By admin | October 18, 2008
By Steve Monday
NASCAR event attendance is in a declining trend. Although higher fuel costs and a supposed slowing economy have come into play this year, the attendance decline was in effect before the cost of fuel soared to record levels. These factors coupled with other ‘economic worries’ have made the typical race fan think twice about spending the amount of money required to attend an event in person.
International Speedway Corporation Investor Relations report advance ticket sales are down 10 - 15 percent for the remaining events of 2008 and the start of next season. Speedway Motorsports Inc. hasn’t commented on ticket sales, but one would have to believe their sales are lagging as well.
Race tracks have terrific promotional programs and discount ticket price offerings to entice attendance. While these are wonderful ideas that have worked well in the past, the speedways are not seeing the same result as before. Simply, the race fan is opting to watch from home.
Rising television viewership is good news for NASCAR. However, there is one huge television hurdle that will be very difficult to overcome. That hurdle is the NFL.
NASCAR, or any other televised sport for that matter, cannot contend with the firm grip the NFL has on the viewing audience. The NFL dominates from September through late January.
With change becoming the only constant in NASCAR, perhaps
it is time for the suits in Daytona Beach to revise the Sprint Cup schedule to begin in January and conclude Labor Day.
The season could begin on Saturday’s in mid January and continue the Saturday time frame until the NFL season ends. This could offset the ‘NFL Effect’ on NASCAR television ratings. Fontana, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Homestead, Sonoma, Fort Worth, and Daytona Beach could offer favorable weather for the events. The season could end on Labor Day, thus eliminating any conflict with and the NFL.
Would this schedule create logistical issues for the race teams? Perhaps.
Is this idea something NASCAR should consider? Perhaps.
Steve Monday is a guest blogger for RacingWithRich.com.
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