Tuesday, September 22, 2009

NASCAR's Football Nightmare Continues

The enemy has arrived and quickly made its presence known. That is the Charlotte, NC skyline peeking above the home opener for the Carolina Panthers. After a short run of slightly higher TV ratings, the bottom fell out for NASCAR on the first weekend of the head-to-head match-up with the NFL.

As we said last week, it was Allen Bestwick and his NASCAR Countdown pre-race show that first went up against the Sunday 1PM Eastern Time NFL game. Jerry Punch then led his crew into the fray when the race from Loudon, NH began shortly after 2PM. It seems that by then, the damage was already done.

Despite the double file restarts "shootout style" and the compelling stories of Mark Martin and Juan Montoya, the NASCAR TV ratings got thumped. Here is the official information:

ABC’s broadcast of Sunday’s Sylvania 300 NASCAR Sprint Cup race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway earned a 2.5 overnight rating from Nielsen Media Research, Street and Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports.

The rating is 21.9 percent lower than the 3.2 ABC earned overnight for the race in 2008.

Overnights are the first set of ratings information that becomes available. There will be a more detailed breakdown of this mess available shortly. Needless to say, there are always lots of factors that affect the ratings associated with live sports.

Click here to read the original announcement from NASCAR about creating the Chase for the Championship. Notice that it does not mention the NFL. Despite that fact, make no mistake that the mortal enemy of NASCAR plays Sundays on a 100 yard field and takes three hours of TV time to finish just one game.

The Chase debuted well, but has struggled. Click here for a very good column from Ernie Saxton of Phillyburbs.com about some of the reasons why things have gone astray.

Several weeks ago, Art Weinstein of scenedaily.com offered a column about NASCAR and the NFL. Click here to read it. His point was that the NFL has some problems of its own. On the flipside, NASCAR's problems with the Chase have also been around for a while. Click here for Richard Chang in the New York Times back in 2007.

The bottom line is that the NFL is currently on the kind of roll NASCAR enjoyed a decade ago. The NFL as a whole has momentum and is well supported by event coverage on both broadcast and cable TV networks. A short while ago, the NFL Network also debuted and has been working very hard to develop an identity of its own.

As the Internet allows coverage of sports to expand, the NFL has done a wonderful job of coordinating an amazing amount of coverage for its product on and off the field. While the internal dynamics of the league are completely different from NASCAR, one thing has not changed. The NFL is still the thorn in NASCAR's side during the final three months of the racing season.

Perhaps, you might be able to take a moment and tell us about the decisions you made in terms of watching NASCAR or the NFL this past Sunday and why. Please also feel free to offer your opinions about how the Chase translates itself to TV with the NASCAR on ESPN team presenting all ten of the Chase races on ABC.

To add your opinion on this topic, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thank you again for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.


Anonymous said...

NASCAR is its own worst enemy. It makes no sense to race on Sundays, especially in this time of year. Move the Sprint Cup races to Saturday. You could have day races, night races, and day into night races. Plus you'd have a rain date (Sunday) that meshes with most fans' schedules. I understand there's a Nationwide and Truck race to get in. But there has to be a better way than the way now.

Richard in N.C. said...

I love NFL football and auto racing. It's just a fact of life that the seasons overlap and I have to juggle them - it's been that way as long as I've been a racing fan, and during NASCAR's period of greatest growth. Same way with NCAA basketball in the spring. You just deal with it. In a way it is somewhat like Florida and hurricanes - I believe Florida still keeps growing nevertheless.

West Coast Diane said...

Watch the NFL...used to, no longer.

Chase...works for me, except the part where ESPN does the telecast. They take all the excitement & enjoyment out of every race they broadcast.

Agree with anon @ 12:09...need to due something about the day they race and/or the start times once NFL season starts. They can not go head to head with football.

RLDreams said...

Anybody with the ability of conscious thought know that "The Chase" was developed to add some excitement to the end of the season to compete with the NFL.
The failure starts with the jumbling of the race season between the networks. Almost 1/2 of this country still gets their tv "off air". What this means to Nascar fans is that 1/2 the population has not seen a race since June when they moved from Fox to TNT and then ESPN. Obviously TNT realized they were losing viewers and introduced "racebuddy" ,free online streaming of the races on TNT's website to attempt to console all the viewers that do not have cable or satellite. Too many commercials you say, ok how about this we willm have wide open racing, we will do all our ads via split screens so race fans don't miss anything.
If Espn/Abc want to know how to produce a winning race formula look back at TNT's summer coverage. If ESPN wants to explain what a shock absorber or brake pad is during a race ,conduct a driver or team interview ,then fine do it in a split screen do not cut away from the racing action.
The loss of NASCAR's ratings has less to do with the quality of the race and a lot to do the the lack of quality race coverage by ESPN/ABC.
How about running down the field every once in a while especially after a caution or pit cycle ,keeping the TV audience informed when a driver drops out and include why he went to the garage. How many in ESPN's crew at the track? Not 1 person can keep 1/2 an eye on the garage, walk over and ask what happened when they see a team parking and call the info back to the booth?
Could you imagine watching an NFL game and coming back from a commercial break to find 3 guys missing off the line and not one mention of what happened ?
Ok let's talk about commercials, is there anybody out there that thinks the races are not broadcast on a delay ? Is it a coincidence that commercial breaks that start under green flag racing usually return to pit stops under caution. Does anybody not know that from the time the caution comes out till the time teams actually hit pit row is 3-4 minutes depending on the track and the reason for the caution. It takes that long for the pace car to p/u the field ,bring them around,then the open the pits. Ok, so TV has a 1 minute lead, caution flies,quick cut to commercial during the delay ,we now have 4 minutes of commercials and we can still cover the race off pit road. Not too difficult to figure out .The issue is when they come back to the race out of the pits, cut back to commercial then come back as (or even after) they take the green. We the viewing public at home never find out why there was a caution,since it came out while we were watching commercials and 10 minutes later we are back under green with nobody taking the time to tell us what happened.
To quote Brian Vickers, this ain't the Kyle Busch show and somebody needs to inform ESPN of this there are 43 drivers starting every race. I might want to know where somebody other than Jimmie,Dale,Carl or Kyle is running.

Anonymous said...

I completly agree with the last poster!

Alan said...

I beleieve that the televised pre-race is to long. In the case of New Hampshire, pre-race started at same time as early football games started. By the time the race started, it was almost half time. While I did flip back and forth, I became more interested in the good games that were on. Had the actual race started at 12:30 eastern as they used to be, I probably would have stuck with the race.

Wisconsin Steve said...

I always watch the races and record or skip football at this time of year. Racing always comes first in my mind. My big hope for NASCAR is that the sanctioning body not worry about trying to catch up to or beat the NFL. They are better off focusing on how to improve the racing and its presentation in the media.

Implementing double-file restarts was an outstanding move. It dramatically improved the quality of racing. Now, NASCAR and its partners need to figure out a new and better way to present the races, especially on TV.

My biggest gripe: too many commercials.

Anonymous said...

Don't blame football. If people are going to watch football, they're going to watch football and if they're going to watch the race, they'll watch the race.

You should instead blame Jerry Punch. Seriously - what is the #1 reason someone might turn over to football? It isn't because of the football... it's because of Jerry Punch.

Race fans get all excited all week for a race. And then showtime comes and despite all of our adrenaline and excitement, Jerry Punch puts us to sleep. He makes our high-speed sport seem like golf. His calls of the action are like a librarian reading the Dewey decimel system.

I don't think you can blame football for pulling people away when Dr. Jerry Punch is doing his best to push people away every single Sunday.

Anonymous said...

