Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

September 15, 2011

Indy Car $5 Million Challenge: Doom and Gloom or More Great Marketing?

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 3:22 pm

Just when you think the loudmouthed handful of darkly Indy Car-obsessed cart idiot critics cannot get any more depraved, out they come with their latest prediction of doom for the Indy Car Series. This time their angst is squarely focused on Randy Bernard’s $5 million offer to non-regulars who race at Vegas and only if they win. In other words, the money was probably always going to be safe. Problem is, no one stepped forward, and unsurprisingly neither Chip nor Roger decided to take one for the team. Therefore, in the deluded minds of those who have spent the past decade and a half waiting impatiently for Indy Car to fail, this latest event means (as it always does to them):

-Randy Bernard has failed and will soon be gone

-The collapse of Indy Car is imminent

Meanwhile, back in the land of actual reality, Randy Bernard has secured Indy 500 winner and walking marketing tool Dan Wheldon to participate, and in the event he wins a lucky fan gets $2.5 million. The value of the marketing raw data Indy Car will acquire through the sign-up process is also significant. There will probably also be close to 30 cars entered as well.

Predictably the childish naysayers always harken back to their same flawed argument. ‘Indy Car is not like it was during the heyday in 1990.’ Guess what? Not much is. Especially:

-the newspaper business

-Bennigans

-incandescent light bulbs

-hot girls named ‘Betty’

-Borders book stores

-attention spans

…and that is just for starters.

In other words, no matter how much these floor-fit-throwing cretins stink up the sport with juvenile antics 1990 will never come back. 1990 is nostalgic, and that is how it should be treated. If these people had even a minimum amount of maturity their focus would be on how to enhance the sport as it exists today in the context of 2011.

It is beyond any reasonable scope of understanding trying to comprehend the complete uselessness of nearly continuous whining about what these people believed they had in their short-lived utopia 20 or 25 years ago. The more defensive knee-jerkers of that bunch will certainly be around to pollute the comment section with barely literate tirades of diversion, and none will address anything they should; i.e., positive contributions. They act solely on emotion without the benefit of intellect.

I personally believe the Indy Car family has mostly great people who work for teams or are fans. But like all large families there are a few alcoholic uncles, criminals and mentally deficient little kids running loose. Perhaps we need a special home for such social outcasts. It could be used to control what I like to call Championship Addict Rehabilitation Tantrums.

It is probably time to do what any real fan would. Get ready for the last three races of the season and prepare for another great one in 2012. Indy Car has survived for another year and its second century is underway.

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15 Comments »

  1. Don’t forget the fact that GoDaddy is significantly engaged in this promotion, after their involvement in the series was seen by many as all but over after Danica left. Instead, they sponsor this contest and are sponsoring a car next year.

    I think it’s a great promotion, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

    Comment by Zachary — September 15, 2011 @ 3:33 pm | Reply

  2. Don’t these ex Cart fans realize they won. Everything Tony George stood for, all
    his goals, have been defeated.

    Whether that will end up being good for this league is still to be seen. The
    initial returns are not that promising.

    So did Randy Bernard learn anything about American Open Wheel racing in Italy at
    the Grand Prix?

    Comment by Bob F. — September 15, 2011 @ 4:57 pm | Reply

  3. You just compared modern Indycar to a bunch of dead or dying things.

    Editor’s Note: Critical difference is Indy Car has been around longer than most of those things, is around now, and will outlive all of those things. The point that eluded you was how pointless pining for 1990 actually is. The entire world has changed. So should its society.

    I don’t see the problems affecting open wheel racing to being analogous to the issues affecting print media, but apparently you do. Feel free to tell me how technology rendered Indycar racing completely obsolete and removed its necessity from the marketplace. Better yet, do that and then tell me how Indycar should go about surviving and growing.

    Editor’s Note: Randy Bernard and his time are letting their actions speak. Not the twisted interpretations of disenfranchised cart enthusiasts but tangible, relevant steps forward.

    Looks like the UFC re-thought that deal with NBC Sports through and walked over to Fox. Do you really still think NBC is going to be able to present something to cable providers and the general public that is going to compete with ESPN? Do you still see Indycar as being part of such a vibrant plan as they cut down on advertisements and television time dedicated to the sport and start to throw together as many canned NFL highlight programs as possible? I’m interested in hearing this.

