Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

June 10, 2013

Increasing the Stature of IndyCar

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 11:16 pm

Marky Mark

I watched the Texas race with usual anticipation. Artistically speaking it appealed to the crowd that hates 1.5 mile ovals and loves mostly non-oval racing and that’s fine. Nothing wrong with making the cars harder to drive by introducing gimmickry such as tires that degrade more rapidly. Graham Rahal, for example, probably deserves driver of the race simply because he managed not to stick it into the wall.

For my money, however, the hallmark of Indy Cars at Texas is close, side-by-side racing the whole way through. This is not to be stupidly confused with ‘pack racing’ that never actually consistently occurred there anyway but never stopped the road racing-centric from shrieking like little girls. Texas this year was mostly a parade that got strung out between pit stops. Between that and a shockingly lackluster performance by the announcers on ESPN on ABC it did not matter that the event was on prime time on a Saturday night. The low ratings that resulted were only exacerbated by the fact that no one saw much meaningful cross promotion on either ABC or ESPN beforehand. That type of treatment is the norm for IndyCar on those channels. On the Sports Center that followed the event, the tease strip on the left part of the screen showed something about Helio, and as it scrolled down to ‘next’ status they went to a break, came back and talked about something completely different. And the tease was gone. They are reprehensible.

There are two things that keep entering my mind with regard to television:

  1. fuckemBefore horse racing was on NBC it was on ABC, and had reached the ratings stage in which very few cared or watched. People were calling that sport ‘dead’ as well. Once that sport jettisoned ABC for NBC, it was meaningfully promoted, ratings went way up and stayed that way. Word to the wise (and Mark Miles): Get past the sentimental attachment the family has toward the Disney folk. ESPN on ABC has neglected IndyCar to such an extreme degree that they should not even be considered. Sure they are the 800 pound gorilla, but what is the point if you are going to be ignored? I realize we will get a bump (perhaps substantial) from Turbo, which IS being promoted effectively, but Disney only distributes Dreamworks films. There is enough separation to allow the freedom to, in a manner of plain speaking, tell ESPN to f*<# off for good.
  2. TennisMark Miles ran professional tennis for years. When he began that adventure tennis had a presence and some stars, but most of the stars retired. Fast forward to now after that part of his life concluded and take a look at Tennis in terms of media. Major tournaments get good ratings. It has its own niche network. There are stars. It gets covered regularly in the popular press and on SportsCenter. It has dedicated, passionate fans. As a sport it cannot hold a candle to the relative excitement of IndyCar. It is, however, treated with immensely more respect. Not saying Miles is completely responsible for the place Tennis currently holds, but he helped build it up and knows how it is done. There is no reason why he cannot increase the stature of IndyCar in the media, which remains mostly jaded due to the events of the mid-1990s.

Curt Cavin has an interesting three-part series with Miles in the Star at the moment, but he is still not saying much specific. He is still having a honeymoon, but time is short.

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8 Comments »

  1. So Mike Mills needs to copy the success he had as the head of a sports entity controlled by the players rather than the venues. Also he should leave ABC to go to another network that will care more about them, except that apparently there isn’t anyone else interested in putting them on network TV and paying them for it. Sounds promising in this situation.
    Editor’s Note: A) It’s Mark Miles. B) Tennis is mostly controlled by commercial partners. C) IMS won’t know until it gets serious about finding out. Considering only Disney due to 40+ years of history does not do them any good in 2013. There are numerous television possibilities. They just need to be considered.

