The Attendance Thread

Discussion in 'NASCAR chat' started by Hotrod, Feb 11, 2019.

  1. Snappy D

    Snappy D 2017 Pick Em Champion 2018 Bold Predictor

    When you make the Empty Seats twitter account you might have problems. I’d be concerned that you can’t sell out one of your signature tracks, this is a jarring sight to see and I don’t know how you can say it’s a positive. As a fan who still plans his weekend around watching race day on TV, a hardly filled Bristol honestly breaks my heart. This is a huge problem, how do we fix it?
     
    FLRacingFan and IanMcVittie like this.
  2. IanMcVittie

    IanMcVittie Team Owner

    I doubt the drivers or team members would talk about it on the record but it has to be deflating to race in front of so few fans at an iconic track like Bristol.

    In today’s climate I think a sell out at Bristol is unreasonable but 30% full should be doable
     
    carolinabuff and Hawaii808 like this.
  3. FLRacingFan

    FLRacingFan Team Owner

    The racing is still good there...I think at this point we should take BMS and push it somewhere else.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. FLRacingFan

    FLRacingFan Team Owner

    Nothing bothers me like when students show up for a home football game loaded only to go back to wherever to party some more at halftime or the end of the 3rd quarter - definitely worse at Homecoming, but also something that happens with a degree of regularity. It's absolutely true that young people want to feel like a part of something (big event appeal) and the social aspect of sporting events is a pretty big deal these days, especially as available leisure time continues to decline. I'm not sure NASCAR can match the social aspect of a lot of traditional sports anymore especially since you usually have to go out of your way to go to NASCAR venues, and the weekly 'big event' appeal has been lost to a large extent (I'd blame this largely on the playoffs).

    There's still a good amount of young people that go to sporting events simply for the product but I think that also only continues to decline, and NASCAR has done a poor job of getting people to appreciate and understand the sport. They also shot themselves in the foot by pissing off traditionalists who otherwise would've gotten their kids and grandkids into the sport, which I think is how A LOT of race fans are and were made. Racing has always been a big generational sport and the damage done there can't be reversed, I don't think.
     
    Kiante, JBone88, gnomesayin and 4 others like this.
  5. Pat

    Pat Team Owner

    I think it started around 2008. That was the year my nephew was able to get tickets... no problem. Tickets were also available at the gate. This was not ever possible before.I think they made some changes to the track about that time.
     
    FLRacingFan likes this.
  6. Larsonfan1995

    Larsonfan1995 Team Owner

    that would be the year after they "fixed" Bristol. The place used to be like NASCAR's version of Bowman Gray, now it's another track.
     
    FLRacingFan and Pat like this.
  7. rowdy3

    rowdy3 Team Owner

  8. 2 Sweet

    2 Sweet Legend

    Exactly. This isn't talked about nearly enough. The majority of NASCAR fans got into the sport because their parents or siblings or friends were a fan, and introduced them to it.

    All this nonsense about catering to the young casual fans with track wifi or social rooms or whatever......it's all a bunch of horse ****. It's not like there are all these millennials out there who already like NASCAR but won't attend because of wifi or in-track bars or whatever. This isn't minor league baseball, it's racing. You either like it or you don't.

    So, for those fans who like it.....how do you get them to the track? And how do you get those fans to bring their friends? Some people who don't know about NASCAR are already race fans, but they just don't know it yet. Get them to the track so they can find out. You won't get them there with gimmicks, you'll get them there with a good product that sells itself. That's the racing "experience" that gets them hooked.
     
  9. IanMcVittie

    IanMcVittie Team Owner

    Very well said and I learned something new about big event appeal and the social aspect of sports. When I used to attend races with my cohorts we wouldn’t speak to each other all race!

    Very good points about Nascar being passed down from generations. They took a step further in some cases and actually made members of their fan base hostile toward them, IMO.
     
  10. Conover

    Conover Team Owner

    Must say I was shocked to see such a limited crowd on tv scenes. I wasn’t like the threat of rain was a big concern.

    Frankly the tracks have to do more to reduce ticket prices, OR create group discounts for bringing 4 or more to the track. Added sales from food, beer, will help make up some of that revenue.

    Expensive lodging is just a reality on race weekends, but is compounded by limited options in smaller communities like the Bristol area. I do think it pushes decisions to not attend. Lastly, Bristol in the spring has had a bad recent record of weather problems. Not sure if that played a factor.
     
