they thought the ratings had nowhere to go but up.

They paid a premium for a property that just isn't bringing in the returns likey they hoped. Not unlike the people that bought a house in California, only to see its value plummit.

Fox can sell an additional TV spot knowing exactly how much money will be coming in at that moment in time. Or, they can try to turn back the clock with simplier broadcasts with fewer commercials, with the hopes of increasing ratings.

Though, there is that old saying, "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." There is no way Fox will turn down ad revenue they can get today with the hopes changing the broadcast around will bring in higher ratings at a later time. They have bills to pay.

Fox, ESPN/ABC, and TNT needs a bailout from NASCAR with a repriced TV deal. Only then will they feel they can stop chasing additional revenue in order to make ends meet.

Anonymous said...

Leader driving away from the field.
Passing mostly only happens in the pits. The cars with the most money almost always win. Sound familiar? Try watching a Formula One broadcast. Even though they have all of the same problems NASCAR has, they put on a good race broadcast. They show the racing that is going on in the back of the field and not just follow the leader all of the time. If the director would just show some of the racing that is going on, you wouldn't here half of the complaints about the broadcast (with the exception of this past week which was just a paid program with a few racing highlights thrown in). The people at FOX have forgotten that the point of watching RACING is to see the RACING not just watch one or two cars run around a track. If all you did was watch the TV coverage, how did you know what happened to 90% of the field? You didn't because the TV coverage never mentioned or showed them. Thank god we have the internet, radio and other forums to be able to actually know what is going on with the race. I haven't listened to the TV broadcast in a long time as there is no point. It is almost to the point of not even turning on the TV because all you get is commercials even when they are supposedly showing the race. How much of the actual race broadcast do you think they spent shilling for some company or another (not to even mention the stupid gopher). The only way to fix this crap is to SHOW THE RACING. I could live with listening to jaber-jaws and the rest if there was something for them to actually talk about other than commercials.

Anonymous said...

I'm also one of those who has been "there" at the races who is disappointed in the racing today. We went with another couple camping for the weekend starting back in the late 80's. If you REALLY wanted to see what happened during the race, you needed to record it back home. There's no instant replay when something happens a mile away or you are looking the other way. We did this every year until about five years ago. We put up with the ever escalating costs,the bad weather, the drunks, disgusting restrooms,etc. We did it because we loved Nascar racing. We still love it,but we participate from our living rooms now. PS-The racing sucks with the COT compared to the way it was.Just one persons opinion....

The J said...

my feeling is that many "casual fans" grew old of the sport after a while. it may be because of the coverage, or the cot, or the boring drivers, or all those together. ive had many friends who i got into nascar, and after a few months they say that its just too monotonous for them to handle. the same guys winning, same tracks every week, same thing coming out of the drivers mouth. the kind of things tv cant change. i dont know, im sure if the coverage was better, ratings would be higher. not much higher.

bowlalpo said...

I've only watched 2 races F-2-F on TV in 2009. One was enhanced with HotPass, the other was Phoenix. The PIR commercials were unbearable, but I had books and newspapers to read. It didn't strike me as overkill, but it was annoying.

The COT has made the racing less exciting but only up front. The problem is, on TV, we can't see the good racing in the back by drivers whose cars/sponsors desperately need exposure.

I got tired of writing about the muzzling of sponsors since all TV networks started doing this in 2001. Apparently this won't change, because with the economy, this would have been the year that even the back-markers should have gotten some free love...that is, if TV actually cared about the future of the sport as much as their bottom line. As if the two aren't linked together??

I hate Digger, but if it brought more viewers, that's a good thing and I have no room to complain.

(OARS, I won't watch SportsCenter any more because they had Snoop Dogg on there last week, but if it brought more viewers...)

NASCAR on FOX is NOT bringing more viewers (they're losing 15 for every 10 they gain), and we're talking, but no one is listening.

JD, I hope this doesn't get so discouraging and repetitious that you revive your January decision to end this blog, but in a way I wouldn't blame you. It really seems like no one in NASCAR TV is listening to us. Any of us.

