Thursday, February 22, 2018

Is Our Sport Dying?

The title says it all, is our sport dying? Fan attendance is down everywhere – National tracks to local tracks, the facts are in. Is it the economy, maybe partly, but could it be the change of society, the mistakes made along the way, the rapid rise of NASCAR, the specialization of our sport, the aging of the Baby Boomers, touring series, the battle for sponsorship? Could it be all those factors working together?

Maybe you don’t believe our sport is dying, but then please explain the empty seats, both at the national televised tracks (which networks try not to display) to the local tracks. An empty seat does not make anyone money, racer, track owners, concessionaire. An empty seat does not pay a bill. In fact an empty seat cost money – maintenance, overhead to maintain, or worse it just rots away (I-70 Speedway).

Are there less fans, have we missed a generation, does anyone work on their cars anymore or has the technology world taken over?

Racers, there are less racers today. The last couple of Jayhawk events at Lakeside Speedway with a $5,000 to win, $1,000 to start purse has only drawn 50 cars. While the B Mod classes have been up in car count even this class has suddenly seen a leveling of car count. Concerning this class are we bringing in new racers or only creating a more affordable class for current racers? Which leads to the next question, has racing become to expensive?

What happened to the pickup truck with a racecar on a trailer? Almost everyone has an enclosed trailer which hides the car and all its sponsors? Where are the sponsors? From NASCAR to local racing sponsors are drying up, getting out, why?

Have we oversaturated our markets? Every year local track owners start their seasons earlier in the spring and extend it later into the fall. Is our market of hard core race fans smaller than we think and are we losing the casual fan?

Where are the new racers? For every Trevor Hunt or Austin Johnson, where are the other kids? Has social media and the latest technology taken over the infatuation of making a car go fast. Are younger children following Trevor and Austin or is it just us baby boomer fans?

Has social media taken over and eliminated the drama? Possibly we need to learn how to use the social media for racing purposes?

Has the local scene followed NASCAR too closely and thus followed the mistakes of NASCAR? Yes, NASCAR has been the leader but take for example they just this year allowed fuel injection. The last vehicle produced with a carburetor was the 1991 Nissan pickup, yet in racing we continue to use carburetors in the local area and the regional touring series. Carburetors are a baby boomer item.

This is planned as a series of blogs, hopefully, causing everyone to brainstorm. Questions will be asked and sometimes answered. It is our sport, we need to save it, but are we too late?

This is bigger than just locally. If our sport is dying it will affect vendors, fans, media alike.

There is an outstanding article in this month’s Racing Promotion Monthly Magazine entitled – What if it isn’t the economy? As we end this blog and start the series please be interactive constructively! All ideas and suggestions will be welcome, because we need to answer is our sport dying, what if it isn’t the economy?

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