    Comment by big guwop — June 11, 2013 @ 8:03 pm | Reply

    • Yeah, Mills Lane or whatever his name is. It matters a lot. I’m sure CART wasn’t influenced by its commercial partners. Obviously not, as you so often remind people about how the big boy teams left because the sponsors told them to.
      Editor’s Note: Mark Miles. M-A-R-K M-I-L-E-S. cart is no longer relevant. Their sponsors told them to leave precisely for the same reason I stated on the other goofball reactive comment in this thread–without the 500 cart was nothing.
      I’m pretty sure IMS was serious about finding out in 2011 what other solid possibilities existed for them when their contract ran out. I can see the results. They just have, what, 5 more years until they’re at the negotiating table again? I’m sure Mark Hamill will do a great job negotiating that in half a decade’s time.
      Editor’s Note: IMS was not serious. They made a few phone calls but re-signed with the Disney folks largely due to the fact they had a long term relationship. A rubber stamp. They did themselves a huge disservice. The NBCSN contract is ahead of its time. They are in almost 90 million homes now, and a renewed focus on OTT will also play out. Bottom line is even though they get zero respect and reprehensible treatment from ESPN they are on an OTA network and get paid for it. Same with NBCSN. I do not believe Miles should be taking television television contract advice from fans of a series that bought time and ran themselves out of business. Twice.

      Comment by big gwuop — June 12, 2013 @ 3:16 am | Reply

      • CART is no longer relevant until they are to complain about or compare to why anything but sole IMS control of sport can’t work.
        Editor’s Note: cart is not relevant to anything at all today. Let’s concentrate on IndyCar. It is actually on ongoing business entity.

        You know, like comparing how the ATP is structured compared to Indycar and how they aren’t alike. At all.
        Editor’s Note: Your commentary seems obtuse. Mark Miles took a niche sport and increased its worth, presence and stature at a time when it was on the downswing. Structure makes little difference. Miles has been successful in a variety of wildly divergent enterprises. There is no reason why he cannot do the same for IndyCar.

        Let me guess: The source for that info is you, right? Because the intarwebz are pretty clear that IMS asked for more time to work on negotiations, which seems a bit strange when it comes to something that was supposedly rubber stamped. I will admit that I enjoy watching you make what you clearly believe are educated and nuanced arguments about how Indycar must get serious about changing their TV strategy now when they have 5 years left on their broadcast deals. All the while alternately you press on, arguing that they made deals which are ahead of their time and genius for the sheer fact that they get paid in an era when barely popular sports are signing for much more money or creating their own networks and receiving income through valuable carriage deals.
        Editor’s Note: When the Disney deal was rubberstamped/extended in 2011, the negotiation window was extended a whopping one month. Up to that point, negotiations had been exclusive to Disney. IndyCar basically made courtesy calls to everyone else to be able to claim due diligence, then signed the renewal. At least the money increased. Being on ESPNonABC is not in and of itself bad. My problem is the neglect they heap onto the franchise. No meaningful promotion, no meaningful news coverage, just complete anonymity. Contrast that to NASCAR or even other sports ESPN does not carry. It’s a joke. ESPN treats it that way as well. One listen to the talent lineup confirms that. IMS did themselves a tremendous disservice by not actually shopping. NBCSN can be good, but IndyCar needs to educate their leadership. NASCAR and F-1 have done a far better job ensuring their brands are top of mind with key people. IndyCar remains lost in that area.

        Comment by big guwop — June 12, 2013 @ 5:08 pm

  2. “Structure makes little difference.” LOL coming from you.

    So they had a month to work with other networks. So what interest did Fox have in this cycle of negotiations? I heard they didn’t care. Same with CBS. So they had a two horse race. “NBCSN can be good”….oh, OK. I thought it already was great and ahead of its time and all that? Maybe it would be better if they moved the Indy 500 to it? Wasn’t that what was discussed? Can’t imagine why Indycar would have turned that down for more money and a big 3 network televising them FTA. Just boggles the mind why you wouldn’t take less money and move to a network that will soon end up third on the depth chart when it comes to cable sports.
    Editor’s Note: Look, I know you are attempting some sort of point, and that’s valiant. Reality, however, is that neither CBS nor FOX were ever seriously considered; and no formal bidding was facilitated. NBC had some potential conflicts that would have required lengthy and detailed negotiation with multiple partners. IMS chose not to go down that road either. People who are mostly ignorant still like to chide the NBCSN deal, but IndyCar ratings on that channel are reflective of the vast majority of sports offerings on cable channels. NBCSN is approaching 90 million households and rising. It’s all good. The area where IndyCar needs significant ivestment and improvement is not OTA television, it’s an OTT presence. They need to get serious about that.

