TV ratings are at historic lows.
NASCAR is about to lose not one, but possibly, two of its best-liked drivers.
Teams are losing sponsors and being forced to downsize.
Yet, Brian France is unconcerned.
“I wouldn’t worry about that for one minute if I were a fan because it just works itself out,” France recently said. “We will make good decisions and the teams are working very closely with us to take any shortcomings out of the system and figure it out. I wouldn’t worry about that for a minute if I were a fan. I am a fan.”
Then, he’s one of the few fans not sending out a “mayday” signal.
The latest TV ratings should set off alarm bells in Daytona Beach, the home of NASCAR’s headquarters. The ratings have been cratering all season, and Charlotte’s were the worst — of this century!
Sure, NASCAR has a 10-year TV deal with NBC and Fox Sports that pays out $8.2 billion. But looking to the future, there’s no way any network will re-up at any price if there’s no audience.
The ratings headwinds are just one several problems and challenge the sport faces. Formula 1 racing, a world-wide sport with ratings that are actually increasing, has opened an office in New York City to go after sponsorship and increase it footprint in the United States.
The popular Dale Earnhardt Jr. is retiring after this season and his heir apparent — at least on the popularity front — Danica Patrick might not even have a ride.
Teams are bleeding sponsors. It’s so bad Richard Petty Motorsports doesn’t (yet) have a sponsor for fan favorite Bubba Wallace, who is now flirting with other teams desperate for a young, popular and marketable driver.
We could go on and on about the problems NASCAR faces. France and others finally need to come clean about the issues the sport faces and take immediate, aggressive and transparent actions to fix this mess.
Otherwise, its fans will look back on this as the time in which NASCAR started to die.