  11. AuzGrams

    AuzGrams Team Owner

    38k? I feel like tracks have dropped the ball not lowering prices, though it seemed like the lower rows were more full than the higher ones, that's a growing trend.

    They should be getting 60-80k for the spring and selling out the fall race.
     
    Joker, FLRacingFan and KodiakRusty89 like this.
  12. Switchback

    Switchback Team Owner

    I've stated this before but I thoroughly believe Nascar made a huge mistake by making it all about winning. Unlike other sports where 50% of teams win every week, 90% of the teams in racing do not win on any given week. Leaving the fans of the other thirty some drivers with nothing to be excited about at the end of the day. That is what I believe caused there greatest loss in fans and attendance .
    With the old points system, you had the race for the win every week, but you also watched the championship battle. Every position on the track mattered every single week. Top tens used to be something I got excited over, top 5s were awesome. Watching a competing driver stumble could mean a move up in points position for your favorite driver.
    The way it is now, if my driver isn't contending for the win, I really couldn't care less where they finish because it's meaningless. I haven't looked at the points in years. I used to stay glued to the tv after the race waiting for them to show updated points positions. Now when I watch, it's all about the win, nothing else matters.
    They can't all deliver enough wins to appease there fans in an environment where winning is all that matters. It may be to late to bring a lot of those fans back, but the playoffs has obviously not brought fans in. What could it hurt to try stepping back to a system that was immensely popular and packed the stands EVERY week, not just in Miami.
     
  13. KodiakRusty89

    KodiakRusty89 Team Owner

    I've said this as well. I got into the sport because of my father and our regional ties to racing. My family grew up in the shadows of the Andretti's hometown. We had Pocono and Nazareth near by. Racing was big in Eastern PA...

    What happened to all those kids wearing oversized Jeff Gordon t-shirts in the 1990s and early 2000's? They're not there supporting the sport as young(er) adults. NASCAR did a horrible job capitalizing on the legacy fans that came out of the boom and even pre-boom era. I'm 36 and attended my first Cup race as a 5 year old with my dad and grandfather at Pocono in 1988 (Bobby Allison's last race). I've been in love ever since. But it truly saddens me to see what has happened. My father was a huge Bill Elliott (garage remains a shrine) and while he doesn't attend anymore he still watches most races. I haven't had a favorite driver since Rusty retired in 2005. So I attend 3-5 races a year with no rooting interest. So once going to a race loses its zest there's nothing to bring me back to track.
     
    Joker, Team Penske, Hotrod and 2 others like this.
  14. KodiakRusty89

    KodiakRusty89 Team Owner

    I started noticing empty seats at Dover and Pocono some time around the 2007-2008 period. It really didn't become more widespread until 2012-13. By the time Dale Jr. swept the Pocono races there were basically empty rows at that point.

    I knew the absurd attendance figures would never last but never EVER did I think they would fall to this level. Bristol's 160k was never practical from the start. But that wasn't Bruton's goal imo. He wanted Bristol to be the showpiece of his track collection. As others have mentioned the crowd today is similar to those in the early to mid 1980's. We're not even talking late 80's, early 90's when NASCAR was very much mainstream but crowds were mostly in the 50-80k range. Not counting the infields.

    I'm not a doom and gloomer but perception is quite often reality. There's some some serious uphills battles that need to be fought and won. In this day in age I can't believe there's not 60-70k people that want to attend a race at Bristol.
     
    Joker, Pat, Speedbowl14 and 2 others like this.
  15. Larsonfan1995

    Larsonfan1995 Team Owner

    I want to go, but I'm 11 hours away. Can't afford the hotels. Went to Richmond in 2015 and stayed 5 minutes from the track for $129. When I went to the Bristol night race in 07 (the worst Bristol race of all time), I had to stay 2 hours away to afford it.
     
  16. 2 Sweet

    2 Sweet Legend

    Same.

    The thing is, that's always been true about Bristol, but it didn't affect attendance in the past. So what has changed? The racing there is still great IMO. I think most of us can agree on that?
     
