The NBC Sports Network broadcast of the IndyCar race at Edmonton on Sunday afternoon drew 194,000 viewers in the U.S. according to John Ourand, Media Reporter, Sports Business Journal.
Ourand tweeted the numbers in response to a query on Tuesday. He did not say what TV rating number 194,000 viewers equated to. For comparison, the NBC Sports Net TV rating for Iowa was a 0.18 with 254,000 viewers.
Predictably the ratings created a stir on Twitter. And just as predictably the reactions were in several familiar camps.
I understand all of said reactions. But for me it was yet another indication that IndyCar needs to focus on its health if it wants to be around next decade. It's kind of like a buff, gifted athlete who has a 301 cholesterol number. That needs to be addressed, even though the patient says he feels fine and he has a body fat reading of 5% and makes fans swoon just jogging by. All fine and dandy but if the 301 cholesterol number isn't addressed the patient won't be around to admire for decades to come. I kind of want the patient (IndyCar) to be around long term (next decade), so no rose-coloured spectacles for me.
These numbers are yet another teaspoon added to a dumptruck full of evidence that IndyCar does not have enough fans to make its business plan work into, say, the 2020s. Therefore, retaining current fans and attracting new fans should be the absolute highest priority for the league, the drivers and the teams. Right now teams and league management squabbling about aerokits and a 19-race schedule is like two crusty old men dying of thirst in the desert standing around arguing about whether they should have chicken or fish rather than working together to find water.
I love IndyCar too, which should be obvious given the unpaid hours I put into the dog blog. I love it enough to do more than just take my enjoyment from it until it dies or live in denial of the warning signs. But, there's not a ton I can do to improve the league's long-term health besides publicize and promote it on this insignificant blog, talk it up to my friends, wear my IndyCar stuff all the time, etc. Oh and point out the warning signs many don't want to see or deal with and offer ideas for improvement.
Yes, I'm regularly critical of IndyCar here, but before you lob your negative nelly accusations at me, check the entirety of this blog. The vast majority of it is in support of IndyCar. Extolling virtues, identifying weaknesses, seeking ideas for improvement. This has never been nor will it ever be a blind booster blog for IndyCar. There are plenty of other blogs who do that, so I encourage you to read them if that's what you seek. As for me, I'll continue to point out that, while those who love him think he's dead-sexy as is, the patient's cholesterol level is 301.