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Phoenix TV ratings show what fans think of modern NASCAR

By admin | November 16, 2010

By Richard Allen


Last week I wrote a piece entitled, “NASCAR/ESPN could see higher television ratings this week, but how long will it last?” In the piece I explained that the race in Phoenix could possibly reap the benefits of an action filled race in Texas which had all the elements NASCAR could have wanted in terms of stirring interest.

The Texas event featured a fight between two of NASCAR’s biggest stars, the dominant team in the sport showing a possible sign of weakness and a nail biting finish in which the lead changed hands multiple times(unofficially) over the final two laps. If those happenings could not cause at least a few more people to tune in for the following race then what could?

Within the previously mentioned piece I went on to say that even with all that happened in the Texas race, the same factors to have divided NASCAR from its fans were still in place. The Chase for the Championship, the Car of Tomorrow and any number of other gimmicks instituted by the sanctioning body were not going to change.

It was my belief that if the television ratings for Phoenix were down it would be a very telling sign for NASCAR and its broadcast partners.

Well, the ratings for Phoenix are in and NASCAR seems to have been told. I did not necessarily expect that there would be more viewers for this past Sunday’s race than there were for the same race a year ago. But, I did think there was a possibility there would be some sort of an upswing over last week’s numbers.

The Phoenix race received a final national household coverage rating of 2.9, averaging just over 4,000,000 viewers. Both of those numbers are down from last year when the race was shown on ABC rather than ESPN. But most interesting to me is that both of those numbers are lower than those of the Texas race.

Even with all that took place in the Lone Star State just one week earlier, almost 600,000 fewer people tuned in to see the race in Phoenix.

Are you listening NASCAR? The fans have told you in no uncertain terms how they feel about your generic car, your fabricated championship and all of your gimmicks designed to provide a SportsCenter finish each and every week.

Originally I had intended to title the piece mentioned above, “If NASCAR and ESPN can’t get better ratings this week they might as well give up”. Well, what now?

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Here are other columns you may find interesting:

NASCAR/ESPN could see higher television ratings this week, but how long will it last?

Homestead to settle close championship battle

Can dirt racing become a viable television sport?

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7 Responses to “Phoenix TV ratings show what fans think of modern NASCAR”

  1. mcain Says:
    November 17th, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    I feel the tv production is driving more fans away than what nascar has done. 70% to 30%.

  2. jerseygirl Says:
    November 17th, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    NASCAR doesn’t listen - everytime BZF speaks, he says the same stuff - - essentially all is well and there’s nothing to worry about.

    Obviously though, there is something to worry about from the fans view. Based on both the ratings and on MY own personal drop in interest since the inception of the chase and the IROC car, as Cale said, I’ve just lost interest.

    NASCAR can say how exciting the races are, give us statistical loop data (which no one cares about), how close the points are and how wonderful that all is, but if the TV partners continue to follow their own agenda, rather than broadcasting each race as its own event, IMO the fans will continue to vote with their remotes and say in effect “who cares”?

  3. C6Racer Says:
    November 17th, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Funny! This is pretty much what I said last week in response to your column. “But what happens to NASCAR/ESPN when we don’t come back this week? Will Brian finally realize that the wheels have fallen off this thing called NASCAR and that the damage is deep and wide and in some cases beyond repair. I hate the Chase, the COT and the Top 35 rule. It used to be that I said if they could fix just one of these three problems, I would be back but now . . .With the grossly inconsistent penalties for seemingly minor violations and the secret fines for drivers who spoke out added to the mix, nothing . . . would ever get me back to watch a Chase race on what is predicted to be a spectacular weather weekend here in the Midwest.”

    No matter who wins on Sunday, there will be little joy in Mudville Tuesday morning when the last round of TV ratings comes in.

  4. Gordon82Wins Says:
    November 17th, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    Wow, Rich, go get ‘em! This may cause you the loss of your “Citizen’s Journalist” card though…

    I’ve hated the Chase since the idea was first proposed, and when Gordon got rooked in 2007 I stopped buying any NASCAR merchandise and stopped going to races. How many Harvick fans will do that this year?

    Lack of fights isn’t the problem, lack of integrity is.

  5. Richard Allen Says:
    November 17th, 2010 at 4:16 pm


    It’s funny that you think I ever had a citizen journalist card. I feel like I’ve written the same column for about 3 years so the chances of me ever getting such a card are pretty much slim and none.

  6. Mr. Tony Geinzer Says:
    November 18th, 2010 at 6:29 am

    Rich, my friend, I wish there would be a fair deal on what races go on ABC and what races go on ESPN and I feel that personally, I wish that they could arrange the next TV Deal so that the big races can have one year on Fox/SPEED and another on ABC/ESPN.

  7. Steve Says:
    November 18th, 2010 at 9:53 am

    Weren’t the issues supposed to be with regards to start times of the races? I heard alot about that from France and ESPN execs regarding why nobody was watching.

    Well, this week, the race started later and you get the same result. Back to the drawing board again Mr France. Maybe you will figure out what everyone else already has before its too late.