Anonymous said...

booth is fine just quit being so PC. NASCAR wanted big money for broadcasts so how is tv to pay for it.NASCAR deserves more of the blame than it gets on this subject.and i do remember old espn broadcasts. those were good because they didn't have to stop for commercials to pay for NASCAR greed. also lay off COT. remember all the other variations of rules to promote better racing like 5&5. any car out front with any rules will be faster due to getting all the air (downforce).plain and simple

glenc1 said...

There were plenty of stinkers with the old car too. A lot depends on the track, but regardless, there's still a lot going on that you never see thanks to the networks. As JD said, if the teams can adapt, so can the networks (and us). BTW, actually, at Watkins Glen there is instant replay because they have Jumbotrons (there's a small one on the backstretch at Richmond, and probably some other tracks as well, I think Dover had one.) I guess I just go in with a positive attitude & expect to be entertained and I usually am (and I do things as cheaply as possible, no track food, etc). During the race, I pick out battles going on in the field if someone dominates. And that's what I expect Fox to do when I can't be there. Instead we get pointless banter and football tributes during green flags, as if we're too stupid to be entertained by actual racing. If fans have already given it up, that's their choice and I understand--but it's still the networks' job to give those of us who remain the best show they can.

Richard in N.C. said...

It seems to me that there needs to be a meeting ( a long meeting) including Mike Helton, others from NASCAR, and representatives of FOX and the Evil Empire to discuss the quality of the racing and the broadcasts thereof and what improvements might be feasible in light of economic conditions. Now at the same time, I don't believe the product on the track is nearly as bad as the mainstream media likes to portray it. For newspapers in particular, the new motto is "when in doubt blame NASCAR" - which I do suspect in part is because reporters do not fear Brian France the way they did his father. I find it fascinating that as newspapers and coverage of NASCAR keeps sinking, those remaining keep leading with what they can find to complain about with NASCAR - possibly contributiong to driving away some of those that might have an interest in reading about racing.

Dot said...

JD, I think you hit a nerve with this column. The Planeteers have spoken. Will we be heard?

Great comments by all. We're not whining, just offering some constructive criticism. We love racing, so show us what we love.

Anonymous said...

They need to get rid of the digger cartoon. They do too much with the ask.com thing. IT seems they squeeze so much into the broadcast. And cut the talking down a little bit in the pre race show. Most everyone would rather see the race then an hour of talking.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Dot,

There is one thing to keep in mind. The NASCAR TV partners have made substantive changes over the last three years and many of those changes are in line with the issues we have discussed right here.

ESPN has changed Brent, Suzy, Doug and Erik. The "other sport" interviews are gone during practice, qualifying and the races. They moved Rusty to the infield and Allen there from pit road.

TNT moved to wide-open coverage with an online application that was gangbusters last season.

Change comes slowly to big companies and the downturn in ratings this season is certainly going to be a wake-up call.

Hopefully, the comments from folks who love the sport will continue to get the attention of the various media companies involved in NASCAR.

JD

Mary said...

For me the start was far too late - 10pm our time -just doesn't cut it when I have to be up at 6am the next morning.
However when I did get to watch what I had taped I seemed to do a lot of FF and wondered to myself about the number of breaks

James said...

My criticism was a little misguided and a bit over the top. Reading more of the comments has brought me to the realization that a lot of good things have happened and the sport has come a long way. I still don't watch as much as I used to and still haven't quite put a finger on why.

darbar said...
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darbar said...

Yes, the ratings should deliver a message, but no one is reading it. Brian France continues to line his pockets with money, cash he uses for himself and his lavish lifestyle. Helton and Hunter continue to make up rules as they go along. Real racing is non-existent with the IROC cars. Drivers are boring, corporate licking robots. Networks are concerned with the bottom line and not with producing the best show. Seats are empty for a number of reasons including the economy, but mostly because they're seeing a sub-standard product on the track.

So, what can be done? Honestly, I'm not sure the networks are willing to change. They're still selling their ad time, so unless sponsors demand changes, they're not going to do a darn thing.

