NASCAR Races To Start Earlier Next Year
Citing hemorrhaging television ratings, NASCAR and the principal broadcasters of its races, FOX, ESPN/ABC and Turner, have agreed to have more races scheduled to begin at earlier times in an attempt to cater to more traditional NASCAR fans. Ratings were down 4.5% last season, according to Sports Business Journal and many believe that if NASCAR returned to the more traditional 1:00 p.m. Eastern starting time, ratings are sure to level off.
Twenty-eight races on the schedule will begin earlier next season, including twenty races that will begin at the preferred 1:00 p.m. Eastern. The jump to later starting times were an attempt to lure in fans outside of those who routinely tune in to NASCAR no matter what time the races start.
“I think we started to tamper with something we shouldn’t have, and I’ll put my hand up and say ‘guilty,'” said Fox Sports chairman David Hill. “We realize that even though we are unofficially trying to goose up figures, it wasn’t doing us any good whatsoever with that hardcore fan that turned this regional sport into a national sport.”
To be honest, I’m a bit skeptical that earlier starting times are going to help ratings. Isn’t the typical NASCAR fan still sleeping off the paint thinner-Jack Daniels cocktails from the night before so early in the day?
I’m just kidding. That statement is simply perpetuating the ugly stereotype that NASCAR fans are a bunch of toothless, drooling, low-bred alcoholics, and I apologize for making it. To paint all NASCAR fans with a wide brush like that is irresponsible and ill-informed at best. Most NASCAR fans are honest, hard-working people that would have no problem being awake for the start of races scheduled earlier.
You know, because of the meth.
NASCAR, TV execs agree on earlier 2010 start times [Yahoo!/AP]