  17. Larsonfan1995

    Larsonfan1995 Team Owner

    Best track on the circuit and I bet I'm far from the only one with that opinion. At least the night race still pulls 80-90k
     
    FLRacingFan and IanMcVittie like this.
  18. IanMcVittie

    IanMcVittie Team Owner

    Keep in mind that 3 short years ago Bristol had 70k in the stands and that was considered bad at that time. The wheels have fallen off quickly
     
  19. KodiakRusty89

    KodiakRusty89 Team Owner

    Bristol's location hurts. I've looked into going there as well (including today's race) but there's no reasonable place to stay that's within 90-120 minutes of the track (from my direction heading down 81) and ticket prices remain out of touch with most tracks. I got a nice hotel in Roanoke for a night and my Martinsville race ticket for less than $150 total two weeks ago. That's a helluva deal for a little weekend gettaway. My Kentucky trip is the same value. Race weekend doesn't make a ripple when it comes to hotel prices in Cincinnati. I can get two nights at a real nice hotel and my race ticket for right around $250.

    I think attending races anymore is a helluva value. All 3 tracks I've been to recently (Pocono, Martinsville and Kentucky) don't charge for parking. Plus, I can bring my own snacks and beverages in. Once I'm there I can literally go without spending a dime if i wanted to.
     
  20. Johnny G

    Johnny G Team Owner

    This is a VERY good post.
     
  21. mack

    mack Team Owner

    Here's something that perplexes me. Wrestlemania packs out venues wherever they show up. My son is watching right now. 85,000 fans have showed up? How does that happen? A staged, phony event can sell out every single seat, but NASCAR can't sell 1/5th of Bristol? What's the answer? I mean, dadgum, the racing is great. Every event this year has been very worthwhile, with the exception of Fontana. So how can anyone explain why something like wrestling can outdraw NASCAR. Could it be better entertainment? More personalities? As phony as they may be. It doesn't make sense.
     
  22. Larsonfan1995

    Larsonfan1995 Team Owner

    There is only one Wrestlemania, and there are 36 cup races. Wrestlemania is their Daytona 500, and the 500 sells out yearly. WWE has had quite a few empty seats at their weekly TV shows lately.
     
    Snappy D and KodiakRusty89 like this.
  23. IanMcVittie

    IanMcVittie Team Owner

    Good points and I had never considered the emphasis on winning hurting things but it makes sense. Checking the points after a race was huge just like you said and it was fun to see who had moved up or down. Also I followed many drivers that had no chance of getting a championship but getting in the top 10 at the end of the year was big.
     
  24. mack

    mack Team Owner

    Thanks for the input. I couldn't tell anyone anything about wrestling. I don't follow it. I didn't realize the significance of Wrestlemania.
     
  25. KodiakRusty89

    KodiakRusty89 Team Owner

    I don't think there's been a "sports fan demographic" that's been tossed more BS than the mainstream racing fan in this country over the last 20-25 years. When you think about what the CART/USAC/Tony George fiasco did to open wheel racing in mid to late 90's then what the Brian France/TV deal marriage did to NASCAR over the last 15 years it's no wonder we are where we are. I can still recall when IndyCar racing was considered more popular than NASCAR. Both drew enormous crowds at one time. I still vividly remember watching an IndyCar race at the historic Milwaukee Mile several years ago that made me cringe like today's Cup race did. I just remember thinking back then, "how did this get this f'd up?!?"....
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2019
  26. IanMcVittie

    IanMcVittie Team Owner

    Good questions and if I knew the answers I could make some dough.
     
  27. gnomesayin

    gnomesayin Team Owner

    Quality and popularity have very little to do with each other. The answer is cultural relevance. 100 million people don't watch the Super Bowl because it's been studied and judged to be the best sporting contest in America. 80% of the audience watches because it is a social phenomenon.

    NASCAR was once relevant to a wider swath of the population. So were baseball, tennis, and so on. I do believe the sport was mismanaged under Brian France. Some notable figures even allude to this now without saying it outright. However, that mismanagement is not necessarily responsible for the large scale reduction in viewership. Partly yes, but I'm not convinced that they could have done anything to maintain the boom period levels.
     
    Joker, mack, LewTheShoe and 4 others like this.
  28. IanMcVittie

    IanMcVittie Team Owner

    Good points as Tony and Brian could screw up a one car funeral. Both men alienated a lot of core fans and did irreplaceable damage to the world of motor sports IMO. Between motor sports not being passed down to new generations, the lack of a car culture, the economy imploding, and a product seen as lacking there have been big issues.
     