I agree with holding the (NSCS) races on saturday or even better saturday nights instead of on sundays and put the truck series races on fridays and the nationwide series races can either be on saturdays before the cup races with a rain date for all three series on sundays (Or sat for the truck series) and aside from that if they wanted to expand the field next season (since the nationwide cars are going to the new car) NASCAR should allow some of the nationwide drivers to also run in the cup series using their 2010 nationwide cars that are going to be basicly the same as the current cup cars, that way the competition level is raised and it eliminates many of the "Start and park" or "Field fillers" cars that currently hurt the cup series.

Anonymous said...

If you move Spint Cup to Saturday, then you go up against NCAA football, which has it's own massive fan base.

If people like football and racing, you have to look at why they choose one over the other, not just assume the racing will lose every time and must be moved. You have to make the racing a better show than the football show... ESPN/ABC isn't up to the job. Not even close.

Shootout Style said...

I believe a 2.5 would be the lowest rated Cup race ever since NASCAR consolidated the TV rights in 2001. (not including rain-postponed events)

Even on October 11, 2001, the Charlotte Cup race was bounced from NBC to TNT at the last minute due to start of the Afgan war... and that still drew a 2.7 rating.

Anonymous said...

I was just reading different articles posted on Jayski's site and a fan emailed one publication with the question as to why Nascar races on Sundays going against what you think would be a losing situation -the NFL. You would think it would be better for all to race on Saturday nights - the journalist answered the question like this (and I'm paraphrashing this)...ABC needs some kind of programming to go up against football on Sundays. Even though they know the ratings probably won't be good, they still need some sports programming to go against their competitors. So...that says to me, the networks drive Nascar - Nascar really has no say at to when and what day the races will be run. I personally don't care for ABC/ESPN's coverage so far. I'm in agreement with many on here, that they could vastly improve their production and direction of the races. I wish Nascar would break the contract with ESPN and either use TNT or Fox exclusively. I'm not very fond of the coverage by either of those networks, but it's ten-fold over ESPN. But, I'm also aware that in the end, it's all about the money...and money talks...so I'm sure we'll be stuck with ESPN for a few more years. YUCK!

Jonathan from Chicagos SOUTHSIDE!!!! said...

thats a good ideal! The ratings for Richmond wich was on a Saturday night were up... Yeah so what the last 11 or so races will be on Saturday, hey im sure that would make a ton of people happy, then they can watch Nascar Saturday and there favorite football team Sunday. Or how about we change this schedule and have the first race of the chase at a lil bit more of a historic track??? Indy??? Dega??? Bristol?????? I love NH and I do think it deserves 2 dates on Nascars schedule, just not the opening race of the chase. And how bout we end are seaon where we start it @ DAYTONA??????

BToS JD said...

The NFL holds no interest for me.

Speedcouch said...

I watched the Patriots' game until the actual race came on. I don't have much use for long pre-race shows these days. They're just redundant with the same stuff we've heard all week long. But once the race started, we stuck with it until the end and recorded our local Ravens' game to watch aftewards.

Anonymous said...

I am a long time NASCAR fan (30+ yrs). The problem is that all the flavor has been taken out of the sport, corporate image rules the day. The racing although closer is not intriguing. The bigger issue is that NASCAR turned their collective backs on the longtime/traditional fans. They wanted to gain the new younger more affluent fan base. Unfortunately this group has a short attention span. NASCAR is now paying the price for that decision.

Anonymous said...

you solve the problem with uniform noon starts eastern time

Anonymous said...

I think day to night races on Sat. might be the answer. Only the true fans are left to watch whwn football is on. I'm a Jeff Gordon fan and I still watched the race when he fell back.
Nascar needs to get rid of bump stops and keeping thr splitter sucked to the track. Then we might see some racing!

Jim said...

No need to worry about the NFL until NASCAR cures some of its own ailments.
During NFL season, FOX should be doing the TV... Jerry Punch should be forgotten.
Three-person broadcast booth should be able to report on ALL 43 CARS.
Pit reporters, ditto.
Endless gushing over any one driver (like Stewart, for example) should be squelched.
Phantom cautions to alter the on-track situation should be eliminated immediately.
There's more, but you get my point. "Physician, heal thyself!"

Anonymous said...

Nascar has refused to listen to the fans. Every year the COT and pre-COT cars have drained passion out of the sport. Only real Fords, Chevys, etc. will begin to restore that passion. Same thing goes to ESPN. They have refused to listen to the fans and each year the passion to watch has race is drained out of the sport. I used to watch the races, now I would rather watch grass grow.

Anonymous said...

NASCAR was challenging the NFL for superiority, and then they introduced their ridiculous playoff and supplanted college football as the sport with the worst method of determining a champion.

Steve said...

My 3 reasons why people are not watching:

1.) The extremely poor TV coverage. E$PN does not care about Nascar. They use it as a gap filler to make money until one of their pride and joys (college/NFL football) begins.

2.) Late start times. By the time the race starts, people are already engaged in the football game waiting for the race to start. Their less likely to go back to the race, especially if the game is exciting.

3.) Poor product on the racetrack. Nobody wants to watch a single file parade all afternoon. Football is much more interesting than that. Let these guys make some tweaks to the car to make it more competitive on the track. The racing on the non cookie cutters has gotten alot better, however the product needs alot of improvement on the cookie cutters.

Statboy said...

Well, apparently the Panthers aren't gonna be very good this year, and I really don't like any other NFL team. So that means I'll be watching the race every week and not worrying about the NFL.

I still think that if NFL games kickoff at 1:00, then races should start at the same time.

Anonymous said...

1 name -- Kyle Busch. He's not a factor this year. Last year he was the reason people watched Nascar. I wonder if that doesn't have something to do with it.

My idea: start the Chase with DAYTONA (instead of putting the Summer Daytona race in the worst possible time) so to inaugurate the post season. THIS Will change everything about the chase and make it something great to watch.

MRM4 said...

I live in Knoxville, TN and we are subjected to Tennessee Titans games every Sunday unless they are on Monday Night Football or a Sunday night game. I don't like them. So unless the other game involves my favorite team (Tampa Bay) or is a great matchup, I usually watch most of the NASCAR race. I did watch most of the Loudon race because we also had the Panthers and Falcons. When the Texans-Titans game got close in the end, I did turn it there to watch some of it.

I love NASCAR and the NFL about the same amount. So the next 9 weeks are tough for me. Dover is one of my favorite tracks and it looks like we'll be getting the Atlanta-New England game. So I'll probably mostly watch the race.

Anonymous said...

The ratings drop of 21.9 percent was from last year's race, which was also up against the NFL. The NFL alone does not explain the fall-off in this year's ratings for the first Chase race. There's more than competition from the NFL that's causing this.

Plus, it was a mixed bag for the NFL this past weekend. The CBS doubleheader was up in ratings but the Fox game (Saints v. Eagles) was down.

Anonymous said...

I work within the racing industry and I watched both, the race and the football. I think the problem is that the race has one magic moment that really matters, the checkered flag ! Football, as well as other sports, can have many magic moments during the event that determine the outcome. This could be the first play of a game or the last but the race only has the checkered flag. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy racing, as they call it, but can assure you that the product put forth today cannot match that of days gone by. The money has taken away the importance of performance. Too many young phenoms that say the "right" things and can bring cash to a team, (for a short time) get the rides instead of a guy that is a "racer" (i.e.- would race for a doughnut if it meant he could brag for a few days until the next race that he beat his competitor). How can you cheer a guy on that you did not get to watch struggle through the ranks to make a name for himself by racing hard and letting his talents carry him to the top ? Great examples are Bobby Allison, Dale Earnhardt, Rusty Wallace, and many more. These guys not only could drive but could build cars far better than many in the garage today making big $$. I'm not saying there are not some great drivers that have worked hard today. You know that when another sport puts the team on the field that those guys worked hard through the ranks to get there and it gives them some more credibility. Can you really say NASCAR has the 43 most talented "racers" ? Or do they have the 43 guys that best fit the mighty sponsors profile to push their product ? I want to see the best of the best compete, not the most politically correct. That is why I would watch football if I had to choose. And that stinks since I have passionately followed and been a part of racing for most of my 44 years !

