As a rule of thumb I generally shudder at the thought of a 32 year relationship ending. That was not the case yesterday as NASCAR Nation bid farewell to TNT race coverage.
Don’t get me wrong now I will certainly miss Larry McReynolds. I am human, but feeling really good about this decision to move on from Turner Sports. It is obvious to any lay-fan of this sport that NASCAR as an organization is attempting to bring new fans onto the track. I am fairly certain that this statement can be made about any professional sports league. Until they find a way to make money while entirely excluding the fans this will probably remain the constant common thread.
I might be in the minority on this issue but I had been hoping for a departure from TNT for quite a few years. It was always surprising to me that NASCAR continued this partnership mainly because variety is the spice of life and if you are attempting to attract a more diverse audience it is rule number one to try your product in new markets.
As long as I have loved this sport I have hoped to see the passion spread amongst other folks. Everyone can understand that I am passionate about NASCAR but only people that have a driver and watch it can truly relate. NASCAR fans understand that hurt in your gut when your driver keeps getting loose and is hollering at the spotter on his radio.
Of course I want more and more people to enjoy the sport as much as I always have but it is really difficult to convert the masses with Wally Dallenbach at the helm of the coverage. For the past five or six years NASCAR has been doing all kinds of different initiatives to try to garner new, hip, younger, more diverse fans. It amazes me that no one thought to possibly try to get on some new television stations might help to that end until now. I also don’t comprehend why they would advertise to me how great the NASCAR on TNT coverage was while I am watching NASCAR on TNT.
Seems somewhat redundant. If you want to get this sport out to the masses you have to go out to those masses. You have to make it easy for them to find the race. Simple to learn the point system. Likable commentators with tidbits of information that anyone might actually want to hear about. These are basic necessities of a growing sport.
I am positive that if NASCAR attempted to advertise on Nick Jr. there would be a backlash because of violence or something. I am certain that there would be some legit reason why you are not supposed to advertise racing to young children. That could possibly too direct an avenue but still why not try some NASCAR commercials on MTV or the CW. From what I hear these are the channels that the hip, cool kids tend to watch these days on their telephones.
When NASCAR drivers appear on “The Cleveland Show” I see it as a win, win, win. It’s cool because “who wouldn’t want to be in a cartoon?”, spreads into a new audience, brings NASCAR fans in to watch the show along with regular viewers. It isn’t seen as pandering nearly as much if it is done with a touch of comedy.
I don’t claim to be a marketing wizard but I honestly don’t see how it could hurt anyone to attempt and incorporate NASCAR into more markets.