NASCAR, WWE, Attendance and TV

NASCAR is said to be one of the most viewed professional sports on television. The only sport that beats it is the NFL. NASCAR is broadcast to over 150 countries around the world. It is a multimillion dollar business with millions of fans attending and watching around the world. If all this holds true, then why is NASCAR facing struggles with attendance at events and a drop in TV?
The cause of this drop-off in viewership and attendance is unknown to many. It can be a variety of things. The sport’s best drivers are not competing at the same level and some may think they’re running low on the tank. The new drivers that NASCAR brings in, or will bring in, may not have the same racing vibe as the previous drivers. I can somewhat compare this situation with WWE Wrestling.

At first it grew at a ridiculous rate because it was fairly new and everyone wanted to watch their favorite old school wrestlers duke it out. After a couple years, the attitude of the show, the story lines and the wrestlers themselves were getting old. With new wrestlers coming into the business, fans of the old generation were left hanging and not attracted to something they watched growing up and loved. It just wasn’t the same anymore.

I believe that NASCAR is somewhat going the same way. I may be wrong or I may be right. It is just an idea to provide. Something new may have to be provided in order to remain the big business that NASCAR is. I think something needs to happen to spice things up a bit to give it an edge of entertainment and drama. As some may say, Danica Patrick may be coming to NASCAR. That can tip NASCAR fans good or bad; it all depends on how the fans take it. We may just have to see what the business of NASCAR can provide to its loyal viewers and see if a renewed interest in the sport can begin again.

And that’s the view from here.



Just before race weekend in Richmond, Nate Ryan (USA Today) and Dustin Long (Virginian-Pilot) spoke to our Business of NASCAR class. One of the topics was whether Danica might make a switch to NASCAR from Indy Racing. Both Nate and Dustin indicated that all signs point to such a switch–but at a much slower pace than other open-wheel drivers. One scenario has Danica driving a few races (Camping World and/or Nationwide) before the Indy season begins and a few after the season ends. One of the problems with that scenario is finding a sponsor willing to put up bucks for such an approach.

Now it’s announced that Mark Martin has extended his contract with Hendrick Motorsport through 2011, with as a sponsor for 20 races each season. Is it a coincidence that is also Danica’s sponsor? Is this a prelude to Danica dabbling in NASCAR for a few races each of the next two seasons before moving over full-time (with Hendrick after Martin’s departure)? Let’s wait to see how this plays out at this season’s end but I have even money that this scenario is not out of the question.

And that’s the view from here.