Nascar CAN change things but they won't. France doesn't have a clue on how to run Nascar. Helton and Hunter only care about being politically correct and protecting certain drivers. They lied when they said the IROC cars would achieve parity and would provide better racing.

If I ran Nascar for a season this is what I'd do, and as a by-product of my changes, the networks would see better ratings. First, dump a large portion of the rule book. No top 35 welfare system, no lucky dog, no qualifying rain outs. Engineers and crew chiefs would be allowed to be creative--no more tying their hands by not allowing creativity. Reduce the number of races at the cookie-cutter tracks and bring on at least one dirt track race. Change the points system and dump the Chase.

As for the networks, stop the silly, sophomoric stuff like Digger. Realize there are drivers other than the Hendrick guys. Use common sense with commercials and if at all possible, see if they can do a split screen. Can Bob Jenkins come back? Do the simple things like re-set the field and show racing mid-pack. Go back to the old days and stop trying to show off your fancy technology.

Sophia said...

Nracefan

Sorry for the reminder of how bad Dega was last year.

It and Daytona are my favorite tracks for tv as they SHOULD make for lovely viewing of the race WITH DECENT CAMERA WORK.

but we have attention deficit directors busy cramming THEIR agenda down our throats.

THAT is the bottom line. Horrible directing of camera work. So who is telling him if HE HAS AN EXCUSE.

Yep, we just opened some Franzia White Zin wine in a box. Might finish it and do shots of Gin from an old bottle if Talladega resembles Bristol again.

*JUSTKIDDING for kids reading here...I only do a glass or two of wine...* but a girl can dream.

What we REALLY NEED is a PHONE NUMBER to the folks running the show.

Remember the days before Voice mail hello and email? Now they delete email, count 'snail mail as a positive' if you mention the race broadcast (or so I once learned years ago from a folk that worked for Neilsen Ratings)

S I better be getting MRN tuned in for the CUP race. Will have to suffer thru BSPN's Balogna on NW race.

This is so sad..and they wonder why some of us new and long timers iN LOVE with this sport have lost our passion.

oh and for the smart alecks that say go to a race? Some are financially unable, geographically unable or physically unable to go. Others are lucky enough to be all three.

SO THAT's NO EXCUSE to have TV give us manure when MRN can still give us flowers.

just my two pennies.

Dot said...

@ JD, I am grateful for the changes made at BSPN & TNT. Thanks for reminding us. I noticed in your response to my post that you didn't mention FOX. They're in the hot seat now. My hope is that they will be better in 2010.

Morgan Wick said...

I think an outsider's perspective will show a broader backlash against the sport by casual fans; my personal theory is that, for all the whining about it, ratings have never been moved one ratings point by the quality of the coverage. As long as people have an inkling of what is going on, they will watch what they will watch.

I'm not talking about "DURR IT'S ALL A BUNCH OF CARS GOING AROUND IN CIRCLES DURR NOTHING BUT LEFT TURNS DURR". I'm talking about a more fundamental backlash against the financial waste of car companies continuing to pump money into the sport and the environmental waste of the sport itself.

It doesn't help that Dale Jr. hasn't really succeeded in a while (or that NASCAR has put all its eggs in the Dale Jr. basket without growing its other stars - look at what happens to golf ratings without Tiger Woods) and just a larger confluence of factors that make me think NASCAR might be in the middle of what could be a permanent decline out of the territory of the major sports (aside, possibly, from Daytona).

As an IRL fan, incidentially, that makes me irritated no end that that league threw its lot in with niche network Versus at a time when they haven't been better positioned to take on NASCAR since the IRL/CART split. (And please don't hold that against my opinion.)

Anonymous said...

I hope FOX execs read this blog. it hits on all 8, unlike their broadcast. Along with all the great comments on the "lack of coverage" this season, how about DW stating he was never shown the Blue Flag? Come on now. The King of second round qualifying was in the way the last 5 years of his career, if not longer. He could not spell integrity, let alone possess it.

Anonymous said...
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batchief said...