    Editor’s Note: Indy Car has TWO paid national television contracts. I still believe the Versus deal was five years ahead of its time. I am confident NBC and Comcast can put together a viable ESPN alternative, and they have already begun bolstering their college and pro packages. Loss of UFC means potentially more attention for Indy Car.I continue taking a wait and see attitude and am becoming more interested in the digital presence of Indy Car.

    Comment by throw some ds on that b!%$h — September 15, 2011 @ 5:16 pm | Reply

    • Indycar predates Gutenberg? For real? Look, I get what you are attempting to say. The way you said it and what you compared Indycar to is telling. Maybe Indycar needs to “right size” itself for the crowd that exists for it and change economically. But wait – they can’t do that really. So it isn’t an option. Stating that Indycar survived tough times in the past is meaningless. What was it that Cheese said in the Wire finale?

      “There ain’t no back in the day, n****. Ain’t no nostalgia to this sh** here. There’s just the street and the game and what happen here today.”

      What happened in the 1940s doesn’t matter any more because we’re here now, and the world (not Indianapolis, I’m talking about THE WORLD) we live in now doesn’t necessarily need auto racing or even the Indy 500. That’s why its a spec series full of ride buyers racing in front of no people.

      I get that you’re used to throwing out strawmen about CART, and that’s great for you. Keep at it. Tell me how Indycar should go about surviving and growing in these changing times in which it has to compete with all the media which you complain about draining eyeballs from it with something other than complaints about a lack of sponsor activation that get to the heart of why it isn’t getting better. You can put whatever start date you want on the audience nationally for the sport dropping. It doesn’t matter. You tell me what it can actually do that hasn’t been tried yet to regain some station of prominence among the roughly 305,000,000 people outside of the Indianapolis-Carmel, IN Metropolitan Statistical Area and I’ll believe you have a relevant opinion.

      And the TV contracts: You’re going to brag about that? You’re going to brag about ESPN keeping a lock on the 500 and refusing to partner in any way with Versus for the next, what, 7 years? It doesn’t matter if it is “5 years ahead of their time”, because at this pace they won’t see that. NBC Sports might even still lack relevance unless they magically find some live sports to televise which people will watch. And whatever sport that is that they overpay for just to try and bring up the value of their network – maybe its an NFL Thursday night package, maybe its MLB in 2013, whatever it is – they’re going to put their attention on that. And you know it. And I know it.

      Editor’s Note: Not sure what you are trying to say, but it’s entertaining anyway.

      Comment by throw some ds on that b!tch — September 16, 2011 @ 4:13 pm | Reply

      • I will try and use as small of words as possible for you and make this brief: It doesn’t matter what Indy has been through before, because before is then and this is now. There is no easy change or even a tough change that hasn’t been tried at some point now in the last 20 years to change the direction and improve TV viewership (which is what really matters) that hasn’t ultimately failed. The TV deal they has done nothing to improve this and to believe it will requires blind faith given the lack of any actual defend-able rationale that could be used. You say that Dan Wheldon possibly winning a bunch of money is a great thing and that expectations need to be tempered because Indycar isn’t like it used to be. OK. Well, I’m here to tell you no one cares about Dan Wheldon, no one cares about him winning a lot of money, and definitely no one cares about this race in Vegas now. All the sponsorship activation and pipe dream TV ads don’t fix that.

        Editor’s Note: Oh. I think I get it. You are one of the handful of those hate site idiots who have stupidly been portending doom and gloom for Indy Car for sixteen years unsuccessfully. How sweet. Keep watching!

        Comment by throw some ds on that b!tch — September 16, 2011 @ 4:46 pm

      • Someone portending doom and gloom? You saw the empty ass stands for a bunch of these oval races first hand. It is already there.

        Editor’s Note: I’ve been to all of ovals. The only one that had ’empty ass’ stands was Milwaukee. Indy Car drew 1.2 million fans through their gates last season and is on target for more than that this year. So spare me your obvious ignorance.

        Comment by throw some ds on that b!tch — September 16, 2011 @ 4:56 pm

      • Loudon didn’t have empty seats? So, did 50,000 people dress as benches? You can say that there are only a handful of “doom and gloomers” but there aren’t that many more true believers either.
        Editor’s Note: Of course Loudon had empty seats. All venues for every sporting event except a few NFL games do, especially venues overbuilt for NASCAR. As an adult enthusiast of the sport and someone who likes that venue, the 25k-30K seats that WERE filled will hopefully be enough for the track to give it three years to rebuild.

