Thursday, June 17, 2010

TNT May Remember The Summer Of 2010

TNT came into the 2010 summer six pack of races loaded for bear. The Turner organization brought all it's TV toys. A feature-packed online video program, popular analyst Kyle Petty and a breath of fresh air on the production side greeted fans.

Lindsay Czarniak settled-in as the infield host and nice guy Adam Alexander made his NASCAR play-by-play debut live in front of a national television audience. Race two of the package came from the Michigan International Speedway.

The pre-race show was crisp and loaded with great features, interviews and comments. Alexander, Petty and Wally Dallenbach Jr. in the TV booth had fun, entertained and poured their energy into the telecast.

RaceBuddy worked great and even showed the infamous debris that brought out the final caution flag. The TNT producer stayed on top of the stories. The director chose the right pictures to show the audience. Everything just clicked.

Thursday brought the TV ratings information for the event. Here is an excerpt of the summary from Sports Media Watch:

Sunday's NASCAR race from Michigan drew the lowest ratings in at least 13 years.

The Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 from Michigan drew a 2.9 U.S. rating and 4.3 million viewers on TNT Sunday afternoon, down 12% in ratings and 15% in viewership from both last year (3.3, 5.1 mil) and 2008 (3.3, 5.1 mil), and down 9% and 17%, respectively, from 2007 (3.2, 5.2 mil).

This marks the lowest rated edition of the race since at least 1997 and the least viewed since at least 2001.

Additionally, this is the first regularly scheduled NASCAR race to dip below a 3.0 U.S. rating since last year's Tums Fast Relief 500 on ABC (2.9).

Of the 13 regularly scheduled NASCAR races this season, Sunday's race is the ninth to have a decline in ratings versus last year.

Despite the lower numbers, Sunday's race was still the top sporting event of the week on cable, in a week that featured six World Cup matches on ESPN*. Overall, the race was the week's tenth-most viewed cable program.

Some of those statements are tough to take after watching TNT put on a very good show using the right TV bells and whistles. There were no technical problems, there was no rain delay and the Sprint Cup Series drivers put on the best show possible.

This time of the year, there is Major League Baseball underway on all the regional sports networks. The World Cup began last week on various ESPN outlets. The NBA has been in an exciting playoff series for the league championship.

Still, the fundamental issues is that television did its part last Sunday. TNT offered a solid broadcast that worked the available on-track action and storylines from green to checkered.

What do you think is the real reason for the decline in TV ratings for the Sprint Cup Series this season? 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. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.


Anonymous said...

Obviously overall interest in NASCAR is waning. You can explain track attendence issues blaming the lousy economy. But when folks do not watch at home - fan interest is declining. They obviously are dissatisfied with the product that NASCAR is putting forth.

earl06 said...

Interest is waning, NASCAR is no longer the "fad" sport it was five years ago. But in all honesty, there are so many ways to consume the NASCAR race that ratings are pretty meaningless. I think that interest in paying a cable/sat provider is what's really waning. I canceled cable two months ago and haven't missed a race (Cup, F1, Indy) yet. I know quite a few folks that have canceled/downgraded their cable package in the last few months.

Nobody misses it. I sure don't. The internet provides anything one might want at a fraction of the price. Pretty soon the only people paying for the 300 channels that go unwatched will be those that don't know any better or don't care.

Not good news for content providers, but it's up to them to find a way to make a buck off it. Music companies flailed for years, now they're dead in the water. Content providers better figure it all out, and fast...

Donna DeBoer said...

"Sunday's race was still the top sporting event of the week on cable" ... says to me that less people are watching sports on TV, period. I'm seeing ratings decline for most TV programming, not just sports, so I still maintain it is NOT just a NASCAR problem. You also can't magically make people who have canceled their cable or satellite reappear.

I also maintain that the Nielsen ratings system is hopelessly outdated in measuring 21st Cen viewing habits. I still don't have firm numbers for DVRs of the races (Live+7), and how do they measure people like us who watched the race live via RaceBuddy only?

Dannyboy said...

Well well well, LOOKEE HERE: no DW or Larry Mac or Digger to beat up on and still the lowest ratings in a looonnnnggg time. Hmmm....

I sure don't like hearing that ratings are so bad for a sport that I dearly love, but it sure will be nice not to hear the incessant whining and gnashing of teeth from the FOX/DW haters as we go spinning down the tubes.

