NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt in his car (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
By Bob Barney
One does not have to be very attentive much to see that auto racing, especially NASCAR are losing fans in droves. The decline started with the worldwide depression that occurred in 2008-2014. As racing expenses grew, and the cost of tickets grew along side of it, fan base slowed. Nascar can go all the way back to Dale Earnhardt's death to see when their audience began to dwindle.
For example on the same night as the Virginia Tech-Tennessee game, a Nascar race at Richmond, Virginia, drew 2.7 million television viewers, less than half as many people as watched the football game. TV ratings for the Richmond race were said to be down 12% from the same race in 2015 and 44% from 2014.
On Sunday afternoon, butting right into the NFL, the 10-race Nascar playoffs open with a race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois. You can buy a ticket on the start-finish line with a good view of the entire track on StubHub for $87. A ticket on the 50-yard line for the Bears-Eagles game at Soldier Field a night later will throw you back at least $170.
Some headlines links and comments:
The rise and fall of NASCAR:Why racetracks are removing hundreds of thousands of seats:
Once upon a time, stock car racing was a humble, homespun operation. Drivers were farm boys and shade tree mechanics who learned to race by outrunning the law on back-road moonshine runs. Their cars really were stock: They bought them from the local dealer, fixed them up in the parking lot before races, then went at it. The tracks were dirt ovals, carved out of country fields with a bulldozer. Fans stood at the edge of the track and went home coated in dust. But those days are long gone, replaced by big-budget reality. NASCAR’s tracks are all paved, and the drivers are millionaire stars. At Charlotte, glinting turbine helicopters hover down onto a concrete pad just outside the speedway, disgorging corporate honchos in golf shirts and custom loafers. Polished race team transporters, with hydraulic tailgates and several million dollars worth of tools inside, are lined up near the pits, and a video screen the size of a football field towers over the action. Read More
Dale Earnhardt would be 58 now and would probably not find much to like about stock-car racing. His death on Feb. 18, 2001, in a last-lap accident at the Daytona 500, led Nascar, and motorsports to a larger degree, into developments Earnhardt might have bristled at.
His death on that warm, sunny afternoon in Florida stunned Nascar’s legion of loyal fans because Earnhardt, the seven-time Cup series champion known as the Intimidator, was regarded as invincible. But it also propelled the sport into American pop culture virtually overnight. Read More
Fans explain why they stopped attending NASCAR races:
Another headline touts reasons why Nascar fans are staying away, interviewing fans and their disgruntled attitude towards the sport they claim left them behind
It's not only Nascar!