Charles said...

I've watched ~2/3 of the Nascar races every year since 18 Feb 1979. Been to a couple, bought the shirts. I'm not die-hard Nascar, but I'm the audience they're losing. It's simple, I don't care that much about who wins the championship, never have. I liked seeing Earnhardt approach and tie Petty, everyone likes to see the best of each era, but that wasn't why I watched.
Racing is all about today's race. The object is to win today. The reason I go: Watching someone dive between 2 other cars, seeing someone pushing so hard they're sideways out of each corner. It's not to watch numbers change on a tote board (ooh look Tony's up to 5th in the chase!). Second place is first loser. No one kisses second place. When you start points racing, not racing to win, you cheat the paying or watching fan of your maximum best effort.
The season champion should be the one with the most wins period. Second place, the one with the next most wins. If tied, most seconds, etc. Wallace in 93, Edwards last year, champions.
Nascar will never do this because they claim teams might pick and choose races towards the end of the season if they've clinched or are eliminated. Pay more for winning then. Anyway, picking and choosing worked out ok for Pearson.
The NFL does 2 things Nascar will never learn: They play each game to win, except when starters sit at the end of the regular season after their team clinches. Second their season is shorter than the demand for it would dictate, leaving the customers anxious for more.

Joe said...

I'm more a racing guy than a football guy, but I got hooked on the 1 p.m. football games in my area before the NASCAR race even started. By the time 2:15 p.m. rolled around, I was already committed to PIP with 2 NFL games. No room for NASCAR. Perhaps if NASCAR still started the races at 12:30, its coverage could hook me before the NFL games start.

The problem is that the NFL product -- from the action on the field to the commentary -- is just better than NASCAR right now.

TexasRaceLady said...

@Anon, 12:09AM --

Move the Cup races to Saturday? Only if you want a complete disaster. That would be going against college football which has an even more fanatic following.

As far as I'm concerned, racing comes first. Oh, I'll admit, I may flip to a game during a race -- but it depends on which teams are playing, and then it's only to see how the game is going. Then, it's back to race.

DL said...

To address the first question, I'm not interested in the NFL (National Felon League) this season. As I did with baseball, I have reached my limit of tolerance and have become fed up with a bunch of guys who seem to think they can break any law, get caught and convicted, and still be hired anywhere in their field. And they are right because even worse, we have ownership who essentially condones criminal behavior by hiring them. Yup, Done.
I cry for thy pain, NASCAR, but I don't see a demise anytime soon. More sponsors are remaining than leaving. The fan anger began when the wholesale changes began IMO. The Chase was not perfect to begin with, and apparently never will be given that there are as many suggestions to change the Chase as there are fans.
I do believe in the next couple of years there needs to be a major overhaul in the way NASCAR presents itself to a national audience. The type of TV, internet, radio hybrid that I cobble together for myself on Raceday, when I'm not at a track, needs to be easily available for anyone to use. We must have The NASCAR Channel on TV. Internet streaming options with interactive features need to be robustly developed and deployed.
There seems to be another problem with racing in general. It's getting harder to get kids interested! Our kids have inherited the enthusiasm from me and my band of cronies, but how do you capture new fans who have no racing roots? You could argue the same for football or baseball, but the bottom line is capturing interest. Why hasn't there been a fully up to date computer or video racing game in a few years?? iRacing? well.
Finally, IMO the biggest failure in getting new fans, the live TV presentation of races. It hasn't been good. It's a mess. Even my race knowledgeable kids have trouble following it. Football or not the ratings are going to sink if there's no competant TV coverage of NASCAR. My opinion continues to be (every week) this should be addressed immediately, but "immediately" has been stretched into "the past 3-4 years". I place the blame for this lack of attention squarely on NASCAR. DO SOMETHING! Radio coverage has remained great but you aren't going to get new fans that way. I've been pretty happy with the fledgling assortment of internet toys to play with during a race but only diehard fans (like my kids and me) seem to do those.
Race attendance. This is where I'm sorriest to see decline, because there's NOTHING - NOTHING! like seeing a race in person. If my time and money allowed I would do the entire tour but unfortunately reality only allows 2-3 times a season. I have convinced many people over the years to goto races just on my enthusiam alone and in most cases, people LOVE IT! I call 100,000 people at a race a successful event.
So, just a few thoughts on a foggy Wed. morn in FL, looking forward to watching a race from one of my fave tracks growing up in NJ-PA, Dover. I still consider The Monster to be one of the most coveted trophies and I can still picture in my head and feel the thrill from the first time I ever saw this track in 1972. David Pearson won.

yankeegranny said...

What would be wrong with starting the chase with a Thursday night race and having the remainder of them on Friday and Saturday nights. I went to the Darlington and Richmond races this year and there is just something special about racing under the lights. What, some of the tracks don't have lights? Oh well, tooo bad. That should be a requirement for hosting a chase race, or any other cup race for that matter. And if they really want to improve the ratings, make the Chase a winners only format. I think a lot more people would watch the first 26 races if they thought their driver would be racing for a win each week rather that "points racing every week."

GinaV24 said...

The chase has lost it's "pizzazz" if it ever had much to begin with for most NASCAR fans. IMO, it never made much sense.

ESPN's coverage of the last 10 races has also resulted in me "tuning out". If I'm at the race, I can watch what I want, if I'm forced to watch an unwatchable telecast and use my computer AND radio coverage to actually get a clear picture of what is going on, why should I bother? Especially when the fall weather is so nice and calling me to be outside.

I don't watch a lot of NFL games in their entirety, but when I do watch, I can actually follow what is going on with good PXP people, etc. rather than having to piecemeal information together the way I do with NASCAR.

Get rid of the CoT, get rid of the Chase, the doublefile restarts make it nervewracking (and it is a contrived way to make it exciting). NASCAR did its best to alienate its core audience and they were successful

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12:09 - College sports on Saturdays would be a big problem for Saturday races especially during the daytime. Except for TNT, all other nascar stations carry college football. Even Saturday nights feature a lot of nationwide attention drawing games.

Sunday, I watched the NFL. Much more compelling. Watched the last 30 laps of the race. The actual racing just isn't that good a lot of weeks. Good story lines, yes; but, not the racing.

What's the answer? I for one don't like the way the races are called during the Chase. Way too much attention just on the Chase drivers. There is a lot else going on on the track - and maybe my driver/s is/are not in the Chase - that doesn't mean that I don't want to see/hear about them too.

We all only have so much time to devote to the TV. Whoever delivers what an individual wants is going to be the winner. What do we want - competitive action and announcers who add to the event.

Bobby said...

The other issue not mentioned is "early" in the NFL season, not dealing with it as we go into the later part of the Chase, and even that coindies with the middle of the NFL season. Also, all NFL games are regional and the league assigns games to each television market, some good, some bad. Viewership will drop if a market is assigned a #6 game with two bad teams and rise if a market has the #1 game with two top teams.

At the Weeks 7-11 section of the NFL season, we'll know who will and won't be in the hunt, and because of market restrictions under the NFL regulations (one year, just past halfway, they marketed a game between the top two teams in a conference with three losses combined and both teams would have double-digit wins, talking about the potential of it being a preview of the Conference Championship, yet we were given a game with the two worst teams, winning a combined three games, and one team already with double-digit losses and the other team destined for the same fate, and we're 150 miles from an NFL team) where markets may be relegated to bottom-feeder games with no appeal, those markets will easily tune out.