Now, I don't know that anything Brian France and his gang have done, that they can reverse quickly to staunch the bleeding.

Maybe next year: no Chase; winning earns more points so each race is worth trying to win; get rid of template cars; fewer cookie cutter tracks....

How about it race fans?

The Loose Wheel said...

JD, the true test is Daytona. I really feel the ratings mean diddily until we see how they look after that race. Several race fans are just picking and choosing races now, many do not like the new car, and many just do not care for Jimmie Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports' dominance.

Michigan historically is a "boring" race, spoiler or not people had that idea going in therefore made little effort to watch. That was the case for me this weekend with the Truck and NW race, I had other things going on and skipped out. After the fact I am wishing I had seen the truck race afterall.

When ratings are down across the board in every television program seemingly though, I think people should be sure not to over-react. The second half of those ratings reports indicate that quite frankly, NASCAR did pretty well. At least that is how it looks to me. With so many people having DVR and the ability to watch at their leisure, the numbers get skewed.

What has really taken place the last couple years? The DVR movement! Ratings have steadily declined in that time since now people can do whatever it is they want, when they want and no longer have to bend to the race. The race bends around them.

Just my observation. That being said, TNT has been great thus far, hope for more of the same this weekend.

Daly Planet Editor said...


Thank you for confirming for us that you are not a NASCAR fan.

Larry McReynolds is an integral part of the TNT telecasts and has been so for many years.

McReynolds sits on the pre-race show panel, provides cutaway car and race strategy updates during the race and also handles the studio analyst duties for rain delays.

May I also respectfully remind you that the network that kicked-off the season in Daytona and produced all the races right up until the TNT portion of the season was FOX.

Nice hand-off...


Vince said...

What's hurting the tv ratings? I agree with Anon@9:34pm. It's the product.

The trumped up Chase format needs to go. It's not a true measure of a champion and never will be for me. Now all they are doing is racing just hard enough to get into the Chase. Points racing isn't real racing. Period.

Then there's the cars. The COT is safer, but doesn't look like a stock car. There is no brand identity anymore. Take the grill, headlight and tailight decals off the cars and you can't tell one from the other. I liked the IROC races back in the day, but that is not what I want to see week in and week out. Make the cars look like stock cars again and let the crew chiefs have some leeway with the rules. The common template has to go.

Then there are the drivers themselves. I'm from the generation that grew up watching Petty, Pearson, Allison, Yarborough, etc. Then along came DW, Dale Sr., Rusty, Harry Gant, etc. All hardworking blue collar type of guys that we could all relate to. They had to fight their way up to get to Cup. Through a late models, modifieds or sportsman series at a local track. Then up to a regional series or the former Busch series. And finally if they were lucky and good enough, up to Cup. And once there it was usually with a low budget team like Junie Donlevy or Bud Moore. Not to a top team.

Now we have the younger generation of drivers. They might have done late models and maybe a little trucks or Nationwide, but they are coming into Cup at a younger age. And they are not mature enough. We see them as not having to work as hard to get to where they are. And the owners are all looking for the next Jeff Gordon. Somebody they can sell to the sponsors and hopefully he'll go fast too.

I think there was a great void left in the sport when Dale Sr. passed away. And Ricky Rudd, Rusty, Terry Labonte, and the rest of that generation retired.

The drivers now as a whole don't have a leader. Jeff Gordon and Jimmy Johnson for what ever reason, don't want to or aren't able to take on that role. Guys that have won as many races and championships as Jeff and Jimmy should be leaders on the track, in the pits and in the media. But they aren't. The race fans need a hero and we are sadly lacking in the current crop of drivers.

And finally there is NASCAR itself. They come across to the average fan as pananoid, controlling, money hungry clowns. They enforce the rules as they see fit, with no rhyme or reason. BF has no business heading NASCAR, yet he does. I think his sister could probably do a better job with her eyes closed. Mafia Mike has the personality of a pet rock. Yet he's the face of the sport when King Brian is not around the track, which is quite a lot. I just do not trust the current brain trust to get NASCAR headed in the right direction. The current leadership to the common fan is only interested in money and controlling what the drivers and media say about the sport. If King Brian and Helton are really serious about changing things then open up those closed door town hall meetings with the drivers and owners to the media. Walk though the stands or the infield before the race and talk to the fans. Quit being so all controlling and secretive. Answer the hard questions from the media honestly.

