Hall Of Famer
|Joined: ||Mon Oct 22nd, 2007|
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|Married Jo wrote:
Regarding NASCAR's attendance issues, new tracks were built too big and existing ones overbuilt on new seats when renovating as the NASCAR boom peaked around the early to mid 2000s. The supply/demand equation got distorted by the excess capacity. Tickets were no longer prized commodities. Fans that had season tickets to both events at tracks with two races, because that was the only way to get decent seats or get seats at all, found such a purchase unnecessary. More than a few fans that attended historic tracks became alienated by NASCAR constantly tinkering with the schedule starting around just before the boom started to fall off. Some historic tracks were eliminated. Some went from two races to one. Meanwhile a number of races switched from longstanding annual weekends to new ones that fans didn’t like due to everything from cooler or hotter weather, conflicts with other parts of their lives, conflicts with March Madness or the NFL, and just because it was different. Too many of these changes were made solely in pursuit of revenue with absolutely no corresponding attention paid to the paying customers’ needs and desires. Eh..those new seats were added because people wanted to attend. It was only after the downturn in attendance did they realize "Man, this looks bad" and start pulling seats out. Just to point it out, I pulled up the Bristol 1990 race and it's attendance was 58,200. Fifteen years later the same race at Bristol sold out at 160,000. Nascar has been in a downturn since then and they dont' report attendance the last few yeaars but I'd imagine 2-3 years ago Bristol which looked empty on TV had around 58,000 at the night race.
I'm just pointing all this out just to prove Kargol's post wrong, Nascar's popularity explosion in the early 90's absolutely DID sell a SHITLOAD of tickets to the actual races..I know, I was there in the 80's and I was there in the 90's when we were packed like sardines in the stands, it was amazing to see..
The new seats were added because they had fans that wanted to attend, but NASCAR and its track owners saw what was to a great extent a fad, that would eventually end and result in declining attendance, as a permanent situation.
A track that a capacity of 75,000 would see sellouts and fans turned away. Then it would go up to 135,000 when an increase to 100,000 made more sense. Then the NASCAR boom ended. At first the track would get 120,000 in that 135,000 capacity, but the unused capacity meant that the race was no longer a sellout that required getting season tickets or buying months in advance. You could go to the box office on race day and get a ticket there and then. That had the effect of making the fan who felt like he had to buy a season ticket or get single race tickets very early feel that he could wait. Many of those fans would skip the race if the weather forecast looked poor or if they wanted to do something else that weekend or perhaps due to higher ticket prices felt they could skip a race or two.
Now instead of 120,000 crowds, you have 100,000. The empty seats furthered the above scenario, but a non sellout has a way sometimes of making something seem less fun and special. The atmosphere dies a bit. It isn't the place to be anymore. Meanwhile rising ticket prices, two race tracks going down to one, and radical changes to the racing calendar alienate fans. Now instead of 100,000, there are 80,000, but there are still 135,000 seats. It creates the viewpoint that NASCAR is in trouble which to some extent it is because the bad image, even if its more about perception and attendance now compares well to the 1980s which is seen as a prosperous time for the sport, hurts TV revenue, sponsorship, and other revenue streams that can't be maximized.
Last edited on Fri Jun 19th, 2020 04:06 pm by tamalie