The ratings in the 30 NFL markets (NJ and the Bay Area have two teams each) will ebb and flow with their teams. If there's a good race for the Championship and the NFL assigns that market with a bottom-feeder game between two teams playing out the string, they will tune out. I wonder if NASCAR can run better ratings in those markets.

A market like Detroit, for example, watching the Chase might be better than watching a team that hasn't won in 22 months and unable to be assigned a better game that has implications. A market such as Boston, for example, might play it different with a perennial contender.

The same principle works in college football with the ESPN Broadcast Network's regional games. A game with national championship implications may air, but because of regional policies, you may be relegated to seeing another conference with a game that has no implications on the BCS. That's why the SEC has a deal with CBS to ensure a key game gets on-air nationally (Humpy Wheeler and NASCAR's Jim Hunter played football 50 years ago for a current SEC institution).

It should be interesting once we get to weeks 6, 7, and 8 to see which NFL markets tune out of their games because of bad teams, and the Chase race ratings in those markets versus ratings in markets of contending NFL teams.

Locke's Other Kidney said...

You can't start a race at 2pm on Sunday and expect to compete with an NFL game that started at 12:30 or 1:00. As for the Nacsar telecast itself, the pre-race is too long and commercials are too frequent and too repetitive. I have a good friend who loves Nascar but quit watching it completely because of all the commercials. I can't blame him.

Nascar sold itself to TV at the expense of the fans and now the chickens have come home to roost. No sympathy here, as I can't feel sorry for poor management and pure greed.

Eric - The Maine PC Doc said...

Football live, NASCAR on
DVR. It's the only way.

Anonymous said...

As a 15yr FULL TIME TV FAN of Nascar, all I can it's no wonder the NFL is winning.. NFL games start at 1pm; 4pm on Sundays and 8:30pm on Mondays. My Redskins game is always on Channel 5, FOX in this area. At those start times, imagine this, they start!! After searching the internet to see what time the Nascar race may start, anywhere between 8pm Saturday night to, now, 8pm Sunday night. Even on there "normal" Sunday afternoons it ranges from anywhere from 2pm to 7pm.. But wait, we arn't done. Now, is it on ABC, ESPN, TNT?? So, two searchs have now been done. Time, and channel. But wait, there is more. After finding the start time and channel I turn it on, there is nothing happening!! Usually have to listen to a hours of meaningless dribble from a bunch of talking heads. Or, just turn on the NFL and watch a sport. Nascar is all hype now, it's all about the off track drama of the sponsors, drivers, teams, bla bla bla.. I remember an old add from the 80's. "Where's the beef?" Nope, NFL full time, Nascar on the commercials of the football game, that's all they get in this house anymore. The product is simply broken.

Anonymous said...

I'd rather play golf.

majorshouse said...

As I see it, people who watch football will always watch football. The biggest problems I see aren't the commercials because we have always had them; but start the race at 12:00 like we used to do and cut down the pre-race because it is boring and frankly not worth watching. The COT is a darn joke. When I started following NASCAR in the 1960's, the cars looked like the production cars of the day and let me tell you, those were some great cars and yes, many of the drivers from back then grew up in the shops and learned how to work on them. Love him or hate him, but Rusty Wallace was one of the best chassis guys in his day and could set a car up with the best of them. The COT doesn't even look like a car and all of this crap about parity is a joke. There has never been parity in NASCAR. All yu have to do is to look at many of the teams that competed in the 196-'s and 1970's. There is too much money and too many politics in the sport and that is one of the main reasons that the broadcasts are losing viewers. The racing sucks and it is boring for the most part because of the car and Jerry Punch is one of the most boring play by play announcers I have ever heard. We had MRN many years before television and I still love listening to the race on the radio because the way they describe what is going on is exciting and I feel like I am right there.
I think if they would allow the teams more leeway on this stupid car and do more what TNT did with the broadcast and frankly let TNT have the entire season, it would draw more viewers and bring the fun back to watching NASCAR.

Kim said...

We solved this problem last year. Two television sets. I watch NASCAR. It helps that I live in CA and my team is the Browns, so they are rarely televised. Even so, I'd watch NASCAR. You can easily catch a recap of a football game, or take a peek during commercials.

If NASCAR raced on Saturday, they would come up against college football which has its own avid fan base.

Anonymous said...

Its a huge mistake to try even to compete with the NFL. NASCAR simply can not do it. Its a fight they'll never win. In NASCAR's quest to greatly expand its footprint on the American sports landscape, it has made the mistake that millions of Americans made. In essense, it has built itself into a cost structure that it can not sustain.

NASCAR rode the wave of a bubble in popularity, like many people taking advantage of the housing bubble. Now that bubble burst, and its very painful for NASCAR to rebuild itself and pick up the pieces.

Even the thought of competing with the NFL is flat out stupid. Just be happen with where you are in the world. That seemed to work for decades before Brian France took over and messed things up.

50 yr. fan said...

If you want to compete with the
stick and ball sports, points should be awarded during the event, i. e. by quarter. Maybe 10 or 15. This would motivate the drivers instead of just "riding". Baseball and football keep viewers interested throughout the whole game.

Statboy said...

That's why the SEC has a deal with CBS to ensure a key game gets on-air nationally (Humpy Wheeler and NASCAR's Jim Hunter played football 50 years ago for a current SEC institution).

BTW- they played for the University of South Carolina. Had to get that in.

Anonymous said...

The way NASCAR is going right now, single file racing, drivers complaining that they can not pass, Maybe NASCAR should change it so the cars have smaller fuel cells, thus requiring more pitstops, and more opportunities to pickup positions in the pits!
A different approach would be to invert the field, with the fastest qualifiers starting at the back. That way you'd find out in a hurry if "clean air" really help!

Dot said...

Racing fans in this household. No NFL.

I think the start times are a problem for NASCAR. Does the TV contract allow for the times to be changed? I would love for the races to start at 10AM PT.

You know, they could show even more commls if they would use the split screen method. I would tolerate it just to see what's going on on the track. They should consider this, even if it's only done during the Chase.

Will said...

With Direct Tv's Sunday Ticket I can watch any game instead of being stuck with one or two. That's important because in the past I would switch to Nascar if the NFL game I was being shown wasn't interesting. Now I only flip there occasionally to see how my favorite drivers are doing rather than watch for extended periods.

Nascar is competing with other sports no matter when it is shown. Key word here is competition. Nascar has to become more compelling to watch if they want to keep people tuned in. TNT made races interesting this year. ESPN treats Nascar as a second rate sport and the viewers & ratings reflect that.

David said...


If their coverage was not in a single word: PATHETIC then my channel flipping would be limited. Honestly, my tv was mostly on the race all day, though my focus was primarily on the radio, keeping up with scores as well as trackpass.

As long as ESPN decides to dictate the race into their script and not the other way around, I could care less what the television is showing.

My participation was selective and limited for the mostpart at Loudon, at least to my standards, and having that option of the NFL certainly contributed the most.

I'll continue to juggle, if the coverage would improve I may actually juggle less.

MRM4 said...

Someone else pointed about how the Chase is flatening out. I agree. Other than the media, I don't see many people talking about it.

I said several years ago NASCAR cannot compete with the NFL and them creating the Chase would prove that. Along with the other disinterest of the COT, bad coverage by ESPN, and other factors, it simply isn't working. It seems to be the ratings would be the same whether there is the Chase or determining the champion by the old method.

HarpAmy/Amy in FL said...

I like the idea of consistent starting times. Pre-race 12-1 and Race at 1 would work for me. It works for football.

I also like the idea of one network broadcasting the whole year. I personally like the way that FOX presents all their sports and would want them to take the whole year. I would also like the same announcers for the whole year. The FOX team works for me as well. I like the way that FOX does the NFL, college, baseball, and Nascar. I think that the time has come for FOX to start a national cable sports network(s) to compete with ESPN.