        I’m comparing what Indycar is actually offering (Dan Wheldon racing for a split $5 mil with a fan) versus what was advertised (some of the best drivers in the world racing for a $5 million dollar prize) when I say “attract people with less”. Dan Wheldon raced in the Indycar Series in various iterations for many years and the ratings never went up as a result of his participation. Now he is relevant? Spare me the comedy.
        Editor’s Note: He has twice as many Indy 500 wins as the entire Andretti family combined for starters. I love the fan angle, and cannot help but congratulate the powers-that-be for tweaking it once it became apparent no driver outside Indy car was brave enough to try it. Why does this ‘issue’ only seem bad to imbeciles predisposed toward turning everything they concoct into something negative? Have you obsessed youngsters noticed you are the only people causing a stink? Hypocrites.

        You’re want to point to the past only when convenient, generally in the sense of a strawman. Alright. I get that part of the game. Well, good luck on keeping up the ideals and traditions of Indy as the sport gravitates back to street race festivals and foreign races. I’m sure the dirt track talent in Porto Alegre has dreams of the Brickyard floating through their heads and millions of potential fans ready to spend money.
        Editor’s Note: Speaking of straw men… Look, pal, I like short track racers, but their days at Indy en masse essentially ended in 1961. It is neither here nor there. Generally what happens when these guys ARE given a chance is that they find the wall relatively quickly. The series is composed primarily of formula trained twisty pilots. That goes primarily to the team ownership philosophies. My interest is seeing the best drivers in the world. How much longer are you going to obsessively make nonsense points? If you dislike what you see, why are you here? I could care less about soccer, and even sometimes think it’s stupid and pointless. But I have never, ever visited any soccer forum to tell those folks how badly I believe their sport sucks. What would be the point?

        Comment by we cookin we eatin — September 17, 2011 @ 1:00 am

      • Overbuilt for who? Loudon is a NASCAR venue first and foremost. They come a lot closer to filling those seats than Indycar, who is of supplemental value to the track.
        Editor’s Note: Are you completely retarded from a thought process standpoint? Yes. Loudon, like EVERY other oval that runs NASCAR, is overbuilt for them. NASCAR no longer fills up any of its venues. That is a sign of the times.

        Rebuilding? It is practically an entirely different world that Indycar is trying to inhabit making a place in New England now. This was never the
        sport’s stronghold. We’re not talking about Nazareth or Michigan here.
        Editor’s Note: Loudon was always a good stop for Indy Cars. It is my belief that with meaningful effort (in particular with post-Bahre family ownership) that it could be a staple on the schedule. The Northeast is a highly desirable geographic area.

        Winning the Indy 500 hasn’t mattered as far as making stars in almost two decades.
        Editor’s Note: Only to hostile children who have not got the first clue about the heart of the sport to begin with. Grow up, hater.

        No one cares about Dan Wheldon just as no one cares about Buddy Rice, Scott Dixon, et al. So what if he’s won more than the Andrettis? No one cares about them either.
        Editor’s Note: The only people who say they do not care are lying hypocrites like you who say they no one cares but obsessively follow Indy Car anyway. Again, try to discover maturity, clown.

        The Andretti name doesn’t mean anything to anyone born after 1980 because most of the Andretti action they’ve seen in auto racing is John putting around the NASCAR midpack.
        Editor’s Note: The Andretti name is universally recognized. To not admit that is recognition of stupidity.

        If I were a soccer fan, I’d need to have something comparable to make fun of – since I know things about stick and ball sports in addition to things on wheels I can give you one. You are the equivalent of a very strong Leeds United supporter. A really strong one. Someone who believes the FA Cup runs through Elland Road. Someone who believes that the system has kept them out of the Premiership rather than terrible ownership and management and blames everyone but for their fall from grace.
        Editor’s Note: I admit it has fallen from grace in the eyes of a handful of idiots living in 1995. Fortunately such cretins are not taken seriously and do not have a firm grasp of reality. How much longer are you going to obsessively continue this nonsense?

