Did you know that Nascar is nearly breathing its last breath? It’s true. A story in the WSJ outlined the many problems the motor sport that was once America’s favorite has endured over the past few years. Even iconic driver Richard Petty, who won more races than anyone in history, is talking about keeping their heads above water, and that “something’s got to happen in the next couple of seasons” for the sport to survive.
Here are some of bleak details of the great decline of what was once a sports phenomenon.
Sponsors have left the sport in droves. Companies who once emblazoned their logos on cars like Dodge, Office Depot, UPS, Home Depot, and Aflac no longer pay for this privilege. At one big track in Martinsville, West Virginia, they’ve reduced the number of seats since there are no longer the hundreds of thousands of fans to fill them. Beer lines are non-existent. T-shirt trucks are bereft of customers.
The story explained that it’s partly the recession and partly that there is little excitement any more. Jimmie Johnson keeps winning and he’s got no charisma, like Jeff Gordon or the elder statesman, Richard Petty. TV ratings are down 21% from 2005, when seeing races on TV used to mean high ratings. Fox Sports gave the sport a $2.4 billion plus contract for eight years, but attendance at the track is down 43%.
Maybe we will see the day when these computerized cars will no longer spend Sunday afternoons turning left. There are more important things to use gas for than that.