Wednesday, July 15, 2009

UFC Dents NASCAR's Chicagoland TV Ratings

Maybe NASCAR can work out a deal with the UFC next season about blockbuster pay-pre-view telecasts going up against a live Sprint Cup Series race. Apparently, waiting for another Chicagoland restart just couldn't compete with Brock Lesnar and his idea of fun for many TV viewers.

Here is the official blurb from Bob Pockrass over at

TNT reports that its coverage of Saturday night’s 400 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Chicagoland Speedway drew a 3.0 rating from Nielsen Media Research, 18.9 percent lower than the 3.7 rating it earned for the race last year.

Over at Yahoo! Sports, reporter Kevin Iole offered this UFC tidbit:

Pay-per-view sales are almost guaranteed to surpass 1 million and there is a chance that the final number would exceed 1.5 million, which would make it the biggest non-boxing PPV in history.

At about $50 a pop, the UFC was having a very good night at the exact same time NASCAR was struggling with boring racing. While restarts for various debris issues provided some late excitement, it looks like many viewers were already long gone.

So, this is the hand-off that ESPN gets from TNT for 2009. Despite a positive reaction to the TV production and Daytona's Wide Open coverage, NASCAR is struggling on TV and ESPN is wading right into the middle of it.

Hopefully, some storylines will emerge that can drive some viewer interest in the sport and get fans back to watching the live races. With more and more recording devices in the home, NASCAR is becoming an attractive program to record and zoom through to find the action.

NASCAR has moved to solve this problem with the new restart rules and it may well be the Brickyard 400 that gets fans back into the racing. Putting the leaders side-by-side on this narrow and high-speed track is going to change the very nature of the racing. It may also go a very long way to erasing the memory of last season's tire debacle.

ESPN will once again come at this final stretch with eleven on-air announcers, an infield pit studio and the tech center. The technical operations staff is tremendously experienced and the pictures and sound should be superb. It all comes down to the ESPN producer and director choosing the pictures to show and the stories to follow to bring the viewers back to the TV screens.

As we like to say here at TDP, it should be interesting to watch. To add your opinion on this topic, just click the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.


Sophia said...

Sorry had NO CLUE what the heck UFC was and had to Google it.

Sorry, not into this sport.

It's bad enough I am into NASCAR. Aside from a brother that now TIvos'FF races in 40 minutes (and a friend that died last year) I know of NOBODY that watches NASCAR let alone this fighting stuff???? No offense to fellow TDP's that watch this. . .

Pay per view? give me a break. we would give up sports in this house rather than pay $99. or even $29 a POP!

Good luck with PPV NASCAR if that's what you are thinking. Not worth it in these tough times ESPECIALLY.

sorry to see Mike Wells great work go UN NOTICED...Apparently NASCAR's tv ratings are worse than the HEAD IN THE SAND bigshots at NASCAR thought.

Again side by side commercials all the time could help could getting rid of the "etch-a-sketch" rules that have gotten more sketchy.

DW said folks were giving up basic cable. Really? Who the heck pays for PPV. Folks in easier times than many Ohioans!!

Amy said...

The UFC? Give me a break. Ratings are off this year and no isloated event can excuse it.

bevo said...

I actually got one right! From the start of the Chicago live blog:

bevo said...

Probably going to be the lowest rated race of the year going up against UFC 100. Going to eat into NASCAR's male demographics.

July 11, 2009 6:08 PM

Sorry but it's so rare I just had to toot my own horn :)

David said...

UFC is the fastest growing sport and will surpass Nascar in a few years. The big reason why i watched UFC 100 over the rest of the race was 1. 3 mega fights and 5 fights total. 2. no stupid mystery debris cautions 3. no announcers screaming Restart Shootout Style.

I been a Nascar fan for 15 years a UFC fan for 3. Right now UFC is taking a precedence over Nascar. Until Nascar can rid itself of money hungry executives, mystery cautions to better the action and its ever changing rules then I'm going to stick with the UFC and yes I paid $50 and I would have paid $100 for this fight.