    Comment by big guwop — June 13, 2013 @ 12:11 pm | Reply

    • “Reality, however, is that neither CBS nor FOX were ever seriously considered” I guess they don’t want to buy time? Because that was the option. Being serious for a moment and all.
      Editor’s Note: The due diligence vis-à-vis CBS or FOX never even got to the level of rights fees or time buys. When someone on the Internet stupidly opines ‘that was the only option,’ that demonstrates a level of ignorance so extreme it goes beyond the limits of laughability.

      “NBC had some potential conflicts that would have required lengthy and detailed negotiation with multiple partners.” Just say they couldn’t get a OTA deal with NBC unless money was exchanged. See above re: CBS, Fox. Go ahead. It isn’t tough.
      Editor’s Note: Again, it never got to the money stage. The potential programming conflict stage was where that stopped. Perhaps if you did a little research and developed an ability to comprehend the written word this might make sense.

      “People who are mostly ignorant still like to chide the NBCSN deal, but IndyCar ratings on that channel are reflective of the vast majority of sports offerings on cable channels.” Right. So Indycar’s events on NBCSN have fewer viewers than the PBA or third tier cagefighting on Spike. The intarwebz knows that. The entirety of your statement looks gives the reader the impression that you’d prefer the entire series, Hulman 500 included, be on NBCSN.
      Editor’s Note: You have created another poorly constructed straw man argument then reached a whacko conclusion based on it. The major stick n’ ball sports on cable get higher ratings than IndyCar, as they always have. NASCAR gets higher ratings on cable than IndyCar, as they have for the past 30+ years. But the vast majority of programming on sports cable networks gets either similar or lower ratings than IndyCar, which make such numbers normal. It is hard to predict what is ‘good’ to the obsessed critics. That target changes depending on the circumstance/aspect to slam. The fact remains that most sports cable networks generate hundreds of millions of dollars of ad sales revenue with sub-1’s or no ratings at all, and the world has not ended. Educate yourself.

      Which brings us to this: “The area where IndyCar needs significant investment and improvement is not OTA television, it’s an OTT presence.” I am on a website where any divergent opinion is chided as being the ludicrous fantasy of other “youthful” aging one time yuppie boomers. These are the people who know and care about open wheel in any way shape or form: old white men. Old white men are not cutting cords and building internet boxes. Young people do that. And young male demographics for Indycar are terrible, ergo poor ratings, Izod having a foot out the door, and all the rest. Indycar isn’t a sport capable of surviving streaming video to a limited fan base. It isn’t roller derby. This is where you write 1000 words about things you did 30 years ago, before most of the people Indycar wants, no, needs to convert were born. Have at it. Go ahead. Gonna tell me about Turbo? I’m interested.
      Editor’s Note: Turbo will be good for the kids and their parents who watch it and load up on the merchandise. Good publicity for sure in the middle of the racing season, but nothing that will shake the earth. 18-34 and 18-49 numbers for IndyCar are actually pretty good considering the competitive landscape. Again this is a far more complex issue than stupidly dismissing a number subjectively perceived as ‘low.’ Any mentally impaired person is capable of such dismissal. Not to say the old white men aren’t important. They have the majority of the money. But if IndyCar wants to propagate the brand among millennials, who want interactivity, don’t mind a 4-inch screen, are not cable subscribers and have the attention span of most small, undomesticated wild animals to go along with their own special brand of ADD, they need to think outside the television box as the target audience already has. Development of meaningful online content should be a higher priority than worrying about 12+ overnights. The way things were done thirty years ago do not matter today. Nothing that happened in the past is relevant today. Can Miles handle the challenge? We’ll see.

      Comment by big guwop — June 13, 2013 @ 6:06 pm | Reply

      • “The due diligence vis-à-vis CBS or FOX never even got to the level of rights fees or time buys.” Of course it didn’t. They aren’t interested. Already reviewed. Next?
        Editor’s Note: I have already patiently explained this to you. That’s right. IMS was never really interested in exploring those possibilities. Which remains a shame.