Blaming the current state of the sport on the economy is a smoke screen. They need to open up their eyes and ears to what the fans are saying. After all, if it wasn't for the fans we wouldn't have a NASCAR now would we?

Anonymous said...

I don't know anybody that enjoys watching the cars run in mostly a single line around any track. I make sure I do not miss the plate races, the only ones I truly enjoy. It is more about the driver and luck than who has the fast car. I can drive great when I am on a road by myself but put me in traffic and I am no longer such a good driver. Bring on more plate races. You never know who will be at front at the end. Just cannot enjoy the ones that only showcase whomever has the fastest car staying out front and hardly nobody can catch. BORING.

Richard in N.C. said...

It sure would be interesting to know whether the number of cable and satellite subscribers is down from 2009.

Anonymous said...

Length of races is a key factor, people do not have the time to invest, especially during spring/summer months.

Also hard to watch a race for hours when it seems nascar officiating might be manipulating the end of the race (whether real or perceived).

MikeC said...

I just hope NASCAR and the networks don't use the earlier start times as their excuse and that it leads to start times all over the map next year. I've found myself watching a lot more racing this year. Being in the Central time zone, I'm absolutely loving the noon was great that last week's race was over by 3:00p.m. Central and still had a lot of my Sunday afterwards to get a lot of things done.

I think there's more factors at play than that, though. I think the biggest factor could be that Jr. is struggling. I listen to Sirius 128 and so many Jr fans call in and sound so discouraged that a lot of them don't even bother to watch the races.

Other factors, what incentive is their to watch the race when a person can tune into a show like Victory Lane on a Sunday evening to see what happened in the race. As mentioned, the fad fan has moved onto something else and some of the changes NASCAR made a few years back sort of cut off the hardcore fans that were supporting the sport. I just think it's a combination of a bunch of things that has led to where things are today.

Mike said...

I find myself questioning if I'm still a true fan. I watched about 20 laps, got bored, and did other stuff.

I just can't get interested in the Manufacturer battles anymore. "Rooting for decals" just doesn't' make sense. Sometimes I wonder if I'm a dinosaur, as I'm the only person in my entire office that's still even interested in racing.

I'm not going to claim I know how to fix it though.

Tom said...

Sad that ratings would not improve after what we have seen the last couple of weeks. At the same time, we are kind of on the cutting edge of this network switch, many people may not even be aware that there are quality broadcasts again!
Not sure if it would make a difference, though. As mentioned here, there is little reason to tune into a long, boring race, when results and highlights are available everywhere, anytime. The product NASCAR is producing is not a good one, lots of hype and excuses, not much for the long time fans. I would have to agree that overall interest is just fading. Sad.

Inverness, FL

GinaV24 said...

Vince - you hit all the nails firmly on the head, plus the weather IS good, as JD said. That means that people are not going to sit inside watching the TV when they can DVR the race for later and watch it later.

TNT has done a great job, I did watch the race on TV and used racebuddy (it was a nasty day in NJ on Sunday) so being inside was fine. I think its a shame that TNT should get hammered with this since the fault really lies in NASCAR's lap. They have consistently made poor decisions and after several years of a poor product, people have simply quit being interested in it.

Plus, and this is for you, Dannyboy, both Fox and ESPN have a share in the ratings downturn. Both of those entities have turned racing into something that a lot of fans don't want to watch. Fox treats the fans like idiots and ESPN only wants to follow a script and talk about "the chase". When you tune in and you're not actually seeing the race or what you are seeing is one car at a time, then it gets turned off. Eventually people don't bother tuning in.

And no, it's the economy as an excuse doesn't hold water any longer. I'm sure people have cancelled their cable as a cost savings and because there's NOTHING on 90% of the time.

KoHoSo said...

Vince...very well said!

I have been watching NASCAR races almost as long as I have any other sport -- about 40 years and I am just shy of turning 45 years old. I used to watch them with great enthusiasm and passion. These days, I am still riveted to the screen when watching college football and hockey (among other sports) but it is now only on rare occasions that I do not find myself wandering either mentally or physically during a NASCAR race.

The one unfortunate side of The Daly Planet is that we try to keep focused on the TV element of things as there are plenty of other places to discuss everything else. However, I have said here and there when appropriate all along that NASCAR's problems are not just Channel X or Broadcaster Y.

