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Sorry malcontents, Fox TV extension tells NASCAR that all is well

By admin | October 15, 2012

By Richard Allen

For those of us who have become disheartened by the direction NASCAR has taken over the past several years, the news that came out on Monday morning does not offer hope for any sort of meaningful change. With its television contracts set to expire at the end of the 2014 season, the sanctioning body has signed an extension with one of its partners that will assure the sport a place in American households through the year 2022.

Fox, which has aired the sport since 2001, has agreed to an eight year extension that will pay NASCAR $2.4 billion over the course of that time. That equates to a sum of $300 million per year. The current deal between the two entities pays NASCAR $220 million per year.

Fox airs the first 13 events of the season on its stations. That will continue to be the case throughout the new agreement.

According to Jeff Gluck of, viewership of Sprint Cup races has declined by 1.4 million viewers per race since 2007. And more, attendance at many tracks has dropped off by a significant amount. Vast empty spaces in the grandstands ringing most tracks has become the norm of late. That was evidenced this past Saturday night in Charlotte at “The only night race in the Chase” in the very heart of NASCAR country.

Many, including myself, thought it stood to reason that with lowering attendance and ratings NASCAR would receive less money in its upcoming television deals which would get the attention of the powers that be. In turn, many, including myself, hoped that changes might be made for the betterment of the sport. Instead, there is little reason to believe anything of substance will occur as long as the top brass continue to have their pockets lined by TV networks.

The Car of Tomorrow, which has improved safety, has proven to be an abyssmal failure at providing good on track racing as drivers constantly complain of ill handling machines that all run the same speed and rarely pass each other. But apparently that doesn’t bother the personality driven networks who push certain individuals rather than the actual racing.

So, expect nothing more than the type of cosmetic changes to the car that will be instituted next season. The poor quality of racing won’t change just because of a tweak to the grill and headlight areas.

The Chase for the Championship has turned a sport where each individual race once mattered into a series of points collections where drivers and teams are afraid to take any risks for fear of losing positions within the standings. Running a safe 10th is valued far more than attempting a charge to the front that might result in spinning on the last lap and dropping to 20th place int eh final rundown.

If you don’t like the type of racing that now takes place in modern day NASCAR, don’t expect any changes. Fox apparently thinks it’s great.

It used to be that when my non race fan friends would ask how I could sit for hours at a time just watching cars drive around in circles, I would attempt to point out the nuances of racing that provided intrigue for the enthusiast. Now, I just simply concede that the sport is little more than a bunch of cars riding around in a circle for hours waiting for the inevitable fuel mileage stretch to the end.

It’s a shame that so many fans have been pushed away from a sport they once loved and planned their weekends around. But in the corporate world we live in, that doesn’t have to matter to those who make the decisions. They have enough cash in their pockets to help them overlook the empty seats on lowered ratings.

Sorry malcontents(like myself), but the Fox TV deal tells NASCAR that all is well with the sport.

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13 Responses to “Sorry malcontents, Fox TV extension tells NASCAR that all is well”

  1. Russ Says:
    October 15th, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    Pretty much on point Rich. However I would say that rather than all is well, all is good enough.
    Again I say that to understand modern Nascar racing, as opposed to Nascar the company, you need to understand the business. Where is the money coming from? and who is it going to? Its no longer coming, in large part from the butts in the seats, but TV and sponsor tie-ins. As long as those people are happy the rest doesn’t really matter.
    And as you say, the much celebrated 2013 cars wont change anything. How can they when the mfg. are required to have the same aero numbers.
    So we can all look forward to more of the same.

  2. midasmicah Says:
    October 15th, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    After giving the fans the middle finger the last few years, we shouldn’t be surprised when Faux and nas$car give each other a high five and say, “all is well”. Rich, I’m running out of things to say about what’s happened to the nas$car I’ve been following for 30+ years. And we’ve got Kansas this week-end. Sorry, but I’ll be watching baseball or football. It’s finally come down to this. They’re chasing me away. The race at Charlotte just turned my stomach.

  3. midasmicah Says:
    October 15th, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    One last thing, Rich. How long can they they survive if no one is watching their “show”? nas$car is becoming irrelevant.