        “The potential programming conflict stage was where that stopped.” Because everyone understands what’s involved in trying to eliminate that conflict. Already reviewed. Next?
        Editor’s Note: Evidently you don’t. Or refuse. Personally, I would have gone further down the road. NBC was willing to do that.

        “You have created another poorly constructed straw man argument then reached a whacko conclusion based on it.” A strawman argument is a logical fallacy. Saying that Bellator and the PBA get higher ratings and more viewership than Indycar on NBCSN is not a logical fallacy. It is a statement of fact. Saying that Indycar ratings are good for Indycar because the NBC Sports Network is profitable from ad revenue/carriage fees, however, would be and is hilarious. Of course, you will not say that. You will simply say they are “good,” leaving the important question of for whom they are good intentionally blank. Next?.
        Editor’s Note: Once again, you have knee jerked a response based on what appears to be either willfull or inadvertent retardation. You are pigeonholing .000something percent of television offerings that have higher ratings and holding that up as the norm when it is not the norm. Not saying IndyCar ratings are good or bad. What I am saying is they are normal compared to the vast majority of cable sports options. Revenue from carriage fees is different from ad sales revenue. When talking about ratings, the most direct impact is ad sales revenue. It is also fact that sports cable networks with little to no ratings activity; i.e., channels not even rated, generate hundreds of millions of dollars of ad sales revenue every year despite all the end-of-the-world cackling by Internet executives. IndyCar gets paid based on rights, commercial partnerships and retaining some avails, and that accounts for tens of millions every year. It is my belief that everyone from fans to IndyCar leaders want higher ratings. They could have NASCAR numbers, however, and still want higher ratings. It’s the nature of the business. That said, the doom being portended by the ignorant seems silly in the context of the real world, where the ratings IndyCar gets are considered normal.

        “18-34 and 18-49 numbers for IndyCar are actually pretty good considering the competitive landscape.” Competitive landscape = undefined “sports programming”. You see replays of 15 year old football games on Big Ten network as analgous to live Indycar broadcasts on NBCSN for the purpose of your argument. It is a good thing there’s a few people on the internet who still don’t understand how TV works, though I suppose at this point your only readership are the people who interact with you for lulz. Next?
        Editor’s Note: Correction: Competitive landscape = the vast majority of programming on cable sports networks, and OTAs when they run there. Not sure how much more clear I can make this.

        “But if IndyCar wants to propagate the brand among millennials, who want interactivity, don’t mind a 4-inch screen, are not cable subscribers and have the attention span of most small, undomesticated wild animals to go along with their own special brand of ADD, they need to think outside the television box as the target audience already has.” Ah, yes, old white man strikes out against the evil of youth. Damn them and their misbegotten, culture destroying ways! I’m sure if Indycar just attends a few professional development seminars about Twitter and Instagram, they’ll catch up with the rest of the world. Next?
        Editor’s Note: It’s amazing how far from missing every point you remain. Old white men are what they are, and television suits them and their money just fine. I, for one, welcome new eyeballs that are younger. That is how the sport succeeds long term. What make sense is reaching them using the tools they do, which increasingly is not traditional television. Why is this difficult for you to grasp?

        “Development of meaningful online content should be a higher priority than worrying about 12+ overnights.” LOL. What is this, 1997?
        Editor’s Note: Nope. 2013. The type of landscape faced today is completely and fundamentally different than what existed in 1997. But thanks for yet another obtuse, uh, observation.

        “The way things were done thirty years ago do not matter today. Nothing that happened in the past is relevant today.” LOL. Holy shit.
        Editor’s Note: Name anything anyone can do that changes the past. Answer: Nothing. Name anything anyone can do to change the future. Answer: Almost anything. I prefer moving forward. You?

        Comment by big guwop — June 13, 2013 @ 7:50 pm

  3. “IMS was never really interested in exploring those possibilities.” Those possibilities: invented in the mind of IRLDefender.
    Editor’s Note: Oh, so now you read minds too. LOL.