If there was some consistency in the start times and networks it would be easier.

Also, I agree with RLDreams about 1/2 the country using the digital converter box that replaced the antenna and the fan base that watch during the FOX portion goes away for the rest of the season. The reason for that is that by the time Nascar comes back to network tv, football has started and they are into the football season because they have lost the storylines in Nascar. Nascar needs to address this fact as well. Some of those people using the digital converter boxes might not want to have to watch the races on their computers and would rather enjoy kicking back in their recliners.

As far as having Saturday races, I am an avid college football fan and am an avid Gator fan. I generally will miss Saturday races to watch college football especially the Gators. We have season tickets to all Gators home games and we go to all of them and when there is a Saturday race, I miss it to go the game. Tickets were in hubby's family and I married into the tickets. The Richmond race was a treat in the sense that the Gators played their game at noon and I was able to get home in time after driving home 120 miles to watch the Richmond race. That was a rarity. I generally have missed the Richmond "Chase" setting race.

The above are my thoughts as disjointed as they may be.

Thanks, JD, for this blog.

Tom said...

I couldn't do either on Sunday...had to work. However, I spent some time after I got home and into Monday working through the race on my DVR.
One monster joke of the broadcast is Full Throttle. The production value for it is absolutely embarrassing.
If they call it "Full Throttle," then WHY do we have the annoying speedometer graphic on screen and the voices of multiple spotters overlapping over the sound of engines?
Love or hate Fox coverage, their version of the approach, "Crank it Up," gets it right.

darbar said...

Fox and CBS know how to present their product, the NFL, and they know how to keep fan attention. You don't see helmet cams on the left tackle or the middle linebacker. You don't see cut aways for Tony Siragusa to do a spot on football cleats or hip pads. They let the game do the talking. You see all the players on the field, you see both teams. Action is not lost or missed due to commercials.

In Nascar, they focus on just a few cars, despite the fact that the best racing may be going on mid-pack. They cut away for stupid technical talks and use their silly technology to interrupt the action on the track. Commercials cause fans to miss a lot of the action.

And then there's the really bad racing with the COT, the totally insane Chase which causes drivers to points race for 26 weeks instead of going "balls to the walls" each and every race. Nascar, in their quest for money, led by their fearless greed leader Brian France, has gone away from their roots, by trying, and failing, to attract fans who don't want to be attracted. Nascar has become the poster child for how not to run a professional sport.

But in the end, perhaps Nascar is related to the NHL, another sport that doesn't play well on TV. Perhaps this is all we can get, and we have to be satisfied with what the networks slop on TV.

OSBORNK said...

Saturdays would be a disaster because college football is much tougher competition than Pro ball. Usually, the most excitement in the race is in the last 20 laps as the rest is manipulated by NA$CAR with "debris" cautions and selective penalties. If we have to have a chase, lets have an elimination chase. If the chase is 10 races, have ten drivers qualify for the chase. After each race, eliminate the lowest finisher. The championship race will be between the two survivors. That leaves the championship in doubt until the last race. It works well in college basketball.

Anonymous said...

Make fun of me if you want, but I believe part of the reason for the decline vs. last year could be due to that one guy, what's his name...oh Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Look at any other sport, and you'll see TV ratings decline if a popular team/player isn't involved. Baseball, for example, tanks when the Red Sox or Yankees lose. Golf sees a sharp decline when Tiger's not on the course.

NASCAR peaked around 2003-2004. Guess when Dale Jr. had his best years?

I know that's not the only reason, lame coverage, terrible on-track action, etc. all are a part of it. But I wouldn't be suprised if that indeed was a facor.

saltsburgtrojanfan said...

I said it before in many posts and I will say it again.

NA$CAR and E$PN does not care about the fans only the money.

I stopped watching NA$CAR altogether in 2004. NA$CAR is losing fans one by one and the NFL is more exciting with the exceptions of excess commercials.

Here are my suggestions to making NASCAR better:

1) Start the race at 12 or 12:30 so they won't have to compete with the NFL. When the race starts at 2 or 3 fans are already watching football.

2) Get rid of the damn car of tomorrow. one of the reasons why racing is lethargic.

3) No Hype, you do not need it. Believe me 41 cars going nearly 200 MPH in a 33 degree banked turn is exciting enough.

4) Get rid of the chase. There are flaws in the system. That is why Jimmie Johnson won 3 straight cups.

5) ESPN to get its act together. ESPN is making NASCAR unwatchable.

6) I want Bob Jenkins in the booth. I don't care if you don't like him or he pooped in your soup. Race fans love him and he knows what he is doing. He called many races during the 80's and 90's NASCAR boom.

7) Please your fans not just sponsors

8) Less corporate, more racing


10) Did i mention get rid of the chase.

11) Stock cars that are like showroom cars.

12) Go back to the 1980's and 1990's and check out tapes of races when you were at your peak. Take those races and simulate them. just do not use the COT, The Chase, 2 pm start times, please see comments numbers 7 and 9 again.

Had Enough NASCAR.

I'm sure we can go on like this for hours.

NASCAR you are sinking like quicksand. Please listen to the fans while we still exist.

Because we wont stay around forever.

Anonymous said...

generally speaking, I agree with those saying football fans will watch football first. Personally, I watch my teams' game, and usually another that looks competitive (usually the 'no 1' game of the week.) Sometimes I'll watch one of the night games. But I watch racing alongside on Sunday afternoons, even if my team is playing. It's not really that hard to keep up with both. I also agree with the Saturday night arguments. I don't live in a big college football area, but many, if not most of the market does, and it wouldn't help NASCAR. Where's the anon who's always bragging how the ratings keep going up? Just wondering.

People watched NASCAR 15 years ago on Sunday afternoons and the sport still grew. I don't think it will matter when you start the race. If it started at noon for East coast races (which I prefer, as I think it's best for the spectators) I'd still turn over to my teams' game at 1. I don't think the poor broadcasting helps, if one is trying to decide between the two. But if ABC has a product that at least 'holds its own' against the NFL, they're happy. Most traditional race fans want the races Sunday afternoon. So....who loses? NASCAR suits who won't see their sport grow as they wish. It was bound to level off and the economy just rushed that along. Maybe it's right where it needs to be.

I've been to 4 races with the COT in person. There's lots of racing going on; if you can't see it, it's because TV's not showing it, because we can see it at the track. That isn't to say it doesn't need tweaking, but the racing is still good at *most* tracks.

Tgro said...

1st of all, if the Chase is the playoffs and meant to create excitement, the schedule itself should be exciting. Tracks like New Hampshire, California and Homestead have no business in the Chase because very often, they tend to be snooze-fests. Other tracks like Texas, Kansas and Phoenix are questionable as well. The Chase should be week after week of the fan favorite most exciting tracks like Daytona, Bristol, Martinsville, Dover, Darlington, Richmond, Talladega, Charlotte, Atlanta and yes even 1 of the road races. As it is, the current Chase schedule is just boring. You start with New Hampshire which hardly generates a buzz and end with Homestead. If a track isn't exciting, it has no business being given a Chase date. Make the tracks earn a spot in the Chase too!

Two, you've got to be a real Nascar fan to sit through 3-5 hrs of Jerry Punch, Dale Jarrett, Andy Petree, Andy Bestwick, Rusty Wallace, Brad Daughtery, Tim Brewer and Ray Evernham combined with the worst pit crew, cameras and directing in the business. If you've just hit the lowest coverage numbers since the New Age of Nascar coverage began in 2001 than you can choose to blame the NFL, or cookie cutter tracks if you want. But the 1st place you should look at is yourself. The #1 crime that is the Chase is ESPN/ABC get to have it EVERY STINKING YEAR!!! Im absolutely convinced I would love the chase 10x's more if either Fox or TNT had their shot at it. Having ESPN do it is just another reason not to care.

