Mom: Why did you do that?
Me: Because he did it first.
Mom: If he jumped off of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, would you do that?
I’m not sure why, but it was always jumping off of the Bay Bridge that was supposed to reach my reasoning buttons. Nah, it probably didn’t work because here I sit, keyboard at the ready.
Reader of this Column: He’d better start making sense, or I’m going to click elsewhere.
Me: Okay, sorry…my bad.
My opening for this little share into the insights of my “cloud” (read: “brain”) is this: Everyone seems to be wanting to share opinions about why the attendance and viewership of NASCAR is down. Why am I going to share my thoughts? Because he did it first.
So, why are the ratings and attendance down? Since you asked, I’ll share.
Overexposure. Saturation. Too much of a good thing.
Think about your normal NASCAR weekend, I’ll leave Daytona and Charlotte and the final ten races alone. Let’s pick on Dover, a place of which I need to cross that same Bay Bridge my mother tried to use to show how silly my answer was way back when. The spring race at Dover, last year.
THURSDAY — MAY 12, 2016
2 p.m. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Practice
4 p.m. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Final Practice
FRIDAY — MAY 13, 2016
10 a.m. NASCAR XFINITY Series Practice
11 a.m. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Practice
12:30 p.m. NASCAR XFINITY Series Final Practice
2:15 p.m. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Qualifying
3:45 p.m. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Qualifying
5 p.m. NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Driver Introductions
5:30 p.m. Start of the “Jacob Companies 200” NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race
SATURDAY — MAY 14, 2016
9:30 a.m. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Practice
10:45 a.m. NASCAR XFINITY Series Qualifying
12:30 p.m. NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Final Practice
1:35 p.m. NASCAR XFINITY Series Driver Introductions
2 p.m. Start of “Ollie’s Bargain Outlet 200” NASCAR XFINITY Series Heat 1
2:50 p.m. Start of “Ollie’s Bargain Outlet 200” NASCAR XFINITY Series Heat 2
3:30 p.m. Start of “Ollie’s Bargain Outlet 200” NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash Main
SUNDAY — MAY 15, 2016
11:45 a.m. Pre-race ceremonies begin
Noon NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Driver Introductions; Gates 5A, 16A open
1 p.m. Start of “AAA 400 Drive for Autism” NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race
Kids, that’s a lot of NASCAR. Understand that most of this is televised in one way or another. And the more you watch, I think for a lot of us, the more you watch, the more diluted is your need…need for speed.
Let’s add in RaceHub, all of the pre- and post-race shows as well. That’s a lot of coverage. It’s so much more than we got 25 years ago when all we had was the race on television and the Winston Cup Scene, which, when you got it, was news to you, but stale to those on the inside of the fence. We would also get some side shows like TNN Raceday and some ESPN coverage. Back then I just wanted as much information as I could get.
And then along comes the Internet, and it is Information Overload!!! (And a lot of naked pictures…geez.) And suddenly, that thirst seems to dissipate a little. You don’t need to sit in front of the TV for four hours every Sunday because you don’t want to miss something. If it‘s worth seeing or newsworthy, you’ll see it.
And you know what folks…it’s not just NASCAR. The National Football League, Major League Baseball, the NBA, Golf, and every major College conference now has its own network. In the effort to give you as much information as possible (and in some cases charge you for as much information as possible), these organizations, including NASCAR, have given the fans so many options for dinner that they no longer need to stay at the table until the plate it empty. It’s more like a cocktail party with hors d'oeuvres. You select what you want and consume it when you’re ready. You might still go to the dinner afterwards, but you’re probably not as hungry.
Enough with the food analogies.
The point is, the more of something you are offered and the more you consume, the less likely you are to consume it when others desire the most, and that, my friends, in my opinion, is at least a part of what has happened to 36 weeks per year of packed race tracks.
And now some of those tracks are removing seats when they were once adding as many as possible. So why did they add so many new seats?
To accommodate the growing NASCAR fan base, of course…and, well….
“He did it first.”