    “You are pigeonholing .000something percent of television offerings that have higher ratings and holding that up as the norm when it is not the norm. Competitive landscape = the vast majority of programming on cable sports networks, and OTAs when they run there.” See also: “You see replays of 15 year old football games on Big Ten network as analgous to live Indycar broadcasts on NBCSN for the purpose of your argument.

    Saying that Indycar ratings are good for Indycar because the NBC Sports Network is profitable from ad revenue/carriage fees, however, would be and is hilarious. Of course, you will not say that. So you won’t flesh this argument out. I get that. The whole argument Indycar having “good” ratings and “good” demographic splits is largely based in obfucation and revolves around the percieved value to the networks. You can’t argue that the reviews are good for the sport of Indycar. No one can.
    Editor’s Note: Your reading comprehension skills continue to be severely lacking. You are confusing the words ‘normal’ and ‘good.’ ‘Good’ is highly subjective according to the Internet television executives. ‘Normal’ is what the ratings are, and they help bring tens of millions of dollars every year into IndyCar’s coffers. And NBCSN’s slate of programming, most of which is either not rated or rated lower than IndyCar, brings it hundreds of millions of dollars. I tend to laugh at those who pontificate about a subject they know nothing about.

    “It’s amazing how far from missing every point you remain.” I’m amused by the level of contempt you have towards seemingly anyone under 55.
    Editor’s Note: I am amazed by your stunning lack of reading comprehension skills.

    “Nope. 2013.” I’m aware what year it is. I’m just amused at the suggestion of “build meaningful online content” like it’s the same as painting fences or something. They can make the website do all sorts of terrific flash shit and have incredible potential for interactivity. If all the fans are old men yelling at the rest of the world to get off their collective lawns, it won’t simply propogate masses young people appearing and caring. Oooh, oooh, is this where you say that millions of young Americans simply need to invest hard earned money and time by travelling to attend the Indy 500 in order to understand the sport and what it means?
    Editor’s Note: I always encourage active attendance at IndyCar events because there is nothing like it, especially at Indy in May. But if it wants to reach millennials it must do so in the manner to which millennials are accustomed. Thus far that has not been accomplished effectively.

    Comment by big guwop — June 14, 2013 @ 1:08 pm | Reply

    • You’re making up “interest” and asking me to prove a negative. So.
      Editor’s Note: The more you try to argue intelligently the more obtuse you become.

      Right. So NBCSN is profitable off “normal” ratings, which in general would be considered a “good” thing to be profitable. Unless NBC’s management is intending to somehow make money tanking in Producers-esque fashion. You still refuse to say that Indycar’s ratings are, for the series, “good” by any metric. Which is telling.
      Editor’s Note: ‘Good’ is a subjective term. People who comment on the Internet generally have no insight or credibility as to what is good or bad. NBCSN itself, however, has publicly stated on more than one occasion that IndyCar is among the highest rated programming on the channel. That seems ‘good’ to me. Like most everyone else I would like the ratings to be higher than they are, but IndyCar could draw 10.0s and idiots on the Internet would position the sport as doomed.

      This is a man who who understands the youth.
      Editor’s Note: I have a son and a daughter both in their mid-20’s and another son in his mid-30s and I am pretty distant from understanding their lifestyles, the same as my parents when I was young. In terms of television consumption, however, my company and others related to it have studied the behaviors of millennials extensively and we have a pretty good handle on what they actually do. Our products and services reflect that, and most intelligent broadcasters are adjusting.

      That being? Does it involve youtube videos and Rob Dyrdek? Tell me how millennials, Gen Y, and Gex X think.
      Editor’s Note: I was not referring to specific content. I was referring to the group of people in that demographic who do not subscribe to traditional television delivery options such as cable or satellite but instead view content on demand, usually on some sort of mobile device. When they watch an actual television, it is usually web enabled.

      You don’t say. Well, except that they’re getting money in the coffers. Whoo doggie!
      Editor’s Note: There is a lot more potential money available. I am all in favor of maximizing that.

      Comment by big guwop — June 17, 2013 @ 2:26 pm | Reply


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