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NASCAR's Los Angeles TV ratings are out....and down | NASCAR Racing Breaking News: Trackside Live, Every Week, Every Sprint Cup Race - MikeMulhern.net


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NASCAR's Los Angeles TV ratings are out....and down

  Maybe Gillian Zucker (R), the boss of California's Auto Club Speedway, ought to put Paris Hilton (L) in a car, to liven things up. (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)

  By Mike Mulhern

  Uh-oh. ABC's ratings are out for last weekend's California Pepsi 500, and it's another weak showing, continuing a season-long NASCAR trend, despite increasingly strong promotions and marketing by the sport's promoters.
   TV ratings for last Sunday's 500, won by Jimmie Johnson in a dominating performance -- the final national household rating -- came in at 3.6, which ABC says means 5,952,978 viewers.
   That 3.6 is the lowest TV rating for a NASCAR race at California's Auto Club Speedway in several years. But the good news is the California ratings are the best in the first four chase races, following a 3.2 at Loudon, NH, a 3.1 at Dover, Del., and a 3.2 at Kansas City. However all those ratings are down from 2008 and 2007. This year's chase TV ratings are averaging 3.3; the first four chase races last year averaged a 3.6 TV rating, and the first four chase races in 2007 also averaged 3.6. So this year's chase on TV has ratings down are down nearly 10 percent from last year.
   That 3.6 last Sunday at California may perhaps not directly comparable to the 2008 race, which was run Labor Day weekend and pulled a 3.9. The 2007 California Labor Day weekend race pulled a 4.3. (For comparison, the Atlanta 500 was run that weekend this year and pulled a 4.1.)
   The February California 500 in 2007 pulled a 6.7, in 2008 a 6.2, and in 2009 a 6.0.
   The Charlotte 500 was run the second weekend in October in 2007 and 2008, and that Saturday night event pulled a 4.2 in 2007 and a 3.8 in 2008.
   On the Nationwide side, NASCAR's Saturday show in the Los Angeles market earned a final national household rating on ESPN2 of 1.1 (1,406,452 viewers, according to ABC). The Labor Day weekend Nationwide race in 2008 also pulled a 1.1.

Would it be better, long

Would it be better, long term, for NASCAR to give up on or at least relax on t.v. ratings and just allow ESPN or FX to cover the series full time? It's never going to win over football, college or pro. And now the baseball playoffs? Besides football, the two things against NASCAR this weekend and maybe for the rest of the month are: 1) NEW YORK 2) LA. The two largest sports entertainment t.v. markets in the country and right now, baseball is hot with the media hoping for a storybook meeting of the NY Yankees vs LA Dodgers in the World Series. Joe Torre vs The Yankees.

Having been at every one of

Having been at every one of the California races at the Fontana track (and at a lot of races at old Riverside Raceway, nearby) I was very disappointed in the TV numbers for the California 500.
First, why only a 3.6 for a 'chase' race, versus a 6.0 for the February 500? The February California race of course comes off the Daytona 500...the chase, on the other hand, opens in two small markets, Loudon NH and Dover Del, and that makes it hard to build momentum. Also, the declining ratings during the chase the past several years shows me the chase is not doing what it was supposed to do, and that's put some punch into NASCAR's 'fall' season. And while the economy can be blamed for weak crowds at the tracks, the economy certainly can't be blamed for low TV ratings, unless fans are also having their TV sets repossessed. Actually TV ratings in general this fall, for sports, are up...except for NASCAR. I've watched NASCAR's promoters, and they are in high gear -- well, relatively, because both the Frances and Bruton and Marcus Smith have done a lot of cutbacks. The problem, I would suggest, might be the product on the track at some of these tracks. So why not improve the product? Or at least change things up. A most devastating note out of the LA 500 was Gillian Zucker's point that fan/ticket renewal rates are "very low." That means, while she can get them to the track for that first NASCAR experience, but they don't come back. Those numbers have to be known in Daytona, and I find it difficult to understand why the company that owns that track doesn't demand a better product to sell?

Scott, the sport needs more

Scott, the sport needs more exposure than it can get from ESPN (the worst network at covering sports nowadays) or FX. It doesn't need one network to do it full-time - this is the mistake it made with BGN and the Trucks - because they're not spread among multiple networks there is no cross-promotion.

The sport needs a greatly improved competitive product and it is why Talladega is going to do well in ratings and why it has to be the template for whatever happens to Fontana and other tracks. It needs CBS and NBC to cover some races along with FOX and ABC and it needs CBS and NBC to WANT to cover races again.

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