NASCAR is quickly losing its excitement, drama, and -- most importantly -- the trust of the fans. From inane business decisions to blatant phantom cautions and everything in between, the often awful coverage we have gotten of our beloved sport is only a part of why attendance and ratings continue to drop.

For me, I had set a limit for myself that, if things did not improve by 2012 that I would just give up on NASCAR. Frankly, I don't know if I can hold out that long no matter how refreshing it is to watch the TNT crew at work after being bludgeoned by Fox. It's almost getting to the point of becoming the dreaded lipstick on a pig thing.

I want drivers, not salesmen. I want cars, not kit models. I want racing, not parades and pit stop competitions.

I still have some patience left to wait. As we see, more and more have run out of patience and are leaving...and, as they said about Emperor Nero, Brian France fiddles while Daytona Beach burns.

Ken O said...

NASCAR had a popular and successful product with a core but somewhat concentrated fan base. They decided to change it to make it appeal to a national audience. The national audience was fleeting and the fan base was upset with the end product. This reminds me of when Coca Cola replaced their very successful product with New Coke. The customers rebelled and Coca Cola was forced to abandon their new product and go back to Classic Coke. NASCAR cannot go back to the old product to bring fans back like Coke was able to do because many of the changes were permanent and redefined the sport. They can change some things to make it more like the old product but King Brian seems reluctant to do so.

There is a saying in business. The first generation develops the business, the second generation maintains it and the third generation destroys or greatly damages it.

Zieke said...

JD, Seems that ratings are still down a bit, but TNT only has 6 races. Bet they improve as the season progresses, and folks realize that TNT and ESPN are much better than Fox. Also I expect lower ratings in the summer. Find a new job DW!!!

Anonymous said...

Viewer fatigue has to be a major issue. Races are WAY too long. The double file shootouts negate anything that happened the prior three hours. All you have to do is watch the last few laps,right? Between the two networks,you have three long mind numbing hours of repetitive nonsence followed by The Bum's Rush to get off the air before all the cars are off the track when the race is over. Michigan was BORING. The leader had,what, a NINE SECOND lead on second place when the last debris(?) caution came out? Attendance at the tracks is pitiful-lots of empty seats and unused camping spaces. The cameras try to hide the empty seats,but if watch, you'll cath them. None of this is new. The Sport has been hurting for about five years.

Unknown said...

I think the main problem with this past weekend is Michigan is a BORING track! I consider myself a die-hard NASCAR fan, and I took a total pass this weekend.

TNT does a really good job on race presentation, but you can't turn a turd into a diamond no matter how hard you polish it.

As stated before, Daytona will be the true test.

JohnP said...

Vince - Excellent. It's difficult to add to what you said, but I'll give it a whirl. I do beleive Nascar's rating are down due to all those issues you pointed out.

Most of my fiends, my wife, and myself consider the Chase a farse. Test for 26 weeks, then race 10. That's simply the outcome of the Chase. The 48 team know this well. And abuses it.

Getting to TV ratings. After ESPN's performance over the last two to three years and most especially Fall 2009, followed up by FOX's horrible coverage in Spring 2010 it's no wonder TNT's ratings down also. It would simply be insane to think all the fans are just going to show back up because TNT has six races. The average viewer just know's the coverage has sucked for almost a year - since TNT last summer. The average fan isn't going to come running to the tv with their arms open and say "Oh I'll watch now since TNT is covering it". Not going to happen.

I'm going to paraphrase JD a little, I'm sure he will correct it if I'm wrong. I remember reading in a comment early in the year said something like "I'd be ticked if I was TNT". It was not in an article, but in a comment during a race. Well, If I was TNT, I'd be upset also. Because this still comes back to lost interest from extremely poor coverage by ESPN and FOX.

Plus the issues Vince pointed out very well.

In a nutshell.

Poor product from Nascar, poorly produced by ESPN and FOX. TNT can't save it by themselves. Congrats and thanks to TNT for trying and offering wonderfull coverage. ESPN and FOX should be embarrased.

Anonymous said...

Even if TNT produced a perfect telecast (whatever that means), ratings would not magically raise themselves. I am sure there are people who have stopped watching NASCAR races because of poor television coverage, and those people aren't going to become aware that a new channel is providing better coverage if they are not watching.