I also remember when TV Coverage respected that EVERY driver had fans! If all I'm getting is spoon fed the same 15 drivers the entire race, you've on your own decided to turn your back to the fans of the other 28 drivers. Who fault is that if that fan decides to leave?

This is the way Ive decided to go about it. NFL I'll watch live. Its more deserving. I don't miss a single play to a commercial. Its more exciting. It has way better coverage. Later when I watch racing, I can skip forward through every commercial and useless moment on the track. Cutting roughly 40% of the frustrating time out of the race. Give myself replay ability and figure things for myself that the broadcast crew often misses for me. And every time Jerry Punch starts promoting a show or product, I hit the skip forward button until he shuts up.

Hands down, the better LIVE experience WITH commercials is the NFL. Nascar on the other hand can barely be tolerated with a fully functioning and well used DVR Remote control.

Its NO CONTEST, if you like both the NFL and Nascar, unless Nascar tightens up, there really isn't enough reasons to watch Nascar when NFL provides the superior product.

Anonymous said...

RL Dreams...I found your numbers a bit hard to believe...so I looked it up. According to an article (Mediamark) I found from 2008, only 18% of US households at that time did not have either cable or satellite. No where near half, although still a significant number.

Anonymous said...

The NFL schedules its prime games for 3:15 CST Sunday, Sunday night, or Monday night. NASCAR needs to reduce the amount of time it dedicates to the “fluff” pre race and try and engage its audience at a consistent time, noon vs. the weaker NFL match ups.

hotaru-raganbaby_6 said...

It's the chase over-hype. There are other drivers out there, and I wish for all to be covered fairly.

Hey ESPN, your CHASEISM is showing! zzzzzzz...

I guess I'll be listening on MRN, because last weekend the Jacksonville game got blacked out (I ended up listening on the radio to the game, but luckly, that was NOT an online stream, like when I listen to the race). It may be that way in the case of another JAX blackout.

Anonymous said...

Start the suckers Sunday at 12:45 and stay commercial free through the top of the hour.
Saturday night races go too late. Some of us have Sunday morning Church.
(Locke's Other Kidney....has to be one of the top ten awesome screen names ever!)

Richard in N.C. said...

I do wonder what the coming blackouts in several NFL markets are going to do to NFL and NASCAR ratings?

Brian said...

ESPN's coverage is not good, that's reason 1.

The biggest reason, tho, is that the race was at Loudon, which is like the most boring track in the world. You couldn't pay me to watch a race from there.

Anonymous said...

I agree with those who say this is a scheduling problem, as least to some degree. I would be perfectly happy with Saturday night races throughout the Chase, since there is nothing else on TV Saturday nights anyway. Of course, the NFL will always beat NASCAR going head to head. Who ever seriously believed NASCAR would ever overtake football as America's game?

As for the quality of coverage, it's been pretty bad for as long as I have been watching (20+ years), with announcers who focus only on one favorite driver, even if he is nowhere in contention. As for Brian Vickers' comment, "this ain't the Kyle Busch show." Well, it sure as heck ain't the Brian Vickers show either. Win a few races before you try to grab the limelight, Mr. Vickers.

Anonymous said...

I think the problem is the length of the NASCAR season. I think NFL draws more viewers in the fall because people haven't seen a football game in awhile. A possible solution is for NASCAR to drop 5 races and end their season before Halloween. Thoughts?

Conor from Mississippi said...

I am an avid stock car fan, and by the time I get into football, it is about playoff time. I will watch a Monday night game, if it has a team I like. Over-all, I have read a few comments that NASCAR itself has shot themselves in the foot, and they have. It started with the "common template" car, then allowing a overseas name plate to race in an all American sport, then the "play off" system, and later implementing the new race car that is NOTHING like what we drive. I know, I know, a "stock car" has not been a stock car in years, but as resently as 10 years ago, aleast the "profile" template that ran bumper to bumper over the top of a NASCAR race car would fit over its street version. You could tell a Thunderbird from a Gran Prix. The management in Daytona Beach has been horrible since Bill Jr. stepped down. Where is "Humpy" Wheeler when you need him?

David said...

The only "tweak" remark I agree with is the last one posted. The schedule is by far too long in my eyes. Getting back to 32 races, maybe even 30 will put a sense of urgency back in racing and less into points racing.

Changing the car, hey guys, remember the COT...a NEW car? Yeah your asking to replace it with a showroom looking car? Do you really expect that will greatly fix the racing? Or is that for your eyes.

I don't feel the COT is a complete failure or there is less racing as a result. Bristol proved very recently to actually have MORE passing with the COT (even on the pre-revamped configuration) than the old car had.

Race distance is not a problem with me either. If fans won't tune in for all but the end of a race, cutting a 100 miles probably won't change that much.

The reality here is this is big money, high stakes racing and as such many teams and drivers realize there has to be a concession from them to reach the ultimate goal which is a championship and the ultimate press that comes with it.

Further gimmicking the points system or races to manufacture "racing" doesn't change that. Because then once guys figure that out you have to change the system again. Isn't most of our gripe that there has been TOO much change over the last 8 years? So why completely blow the system up now?

I am convinced TV coverage has been unable or unwilling to show action on the track because it does not involve their scripted drivers which as a result makes for boring television. Lead car run aways are nothing new, the 1970's and 1980's were notorious for that with way back when guys winning by LAPS and in the late 80's and early 90's you wound up with less than 10 cars on a somewhat regular bases on the lead lap. The competition even now is far better than its been in the past. Is it what we had 10 years ago? No, but that is a difficult standard to expect from the sport year after year after year.

Honestly if the networks all cared more like TNT and less about gimmicks I would be a TON happier.

sbaker17 said...

If I have to choose between a one hour pre-race broadcast that has R Wallace in it , or broadcast of an NFL game, I'll take the NFL. Rusty just doesn't cut it for me . His continued use of "man" in every statement drives me nuts. No doubt about. That's a fact.

midasmicah said...

Before the advent of major network coverage nas$car was doing fine. It had a hardcore fan base (me included). Sundays were reserved for watching nas$car races. Even then it wasn't , what some have refered to it as, a regional sport. At the height of it's popularity nas$car got too damned greedy. I never viewed it as a strictly southern sport. Hell, I live in California and I've been a fan for 30 years. Why nas$car decided it needed to go head to head with the stick and ball sports is beyond me. I think a big inferiority complex played into it. At any rate, nas$car decided it needed a format to compete with the NFL. Big mistake. By itself nas$car had a dedicated fan base. But it felt it had to try to attract a younger, more hip audiance. nas$car has lost it's idenity in the process. To still call it a stock series is a joke. I've been reading where some people see the need to get away from racing on Sunday. These people are clueless in that accessment. nas$car used to stand on it's own merits. The chase, the cot and the advent of the mile and a half cookie cutter tracks have chased away many of long time fans (me included). My point is. nas$car never needed to go Hollywood. it had stood on it's own for years. Greed changed all that. nas$car had better wake up. At the rate major sponsors are leaving, they may end up going the way of the dodo.

Anonymous said...

Well...I live on the West Coast and continue to be a NASCAR and NFL fan. I did prefer when the start times, for the Sunday day races, was at about 9:30am Pacific Time. I now have a DVR and will use it to record the race if I have to be somewhere on a Sunday, but will still watch NASCAR live even up against the NFL and will switch to the NFL when NASCAR goes to commercials. Or I'll usually watch football stuff on cbssports.com. I am the dedicated NASCAR fan that will watch regardless of my love of NFL football. I do believe that a casual NASCAR fan(especially and sadly here on the West Coast) is less likely to move over to the Cup race, if the race starts after the football game does. If the race starts at 9:30am here, I believe the chances are better that the casual fan might stay with the race, as opposed to hoping back over to the NFL once it's 10am. I have seen some reports that NASCAR might move the starts times back to 1pm est/10 pst in 2010. I sure hope that happens. Just my 2 cents. Jeff

bowlalpo said...

