Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Difference Between MLB and Nascar

Read a WSJ article yesterday (no link) titled "Nascar Revs Up Rough Side to Win Back Fans", and I had to laugh when they considered ways to rebound from a trend of declining attendance and ratings.

The Dodgers had attendance of 3,562,320 in 2010 (remember that this is tickets sold, not turnstile attendance). This number is a 5.3% decrease from 2009's attendance of 3,761,669, and a 7.6% decline from the peak attendance year of 3,856,753 in 2007 (a non-playoff year, I might add). But despite the declining attendance trend, I'm guessing the Dodgers aren't going to follow Nascar's lead (bold emphasis mine):

"What we tried to do…is listen to the fans," said Nascar Chief Marketing Officer Steve Phelps, in an interview. He said he is "cautiously optimistic" that Nascar this year will halt a double-digit annual decline in TV viewership. He also said lower ticket prices may help season-opening races in Daytona, Phoenix and Las Vegas sell out for the first time in years.

Not only has Nascar scrapped the "wing" spoilers that made its race cars look like souped-up Honda Civics, it now allows its drivers to behave more aggressively—both on and off the track. The "have at it" doctrine, sanctioned by Nascar last season, implied that the sport would overlook minor incidents of shoving, swearing and even rubbing bumpers—acts that once might have meant penalties for those involved.

Dayton International Speedway has eased its cooler policy, letting fans bring in as many as 36 cans of beer, rather than just a six-pack.

Fans can bring in 36 cans of beer each? That's $324 in Dodger beer revenues (making what I believe is a safe assumption that said cans are domestic beers at Nascar tracks). No way will Frank McCourt give up those revenues, right?


Greg Hao said...

For those that want to read the rather uninteresting article but don't want to see any money in Rupert Murdoch's pockets, I've got the story here (in PDF): http://misha.twilightstar.net/~greg/nascar.pdf

Josh S. said...

I'm all for increased bumper-rubbing.

Greg Hao said...

the thing about nascar is that it's always been about the lowest common denominator and amongst the many things that rub me the wrong way about this "sport" is highlighted in this article. There is no other motorsport out there where drivers are actively encouraged to "play rough". Hell, in F1, drivers are given penalties when they illegally pass another driver (say by forcing them to go off course slightly in order to avoid hitting one another).

Look, I'm not saying nascar is barbaric or that it doesn't have its merits but this kind of thinking (by the organisers) is in my mind, a pretty good reason to stay away from nascar.

Fernie V said...

NothIng wrong with a little bump and grind.

He didn't bump you, he rubbed you.

Steve Sax said...

@Greg Hao 4:05p: Thanks for the link, Greg!

Kyle Baker said...

I wish Frank would let me consume 36 cans of beer in the parking lot at least.