        Comment by throw some ds on that b!tch — September 18, 2011 @ 2:47 am

      • LOL, “universally recognized”. In what demos, media dude? It ain’t 18-34 males, that’s for sure. The specter of the Andretti (or for that matter, Rahal or Unser) name has had zero effect on moving the needle. And Indy winners don’t move it either. Danica is bigger than any Indy winner in terms of value to sponsors and the sport than any Indy winner of her era or the one that preceded her. It isn’t even close; she’s the one with sponsors, and her’s are the ones that actually bother with activation.
        Editor’s Note: Danica is brand. We know that. Sponsorship these days is a hodge-podge of associates for everyone. In NASCAR, for example, only 6 full season sponsorships exist. Sign of the times. The Andretti name is, in fact, well known among most demos, including 18-34 males. If portions of this demo do not know the Andretti name chances are they will never become racing fans. Or they could always Google it.

        As for me caring, oh, I do because I find this funny and I enjoy watching racing to an excessive level. But to average guy in the street outside of Indianapolis? They’ve never heard of these people and don’t care about them. Probably the average person in Indianapolis barely cares either except around 500 time.
        Editor’s Note: That is why marketing is more important than ever. Give the proliferation of fundamental technology changes and entertainment choices, standing out in the crowd requires more effort than ever before.

        Loudon isn’t half as overbuilt as you’d hope, otherwise NASCAR wouldn’t be running an attendance of 95,000 there compared to an announced 30,000 for Indycar. But who cares about figures that one can actually attach a source to? LOL
        Editor’s Note: Given the lack of promotion and effort at Loudon, 30,000 was great. After all, 30,000 is always considered great at a non-oval, so that is a venue worthy of nurturing in this new century.

        Those with a firm grasp on reality say that Indycar is clawing and scratching for .3 ratings and that viewership for the 500 is less than half of what it was two decades ago. Say whatever you will about demographics: The splits might be what they want within those numbers are far as the trends of who is viewing goes (though I seriously doubt that too) but the absolute number of people watching is atrocious.
        12+ ratings challenges are a hurdle for everyone, and everything except the NFL is either down or has been over the same period. One of Randy Bernard’s challenges is working with two separate partners to ensure partnership. Indy Car has not received that from ESPN for the past ten years or so, and with NBC calling the shots at Versus, stick n’ ball has taken center stage. Bernard has some work to do. In a future blog I will discuss the possibility of selling part of the series to a television entity as the means to expand coverage mostly for the benefit of those still living in the previous century.

        Comment by throw some ds on that b!tch — September 19, 2011 @ 12:27 pm

      • And your statement about marketing brings me back to something I said earlier: You’ve offered no real suggestions about how to get young new fans to watch. Instead you blame everyone for not promoting well enough. It has nothing to do with whether or not Indycar Racing, or racing in general, has appeal to prime demographics or youth viewers. You don’t even understand the complete lack of relevance of the Andretti name to people who aren’t middle aged.
        Editor’s Note: Actually I have offered several suggestions, many in past blogs. If you’d like I’ll aggregate the suggestions in a ‘best of’ one of these days.

        Let’s face it – you completely misjudged what the Comcast/NBC deal was looking to do with the network. Indycar isn’t on their radar. Why do you think NBC (or anyone else) wants a chunk of a series that doesn’t make money? LOL
        Editor’s Note: Actually I still believe the Versus deal was years ahead of its time. I am not ready to lump NBC/Comcast into the ESPN pile just yet, and know for a fact that discussions are underway regarding future enhancement of Indy Car on NBC Sports Channel(s).

        Comment by throw some ds on that b!tch — September 19, 2011 @ 2:45 pm

      • I’ve seen suggestions about how to get the series stuff like “advertiser activation” and sh*t like that. I haven’t seen one realistic suggestion about how to make the series appeal more to average 18-34 sports fans or even non-sports fans aside from general assertions about more Americans or more ovals.
        Editor’s Note: Well obviously you should broaden the things you read. Right here on the blog pages, for example are entire topics devoted to that. I have decided to aggregate all the ideas into on blog in the future. How does that sound?

        I’ve already said my piece on the Versus deal. No guarantee they ever become a real competitor to ESPN, no reason to believe that if they do it is with heavy involvement and promotion of the Indycar series aside from wishes and dreams. You can post however long you want that Indycar officials are going to talk to Versus and iron things out. You may end up posting some variation of that until the contract ends. I wouldn’t bet against it. Comcast showed their hand though already.
        Editor’s Note: Actually it is not Comcast’s hand I am worried about. It’s NBC and all of their dysfunctional corporate bureaucracy. Comcast was the entity with the money who purchased the majority of NBC, but it’s NBC that is now actually running the show. The structure is still shaking out, and I urge patience along with your obsession.