I think the FINISH time is more important than the start time.

Sunday Ticket notwithstanding, usually there is only one NFL game on local TV in the late slot. If you pick a race start time so tat it finishes around halftime of the late game, 5:30 eastern, then you should at least get a surge of viewers at 4pm who know all they'll miss is the first half of the late NFL game.

Oh, wait, that's how ABC timed it for NHMS.

I still think that NASCAR is a regional sport that enjoyed a boom for a 10-year span, but is now falling back to the level of non-Tiger golf tournaments. And that's more due to shortened attention spans of younger people who have been entertained by electronic gizmos that weren't necessarily TV's.

Charlie said...

Have the Nascar season end the end of August.

Kitch said...

I haven't watched a NASCAR race in full since the first weekend of college football. Football is far more compelling at the moment, mostly because their commentary teams do not put me to sleep (nothing is more interesting than listening to what Chris Spielman will come out with next!!) like the NASCAR On ESPN teams do.

I had to make a decision, as I live in Australia and have to tape either the NFL or NASCAR race as they air early on Monday mornings, and there's only so much time in the week to watch NFL and college ball. Unfortunately, NASAR misses out. I occasionally watch the one hour highlights show.

Maybe if NASCAR had a better TV product at this time of the year...

Kitch said...

ALso, ABC has it's own successful Saturday Night Primetime series of college football.

They will likely take a look at the ratings from the upcoming Charlotte race, see if they are inferior to their numbers for a primetime college football game and if it so happens that the NCAA out-rates NASCAR, there goes hope for a primetime series of NASCAR races during the football season.

Are they

Richard G said...

Just like Richard in NC (which strangly enough I am also a Richard in NC, probably just a different part ;) ) I love both sports. The problem for me, is that the Chase has placed me in the spot to do the OPPOSITE of what NASCAR designed it to do.

Just for background, I am a Kevin Harvick fan and a Chicago Bears Fan.

In the years previous to the chase, I watched with interest all the way to the last race of the season, and I really didn't pick up the NFL until Thanksgiving. The reason was because it wasn't over until it was over. I'm smart enough to know that a driver isn't gonna win the championship every year, and all I really look for is my driver finishing in the Top 10 in points at the end of the year.
Combine that, with the fact I live in Eastern NC and really cant get the Bears games here unless the play on SNF or MNF, because Fox will be showing the Carolina Panthers at 1pm (or the Redskins if the Panthers are hosting an AFC team) so there was nothing holding my interest to the NFL.

Starting in 2004, Nascar decided it was in their best interest to manipulate the season by closing up the points after Richmond. It was to make the end of the season more "exiting" and they kept pointing to the 1992 season as the analog for how a close points battle made things exiting at the last race. Now, I don't want to speak for everyone else here, but what made 1992 exiting for me was that it was the culmination of an entire season of accumulated points, and there were 4 drivers that had a shot at the Championship. Now in my mind, anything that happens after Richmond and feels cheap and manipulated.

Of course, Harvick failed to make the chase in 2004 or 2005, and there was no reason for me to follow NASCAR after Richmond. In those years, only the top 10 moved on, and he came in to Richmond like 12th or 13th, and had a shot of making into the top 10 by the end of the season if there had been no chase (he didn't anyway, according to the "classic points" on Nascar.com) but I had no way of knowing that he wouldn't make it. But with the chase, I knew as soon as the Richmond race was over, that even IF he won all 10 races at the end of the year, he still wouldn't be going to the banquet, so the season was OVER, and there fore, my interest. I mean, a non chase driver gets zero coverage in the race, nor in the practice and qualifying coverage. So why would I watch?

Now for full disclosure, I watched every second of coverage from 2006-2008 beacuse my driver was in the chase, but this year I have no interest whatsoever, theres nothing to hold my attention, espcially not with ESPN/ABC covering the races. Case in point: Kevin Harvick took 2 laps in qualifying at Loudon this week, and I only got to see the majority of his second lap because ESPN subjected me to the 50,000th interview with Carl Edwards and his crutches, in full screen, while Kevin was on the track.

So, now I watch football, DVR the races, and make sure I miss all of the sponsors content courtesy of my fast forward button (Thanks DirectTV, both for Sunday Ticket, and large capacity DVR)!

Talon64 said...

This past weekend really went to show that gimmicks can't mask inherent problems. ESPN/ABC's race telecasts are sub-par, focusing on "stories" rather than the actual racing and not giving enough coverage to all drivers. NASCAR loses a lot of interest over the middle of the season as the coverage switches from FOX to cable channels like TNT and ESPN.

The COT isn't giving fans the good racing that NASCAR was expecting but NASCAR is too stubborn to admit their mistakes and try to fix it.

Drivers are uninteresting and boring thanks to NASCAR and sponsors keeping everything PC, even Tony Stewart has lost his edge. Thank God for Montoya.

I still watched more of the NASCAR race than I did the NFL games, but that's only because I'm a Seahawks fan so they were playing a later game.

Anonymous said...

Are you ready for some Foooooooootball?

I hate football. Never watch that sport. Its awful

midasmicah said...

I'd like to add one thing. I still watch nas$car and the NFL. The difference is 5 years ago I would have been watching the race and switching the channel every so often to check on football. Now it's the other way around. It's been like being tortured slowly the last few years. Networks that won't show you're driver unless he's from one of the "favorite son" teams. Drivers that get trounced on if they show any emotion. A car so bad that drivers can't drive side by side (by their own admission), fewer tracks that have any competitive nature, and the chase. Yes, the chase. The chase has made the first 26 races meaningless. They are nothing more and nothing less then test sessions for the well to do. The chase was and is a knee-jerk reaction. A sad attempt at trying to compete with the BMOC. I LOVED nas$car when it stood on it's own merits. I still like it, but I can't say I love it anymore. I feel like a jilted lover. nas$car prostituted itself to the highest bidder a few years ago and it's showing now. Have a clue, nascar. Admit you made a mistake and, above all, start listening to your fans while there are still some left.

Chris in wi said...

I watched the Packer game and recorded the race via DVR. This is standard as all races get the DVR even if I watch them live. That way I can come in and out and generally cut out all commercials and yellows. So the Pack lost and I didn't watch any more TV until the night NFL game. So at half time I started the DVR up and FF till the last 100 laps and watched that. It was excellent in my opinion and we stayed with it till MM won. Of course that wasn't very long with the DVR. I picked up the NFL game at 11 minutes left in the 3rd. Thats how you watch a race at a track like NH.

NFL normally wins in my circle but I will catch the race eventually.

I know everyone complains about the announcers but generally I just tune them out and try to focus on the race. It is very hard to follow the race with the close up shots. Less cameras would mean more coverage.

The spec car also ruins things for me. It sucks in stock cars and Indy cars. When the cars are all the same it seems to take away any rivalry. It is no longer GM vs Ford vs MOPOR. I still think that NASCAR race machines could find some resemblance to actual show room cars and to use some sort of stock blocks even if they are all 6cylinders. Racing has its niche and if the young people are all purchasing cars that have no ties to racing then the memory fades away as will NASCAR.

Matt TSB said...

I doubt moving Cup races to Saturday or Saturday night would help, because Nascar's strongest geographical regions align more closely with college football's strongest regions than with the NFL's.

The idea of running the chase at the most popular tracks makes sense to me.

