Attendance is down in racing across America. Television audience numbers are dwindling even for Nascar. Everyone it seems has their own opinion on why and what the answer is.
My friend Michael Knight in his Spin Doctor 500 blog talks about the problem he sees.
John Daly through his The Daly Planet blog tackles what’s wrong on the TV side of things.
I’ll give my opinion on the TV coverage first. I think it lacks passion.
Some will say that Darryl Waltrip has passion. Possibly but it’s turned into just blabbing on and on and he’s also become a mouthpiece for the series. Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.
Same can be said over in IndyCar even with changes they have ahead. No passion and no really delving into controversies or anything that might make the series squirm.
As far as fan attendance, no question the economy hurts. When the Motel 6 suddenly goes from $39.95 a night to $350 a night with a 3-day minimum, you have a problem.
However, I think another factor is at work. Fans cannot relate to the cars they see. We use to go to the race track and see cars we could drive. Many were cars we dreamed about cruising in on the highway.
Car nuts dream about driving those cars and love seeing them in action. Fans wandered the paddock and because the way ALMS is setup, they got up close to those cars and could interact with team members including even drivers.
We all fantasize about being Mario Andretti (okay, my dream) and zooming around the race track in an exotic car. Hard to do that when watching a Ford Fusion, a Toyota Camry, Dodge Challenger or Chevy Impala . (The old Impala was a hot car, now it’s just a passenger car.)
This isn’t the only reason for the lack of interest in racing but when there is no emotional connection by the fans to the product, there is no reason to attend or watch on television.