Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

March 12, 2015

In The Midst Of All The Backslap Touting of IndyCar Growth Can We Discuss A Primary Ongoing Failure?

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

As the IndyCar season FINALLY begins at the end of March, NASCAR will have been up and running for a month and a half and Formula One will be on its second event of the year. As usual promotion of anything even remotely limited to IndyCar is nearly non-existent on the channels and web pages of the media ‘partners.’ NBC Sports Network has joined ESPN on ABC in relegating IndyCar to something slightly less than un-promoted filler content.

NBC Sports Dot NutsAt 10:30am on March 12 the Disciple research team decided to spot check NBC Sports websites. Predictably they have NASCAR segregated from all other motor sports. When clicking on the ‘Motors’ link the pecking order on the left side of the screen is: NASCAR followed by Formula One followed by IndyCar, then Motocross and fantasy. The right side of the screen featured links to twelve NASCAR stories. When clicking on ‘Motorsports Talk’ the first six stories are Formula One, then one Formula E, then 2 Simona and 1 Josef Newgarden stories (IndyCar), then additional Formula One some more.

Need additional proof that IndyCar is an afterthought to NBC Sports Network? Go to the NBC Sports Network Marketing Print and Digital Archive links page at nbcsportsnetwork.net. Include in this blog on the left is a screen shot of the first page on that site. Look it over carefully and tell me what is missing.

It is the same story on ESPN’s page. Nothing about racing on the first page, then when clicking on ‘Racing’ the headline stories are: F1, F1, NHRA, NASCAR, and NASCAR/F1. Evidently ESPN is touting a web partnership with F1. An ESPNF1 section is present that includes links to five more F1 stories, their calendar and an archive. Standings and schedules exist for IndyCar, F1 and NHRA.

The story links on the upper right of the page are for: F1, F1, Supercross, F1, NHRA, Supercross, F1, IndyCar, Rally, ARCA, NHRA, F1 and cycles. Speedway resident and cart-centric pundit John Oreovicz hung right in there with a two-month-old story about A.J. Foyt (pictured hugging Tony Stewart).

How Media Partners See IndyCar

How Media Partners See IndyCar

All of these items prove once again that in the eyes of the editorial management of two broadcast entities that are supposedly ‘partners,’ IndyCar remains the outcast bastard stepchild of their families. What is the common link between this complete lack of promotion for well over a decade? IndyCar management.

Mark Miles has been busy touting his notion that all measurable metrics like ratings, attendance, etc., are up, up, up and up some more (never mind that when the numbers begin so close to all-time lows up is the most likely direction). He also has driver employees parroting all the great news. What about things that are not directly measurable like basic promotion of your product by entities contractually bound to IndyCar? Where is the encouragement, enforcement and results? For that matter why isn’t Ryan Hunter-Reay, the most recent American Indy 500 winner, a household name and not invisible? After his big win he even had time to impregnate his lovely wife for a second time, tend to her through pregnancy and help deliver the child.

Most people are really encouraged by the present direction of IndyCar and there are a lot of reasons for optimism. The entire concept of self-promotion and marketing, especially in conjunction with partners, obviously remains a dismal failure. When will IndyCar leadership do something about THAT?

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5 Comments »

  1. In a sport as stagnant and off the radar as indy racing, what are your realistic expectations for promotion and, most importantly, who gets the bill for what you want? ABC/ESPN and NBC have already made their views clear (they don’t care about it), so I’m not sure where it can be taken to promote it any better.
    Editor’s Note: First a question for you: Will you ever be able to pick one name and stick to it? Bob Chinn, Sonny Steele, etc., what is wrong with those names? The MO (and IP) is exactly alike so why not stick to one name? But since you at least tried to stay on topic here are my observations: First, Indy Racing is not as stagnant nor off the radar as you perceive. If it was, Verizon would not be here. Sponsors would not be signing up about every week. There would be no aero kits. My expectations for promotion don’t really matter, but I would expect that a minimum amount is written into the contract (it always has been in the past) and is a matter of enforcement. Why would there be a bill for promotion in a paid rights contract? Aside from that IndyCar should also be promoting itself more comprehensively. ABC/ESPN and NBC are not really at fault for a lack of promotion. Ignorance really is an excuse for them. The problem lies squarely with the folks running IndyCar, whose level of expertise in this field is either invisible or non-existent. F1 and NASCAR (and most other sports) do not have this problem because they employ people with knowledge and experience. Until they develop that acumen no one should hold their breath, regardless of fake name.

    Comment by Felix Chevrolet — March 14, 2015 @ 3:38 pm | Reply

    • (Two instances of circular, obtuse, repetitive, argumentative, mostly off topic commentary relocated to. but not censored in, comment section of 12/19/13 blog)

      Comment by Felix Chevrolet — March 14, 2015 @ 7:57 pm | Reply

    • (Off topic commentary relocated to comment section of 12/19/13 blog)

      Comment by Olderfan — March 15, 2015 @ 1:08 pm | Reply

  2. Maybe they need another gimmick, like Danica Patrick. Although she was and still is a flop as a race driver, and her presence was only partly successful while she was with IndyCar, sex still sells. It’s a cheap way to promote a form of auto racing, but it would still make folks sit up and take notice, at least the male folks.

    Comment by DOUG — March 14, 2015 @ 5:07 pm | Reply

  3. Not a big surprise that IndyCar is the biyaatch red headed stepchild, of NBCSP, ABC/ESPN. We all knew this would happen. This is the result of the expert marketing team that was assembled. Nothing has changed! Has anyone noticed any difference?

    Comment by Dan — March 14, 2015 @ 5:34 pm | Reply


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