Nascar hopes for a revival

With attendance and TV ratings down, Nascar looks for ways to bring back fans.

By Kim Peterson Aug 9, 2010 4:40PM
Dale Earnhardt Jr. (© Rusty Burroughs/AP)As the recession starts to fade away (we hope), Nascar is trying to bring fans back to the racetrack. If the fans return, then the corporate sponsors will too.

While attendance is down at most sporting events, Nascar has suffered more than other sports leagues, The New York Times reports. Even its television ratings are down, which has also killed lucrative sponsorships.

The Times asks a question the entire sport is likely grappling with: Will Nascar ever return to its cash-fueled glory days, when it could paper entire racetracks with $100 bills?

Racetrack owners have been busy using discounts and promotions to win back customers. One track is selling gasoline nearby for 99 cents a gallon, the Times reports. Most tracks have pushed back their Sunday races to 1 p.m. to make room for church.

And the sport seems to be encouraging drivers to exhibit more personality, perhaps to create some personal narratives that might be more compelling to fans.

But attendance has dropped from a year ago in 16 of the first 22 races this season, the Times reports. Television ratings are also down.

That's led to some corporate money drying up. DuPont (DD), for example, has not committed to staying a full-time sponsor for Jeff Gordon.

Certainly the economic downturn has caused some fans to stay at home. But rules changes and the infamous "Car of Tomorrow" are getting some of the blame as well.

So what do you think, readers? Is Nascar set to roar back, or has it become more a niche sport that can no longer draw big crowds and big money?

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