Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

October 16, 2009

Indy Car Doomed? If That Is True So Is The NFL and NASCAR.

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 1:33 am

While the ‘IRL is Doomed’ brigade continues to make me chuckle, a couple of heaping helpings of reality remind me of the precarious positions most big time sports find themselves in these days. NFL teams have a glut of luxury suites that are unsold and an increasing number of teams are finding their local games blacked out because they are unable to sell out their stadiums.

NASCAR MarketingISC is also desperate. Because I attend Indy Car races at their tracks, they must feel I would go out of my way to attend a NASCAR race. So every ISC track at which I have ever attended an Indy Car event has begun flooding my e-mail and snail mail boxes with deals on NASCAR tickets at Daytona. My message to them is PROMOTE THE INDY CAR SERIES at your tracks with as much gusto. I do not really care about NASCAR. I have been to the Daytona 500 and I do not believe it holds a candle to the Indianapolis 500. We already know it has half the history.

Jimmie Johnson

Jimmie Johnson

What will happen with the NBA this season?  Versus seems to have improved the fortunes of the NHL lately.

The biggest disappointment of the exciting conclusion to the 2009 Indy Car season was the lack of any meaningful reporting of Dario’s championship or the race at which he won it. Failure to get  the message out should be the number one priority of the ‘big news just around the corner’ bunch. NASCAR deserves credit for keeping a continuous push going. One of their primary stars, Jimmie Johnson, will be featured in HBO’s 24/7 series in preparation for Daytona. That type of exposure does not happen by accident. It is made to happen. I thought this was a good year for Indy Car marketing, but it remains apparent there is a really long way to go.

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15 Comments »

  1. “My message to them is PROMOTE THE INDY CAR SERIES at your tracks with as much gusto.”

    Why would ISC (read:Nascar) want to promote the IRL? They helped TG with the IRL to split open wheel so they could dominate motorsports in America.

    The last thing they want to promote is something which could potentially be competition in the future (make that the far future).

    The ISC promoting the IRL would be like GM promoting Kia.

    Comment by hates crappies hates gomers — October 16, 2009 @ 8:57 am | Reply

  2. ISC owns NASCAR. They have vested interest in its success. ISC does not own the IRL, which has historically never earned its keep. They have no reason to so heavily push a product no one watches.

    As for NASCAR and the NFL being doomed, LOLOLOL. The IRL has no fans at the races or on TV. The NFL is still the most popular spectator sport in the US. NASCAR may have sliding ratings and attendance, but there’s still 20x as many people watching it as your average IRL race on Versus. They got 20-25 years of downslope before they end up where the IRL does. I mean, do you see anyone on ESPN.com talking about the imminent death of any of the major pro leagues the way its discussed for the abortion that is the IRL. Just hope that they don’t sell the speedway when this is all over.

    Comment by lulzasaurus — October 16, 2009 @ 11:21 am | Reply

    • Is there any truth to the rumor that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is up for sale for $600M?

      Comment by Bob F. — October 16, 2009 @ 1:16 pm | Reply

      • Who knows? But when there’s smoke and Cavin’s reporting it, there’s probably fire.

        Comment by lulzasaurus — October 16, 2009 @ 6:04 pm

  3. Are you comparing the most watched sport in America (NFL) and the most watched motorsport in America(NASCAR) to the IRL? Thats not fair to the NFL or NASCAR. The IRL is on Versus a expanded cable channel that isn’t available anywhere, The NFL and NASCAR are on Network, there’s a huge difference there and really no comparison!

    Comment by Richard — October 16, 2009 @ 4:03 pm | Reply

  4. “…I thought this was a good year for Indy Car marketing, but it remains apparent there is a really long way to go.”

    Agreed. I think they have made a great start, but there needs to be someone in charge who understands the importance of print media, and we need do to a lot better than just running that one Izod commercial over and over.