    FLRacingFan likes this.
  29. mack

    mack Team Owner

    Ya know, I love stock car racing. I was so proud when the Cup series went to Indy in 94. I felt like the "good ole boys" had arrived. Finally it had became mainstream entertainment. And then it started slowly losing fans. My hope is now it has came full cycle. Maybe the fans will tune back in to see the great racing. Not the fireworks shows, and the pre race band. I believe NASCAR is doing their part as far as the racing goes. I honestly don't know what else they can do. Maybe swallow their pride,and eliminate the "Chase", get back to what made them mainstream to start with. We needs some Rednecks, some rivalries, some passion and anger. Ol school racin.
     
    Joker, FLRacingFan and KodiakRusty89 like this.
  30. IanMcVittie

    IanMcVittie Team Owner

    I attended races in the 80’s that had greater attendance than several races this year. It isn’t about the boom but what has taken place in the past 5 years or so, IMO.
     
  31. gnomesayin

    gnomesayin Team Owner

    What do you reckon are the biggest factors in the decline over the past five years? I would start with the fact that these were the ten most popular drivers in the annual poll in 2014:

    Dale Earnhardt Jr., Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Danica Patrick, Tony Stewart, Josh Wise.

    All of them are gone except for Johnson and Keselowski. Three of them (Gordon, Earnhardt, Stewart) were giants with large personal fanbases and mainstream fame. They've been replaced by kids with much lower name recognition and a few remaining veterans who are polarizing and have as many detractors as supporters.

    There are several other notable factors, but I'd put the quality of the racing way, way down the list. What do you attribute it to?
     
    Joker and AuzGrams like this.
  32. Towmater

    Towmater Ratings Craterville

  33. AuzGrams

    AuzGrams Team Owner

    Damn it I guess that settles it, Josh Wise needs a top tier right ride NOW.
     
  34. Team Penske

    Team Penske Team Owner

    Keep in mind these other events are held in a city with public transportation and they can all be home in bed in less than a hour. No comparison there. I believe (because of the many complaints) that affordable lodging is one of the reasons for Nascar's dilemma. The "At Track Experience" has also changed quite a bit over time as Nascar tried to move their fan base to white collar. Nascar's "Greed" I think is the largest reason for it's current downturn.
     
    Towmater likes this.
  35. Towmater

    Towmater Ratings Craterville

    I hope you are lumping in the track owners in the "NASCAR" greed part too. Track owners thinking that they knew what type of tracks (they got away from the where and the what that made NASCAR popular in the first place), and how repaves that change the main characteristics of places like Bristol while leaving out what made them popular. That has helped get us where we are now.
     
    AuzGrams and Team Penske like this.
  36. AuzGrams

    AuzGrams Team Owner

    You know, I'm curious how Bristol actually would do if Bruton tore out the place and put it back to OLD Bristol... at the very least it's a good sales pitch to put it back to what it was.

    I mean, they changed to the Roval and that resulted in increased ticket sales & ratings, I'm interested to see if people still care this year (I still have the same interest in the Roval as last year).

    I'm trying to get tickets for Sonoma in June with the new carousel... and it looks like most areas are already sold...
     
  37. Team Penske

    Team Penske Team Owner

    ^ Track owners are part of the "Nascar" that comes up with many stupid moves ALL in the name of GREED.
     
  38. Pat

    Pat Team Owner

    Pigeon Forge is where we stayed. I think it was about 2 hours. It didn't seem too bad, but I wasn't doing the driving.
     
    Larsonfan1995 likes this.
  39. Snappy D

    Snappy D 2017 Pick Em Champion 2018 Bold Predictor

    And I stayed up till 1130 yesterday to watch all 7 hours..... can’t compare Wrestlemania to yesterday’s race the difference being is that Mania has transcended into a pop culture event. It was trending on Twitter all last night and has been an event I’d say since they started selling out NFL stadiums starting at WM23.
     
  40. IanMcVittie

    IanMcVittie Team Owner

    IMO the biggest reason people left is because of what is perceived as uninspired racing. That can encompass many things like bad tracks, bad cars, and bad rules. I think the final straw for many fans was the dicking around with the chase/playoffs the last few years turning things into a lottery. I don’t mind that Kyle won a championship without competing in all the races but it pissed a lot of people off.

    I’m not saying some non race fans didn’t leave because their driver retired but I don’t see it as big numbers. Normally what happens in Nascar is when your driver retires you already kinda/sorta cheer for someone else too or you pick a new driver.
     
    Team Penske likes this.

Share This Page