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July 25, 2012


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Well said... sharing your sentiments. Keep up the balance. Praise when worthy... increasingly more so these days. Use the taser when necessary.


The ratings are REALLY bad this year. Ironically, one of my few positive predictions over the off season was an expectation of ratings improving. And people call me too negative... What I find really disturbing is that it's year four of the Versus/NBC Sports contract and the ratings are still crap. Some people say it "takes time" but it's been five years since Unification, four years since Versus, and it is the third year since Bernard's been hired. Patience is one thing, but progress can't be that slow either. I also think potentially, Danica's leaving has hurt more than most people thought, and sadly, Chevy's entry hasn't brought as much publicity as I would have expected. Even though a lot of people disagree with this opinion, I really think picking up as many crossover NASCAR fans as possible is the best and fastest way to grow Indycar. Even just picking up half a million NASCAR fans would have a big impact. I also think Indycar needs to focus on marketing as an extreme sport but sadly the "purists" absolutely hate the idea and the Vegas incident seems to have turned some people off of it as well. That said, I really think racing in general needs to focus on the extreme sports market to grow with younger fans now and in the future.


Put in perspective, the 254,000 viewers for Iowa, at best, barely equals the paid gate admissions for the Indianapolis 500.

Sadly, the owners, drivers and Randy, rather than attracting new fans are now starting to push away the few remaining loyal fans they have through their petty bitching and nonsense.

Roy Hobbson

WNBA Draft = 189,000 viewers

Take THAT, ladies!



So...what happened to all the new fans Rubens was suppose to bring to Indycar??? Remember...all those fans that were used as the arguement why Rubens...not some young up and coming driver....should be welcomed to Indycar on a red carpet.

I think Rubens is a good driver but feel that the time & effort would have been better served on a young driver (along with Newgarden) that Indycar's future could have been built on.


How many people watched the Edmonton Race in Canada? How many watched Sao Paulo in Brazil? How many Brazilians watched the Edmonton race in Brazil?

It is provincial to assume that the only way to monetize and create revenue from the IndyCar series is through a US TV market. Clearly that is the biggest market, but it is also one that is the most fragmented and populated by other heavyweight sports entertainment properties. Formula 1 is not the worldwide gorilla it is from tv revenue from a single geographic region. It is the aglomoration of revenue from a multitude of regions that makes it what it is.

Things are not good in the US TV market and IMO, it will take 5 - 10 years of better on track/on air product and nurturing of a new generation of fans to turn that around. If you can buy time to do that from international TV revenue DO IT. Watching TV ratings race to race wathcing/waiting for the white smoke from an overnight windall of TV viewers is not going to happen.

Three races in Canada? Two races in Brazil? If it builds a monetizable TV market in those places, DO IT. IMO, there are enough opportunities in the western hemisphere so that that jaunts to asia or europe are not needed.

SO yes Bill, as usual, this is somewhat of a tangent, but the point is that living, contorting and dying based on an Overnight US TV rating is not considering the whole picture where the health of the series is concerned. Gold star to you if you could track down and report international numbers as well.


good point JP about foreign numbers. and I also think the live audiences and enthusiasm have been good.

unfortunately, TV is everything these days and judging by that critera I'm wondering if Indycar needs a complete reboot.


Good on ya, PDog... your 'insignificant' blog is read by me and much appreciated... you keep it real and that is what anyone truly wants.

On to TV ratings, well, there is indeed a war going on btwn NBC execs and Randy Bernard... who knows if part of the lack of ratings are due to that war or not... remember, ratings are sooooo not an exact science, in fact, ratings completely suck since only about 10% of the population is keyed in to the system. Open all your junk mail, people... the 'survey' comes in a plain white envelope with a $5 bill as an incentive to complete the survey and be a part of the Neilson system for a few months... what horseshit! I got the envelope 2 or 3 years ago... I saw it with my own eyes!! My uncle in Florida has been asked to participate 3 times over the last 10 years... the kicker there? He NEVER watches TV!!! Wow.

So even though advertisers/sponsors rely on ratings, which sucks, it's all a political arm wrestling game that goes on and on and on.

What IndyCar should be doing is selling the at-track experience to companies (either B-to-B or incentives for employees), online promotions, giveaways and a-typical media stories. Why they didn't blow up the Arie Jr. presence on Bachelorette was beyond me... same way they didn't make a bigger deal of Helio when he was on Dancing w/the Stars... he freaking won the show and there was little to no fanfare or promotion from IndyCar's side. Again, WOW.

But, having said all of this, the cool news is that the movie comes out next year and that could be a serious game changer... let's all keep pimping the series as we have been doing for a long time and maybe 12 months from now we'll all be singing a slightly different tune.

