Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Empty Seats

Ah yes, The declining attendance at the racetrack debate. The common theme seems to be that the COT and the quality of the racing is causing this. To a degree, maybe so, but that is not the only reason, nor do I think it's even the biggest one. It's like when you are going to make a purchase of something and you go on the Internet to read reviews.

People generally don't jump on the Internet to report that what they bought was just what they wanted it to be and works fine. They go on the Internet to complain that it wasn't. Therefore what you see is mostly bad reviews. And to make a judgment based on only bad reviews doesn't make sense. All but a fraction of a percent of people bought the item could very well be very happy with there purchase.

I know, what the hell is he talking about. Bear with be. People that hang out in NASCAR chat room's are by definition, fan's. Big fan's, who know all about the sport. They know good racing from bad racing. At least for the most part. They see some boring races (or maybe a lot of them), and conclude that is whats causing the decline in attendance and say so. They might be right if most people that attended races were just like them. But outside of the chat rooms, they are not. So this theory is coming from those who were not happy with their purchase.

Yeah, long road, but you get my point. A large percentage of fans out there, just might not know a good race from a bad one. There is a saying out here in the wild west. "We went to a party in Long Beach and a race broke out". At the grand prix, you can walk around the infield during the race and a heck of a lot of people, well, people watching. Partying. Not paying any attention to the race at all. I don't think this is only seen in Camp Car.

So, what do I think? High ticket prices and ticket "packages" for one. I always go to the races at Fontana. This year, in order to get seats where I could see the race, I had to buy ticket to Saturday's Nationwide and truck race also. What? They wouldn't budge. Well, I cant be there on Saturday, so guess what, I'm not going. I wonder if I'm alone ? I doubt it.

Late starting times. This Sunday's race at Fontana will start at a somewhat reasonable time of 1:00pm or so, and end at about 4-4:30 pm. Factoring in the one hour (minimum) to get out of the parking lot, and the one and a half hour drive home, that puts me home about 6:30 to 7:00.
I am worn out and hungry. ( I don't like paying seven buck's for a lousy to mediocre cheeseburger). And I have to go to work in the morning. Very early in the morning.
Now that might not seem to bad, but at other track's it's even worse. At Daytona Sunday, the start time was what, 3:30 local time? Factor in the fact that they have to move two to three times the people that Fontana does out of there, well, you get the picture.

Saturation. At least as far as California in concerned, two races a year was alright for awhile. but the newness wore off and it just can't support two races anymore.

TV coverage. You can now see and hear everything on the tube. And I mean everything. One hundred hours of coverage of Daytona by a channel that wasn't even showing the race itself, not to mention the ESPN and Fox coverage. All in high definition. So why go? You can see it all from your couch. Remember, I'm not talking about the rabid fan's here. Just the casual fan, who went to a race once and now watches on TV. You know, the ones that were happy with their purchase.

So while I think that the COT and the quality of the racing is a factor, I just don't think it's the major factor.

The Geeze

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