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With NFL deal reportedly reached NASCAR maintains excuse for poor fall ratings

By admin | July 25, 2011

By Richard Allen


Some might have seen the potential for an NFL lockout as a means for NASCAR to gain ratings numbers for their televised races during their fall stretch run of the Chase for the Championship. However, if a bit of thought is applied to the matter, a disaster for the racing organization may have been averted when the players and owners reached a deal to keep the professional football league operating in 2011.

While there may have been a small ratings bump for NASCAR with one of the major sporting competitors off the market, there is also the possibility that there might not have been a bump. In truth, the risk for NASCAR of not having the NFL on television was probably far greater than any slight and temporary reward they might have seen.

Had the main participants not reached an agreement and the players had indeed been locked out, NASCAR officials and television producers would have lost the ability to say things like, “It’s always tough when you have to go against the NFL.”

Now, that tried and true line can continue to roll out of the mouths of those involved.

Likely, NASCAR would not have made any significant gains from a lockout. While ratings for their broadcasts have been up slightly this season, consider that they had sunk so low in previous years that the comparisons were made quite easy. Also, consider that NASCAR does not compete with the NFL from February through August and since 2005 those ratings have been every bit as depressed as those of the fall races.

When ABC decided to move into the NASCAR television market a few years ago it was believed that they would be able to use the Chase for the Championship playoff as a marketing tool that would at least generate some degree of competition against the football behemoth. Instead, ABC was beaten into submission so badly that the national network moved its NASCAR broadcasts to its cable partner, ESPN.

It was argued at the time of the move that ESPN’s prolific and unashamed self-promotion would actually benefit NASCAR. Rather, ratings for the fall races went even lower as fewer households had the availability to receive the cable airings. And more, NASCAR takes on somewhat the feel of a time killer as ESPN fills the void between its NFL pre-game show and it’s post-game highlights special.

In reality, NASCAR was not going to gain anything on a permanent basis from an NFL lockout. Any ratings boost would have been slight and temporary. Now, NASCAR and television officials can relax and always point to the fact that, “It’s always tough when you have to go against the NFL.”

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5 Responses to “With NFL deal reportedly reached NASCAR maintains excuse for poor fall ratings”

  1. Gordon84Wins Says:
    July 26th, 2011 at 7:23 am

    It is amazing how NASCAR and the networks STILL don’t get it, after all of the plummeting ratings and attendance.


  2. Russ Edwards Says:
    July 26th, 2011 at 9:01 am

    Interesting take, but probably accurate. There is no way Nascar can compete with the NFL, its delusional to think it can. But I have to wonder what the feelings are in the corporate board rooms. Has Nascar reached its natural level, or not? If so, will it be treated as a commodity that’s worth x dollars to a cable network?

  3. Wayne T. Morgan Says:
    July 26th, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Maybe, maybe not but in the long run football will win out as usual. I perfer to watch white men excel in racing than watching over-paid trash talking criminals. Always dvr good races both dirt and NA$CAR for the winter to tide me over. And it warms up down South in March so I can get my fix.

  4. Tyler West Says:
    July 26th, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    The chase SUCKS!!! A champion should be crowned for what is done over the full season. Anyone can run good for ten races, especially when most are all mile and a half tracks. Drop most of the new tracks like California, Chicago, Kansas, Las Vegas, Indianapolis and such. These tracks are garbage. Go back to more traditional tracks (Rockingham and other less attractive media tracks.) Pleasing the media and the “new younger fans”has worked so well so far. The chase sucks and so does Indy. It is hard to say which is more pathetic. Judge a champ over the full season. Let stick and ball sports do that. Racing is not the same as they are, it is a million times more superior!!

  5. Jimmy Boss Says:
    July 26th, 2011 at 4:13 pm

    Nascar just dont get it! The rating are falling because the coverage SUCKS! You watch 58-62 mins of Commercials in every race(you only get to watch 60% of the race). I have been a race fan since 1979 and every year 2001 Nascar does something to screw up the racing. Nascar/trashcar dont give a damn about anything but the cash they are lining their pockets with before they kill the sport of stock car racing.