    Comment by olvidado — October 16, 2009 @ 5:28 pm | Reply

  5. Um, I think NASCAR and NFL are in better shape than Indycar, by far. Ratings, attendance, ect. may be down, but, even fontana likely had60,000plus

    Comment by dylan — October 17, 2009 @ 2:16 am | Reply

  6. The stupid thing is that the defender actually thinks the IRL warrants even being mentioned in the same breath as the NFL.

    As others have already said and as the ratings and lack of sponsorship prove….

    Nobody cares about the IRL. The American Public and average TV viewer don’t give a shit about the IRL. It’s sad to say but it’s the truth. There are those that are oblivious and don’t even know it exists and there are other tv viewers that at least know it exists but either don’t like it or don’t care enough to watch.

    I’m not sure what’s worse…. Is it better to have the vast majority of the American public just not care about your sport OR is it better for the vast majority of the public to not know your sport exists?

    Editor’s note: Not to single any one contributor out, but the degree to which the majority of those offering commentary have completely missed the point is stunning, but unsurprising.

    Comment by Serg — October 17, 2009 @ 4:50 am | Reply

    • There’s no cohesive point. What, that NASCAR somehow got HBO into doing a 24/7 for Jimmie Johnson? Yeah, why would they want to do business with the IRL again when no one cares about it? How would it draw interest and subscribers to their network? Is Rodney and all his friends from Ashtabula going to order HBO to watch Will Power get ready for a potential vaporrace in Brazil for $12 a month? C’mon, man.

      Editor’s note: (Sigh) Yes, NASCAR got HBO into doing a 24/7 for Jimmie Johnson. That is what is commonly referred to as ‘effective brand marketing.’ NASCAR is very adept at it. People who slam the IRL (usually disenfranchised yet obsessed fake fans who have stupidly put a dead series on such a high pedestal as a model that no series will ever meet the delusion they have created for themselves–it is funny how the mind makes fantasies seem real) with such ridiculous epithets as ‘no one cares about it’ put their ignorance on display. A lot of people care about it. There are just not enough of them. That is where (pay attention…this is part of the ever elusive point) effective marketing comes in and needs to be what Indy Car focuses the most effort doing. Rodney and all his friends from Ashtabula are probably watching HBO (if they can afford it) for a host of great original programming, quality movies, no commercials, and the occasional set of bare teats. Racing fans watch sports channels, mostly. Is there any part of my call for the Indy Car Series to market itself more effectively with which you are still having difficulty grasping?

      Comment by lulzasaurus — October 17, 2009 @ 1:25 pm | Reply

      • Your analysis completely misses a primary issue with HBO: They are a subscription channel. Ergo, they do not have commercials because people specifically choose to pay to watch HBO because of the programming. It is not an issue where they “got HBO into doing” anything; HBO looked at what a 24/7 series for a NASCAR driver might be able to do for increasing subscribers in markets and demographics they are currently lacking in and felt that would be a strong move. The IRL is not capable of being able to do the same because it lacks a fanbase of any substantial size specific to the series, just as CART/CCWS would have been unable to provide, or the World of Outlaws, or ALMS, or Grand-Am. NASCAR’s payoff, of course, is that it exposes them to demographics and markets that previously ignored them in the hopes that they may pick up new fans. Whether or not it ends up successful in doing that or ends up proving that the success of the series is dependent on the stars featured (look up Calzaghe/Jones 24/7 for an example) will be told with time.

        As for its pertinence to the IRL’s ability to effectively market, this assumes that opportunities like this exist that they haven’t taken advantage of. Helio Castroneves was on Dancing With The Stars and Danica in Super Bowl ads. They just have no idea who exactly they’re marketing to in any of these ventures.

        Editor’s Note: You don’t really understand how these deals are made, do you?

        Comment by lulzasaurus — October 18, 2009 @ 8:47 pm

      • There are three reasons HBO would be doing a 24/7 series. One is actually likely:

        1) Promotion for races under the Time Warner banner. Problem: They come 4 months after Daytona. Likely wouldn’t be part of the contract since the 24/7 franchise came into existence for Mayweather/De La Hoya after the TV contract was signed.