When I saw the UFC calendar for this year and it being on the Saturday of a race there was no hesitance on my part to order the fight. Nascar needs to look at the big picture and get back to what attracted fans to the sport instead of whats trendy for the year.

glenc1 said...

can't stand that stuff myself, but the sports shows (PTI, ATH) have been talking about Lesner for 3 days....they're saying they have the 'X games' demographics that sponsors love. It's wasted on me but I'm not surprised about the ratings--and the numbers of people paying for PPV don't lie.

All we need is to put Kyle & Junior in a cage & let 'em go at it. J/K...but a good fistfight always helps.

Anonymous said...

@ bevo, I remember reading "your" comment before the race. I just couldn't remember which Planeteer wrote it.

You are now the resident psychic @ TDP.

I hope this isn't giving the Emperor any ideas to put racing on PPV like dear Sophia said.

From Dot. Still cheating @ work.

David said...

Wow...another me...thats not me...

My thoughts are like so: Ratings are down this year and not a single one reason explains any of it. That "dent" is probably 3-5% if you take into account ratings on their own have been down 11-14% without going up against UFC. Also there is no real update asto when viewership dropped off or changed, so its hard to say how much affect UFC had on the race.

This is such a result of manufactured racing though in my opinion. Im not a huge fan of double file restarts, I HATE, DESPISE, DETEST debris cautions that "bunch" up the field. Its a shame people have gotten used to wrecks and cars ontop of cars that we call racing today boring. If my memory serves me correctly, guys used to win races by LAPS, not carlengths or a second, even two.

The racing this year doesnt have me tuning out because it IS compelling in my book. I feel unfortunately the presentation by the networks as a whole have just decided following a select number of cars is acceptable and the case of many of those teams stories just dont pull you in as much. Tony Stewart makes a charge through the field at Chicago, yet the only passes we see him make outside of the top 10 were the ones he got on pit road. A crying shame. At least at Pocono RaceBuddy showed many of his passes.

I know NASCAR fans that are UFC fans, so does it stand to reason that some may have tuned out to watch? Of course but not 18% worth.

But hey, if trying to manufacture a race is NASCAR's solution to the ratings problem then I see us well on our way to a WWE-style sport as Tony Stewart once accused NASCAR of doing a couple years ago.

glenc1 said...

it infuriates me that NASCAR *intentionally* markets their sport by its wrecks...that 'this is NASCAR' ad where they show the fan saying 'I love the wrecks' is idiotic. He apparently has never seen anyone get hurt. And yes, I remember reading how Petty and others had actually lapped the field back in the day. It's a shame people can't get into racing for the actual racing, and I think David is right, that's partly the networks poor coverage.

West Coast Diane said...

To real David...first shocked when I read the new David and thought it was you...LOL...too young to be a NASCAR fan for 15yrs! Second so you don't like DFRs? Does that mean you want them to start single file? How is that racing?

Regarding UFC. Sad to report my wonderful son, who lost his job in Feb, and is a great stay at home Dad with his 16 month old little girl, watches this stuff. Not only watches, but is flying with friend to LA to see match end of this month!! Yikes...thought I raised him better...LOL! And yes, that is the demographics. My son tried NASCAR the last two years...gave up mid season in 08. Takes up too much time and races are boring!!

David said...

WCD, ive been a fan 13 seasons now, casually like 15-16 years.

No, not a fan. Its manufactured racing in my eyes. NASCAR is "creating" a show with hype and "drama" which creates a bigger letdown which Chicago was well on its way to being until the Hornish wreck started restart after restart.

What good would DFR's have done without the debris cautions? without the late cautions? DFR's are totally and entirely dependent upon the race being a cautionfest. Without cautions, people call the racing boring, and if a dominant car such as the 5 this past week and the 48 a few weeks ago at Michigan take off and leave the field people just say it proves how bad this new car is and not even DFR's can save it.

I never saw a system that was broken before DFR's so why did it need a change? Then again I didnt see a points system that was broken when they went to the Chase format nor did I see anything broken when we went to the Top 35 system. The idea of all this change turning fans away from the sport has merit because there are so many changes to keep up with that it can get confusing.