  4. RacingFan Says:
    October 16th, 2012 at 1:49 am

    If all that matters is tv ratings, not attendance at the tracks, they should never have dropped Rockingham, North Wilkesboro and the Southern 500 at Darlington. Those tracks provided much better television than tracks that replaced them. But, I suppose they are not located near the headquarters of the companies that are shoveling in the money.
    There needs to be some competition for NASCAR as an incentive to improve, but unfortunately, none is on the horizon.

  5. Sue Rarick Says:
    October 16th, 2012 at 7:32 am

    The deal Fox made actually makes sense. The first 13 races is where the ratings are. Fox was just making sure they locked in the ‘money’ races.

    I can’t see NBC and ABC getting into a bidding war for the remaining races, especially the Chase. NBC will be covering all the F1 races and already has Indy cars (a better fit). They don’t need Nascar for their auto racing.

    So while Nascar may have benifited from Fox they may lose if ABC decides what they paid to get the Chase wasn’t really worth it. And I doubt TNT is capable of getting into a bidding war.

  6. Tony Geinzer Says:
    October 16th, 2012 at 8:21 am

    I feel for beyond 2014, Rich, is offer an incentive to change up certain races on the schedule for TV like Swap Daytona Speedweeks for the Coke 400 and Talladega, Darlington, Brickyard 400, Bristol,Coke 600 All Star, and Championship Weekend. I feel Sponsors need to be more diverse and stop, for the love of Mopar, keeping up with Kardashian and ask us what’s good (and not so good) in the neighborhood.

  7. Dan Says:
    October 16th, 2012 at 8:40 am

    And I’m gonna continue to do the same, DVR fastforward most of the race then delete!

  8. John Cooke Says:
    October 16th, 2012 at 11:05 am

    I would advise fans to do as I have this summer. Go back to your local short tracks if you want to see some good racing. My friends and I tailgated at Charlotte from 9:00 in the morning till we went to our seats. We watched about 200 boring laps and left for the motel. This weekend, we’re heading to Martinsville for the Late Model 300 where there will be no Chasing, just racing!!

  9. James Says:
    October 16th, 2012 at 11:52 am

    FOX was in denial about the quality of their broadcast so it doesn’t surprise with this news. Tells me the FOX broadcast will not change either. More DW and Mikey to come. Won’t be watching much of the FOX races. DVR to the resuce.

  10. jerseygirl Says:
    October 16th, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    All this means is that as usual, money talks and NASCAR rakes it in. If no one is in the fan, it’s not out of their pockets, if no one watches on TV, they’ve already been paid.

    I agree with Sue’s point that the first 13 races are usually the best. Not because of Fox’s coverage, but because the season is early and the weather in many places is bad, so Fox has that advantage. Plus the season is new and all things are possible during the new season.

    As you pointed out, Rich, there isn’t much incentive for NASCAR or the other TV partners to change anything because of the “malcontents”. If we keep taking the garbage, why shouldn’t they keep dishing it out?

    I watch less and less and only renew tickets to tracks that I really enjoy. After the enuring the misery of the “race” on Saturday at Charlotte - in the heart of NASCAR country - that is one that I won’t be renewing for next year.

  11. Wayne T. Morgan Says:
    October 16th, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    I totaly agree with John Cook as going back to your local track for the best racing. Or go to the season ending shows and see really tight points and real racing!! DVR NA$CAR and enjoy your weekend.

  12. Steve Says:
    October 17th, 2012 at 7:20 pm

    So, in theory, if the tracks are getting their money anyway, that would mean that it really doesn’t matter where they race and attendance doesn’t matter, corrrect? So shouldn’t this open the door for Nascar to go to more short tracks, regardless of how many people these tracks hold? Places like Rockingham and Iowa deserve a race and now there is no excuse not to give them one. But I’m sure France and Bruton don’t want to share their playground with anyone else, so the fans continue to get screwed.

  13. kaner Says:
    October 17th, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    glad i have a collection of 80’s & 90’s races on tape unlabeled that i can watch instead of the new stuff