NASCAR and college basketball don’t necessarily pull from exactly the same demographics, but it doesn’t help TMS’s efforts to be the big show in town on the same weekend of the Final Four. The track is hoping to pull some of those basketball fans to the race on Sunday.
The Duck Commander is 2 p.m. on Sunday on Fox, which is the day between college basketball’s big party; there are other events that overlap with the race.
What really isn’t helping NASCAR these days is a deluge of its own product that, while entertaining, is suffering from too much of a good thing. There is literally no offseason, or break, from the sport.
The last race ends on November 16 in Miami, and the first race begins on February 15 in Daytona. Fans need breaks to appreciate what just happened, and what could happen. Like any wine, cheap or expensive, NASCAR needs to breathe just a bit more.
One more month away, and four races off the schedule, would help.
“Personally, I am for shortening the schedule,” NASCAR driver Kyle Busch said earlier this month when I asked him about reducing the schedule a few races. “I think most of the drivers would agree. Our season is long. We run from Valentine's Day to Thanksgiving. We have two weeks off in that time. We have 36 races, and two more non-points races. That is 38 weekends we are off racing. That does not include testing.
“I could see the season shortened. There are some tracks that have two dates and don’t need two dates.”
Michigan runs on June 15 and August 17. Cut one.
Kansas should not have two dates.
Phoenix should not have two dates.
A compelling case can be made Texas should not have two dates.
Professional sports can be a punishing grind, and especially hard on families. But they sign up for it, so they quickly learn the circus-like schedule, as well as some of the perk$.
That is not NASCAR’s problem, and it is not the fan’s concern.
NASCAR’s problem is the product, and the fan’s concern is getting their money’s worth.
What is NASCAR’s issue is putting out a product that feels special, and not just another baseball game in a season of 162 dates. For years, few organizations in professional sports were any more conscientious, and mindful, of its product than NASCAR.
All of these dates do not make better races, or necessarily a more compelling overall product. It’s just more.
Reducing the schedule would be a major pain. It would involve changing TV contracts, relationships with tracks, and a reduction in revenue streams. But it could potentially make a NASCAR race a bigger draw again because fans could no longer take for granted there is another race coming up in 20 minutes.
Like most companies, NASCAR got big, wanted to get bigger, and now can’t feed the giant. Trimming a little fat wouldn’t hurt.
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