Monday, 21 January 2019

NASCAR Can Tickle All Its Fans This Weekend — And Snap A Losing Streak

NASCAR Can Tickle All Its Fans This Weekend — And Snap A Losing Streak
08 Jun

Chase Elliott and his No. 9 Chevrolet are thought to have a good chance to win Sunday’s NASCAR Cup race in Brooklyn, Mich. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

It makes no difference to a majority of NASCAR fans if a Cup race is telecast on Fox or its partner, Fox Sports 1, because most cable subscribers can get both. But what if a stock-car fan does not have cable? Well, if a race is on Fox Sports 1, he or she is plum out of luck.

After this piece appeared about fans deserting NASCAR, I heard from a few NASCAR fans who’d like to watch more races, but they don’t have access to cable or, as one senior said, can’t afford it. So they catch races broadcast by Fox, or NBC later in the year.

“Greed took over,” a woman named Kat tweeted me. “As seniors, we cannot afford cable or pay-per-view. So we wait for NASCAR once in a while to come on regular TV.”

Well, this weekend, Kat and her hubby are in for a treat. Fox will broadcast Sunday’s 400-mile Cup race from Michigan, not Fox Sports 1, which carried the race on cable last year. And if enough people tune in, NASCAR can celebrate the end of a long and dismal losing streak.

Each of NASCAR’s 14 Cup races so far this season has drawn lower ratings and viewers this season than the same races last season. And the numbers have not just gone down: Ratings and viewership have declined by double-digit percentages in all 14 races.

The race last weekend in Long Pond, Pa., won by Martin Truex Jr., drew a 1.6 rating and 2.67 million viewers, a 27% drop in ratings and a 25% drop in viewership from the same race on Fox Sports 1 a year ago. It was the lowest rating for a June Pocono race since 2000, and the lowest viewership for a June Pocono race since 2001.

Six of those 14 races this year have drawn all-time low ratings, and three of 14 have drawn all-time low viewership. There are many reasons, but fans have made it quite clear that they don’t like what seem like batches of commercials interrupted by little stretches of racing. Stage racing, with its forced caution periods, only have seemed to fans to stretch out a long day.



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