Capitalizing on the Momentum
Following the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum, NASCAR is riding a huge wave of momentum as the focus shifts towards Daytona and the running of the 64th Daytona 500. After watching all the racing this past weekend from Los Angeles, I think it is safe for NASCAR to call this huge risk a success. There was a lot of hesitation and doubt from fans and media when it was announced that a racetrack was going to be built inside a football stadium, but now that it has come and gone, those doubters have been turned into believers. We saw a huge TV rating increase as well as great attendance numbers with reports of over 50,000 fans in attendance. The goal of this event was to put on a show and focus on entertainment while reaching new audiences, and all the evidence suggests that this goal was met.
Keeping the Interest
It is paramount that NASCAR capitalizes on the momentum that they now have following the Clash. There is a lot of positive energy circulating the sport right now, anticipation is building for the Daytona 500 and the first official race with the generation 7 car. Everyone at NASCAR needs to do all they can to make the most of the next few weeks. The Daytona 500 always produces the best ratings of the year by a considerable margin, so the focus should be on how to grow the viewership afterward. The broadcast plays an important role in this. The sport needs to be portrayed as seriously as possible, with the attention on the racing and the skill that it takes to drive the cars. This is an area in which NASCAR and the broadcasts, specifically from FOX, have faltered in the past. There is no need to make light of the race or bring in outside entertainment if you are proud of the product on track. The use of cartoon illustrations and segments during the race that is irrelevant to the action on track need to end or at least be greatly reduced. Replacing these segments with some focus on the pit crews, crew chiefs, or technology of the cars would be a better use of time. This would also be a great way to introduce new viewers to the technological aspect of the sport that many don’t know about. To keep a continued interest following both the Clash and the Daytona 500, NASCAR must take a calculated approach towards their marketing, presentation, and on-track product.