That said, as long as television coverage continues to be good, you can expect the ratings to slowly rise up again. The other problem is that television ratings mean absolutely nothing anymore with so many different ways of watching a race (live TV, DVR, online, radio, etc...)

Greg said...

The interest in NASCAR, by-in-large, isn't going to be swung one way or the other by the TV presentation. Many of the contributing factors others have mentioned for the sports slip.

I think the safer tracks and cars have taken away an element of danger that had been there previously. I don't know if you get the people tuning in just to see wrecks like they use to.

The lack of marque names that fans get behind and invest their loyalty in, is another change. I can't imagine there are too many people tattooing "Fex Ex" or Denny Hamlin on their arms.

The one TV related complaint I have starts soon, and that is the "Chase."

The lead-up to the September Richmond race puts all the focus on who makes the top 12 and who doesn't. And then the last 10 races the only thing that is pushed is who is near the top during the "Chase." It takes the focus away from what is happening on the track and places it on a little graphic in the corner of the screen showing the standings. So you are out of luck if you are a Clint Bowyer fan and he hasn't won a race all year, but is leading at Kansas. It is more important to focus on Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch as they run in 17th and 30th places. Because you know, they are the ones batting the "Chase."

NASCASR wanted badly to be like other sports and have a playoff type system to add attention and not deal with points blow-outs. But they forgot they had one thing going for them other sports didn't. To their fans, each week was a big game, no matter how the season had gone. So even if your favorite driver had stunk this year, he had a chance to win the race going on that week.

Of course that would mean something if the race on the track was more important then the "Chase to the Sprint Cup."

Kevin said...

"Viewer fatigue has to be a major issue. Races are WAY too long. The double file shootouts negate anything that happened the prior three hours. All you have to do is watch the last few laps,right?" (Anonymous)

I guess that means NASCAR has gotten exactly what they wanted. They make it so the very end of each race (and each season, too) is all that really matters, so why do we need to watch all that leads up to it? I still watch and/or listen to all the Cup races, but not as closely as I once did. In the past, I would almost stay glued to the TV throughout the race. Now, I'm doing a lot of other things at the same time. NASCAR has made the first 90% of races irrelevant, and the ratings are continue to show it.

Anonymous said...

Personally I was turned off by Fox so badly that I quit watching the races. I now have a new routine and just find it hard to give my Sundays back to the TV.

All and all, It was the Fox broadcast, specifcally DW, ADHD camera director, and the lack of a good broadcast that got me to quit tuning in on Sunday.

The other ongoing issues that are also causing my interest to wain i all the fake yellows, multiple green white checkers, free pass, and other gimmicks Nascar has done to generate more interest. If they talk and treat it as a Sports entertainment show, not a broadcast of a true sport, the more I just don't care. If I want that type of "entertainment", I will watch wrestling.

glenc1 said...

I don't really blame the racing--there were a lot of long boring races 20, 30 years ago too. People have just forgotten that.

It's funny, there are people like anon 11:29 who love plate racing and people like me who hate it. I'd rather watch grass grow than see them freight training around. But I think David is right; Daytona will be a better test. (on that note--anyone ever been to the Daytona NW race? Thinking about maybe going...)

But didn't we talk about this last year, that when summer time hits, people have stuff to do? Picnics, parties, gardening (especially in June, grads, weddings, etc.)

I do think some of it is nearly everything mentioned here. I don't agree with everything Vince said, but I certainly do with the last two paragraphs. I couldn't say it any better.

The shape of the cars, even the common templates don't bother me at all--but I honestly believe I'm in the minority in that, so I think it does affect popularity. Junior--when the most popular driver has hit a several-year's just painful. Even the best have had years like that, but it's gone on a long time. I don't watch stuff online much, so I'm not in that club either. I don't have the money for the 'bells & whistles' PC or the highest speed Internet (I'm amazed at how many do...) So I keep watching (I guess in some ways, JD is asking the wrong people, because most of us are still watching!)

Ritchie said...

With regards to interest in NASCAR waning - that doesn't really make sense. Unless I'm mistaken, the ratings for the Nationwide race were higher. It may have just been Michigan.

For a more historical perspective, I always thought that it was strange how the past few years everyone was watching the ENTIRE race. I had even started doing that. Back in the day (when there were still Wilkesboros and Rockinghams, and even a cup race at Nashville on the schedule), people never watched or listened to the whole race. It was like baseball, you just listened for the announcer's voice to change pitch and you ran over to catch what just happenned.