        Comment by throw some ds on that b!tch — September 19, 2011 @ 3:48 pm

    • As I said: The attendance and ratings indicate that the doom and gloomers were probably right.

      Editor’s Note: The doom and gloomers continue to display childish delinquency that makes their credibility non-existent. Thank goodness there are are only a handful of such cretins.

      After all, no one is watching in person or at home. Oh, you can point to the occasional street festival’s filled up grandstands, but we know how that goes thanks to Champ Car, right?
      Editor’s Note: champcar killed itself. Twice. They are not relevant to any discussion of Indy Car in 2011.

      You state that the sport has changed and that this is what people should expect. The few people who know that this is happening are laughing or embarassed. The rest of the world doesn’t know and doesn’t care. It sounds like expectations are mighty low. How do you attract paying customers with less? Let us know.
      Editor’s Note: More than what? Some subjective utopia in the distant past? Professional people pay attention to trends generally over a two year period. The Indy Car Series over the past two years is showing positive trends in all areas that matter. Your ilk may piss and moan until you are blue in the face, but that does not change your 100% record of being incorrect over the past sixteen years. I suggest getting with the program or getting out.

      Comment by we goin ham — September 16, 2011 @ 8:20 pm | Reply

  4. Bob F. I would take to task your reasoning that all things Tony George have failed. Seems to me the Speedway is doing quite nicely, thank you, and is in far BETTER shape (as a physical plant) than it was before he took over. In that repsect alone, he has made his grandfather proud. And, while it is true that the series he started is no longer totally dedicated to oval racing as was his vision, it has been dedicated to exciting racing, close finiishes, and developing a car that many could afford who had no chance of surviving in the ever-escalating costs of CART/CCWS. Hell, even the new car will be less expensive and will restore some of the “roar” that was lost when the turbochargers went away.

    Did that lead to Milka Duno and Dr. Jack the dentist? Sure, but do you really want me to start talking about “DIcked Again” Simon, Chip Ganassi (the driver, not the owner,) and more than a few others from that lost “beloved” era? Were it not for veterans like Foyt, the senior Unsers, and Mario Andretti driving well past their primes, the roster of drivers in the final few years of CART (BEFORE the split) might not have been held in such high esteem.

    Let’s not forget, that the four races that Rick Mears won at Indy were, by most accounts “runaways.” Borrrrrrrinngg. Does that mean I don’t respect Mears? Hell no, but when he won, most of the time he clearly outclassed the field, tweaking the car until about lap 150 and then gradually pulling away from EVERYONE. (And I still have the VCR tapes to prove it.)

    Meantime, where did all that high tech, high cost racing get them once they walked away from Indy? Why, bankruptcy court. Twice. Not only that, but they so bled dry their sponsors that they almost single-handedly drove them off to NASCAR or out of business.When they ran out of “other people’s money,” the tent came crashing down around them. Twice.

    Comment by SkipinSC — September 15, 2011 @ 8:15 pm | Reply

  5. 4 years of 1 series and you are still fighting the battle against the so-called “cart enthusiast.” It seems you have nothing better to do with your time than to troll the internet looking for folks that don’t agree with you and then blogging about those people, calling them obsessed, depraved, idiots, and any other childish name you can think of. The real truth is, how you descibe these people really seems to be a clear picture of yourself. Maybe one day, you will actually blog about the on track action. The only think you blog about is “cart enthusiasts,” how you hate the car owners, the Hulman George family, Nascar and its “hillbilly”(your description) fans, horrible partner ESPN, and anything else you can bitch about who you feel isn’t treating IMS with the proper respect.

    Maybe you should be the one to grow up.

    Editor’s Note: Not sure what you are trying to say, but it’s entertaining anyway.

    Comment by TroyM — September 16, 2011 @ 2:52 pm | Reply

    • If you have trouble understanding, then I suggest taking a reading class. That kind of line is your usual B.S. to something you don’t want to respond to, because it probably hits right on target.
      Editor’s Note: Troy, look….my readers love having you here primarily to poke fun at you…but please, try to keep your obsessed rambling confined to actual topics.

      Comment by TroyM — September 17, 2011 @ 3:38 am | Reply


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