Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

January 21, 2011

Time For INDYCAR To Take The Lead With ESPN

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 3:27 pm

The 100th anniversary of the first Indianapolis 500 is this May, and frankly no one is doing enough to promote this momentous occasion. This needs to be one of the top sports and lifestyle stories of the year, and recognition of it should have begun months ago.

It is about a month before the Daytona 500, and INDYCAR ‘partner’ ESPN is all over it. FOUR stories about NASCAR on Sports Center today. They even called it the ‘most prestigious race.’ Hang on a second. The Daytona 500 is a race with half the history of the Indianapolis 500, less than half the attendance, and television ratings not appreciably better.

Now is the year when narrow minds making essentially lazy editorial decisions need to focus on the one event that made the entire sport possible for everyone else in this country. If editorial content deciders are unable to figure it out on their own, they need to have someone (nudge, nudge Randy Bernard) do it for them.

I am very happy the union of Comcast and NBC-Universal may begin to crack ESPN’s stranglehold on sports, particularly where INDYCAR is concerned. When that deal closes at the end of this month it will be potentially great, but realistically not in enough time to really make a difference for May. The takeover of NBC by Comcast will be traumatic for months as people lose their jobs and as new people get put into place.

It is imperative to get ESPN up to speed on the playbook because clearly they have no clue now. I strongly urge INDYCAR to take the lead and will support that effort.

 

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8 Comments »

  1. The Comcast buyout of NBC being a boon to IndyCar racing only holds true if you buy the argument that the reason fans aren’t watching it on TV is that they can’t find it on Versus. Which I don’t. Fans of the sport can find Versus if they want to. Cycling fans do. Bull Riding fans do. The problem is, largely, OWR fans have shown that they don’t want to look. To the tune of only 360K fans a race. And even if Comcast/NBC tries to go head to head with ESPN, I can’t see why they’d use a sport that, with the exception of the Indy500, is largely unwatched to do so. (At this point, I’d expect you to fire off your ‘ratings are up 40% among 19-34, and 16% overall’ argument. Great. I’ll put it this way. If you increased the crowd at Homestead by 25%, you’d still have only 10,000 people show up. In an 65000 seat facility. Give me real numbers, not percentages).

    As to your arguments about the ‘most prestigious race’; yes, Indy has more history. You’re around for 36 more years, you get that. Yes, the attendance is larger. IMS has more seats than Daytona, although I’d argue that attendance at the 500 is more than twice that of Daytona. But the last part, the ‘television ratings are not appreciably better’? If you expect anyone who can google ‘Indy 500’ ‘Daytona 500’ and ‘Nielsen’ to believe that then please pass me their names. I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell them. Last year Indy pulled a 3.6 rating, with just over 5 million households viewing the race. Daytona, despite a 2 1/2 hour delay because Bubba couldn’t pave a pothole, pulled a 7.7 rating, a 16 share, 13.3 million AVERAGE households, and 30 million who watched at least part of the race. If that’s your definition of ‘not appreciable’, I’d love to see what ‘significant’ is.

    Randy Bernard can nudge all he wants. Until his series can pull better ratings (which translates into increased ad revenue for the 4-letter network), ESPN is going to air what they can sell. It’s why during baseball season you see a lot of Yankees/Red Sox and not so much Pirates/Marlins. But you are right. The 500 is/was the one event that made racing possible for everyone else in this country. But then again, Orville and Wilbur invented the airplane; that doesn’t mean I’m going to walk past a shiny new 737 and get on a plane made of wood, fabric, and chicken wire.

    Comment by Steven Kornya — January 21, 2011 @ 5:49 pm | Reply

  2. Thanks Steve Kornya, i was going to post something about that BS ratings quote defender put out there, but really could not be bothered. Trying to reason with this man is no different than banging your head against a brick wall, you really will get yourself nowhere.

    One more thing to ponder with all his demographics and percentages…if you had one person attend a race, then the next year, a he brings a friend, that is two people in attendance, a 100% increase. Percentages do not always tell a true story, but they can be used to further one’s agenda. That is of course, if you are preaching to a bunch of morons who will buy the nonsense he spews, which having seen alot of Defender’s act over the years at different forums, is exactly what most of his fellow irl cronies are.

    Nice try on the title change as well, defender of indycar blog. You were the defender of the irl, and it is gone now, and your 15 minutes is up. Jay

    Editor’s Note: You make a great point about the futility of trying to reason with those not so gifted in the intelligence department.

    Comment by Jay — January 22, 2011 @ 10:18 pm | Reply

  3. Let it be said, agree or disagree, Defender has his share of internet stalkers. One needs to look no further than right here, and the recently failed hate site once run by a drunken and grossly disfigured Aussie and a gay Samoan/Hawaiian too afraid to man up to anything. A passionate bunch of mentally and literacy challenged individuals at that.

    Comment by MTroy — January 23, 2011 @ 4:22 pm | Reply

    • the way rid ourselves of these hate site clowns: FLUSH

      Comment by mmiller — January 23, 2011 @ 4:41 pm | Reply

  4. Steven and jay. You neglect to consider the growing alternative to TV, numbers which are relevant and demographic sensitive. It is becoming more important to tap this cyber and mobile population which happens to what indycar is focusing on and getting.