Even the beloved MRN will talk to some VIP in the middle of the race when cars get strung out. They may go ten minutes without even mentioning what is happening on the track.

My point is that seasonal interest waxes and wanes just like most fans interest waxes and wanes during a race.

That doesn't mean that all of the other issues aren't real also (economy, TV technology, other competing interests). Its just that we can't always stay 100% focused on any sport.

In a few years we may look back and ask, "Who thought that it was feasible to expect 200,000 people to show up at a race and 10 million people to watch 36 races every week?" Back in the 80's, people would apreciate what we have today.

Glenn said...

I think the decline is a direct result of the money needed to broadcast the races.
Listing all the bad about the cup series has been done here over and over so I'm going to go at it in a different direction.
The Camping World Truck series takes up 25 "sections" of my time. I don't have to invest 6 months of my time.
The CWTS races are long, or short, enough to keep my interest and the announcers and myself don't have time to get bored with the race. (most times)
BTY, neither do the drivers, they're on go, get to the front and win. I like that.
In the CWTS when a driver is asked a question, they GIVE an answer from their heart, not the sponsor perfect, politically correct answer. I like that.
Since Speed covers the CWTS I'm sure the budget isn't great but that's what I think keeps the show good and keeps it going. There's not a sponsor plug, commercial, sponsor plug, driver bumper, minute of race and repeat. (could be wrong but it very rarely feels like commercials overload racing in the CWTS)
That's about the best I can do.

I do remember people saying Bill Sr. and Jr both would sometimes "tweak" and or have a "conversation" with person or persons who would be "stinkin" up their show.
IMHO I think the tail is waggin' the dog now.
I realize it's always been a show for the fans, I just think the "show" might have outgrew the original sport.

dannyboy said...

"Daly Planet Editor said...

Thank you for confirming for us that you are not a NASCAR fan."

Touche! re Larry Mac. I was working late and was tired. I'm so used to seeing him everywhere he disppeared from my radar.

My point respectfully remains: as you pointed out so well in the post, we had a (mostly) new team and they did a great job of presenting the race in a different manner from FOX. We had no domineering personalities who bug some viewers to death, and we had a ratings TANK worse than any FOX race to date. Up to this point every post-race discussion has been mostly about hating DW and FOX's "bad job" and why this was the reason for ratings slump.

I think the on-track product needs freshening beyond "have at it" and going back to the spoiler. I said as much with different words.

So other than my faux-pas re LM, where else do you take issue with this 40+ year fan's critique?

Anonymous said...

Fan interest is driven by two things; 1) the race cars, and 2) the race car drivers.

The race cars were interesting to many fans because they were 'production based' versions of street cars (sometimes factory supported, sometimes not). The Wood Brothers Mercury disn't look like the Petty's Mopars of Jr Johnson's Chevies. It really didn't start with the COT - the 'twisted-sister' cars we're all generic, but sometime during teh mid/late '90's the cars started loosing brand identification.

As for the drivers, back in the day at my 'local' asphalt track (Huntsville Speedway, Huntsville, AL) you'd see the Allison's, Waltrip, Earnhardt, Gant, Coo-Coo / Sterlin Marlin, et. al. show up. They started their careers at the local levels and continued racing at the local tracks. It created a natural means to develop a fan following. The 'last' driver with a real grass roots fan base quit winning 2 years ago. He wasn't doing much in the previous 2 years before his dry spell.

I'll never forget the '79 Daytona 500. We were so starved for flag-to-flag TV coverage. That race featured identifiable cars and identifiable drivers. Neither exists any longer. Viewer fatigue has set in and there's nothing compelling to draw the viewer back. I don't care about race-buddies or diggers or hair sprayed announcers calling the show (don't get me started about late race 'debris' cautions). Quite frankly, my local racing is much more enjoyable compelling than todays NASCAR.


Anonymous said...

My interest has dropped SIGNIFICANTLY the past two years. In fact, I think I've tuned in to maybe 4 races this year (and only to watch the last 25 laps or so). I've Tivo'd most of them, but never seem to have the time or interest for it anymore. But, the racing has become so boring that I don't care if I miss a race anymore. I'll tune in to the road course races as those are my favorite. but even those are dominated by the same teams year after year.

Richard in N.C. said...