Look at the Daytona 500. Setting the grid used to be simple to figure out, now you watch the Twins and have no real idea who is in or out of the race because under the right circumstances the 3rd place finisher in a twin race could DNQ. How is that right?

Back to the point, DFR's do what they were put in place to do. Get people hyped, add to the "show" element. but I've yet to see a race have its outcome dramatically changed by a top 10 car getting to start among a bunch of lead lap cars or lapped cars with lead lap cars make a huge shakeup to final finishing orders. Though I have seen a huge wreck happen as a result of them.

Stewart made races interesting and passed cars early in the season before DRF's and still finished up front, perhaps you could argue the only races he won were because of DFR's which argues the point to keep them. but I would have been fine had we never gone that route.

Im not saying they are a horrid, evil thing but I was perfectly happy with the way restarts had been done for 60 seasons until now. I could take or leave DRF's. Im sick of broadcasts "hyping" them up though. Grates on the eardrums to hear "Double file SHOOTOUT STYLE restarts!!!!!!!!"

The wave around is a joke, but its probably the best option since racing back is off the table.

West Coast Diane said...

David comment was directed at the other David @5:37 who isn't old enough to have watched NASCAR 15 yrs...ha! That's why the comment to him. He also doesn't care for the DFRs, so you two have something in common.

I appreciate your comments. I just love racing (not cautions or wrecks). I watch F1, IRL and other forms of racing. My husband races and I am his pit crew. I think once the drivers figure out DFRs are here to stay, they will figure things thought and stop driving like squirrels...LOL! It beats cars in a line. Oh..and I hate SOS and all the other manufactured hype that has become a part of racing on TV. Some how TPTB think it's what we want. That is why I thank John for giving us this forum to speak out and hopefully reach those PTB so they can improve the racing on the track and on TV!

darbar said...

Perhaps it's my lack of testosterone, but I, for the life of me, do not understand the reason for UFC fighting, or any other kind of fighting. Watching another human being being beaten bloody is not a sport, imho. It's nothing more than who's taken more steroids, as I'm guessing that these guys don't get as huge as they are with just a good diet and lifting weights. To me, things like this and the ultimate cage fighting are inhuman and not entertainment. But for those of you who like it, have at it.

Dot said...

@ David 8:53, did you notice the common theme in your comment? Two words: Brian France. Yeah, he fixed what wasn't broken.

Dot said...

@ dar, I wished I would have read you before I sent my prior comment.

I don't get fighting either. It seems so barbaric.

Maybe if NASCAR would let the drivers duke it out, Kurt Busch vs Johnson, Kurt Busch vs Stewart, Kyle Busch vs Anybody maybe the ratings would improve.

David said...

Dot...of course I did! =p

Sophia said...

I don't get fighting either...not at all.
would never pay for ANYTHING on PPV.

that said, I would like to see a certain punk get his comeuppence (sp) behind the wood shed as long as there was no bloodshed. :)

GinaV24 said...

well, I'm not into watching the "fights" and the only time I've ever done a PPV is for the charity race that Tony Stewart does at Eldora. Let's face it, although I loved TNT's work this year, I haven't thought the racing is all that compelling overall and Chicago's race was no different. I could have napped through most of it. When they get to 20 to go, then it gets exciting.

Plus the way Fox did their stuff this year started people off poorly, I don't believe that DW's "excuse" of people cancelling their basic cable holds water -- he ought to look at his own role in why the ratings were down for Fox. Too much cheerleading, not enough professionalism.

Are there really going to be 11 people between the booth, infield studio and tech for ESPN? Good grief -- talk about overkill -- they'll darn well talk us all to death. IMO, ESPN is going to have to "hook" me quickly or my DVR will be the primary mode. It's summer, people, there are things to do on beautiful Sunday afternoons.

MRM4 said...

Personally, I think UCF is a fad that will fade away in a few years. It seems to have attracted the old wrestling crowd that used to watch WWF/WWE.

With ESPN taking over and their boring broadcasts, I say everyone of their races will be below last year's ratings. The only one that stands a chance of being higher is the Homestead race, and that's only if several drivers have a legit shot at the title.

Anonymous said...