Paramount is consistent starting times-all season, but espescially in the chase. 12:30 eastern at the latest. That's Green Flag waving, wheel's turning, engines roaring competition at 12:30, not the start of the "Race" broadcast with prayers, anthem, and flyover still to come.

I doubt the economics would allow no commercials until after kickoff, but it's a great idea in theory.

As far as commercials in general this is one time I will definately agree with Mr. Daly-racing isn't like the other sports and doesn't provide enough breaks in the action to show commercials. Commercials will always have to be shown during green flag racing-maybe you can go split screen, maybe not, but unfortunately there is no way to have a "miss nothing" broadcast.

Also agree the season has to wrap up by Halloween. I would even consider a Sunday of Columbus Day weekend wrap up extravaganza. End the season at Charlotte, which is an easy drive or flight for a huge percentage of the fanbase. Weatherwise that's probably the most dependable three day weekend of the year, not too hot, not too cold, and if it does rain a pretty good chunk of the country is off on Monday.

ESPN: eh, lot's of people don't like how they cover their favorite sport. Same for any network really. I'll see you Digger and raise you a glowing puck. If there's any bigger disappointment in sports than tuning in your team's game and hearing Joe Buck's voice I've yet to experience it. Could race coverage be better? Sure it could, but if there is a game/race that I really want to watch not even a Punch/Vitale/Buck/Siragusa announcing team will get me to turn it off.

Bottom line: shorter season, consistent start times.

Tom said...

Not nearly as much of a NFL fan as I used to be, but when faced with the choice of football, Jerry Punch led coverage of NASCAR, or cleaning up the yard on a Sunday afternoon, NASCAR brings up the rear by a long shot.

Ohio Eric said...

I used to be a diehard Nascar fan. Come Sunday afternoon, my whole world would stop and I sat infront of my TV to watch the race. I also used to go to 2-4 races per year, but this will be the 1st year since 2000 that I am not going to see a race live. Why, well first of all, the COT has taken all the RACING out of the races. The prices for tickets, hotels, gas ect has risen faster than my paycheck. So do I now sit and watch a race on TV, when I could be watching My Pittsburgh Steelers and the rest of the NFL, heck no, thats what my DVR is for. The broadcast partners King Brian has lined up is terrible. ESPN-ABC has no business covering Nascar, All I hear is where the chasers are running, forget about the other 31 cars. Dr Jerry Punch offers no excitement whatsoever. The field often is not reset over a MYSTERY debris caution. The races also start to late. Please Nascar, forget the west coast and have all races start no later than 1pm. Let Fox-TNT do all the broadcasts, and get rid of that COT. Until then, the NFL will take up my Sunday afternoon, I will watch some of the race later Sunday night on DVR, and be sure to watch This Week in Nascar on Monday nights to see what I missed.

Daly Planet Editor said...

I just wanted to say thank you for the fantastic comments on this post.

Your comments have been read by many personalities in NASCAR, in the media and in the TV business.

Most importantly, they paint a true picture of the issues the sport is facing as it continues to deal with NFL football Sundays.

Thanks again and keep them coming,


Anonymous said...

I have completely given up on NA$CAR as a sport and entertainment source. BOARING about sums it up.... Every week is the same no drama... They removed individauls from the sport! They are now just billboards and not allowed to be real people like the fans that watch them and NA$CAR want the money from... We R very sick of their garbagage and that is what they deliver. Commentators repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat, oh and did I say repeat themselves every viewing.... Oh and did I forget to mention, that Qualifing is suppose to be "qualifing"? Top 35 freeeeeeebies sucks to the max. It is no longer racing! Plain and simple! It it marketing and it has went belly up! Greed! Screwed us and them!

Dot said...

@ dar, Brava!!

@ Osbornk, I had the same idea regarding eliminations.

@ Anon 12:43, You have a valid point. NASCAR put all their eggs in Jr's basket.

@ Richard in NC, I had the same question in mind about the NFL blackouts.

RLDreams said...

In response to Anonymous arguing my claim of 1/2 of US homes getting TV off air, here are the figures from National Cable Tele. Assoc. showing 50.3% household basic cable penetration as of June ,2009

According to a Nielsen survey in June 2009 61% of US households surveyed received cable TV . PDF of report http://bit.ly/m7Df1

Yes there are other sources giving other numbers ranging as high as 68% of US homes, but 1/2 was a nice round number for the purpose of my example.

You have to love people that rebut but are afraid to sign their post or give any credentials to verify their claim

Anonymous said...

Richard G, think about how many Dale Eanrhardt Jr. fans are out there that feel the same way you do.

Farfel said...

I love NASCAR and the NFL. However, I am getting increasingly tired of the thuggish and arrogant players in the NFL, and the side stories that are often the focus of the day. I'm not talking about big egos, we can live with that ... Nobody likes a thug, yet NFL players make so much money now, that they do not care whatsoever. What makes NASCAR especially excellent to follow is that most of the drivers are gentlemen, they love the fans, they share the stage with their teams, and they seem to care about the sport as much as themselves. These characteristics are increasingly scarce in the NFL. We won't even talk about the hostage situation (ticket prices) that is exploding across the NFL ...

Zieke said...

We need to look no farther than the quality of the NFL broadcasts vs. Nascar. You never hear or read anything about miserable announcing on NFL games. Cup races are in a hole before they begin.

Richard in N.C. said...

I have been an NFL fan for long enough that I am still convinced that Johnny Unitas is still the greatest QB who ever played - and that on average the game announcing is not as good as it was 10 years ago. It seems to me that more money and effort is put into pre-game and halftime shows and that game announcing crews have been downgraded as a result - and that the worst crew available is always assigned to Carolina Panthers games unless it is a national game.

I believe it is clear from the above that there is still very substantial interest in NASCAR, but that the quality of race broadcasts is not up to the level of interest in the sport - or fans aren't as dumb as the networks believe.

red said...

shuffled between nfl (eagles), mlb (phillies), and nascar -- and kept all 3 on mute on the tv. race was on the radio via laptop and the phillies also had a window open on the laptop as well.
why? b/c i'm a sports freak and i like watching them all as much as possible but . . .

if tnt were handling these final races, i most certainly would not do the sports shuffle at all. espn's broadcasts are so unprofessional that i find it has become a conscious decision that i have to make each week.

so, some thoughts:
1. inconsistent race times are a continuing problem. in my world, races should have green flag dropping no later than 12:30 eastern.
2. night races on saturday are great and would open up a logical rain date on sunday. i know folks contend local tracks would suffer but if i have to choose between going to my local dirt track and watching the cup race on tv? i'm grabbing my goggles and heading to the dirt! fortunately, my local track has great friday night racing!
3. correct the most glaring problems w/espn's broadcasts, including the neverending focus on 12 drivers at each track to the exclusion of the other 31 teams.

i still contend that the quality of the racing isn't as bad as many believe and i'm confident i'll be watching some great battles at dover this sunday. but i am equally convinced that those watching at home will NOT see the same great racing action.

and, for me, that's the crux of the issue: not the nfl, not the pre-game shows, not the start times, not the lack of earnhardt, jr or young mr busch or anyone else.

if nascar doesn't do something to get its tv parner to produce a better broadcast, fans watching at home will never know good/bad the actual racing is and will draw erroneous assumptions about the state of racing in nascar today.

and THAT will lead to fewer eyes on the race broadcast and fewer behinds in the seats at the tracks and that, my friends, should scare the living "stuffing" outta france, helton and pemberton!

Gary said...

There are an abnormal number of NFL games starting on Sunday at 1 PM. These dozen games all starting at 1:00 PM ET may drain away some audience as Allen Bestwick hosts the pre-race show for the Sprint Cup Series race. Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty join Bestwick in the Infield Pit Studio. ABC needs to do some "teases" for this show, Spencer bloopers, show pics of Danica or something! ;-)