With a small degree of bias as JD knows I have to say after reading all the comments, I just have to jump in on the commercial complaints. Does timeouts, end of quarter or half, half inning breaks, tv timeouts, changing pitchers, injury timeout or 2 minute warning ring a bell to anyone. These are all the breaks in action of college and pro sports shown on major tv networks that allow commercials to be shown while the action is halted. With pro golf being the exception, I can't think of any major sport shown on national tv, other than motorsports (red flag not a given), where the action doesn't have natural built in stops for commercials. Knowing when these natural breaks are coming allows for planning of bathroom breaks, refridgerator visits, etc. to be planned and I venture to say cause many commercials to be missed. Of course you may miss something while the race is in progress, because the bills have to be paid and yet the race must go on. Basically it is a simple scenerio, no commercials, no race on tv.
glenc1 I totally agree with your last paragraph.

Daly Planet Editor said...

batchief,

Be nice to hear some more from those pit road reporters. Only they know the ups and downs of the teams during the race.

JD

batchief said...

John you know I am totally with you on that. My wife is also.

Anonymous said...

I know Mike Joy is worshiped here, but since he is not part of the solution, he is part of the problem.

If he would ignore the TV monitors and call the race where the action is, the cameras would be forced to follow that action.

Instead, he decides just to follow the monitors. I think he should go the way of John Madden and hang it up.

Anonymous said...

Just to prove the point that "they" only show the front or the "names" -- I am a Reed Sorenson fan and in 2 races so far this year, I never saw his car. I had to follow the ticker on top to see where he was and, of course, I follow on the scanner.

I bet there are other fans of drivers who never get to see their driver/car!

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:58PM,

There is no NASCAR race in Rockingham. Last week owner Andy Hillenburg ran ARCA and UARA to a pretty good house.

You can check the Rockingham website for future race dates.

JD

Anonymous said...

In cup,I'm lucky if my driver showes up on the ticker.I'll never understand why thay blackball some drivers and push away those/us fans.

fred said...

While I would agree the Fox coverage has been particularly unwatchable this year (does Waltrip ever actually SAY anything) I think there is another effect at play for the lowered ratings that noone is talking about.

That is the strong southern tie to NASCAR. NASCAR is seen as the southern sport, and many started watching after Earnhardt died and when Bush was making the patriotic play. It was patriotic to be a NASCAR dad in 2004 and we all kind of turned our back to domestic policy problems after 9/11. The problem now is that we have turned our attenetion back to domestic problems and the racism that is pervasive in NASCAR and the south is particularly obvious after Obama was elected. Add to that the anti-Americanism of secession coming from the south (after claiming liberals were unpatriotic previously) and I am just embarrassed to say or admit I do anything related to the secessionist south, and NASCAR is among those. Being southern has gone from meaning "patriotic true American" to meaning "religious secessionist Rush Limbaugh loving crazy" and until that changes the folks like me who became fans after Earnhardt and 9/11 will continue to leave in droves. Thus, look at this way, Bush and Rove and Cheney kiled NASCAR just like they killed our economy.

fred said...

I would agree that ESPN or someone should pick up and push the IRL right now, it is their chance to bring open wheel racing back. Remember when Indy cars mattered? the IRL is also greener with their ethanol push and the like and that could play well right now.

Versus is owned by Comcast and I am sure they would be open to a broader deal with another channel.

fred said...

Does the France family walking away with billions from race fans strike anyone else as a bit tasteful? Billionaires running NASCAR...it sounds like a misnomer, but it is not.

http://www.forbes.com/lists/2006/10/D7U2.html

nanafromlv said...

It is possible that Saturday night races don't have as many fans watching because Saturday night is the only time working people have for other activities.
For me that is not a concern.
Mine is the SPEED channel. The more racing that moves to that channel, the less I get to watch.
All the NASCAR shows that were on Fox Sports Net, moved to SPEED, including the All-Star Race, that was on Nat'l tv.
The more coverage that is lost to the general public, the more we'll forget about what's going on.
NASCAR will have no one to thank but themselves.
p.s. I hope Digger has a fatal accident. Sorry, Darrell.

Anonymous said...

These drivers are likeable and down to earth young men and NASCAR really should insist on them helping to market the sport more. No longer are they only southern good old boys.