        2) Time buy. Tremendously unlikely on a premium network. Would be completely self destructive to reputation.

        3) They think it will interest potential subscribers and keep others enthused.

        You said it yourself; The base of ICS fans is too small to justify the extreme expense of something previously only used to promote boxing pay per views HBO produced and distributed (and, thusly, made direct and substantial profits on).

        You still haven’t produced a single cogent point in the original post or follow-up replies. What exactly are you trying to say? That HBO is being paid off or is contractually obligated to produce a show for NASCAR? That Indycar racing has a substantial fanbase? A comparatively small one? That ISC should be promoting Indycar races with the same vigor as their own self produced and more successful racing entertainment product because due to altruistic concerns/some argument to morality? That the financial states of the NFL and NASCAR are in any way, shape, or form comparable to that of the ICS? Your obtuse manner of writing makes finding irony particularly difficult. should any actually exist.

        Comment by lulzasaurus — October 19, 2009 @ 3:05 am

  7. Don’t you think “effective marketing” could be superseded by having a viable product that gets people passionate about said product? After 14 years in the public eye and 14 years on the biggest stage (well the Indy 500 used to be the biggest stage, viewership is way down) this “version” of Indy car racing hasn’t caught on yet, and doesn’t look like it ever will. They need to change back to the traditional style of Indy car (i.e. late 80’s to late 90’s CART) and go back to the traditional Indy car tracks (Phoenix, Michigan, Milwaukee, Elkhart, Laguna, etc.) people liked those cars and tracks for a reason, they were bad ass! Face it FTG’s wanna be France family model hasn’t worked yet and the future ain’t lookin’ good for the IRL. I know you’ll probably change this post because it hurts your butt or something like that, but face it IMS can’t shell out 50, 60 million every year to make this thing work, they need a product that excites people, because what they got now ain’t doin’ it. The Indy 500 is as big an advertisement as you can get, and still nothing!

    Going BACKWARDS to anything is not a smart idea. We need to evolve the sport FORWARD. Not BACKWARD.

    Comment by Richard — October 17, 2009 @ 7:27 pm | Reply

    • ” Going backwards to anything is not a smart idea” I.D. has never heard of “new coke” and coca cola classic!

      Comment by Richard — October 20, 2009 @ 5:29 pm | Reply

  8. Gotta love the hypocrisy and double-talk of the Defender.

    First you say a lot of people care about the series but then follow it up that “just not enough of them”. Which is it? It can’t be both. Clearly the ratings and attendance at many events prove that not enough people care about the series.

    Let’s just say that the IRL has 300,000 loyal fans. By “loyal fans” I mean knowledgeable fans who actively follow the sport. 300,000 is a large number of people but in the general sense of TV ratings and sponsorship ROI that is a tiny number. If you are a sponsor and/or TV network trying to sell sponsorship….300,000 is a laughable number.

    As for the Defender’s Brilliant Suggestions about Marketing…

    If others (such as those he labels ‘Cart Apologists’) criticize the series lack of marketing/horrible marketing then he labels them as being wrong and just being haters.

    However if he does the same thing (and acts like he’s the first who thought of it) it’s suddenly alright as it’s constructive criticism.

    I’ve got news for you Defender. You are not the first one to notice and/or suggest the IRL’s lack of marketing and brand exposure. In fact you are late to the party. Other’s have been saying this for years…..AND YET NOTHING HAS CHANGED. They still don’t market the series enough or market it effectively.

    So what makes you think the same retards running the series now are going to suddenly wise-up and figure this out? Is it because you suggested it? Who knew you had that kind of effect…

    Comment by Serg — October 17, 2009 @ 10:29 pm | Reply

  9. True, the 24/7 thing is a good idea by NASCAR. Still, even they could use a bettter activation of there sponsorship. Still don’t see where the title comes from, though.

    Comment by dylanpt24 — October 19, 2009 @ 1:03 am | Reply


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