    Perhaps NASCAR numbers are falling because theirs is a flash in the pan.

    Comment by mmiller — January 23, 2011 @ 4:33 pm | Reply

    • with all due respect mmiller, i do understand all the alternatives to television that are out there.

      Editor’s Note: Then you would have to agree that the forward thinking by today’s INDYCAR is commendable.

      what is the point here, is that Defender only puts stuff out that suits his agenda. every racing fan in north america can see indycar racing, warts and all, except for Defender. Defender always has a tired old excuse when these warts are pointed out to him. the “attendance is down for all sports, not just indycars”, is a fine example of it.

      Editor’s Note: My attendance observations are also true, verifiable and obvious.

      most sports are thriving when it comes to attendance, and even those that have seen a decline, they are still quite healthy.

      Editor’s Note: Factually, most sports are not thriving as they once did. That does not change the fact that INDYCAR is more healthy than at any point in its sixteen year history.

      his beloved indy 500 race is another fine example. where you once had to order tickets way in advance to get good seats, you can now walk up the day of and get prime seats.

      Actually, you can get seats in the infield and crappy seats outside at the end of the backstretch or low in the north chute. I was able to buy E-Stand penthouse tickets for close to face in the middle of the cart era. That ‘used to be sold out in advance’ taunt is more indicative of ignorance than reality.

      same for hotels in the area, which you had to pre-book at one time, now they can be had the weekend of, and for discounts.

      Editor’s Note: Have you ever looked at the number of available rooms in 2011 compared against any year prior to 1996? Use your brain, son.

      IMS never had to mass-email people to buy tickets in the past, they do now…and just to point out to you Defender, that is not evolution, it is survival.

      Editor’s Note: It is actually referred to by adults as ‘smart marketing.’ Most successful enterprises employ similar tactics.

      and defender, oops, mmiller, learn how to proof-read before you post please. as for the other comment, do not be bothered by our treatment of Defender, because if you can’t take it, then you should not be dishing it.

      Editor’s Note: Wow. You sound like a junior high school girl.

      Defender cares nothing for open wheel racing at all, only for IMS. Defender only cares about riling up people all over the net as well, and judging by he amount of nonsense he has time to post, he must not have a job. i would also be willing to bet he also is two or three of the regular posters on his own blog.

      Editor’s Note: You are as lousy a psychoanalyst as you are a racing fan. Grow up.

      Comment by Jay — January 23, 2011 @ 6:43 pm | Reply

  5. indycar has more than a sixteen year history, but you already knew that.

    Editor’s Note: In the context of my comments, I was referring to the series started by Tony George in 1996.

    since you like statistics, then pull up the attendance stats pre-1995 at the tracks indy car used to run at when it was under the cart banner, and then attendance figures at the tracks during the sixteen year period they have run under the irl banner. i think you would be amazed, but then, you would aready know that. focus on the percentage in terms of capacity and the actual attendance einstein. also, look at the tracks both series ran at, and you will see an alarming decrease in overall attendance at any track that the irl took over after cart was there.

    Editor’s Note: Why would any smart person do that? What relevance would it have? cart routinely lied about attendance anyway and lost more venues than the Indy Car Series did. You are trying to compare apples and cement to prop up a worthless ‘argument.’ INDYCAR drew over a million again last season. Is attendance for INDYCAR trending up? Yes.

    the “used to be sold out in advance” is not a taunt gramps, it is a fact. i know, i have attended the race back in the cart days. indy used to rely on it’s name and mystique only, and did not have to resort to marketing themselves.

    Editor’s Note: Between then and now, the entire manner in which the world communicates with one another and entertains itself completely changed. You can walk up to 99% of sporting events today (many of which used to routinely sell out) and buy tickets for face value. NASCAR has even lowered prices to try and fill up seats at their tracks. NONE of their races sold out last year. Marketing yourself is an absolute necessity today. If you seriously think the only reason Indy does not sell out today as it did before 1995 solely due to cart, then you are a proven imbecile unable to think.

    you are wrong about the hotels as well. there used to be alot of hotels near the track when cart ran there. from 2000 onwards, the hotels start to either get demolished, or just left to abandon, because the track does not draw the crowds it once used to. i think we call that…vibrancy (HAHA). most of the area around the track is now like a ghetto. i guess the track does not attract alot of area business…why is that, after all, it is indy.

    Editor’s Note: Son, do a count of available rooms in Marion County in any year you want before 1995 and now. I can guarantee the difference will be staggering to your limited intellect.

    (Degeneration into personal, off topic, childish name calling by contributor removed because it has even less relevance than usual)

    Comment by Jay — January 23, 2011 @ 9:07 pm | Reply

  6. I would suggest that you stay close to home, you take a break in warm weather your fans get all pissed, maybe you could post some photos of your visits to other tracks in support of Indy Car Racing. OBTW it’s 70 here today!

    Comment by rosco — January 24, 2011 @ 9:10 pm | Reply


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