"Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved
body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting
"...holy $^!+...what a ride!"
No doubt NASCAR has, to a degree, fallen from the boom years. But I don't think there's a single reason for the fall, but I'd opine the two largest contributors are (in no particular order):
- Passing of a fad. NASCAR became the 'hot property' and 'the place to be' from the late 90s thru about 2006. As the author suggests, many of those who jumped on the bandwagon have moved on to other things. This could be particularly applicable in the areas outside the original NASCAR geographic. However, NASCAR still is above where it was before the boom.
- The economy. A very large number of the 'NASCAR faithful' are from the middle class and below, those hardest hit by the economy. Those are the people that made a NASCAR race a multi-day trip with the RV in tow, with the race being the centerpiece of a several day party event in the campgrounds.
Potential tertiary causes:
- Drop in percentage of domestic manufacturers in total car sales. Toyota is the only import to join NASCAR, while there are more and more Honda, Hyundai/Kia, Mazda, etc on the road. Sample data point: Having worked every NASCAR event at TMS, there are far fewer bowtie and blue oval flags in the campgrounds that there were in 1997.
- General loss of interest in the automobile. It's been assailed by environmentalists, made way more expensive to own (fast cars) due to gas prices and insurance.
- Certainly the loss of brand identity is a factor. Even NASCAR has figured out that headlight/grill/tailight decals alone don't connect well to the production car.
- A shortening of the general populace's attention span. 500 miles is too long, I want it now.
If the entire capacity of tracks stayed home and watched on TV instead of attending, that'd be, at most, another 200K or so watching on TV each weekend. Since a single ratings point is 1,159,000 households, that would increase ratings by a mere .17 point (and that asssumes 1 person/household...at 3/household, it'd be .05 point).Were the economy the only problem, wouldn’t TV ratings go up to reflect the growing number of people who couldn’t afford to go to the races. However, until a slight increase this year, TV ratings have also plunged over the last six years.
Was that really driven more by poor attendance or a desire to give a new ISC track, Kansas, an event with the limited number of slots in the schedule. One race at Kansas likely makes more money than a second race at Fontana.Remember when NASCAR made Auto Club Speedway the fall guy and removed the second race three years ago due to declining attendance?
new sig pending
Not every track should get a 500 race. There was a time when 500 milers were the exception and a 500 miler was a BIG EVENT
200 and 300 lappers were far more common. I think Dover had 300 lappers at one time.
The problem is that people slowly got used to paying $100+ for a 500 mile race. they might get a little testy when theyre told they only get 300 miles for the same price
Faster than a bullet from a gun
He is faster than everyone
Quicker than the blinking of an eye
Like a flash you could miss him going by
No one knows quite how he does it but it's true they say
He's the master of going faster. -George Harrison
Kansas got their first Cup race in Sept, 2001.
Fontana's second Cup race was taken away after October 2010.
Kansas got their second Cup race in June 2011, moved to April this year.
In essence, Fontana lost their second date, a fall race, and it was moved to become a spring race in Kansas. That makes a little sense - Kansas 2 probably does better than Fontana 2 but the fact remains that the date would have stayed in California if the attendance there was remotely healthy.
The green flag dropped on Saturday night’s Coke Zero 400 NASCAR race with all 57,000 seats in Daytona International Speedway’s backstretch grandstands empty.
With decreased demand, NASCAR’s most famous track never offered those seats for sale, in stark contrast to the days when sellouts were routine at Daytona and most other tracks on racing’s premier Sprint Cup series.
Securities filings for NASCAR’s track owners for 2006 through 2011 show:
• Charlotte’s Speedway Motorsports Inc. has lost more than a quarter of its admission revenue, falling to $130 million.
• NASCAR’s largest track operator, Daytona Beach-based International Speedway Corp., has lost more than 40 percent of its ticket revenue, falling to $144 million. Earlier this week, ISC reported an increase in admission revenue over the first six months this year (from $66 million last year to $69.9 million), but that included an additional race (at Kansas), moved from later in the season.
• Dover Motorsports Inc., which runs tracks in Delaware (including Dover International Speedway) and Nashville, Tenn., has been hit the hardest, with admission revenue falling nearly 60 percent, to $13.6 million last year.
Not all of the figures reported are entirely NASCAR revenue, but the annual reports note that the declines are almost all due to NASCAR events.
Read more here: http://www.newsobserver.com/2012/07/...#storylink=cpy
I would add "most popular drivers not doing as well" to Jakester's list above.
We've seen the Tiger bump in ratings, I think a Dale, Jr. or Jeff Gordon improvement would put the TV numbers right back where they were. Attendance will stay down until people's wallets fell better.
I just don't think people find Jimmie Johnson or Kyle Busch nearly as interesting to watch. Weird, IMO, as Kyle is entertaining as heck to me.
JJ's bland victories have far more to do with the drop from the alltime highs than anything else, I suspect.
If Dale, Jr. has a dominant Dale, Sr. type season next year, there will be record highs in ratings, I guarantee it.
In general I think fans have lost interest with the current generation of drivers, and I suspect that some of the disconnect is a cultural thing. The youth movement went against what people were used to, which was a guy in his 30's being a rookie in Cup after struggling in the minors for years to make it, not kids getting fast tracked to a big time ride at 18. Moreover, the younger guys were no country boys, they came from more varied backgrounds, and just weren't the same type of guys that Bill, Terry, Rusty, DW, Mark, and the rest were.
The COT does have something to do with it as well, I'm looking forward to the "new" new cars next year, they look spectacular.
NASCAR needs to kill the stupid "Chase," immediately.
And also kill that ugly car. No more common templates. Let some cars dominate and others be backmarkers.
I'd rather have 10% of the world interested in the ICS than 50% of US that NASCAR currently has
IMHO if he showed an ounce of the personality he shows now after 5 championships that he did when he got his 1st I think a lot more people would like him. He's pretty funny dude. He clearly more relaxed ( he should with 5 championships) but I"ve seen a lot of vids of him goofing off and he's pretty decent on twitter.
I do remember Bobby Hillin was treated like some alien because he was so young when he started in NASCAR. I assume he had to be at least 18 but thats not even newsworthy now
I just randomly pulled up some well known Cup drivers on Wiki to see how old they were when they entered their first Cup race. It sorta shows the trend back in the day
Mike skinner 29 years old
Bobby Hamilton 28
Ken Schrader 29
Sterling Marlin 19
Geoff Bodine 30 Would he even get a ride if he showed up now as a 30 year old with a bazillion modified wins?
Rusty Wallace 24.
Some people are already wondering if Joey Logano is on his way to becoming just a midpack journeyman driver because he has not been getting the results over the past couple seasons.
Whats he? 22? 23?
The window opens and closes alot earleir right now. It could swing back the other way with no explanation of course
The overall demographic is not kind to motorsports.