According to reports, the lower-than-last-year TV ratings for Sunday’s Daytona 500 were the result of the rain. Apparently, the elements deprived FOX and NASCAR of the usual number of viewers who tune in for the late stages of a race.
Now, this is interesting to me on a few levels; the most obvious, of course, is the willingness of both FOX and NASCAR to ascribe the decline to the weather and not, you know, the overall trend that has bedevilled the sport the last few years … hello? Down 21 percent since 2005? Ring any bells?
Of course, no business worth its salt is going to trumpet such a thing, so I can almost give them a pass for ignoring this inconvenient little fact. And, really, the absence of that background information isn’t even what I find most compelling about the item; this is what I find most compelling:
[R]atings declined as the rain-shortened race missed out on the final laps that typically draw the most viewers.
So, basically, NASCAR and its broadcast partner are aware of and tacitly acknowledging that the first, oh, 100-and-some-odd laps of a race are, you know, boring?
Call me crazy, but for some kooky reason I sort of feel like that might be at least part of the reason overall viewership is on the decline … of course, I do linger on the fringes, so pay me no mind!