Sunday, July 25, 2010

Two Problems, Two Quick Fixes

It's no secret that NASCAR's live attendance and TV ratings have been free falling for the last few years. This after NASCAR has made several adjustments to the cars themselves, and with the actual on-track competition. Double file restarts, bringing back the rear spoiler, and the 'boys have at it' edict were all designed with the fans in mind. These, and other moves, have made the sport more exciting, no doubt.

Yet, the live gate and TV ratings are still in the tank. The reasons are fairly obvious, and may be easily corrected.

First, the attendance problem. Of course this is primarily due to the economy. Instead of just blaming Bush, I'll throw an actual idea out there. Unlike the 'stick and ball' sports, NASCAR has no built in 'home' audience to watch their events each week. NASCAR fans typically travel hundreds of miles to enjoy their sport. Add to the travel, a night or two of lodging, meals, entertainment, and tickets, and the cost can rise into four figures to attend a race weekend.

The simplistic fix to the attendance problem can be tied to supply and demand. Tracks have an oversupply of tickets, so they should drop the price (drastically) of their tickets. They raised them drastically last decade when the sport, and attendance, was skyrocketing. So, drop the price, as low as it takes to sell them. Ten dollars apiece if need be. What's better business, 50,000 empty seats, or 50,000 full seats at $10 per fanny? This will also lead to new fans, as newbies will buy these cheap tickets out of curiosity.

Now, for the falling TV ratings. The on-track action this year has been better than in the recent past, so why are eyes wandering to MMA and the X-Games? Because, by and large, NASCAR's race analysts suck! Fox, TNT, and ESPN believe they can throw any hack, unprepared, ex-driver in the booth and the fans will accept them. The viewers have finally revolted against tired, trite, 'talent' such as the Waltrips, Larry McReynolds, Rusty Wallace, Tim Brewer, Jeff Hammond, Chris Meyers, etc.

This lack of racing announcer development by the networks shows their contempt for the fans. They think that the bumpkins watching racing will accept bumpkins calling it on TV. Well, the ratings are saying otherwise. Does anyone believe that a Darrell Waltrip clone would last two minutes as an NFL analyst on Fox with his act? No, but they think race fans don't mind having him foisted upon us for several hours each week.

So, there are your two quick fixes, NASCAR. Drop ticket prices, and drop the alleged network talent.


  1. PHONEY AND SCRIPTED! Ned Jarrett told once that he had training in being in front of the camera and then DJ used the same training. As much as I LOOOVE DJ, he sounds phoney and scripted!

    So do most of the others. ALLEN BESTICK is the best since we lost Benny Parsons. If there were no other choices to choose from, I'd say put these cats in the booth: John Roberts, Steve Byrnes, Larry McReyholds, Dick Berggren, Mike Joy, Dr. Punch, Petree (lose DJ-sorry). Larry is too busy being the straight man for DW! We should thank God every day that Bill Webber is gone!lol

    (I've put a lot of thought into this since my hidden talent is public relations like cheering for my favorite bloggers and clogging up cell phones with reminders to read their stuff!LOL)

  2. ATH....All sports announcers in every sport have training before they go on the air. Some are just naturally better than others. And some are no beter than semi-trained chimps, ala... J Spencer, the Wallaces, the Waltrips.

  3. I couldn't agree with you more! IMO, Bestwick is the best of the bunch. But PUT HIM IN THE BOOTH! He shines there! Don't waste his talents on pit road! When TNT is covering NASCAR, put Chuckles the Barkley aka Charles Barkley as a studio analyst. You'll see TNT's ratings soar through the roof! He pulls NO punches--he'll tell you who's good and who sucks!

  4. Ya know, of all of 'em, Rusty Wallace rubs me the wrong way...

    I've always thought that a good announcer needs to report and, in the case of a color commentator, educate with facts and anecdotes. They should, at all times, remain neutral when reporting what's taking place during a race, or among the drivers, teams, etc. The problem is these guys get on the tube and their bias comes out against whoever or whatever and Wallace is one of the very worst...

    If rust, like on a rusty nail, causes tetanus, and a symptom of tetanus is known as lockjaw, then this Rusty (Wallace) needs a good, strong dose of that rusty (a rusty nail) to the extent that it leads to LOCKJAW!

    You won't get any arguments from the fans on those ticket prices...

    Thanks Gene!

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  6. I agree with your ideas. I would like to see them fire all the two-bit blond bimbos they put in firesuits to be "analysts" who CLEARLY don't know one thing about racing!. Krista Voda is about the only one who knows anything, and would be the only one to stay, in my mind. TNT's Lindsey has never done a good job, and if you watch closely, the drivers roll their eyes at her stupid questions!

    I'd also propose that if an announcer owns any stake in a team, he cannot be a commentator. This alone would get rid of Rusty and Brad what's-his-name-NBA. It leads to a bias in the reporting and at prevents the others from bashing (rightfully) the bad driving etc from that team.

    In my mind, Tim Brewer is worthless. His descriptions do not make sense and sometime are inaccurate. He may be a good crew chief, but broadcasting is not his cup of tea.

    The final missing element is that FEW of these broadcasters have any experience at a local track calling a race. Now, I know that it is a bit different, but listen to MRN and see how they are able to describe what is going on while providing other information. The TV guys are too concerned with prepping for the next commercial, not calling the race.

    Just my ten cents worth. (An added bonus since it is Indy Week! :) )

  7. It's all Obama, Pelosie, Reid, and Brain France's fault!

  8. Jon... funny, I was watching Barkley today during the rain delay at the Phillies game. He is my favorite announcer, and I don't watch basketball! he would be a great addition to any team.

    Dwindy... so you don't like Rusty? LOL He's marginally more tolerable announcing than he was driving!

  9. IG....The blondes are not very good. But, Wendy Venturini is the best pit reporter, male or female!

    Is Brewer even at the track, or all his bits from a studio in Charlotte? .... next to a bar.

    These announcers seem to have a set script or talking points, and they won't veer from it.... no matter what the action on the track dictates!

    CR.... Yes! That just about covers it.

  10. Very insightful post. Agree with you on the ticket prices and agree with you on all of the announcers except Jeff Hammond. I actually enjoy listening to what he has to say. If NASCAR could put together the perfect announcing group, I think it should be Allen Bestwick, Jeff Hammond, and Dale Jarrett.

  11. Gonger.... nice trio of announcers. Hammond is okay.... he just acts like a doof around DW, Meyers, and McReynolds. I prefer Andy Petree over Hammond for a crew chief on commentary.

  12. LOL! New Poll... LOCKJAW attack!

  13. Whats this!?!? Rusty is caught in the draft lock with lockjaw!?!

    Well just plunked down $320 for 2 day tickets at Daytona which definitely hurts - free place to stay will only marginally make up for other travel costs - looking at a cool grand to attend the 500 easy. Thats not chump change.

    I am usually listening to Kurt scream on the radio which is far more entertaining than any of the announcers but you are dead on Hanny!