I still contend that the beginning of the decline in NASCAR's ratings began when the klutz's at NBC (the analysis of a GE shareholder) made Bill Weber the PXP announcer. As much as I love racing, I found it hard to watch and listen to him.

I do believe that many decisions were made at NASCAR when it was riding high with the best of intentions, but without any thought that they might negatively impact the product on track - in particular the uniformization of the cars diminishing the visual differences among them. It seems to me that NASCAR has become like a battleship and it takes time to turn it around - but I still enjoy it.

As I recall, years ago Mondays and Tuesdays used to be the whining days when everyone in the garage was whining about the past week's race - Ford's nose is too good, Chevy's trunk is too good, and Dodge has too many cup holders. As a fan I got tired of hearing the incessant whining. I believe Bill, Jr. once told the drivers to just shut up and race. Now Mondays and Tuesdays are when what is left of the NASCAR press corps trots out everything they can gin up to complain about NASCAR racing. If Le Mans was a NASCAR race the NASCAR press corps would assert that it should just be a 4 hour race.

Unfortunately, I believe that negativity has become the mother's milk of the media in general, not just the NASCAR media. One of the hallmarks, and failings, of local TV news is to always lead with the worst news that can be found - who got killed, who got assaulted - and the 24 hour news cycle now means there is an emphasis on getting it out first, and hopefully close. I'm told you get grouchy as you get older.

Daly Planet Editor said...


Good answer! Thanks for responding.


T-Bone said...

Since getting a DVR, I haven't watched a race live in about 3 years, and before that the VCR usually wound up catching the races.

That being said, I wonder how all of that is captured in the ratings system.

Personally I can't stand the commercials, nor do I want to waste my day away on the weekend when I would much rather watch at night, zip thru the commercials and drivel and cut a good hour and change out of the broadcast in the process.

I agree that I thought TNT did fairly well. The new guy in the booth with two names was a non-entity in my book and reminded me of Lawrence Welk when he did his on air plugs. Lindsay was refreshing.

I also agree that Michigan is BORING. I used to go every year when I lived in Toronto as it was pretty much the closest track. I went because I got hospitality, but the races were almost all borefests.

Pocono is the same. Charlotte can also be if someone hits the set up. Many of the coookie cutter mile and a halfs can be boring for that reason - Atlanta notwithstanding

Bristol used to be good, but now that it has 2 grooves, its pretty much a borefest too. Back in the day people would give up their children for a seat at that track. That isn't happening now.

Ticket prices are still pretty inflated, so is food and drink at the track.

I got a kick out of going to the Subway Fresh Fit 600 this year. The sponsor touts the 5 dollar foot long, however if you wenmt to subway at the track, it was $6 for a 6 incher.

Add it all up and they don't exactly make it all very inviting!

Allison J said...

You guys are complicating things way too much. NASCAR's decline is not because of DW, or Fox's coverage, or too much in-car cam work, or freaking Digger ... it's about racing, racers, and race cars. NASCAR has pretty much drilled out the framework of the sport and turned it into another American corporate cash spigot. Hey, it's fine to have ads and logos, but the constant telemetry of commercialism has turned off even the most armored NASCAR fan. Whilst we TDP fans analyze the TV coverage ad infinitum, we are a tiny subset of NASCAR fans. I have a dozen friends who are longtime NASCAR addicts and I am the only one who cares about the flavors of the broadcast and who is doing the broadcast. They, and most fans, I believe, filter out the broadcaster noise and see the race for what it is. What they cannot filter out is the constant, crass commercialism, the decline of stepping stone series, the injection of too-young drivers into cup, etc. If NASCAR thought that 12 year olds racing mini-bikes would make them an extra $10/month, they would be all over it.

Anonymous said...

Television rating data has not kept up with the ever changing ways that sports fans are enjoying their sport. Yes some of the decline is due to some slippage of interest in NASCAR, but television ratings are down across the board. DVRs and online watchers are not counted so the actual "Decline" in NASCAR ratings is probably not accurate.

Richard in N.C. said...

Listening to a northern cal. radio station interviewing people at Sears Point, live. Couple of families (sound middle-aged) who plan all year to meet and spend the weekend together in their RV's at Sears Point, and who sound like they're having a ball. Even the radio announcers ( a Jeff G & a McMurray fan) sound enthusiastic. Getting ready to interview Ralph Sheheen.