I remember a Father's Day PPV at Pocono maybe 25 years ago. It cost $10. Dave Despain was an announcer. They only had 3 or 4 cameras & maybe 2 replay machines. No commercials at all.

Bill in Ca. said...

Mr. Daly, not sure what point you are trying to make here. yes the ratings are down in NASCAR and will continue to go lower with the garbage shows that the networks are forcing us to see before and during a race.(why do the networks think every race is like a new Superbowl with 3 hours of coverage BEFORE the race starts?). The announcers are boring or just to into themselves (DW "now in my day we'd just punt that 'ol boy into the next county with the 'ol chrome horn")I've been a fan for over 35 years, and I even fall asleep before the race starts and again during (have to tape it to see the finish of most). still go to a few but that is getting way to expensive in these times..(119.00 for a room at Motel 6 in Indy next weekend)The casual fan that NASCAR has spent millions trying to attract the last few years (Bryan's chase,2 boring races in Calif., etc.)is being priced out by NASCAR and the locals at race venues all across the country(Hell even Vegas raises hotel room prices on race weekend)although I did watch the UFC100 (live video feed online) I for one wouldn't pay to see it but did watch both at same time and do see why most who've been watching for the last 5 or so years would start looking elsewhere to spent their bucks.. What was your point?..LOL

dawg said...

Yep, They've nailed it! Fickle Fans Flee. They're moving from one fake manufactured, & manipulated sport to another. That's just the young ones.
NA$CAR is just damn lucky they wern't up against the UFC, & a blockbuster PBA, that's Professional Bowlers Assn.on the same day. They would have lost the Geezers too. Come on Danica save NA$CAR.

Phantom Caution said...

NA$CAR's crap ratings are due to a crap product, nothing else. There always seems to be some excuse for the falling attendance and slipping ratings. NA$CAR has nobody to blame but Brainle$$ France for his chase garbage, COT P.O.S., constant rule changes, alienation of the fans, and obvious B.S. like phantom debris cautions. The "sport" (if you can call it that now) is a complete joke. It is now just a travelling circus of 4 hour parade lap racing. It wasn't broke before Brian took over, so why did he try to fix it? NA$CAR is dying, and it is more interesting to follow all the negativity than to watch the "racing" on the track these days.

Anonymous said...

Who ever thought they would see a day when UFC has more credibility than Nascar? Those debris cautions at Chicago were the last straw. Who ordered them Nscar or TV or both?

Daly Planet Editor said...


We were just talking about the fact that a heavy number of UFC PPV subscribers are very likely NASCAR fans.

This race was moved to Saturday night and this year lost a ton of viewers to the UFC PPV.

When the final UFC numbers come out, we will know just how many folks shelled out the money.


Ken said...

I think the problem lies in the product and how it is presented. I think TNT suffered fvorm the Fox disaster. People left and found out life goes on without NA$CAR and didn't come back for the most boring races of the season regardless of how well they were presented. They can make any excuses they want but I think they really know where the problem is.

Sophia said...

I grew up with Big Time Wrestling and we all knew it was FAKE back then but maybe my age is showing. :)

If the folks I am friends with do NOT watch NASCAR they sure as heck aren't watching that fighting rubbish.

I thought NASCAR wanted to distance themselves from that fake 'orchestrated wins' and stuff..what with Jacques Debris and all.


Thus the photo for this blog..all that's missing is two blond wigs...maybe it was a local thing shown on Saturdays when i was a kid..that's how we knew cartoons were done when the weird wrestling started.

Anonymous said...

I watched both - UFC for the first time for free illegally with a stream on the net, and NASCAR on TNT. NASCAR infinitely better. It's a shame that where both are considered 'redneck' sports, UFC actually has a more mainstream following and, of course, is 100000% more intellectual and interesting. Disgusting brutes bashing the crap out of each other, actually, mostly just laying on top of each other with a few random head blows, is far more accepted than watching NASCAR by the mainstream, North-east based media. Too bad. I'll take a little redneck NASCAR over that grotesque, and, most importantly, boring, display any day.

Anonymous said...

Woops - of course I meant NASCAR was by far the more intellectual sport. Obv.