Ron Ford

I have been going to two IndyCar races per year, Indy and Milwaukee. I plan to begin including Iowa in the mix also. As for TV, I got rid of cable. Most cable programming is junk to me and it became too expensive to keep just to watch a few IndyCar races. I would do "pay per view" for an IndyCar race. What has really changed the TV entertainment game for me, however, is that most programs are available somewhere on the internet (HULU, YouTube, etc.) for a lot less money. So, by just waiting a day or two, I can watch what I want when I want.
I don't see the cable industry being viable in the future as it competes with the internet. Unfortunately, IndyCar is stuck on cable. For those races that I miss, highlights of the race are available in a day or two on YouTube, and in many cases are available in their entirety a bit later on YouTube. As internet connected TV's become more affordable and available, more and more people are going to ask themselves "why do we need cable". Advertisers, program producers, and event producers are having to rethink how they spend their money. Coca Cola has cut back on cable advertising.

So I don't get too worked up about TV ratings good or bad because I think the entertainment viewing habits of the American people are changing rapidly and moving away from cable. The internet is both a blessing and a curse depending on your point of view. Music CD sales are way down because with one click on YouTube you can listen to the track you want to hear without having to buy the CD. Musical artists have had to adjust to that reality to find ways to make a living. Pretty much the same with IndyCar. So the internet has become pretty much like network TV. It is mostly free, but you still have to sit through some advertising.

Well, I got a bit carried away here and I recognize that these are mostly observations without solutions.


Thanks for your kind words, Crash. I did some googling and black boxes have replaced diaries in terms of how Nielsen collects ratings info. Here's an article


Also worth noting on Neilson ratings, the black box data is validated against set top data from 5 of the 6 largest distributors in the country.

Set top data is collected by cable and satellite providers from the modems that are connected to the cable going into your house or the satellite modem with the phone cable in the back of it. It catches what your TV was tuned to every second of the day. The shortcoming with it is that if some one turns off the TV but not the box it still reads as "watched"

Chris Lukens

I don’t care how you slice and dice it, 194,000 viewers is NOT good. That means that approximately one half of the people who actually attended the 500 took the time to turn on their TV’s; about the same number of people that actually attended the Baltimore GP took the time to turn on their TV’s. Something is very, very wrong somewhere and I don’t understand it, because the racing has been excellent this year.

I think the people that are saying ratings are unimportant or inaccurate are whistling past the graveyard. Professionals that know polling and statistics (i.e., Gallup, Rasmussen ) will tell you that it depends on the sample size. They can sample as few as 1000 people and have a poll with a margin of error down around 4-6%. What is Nielsen’s sample size? I don’t know, but I do know that it has to be HUGE. I would bet their margin of error is close to 1%. Even if Nielson’s numbers are off by a factor of ten, due to YouTube, Hulu, etc., that means all of their numbers are off by the same factor and Indycar is still at the bottom of the heap.

I’m like you P-dog, I don’t want to sound like a Negative Nellie, but facts are facts, and they need to be addressed. After all that is said I have to add that the easy part is pointing out the problems. The hard part is coming up with solutions and I don’t have any. All I know is that something is very, very wrong somewhere and I don’t understand it.


With all respect to Julie, Rubens Barrichello was never under any obligation to save IndyCar. He is here because he couldn't find a ride in Formula One. Presumably, he will also return to Formula One if he can ever find a ride there again. This was and is a place for him to cool his heels and keep his racing skills sharp while having an opportunity to race with his good friend Tony Kanaan.

No driver can save a series that seemingly makes business decisions as if it wants to die. An entire grid of drivers can't do that.

Stephen Barnes

I understand why nobody is watching ... the broadcasts are more painful than my last root canal. There have been moments where the pain subsided to the level of a dull headache, such as when Tommy Kendall was in the booth, but for the most part, they are friggin' AWEFUL.

Indycar needs to get a team in the booth that actually can convey EXCITEMENT, technical knowledge, remember which drivers are in which cars, and get a director who has a clue about how to put together a racing broadcast. Until then, Indycar is going to continue to decline in ratings (if that's even possible ...)

As Ron Ford says above, Indycar needs to look at using the internet more effectively. I'd recommend taking the race footage after the race and editing it down to 10 or 15 minutes of "action" with a new commentary soundtrack. Make it available to wireless users with iPads, iPhones, Droids, Kindle's, etc. The youth of America is living off their hand held devices, and alsmost everything they watch is from Youtube, or Hulu, or other such sources. Give them something short (they have the attention span of an ADD case on meth) and exciting, to compete with their video games and other shows. That's how to get to young folks, not more of the same lousy coverage on cable/broadcast TV.

Hook up with some exciting other shows, music acts, or this ...

over 23 MILLION views in two weeks ...

Indycar needs a whole new way to approach its audience ...

Dougy Fresh

How about having Ken Block being the grand marshal of sonoma, GoPro title sponsor, have him do some demos..., be active Indycar!! Try something thats not lame, give cross promotion a go !

Dougy Fresh

I forgot to say that, Indycar needs to tell somebody about it, whats the word ?... Promotion, ads on tv, in visible media, don't keep yourselves a secret. " why's nobody watching ?" gee maybe you didn't tell anybody that didn't already know!

Ernest Miller

Keep telling it like it is brother! Good article. Ernest


Champ Car used to draw 100 000 viewers in Canda and is far and away still more populat then Hirl, despite being dead for 4 years.. I imagine Hirl gets about 20 000 viwers on TSN and maybe 5000 viewers on TSN2... I have never seen them in any ratings posted in Canada. Yet I have seen MLS ratings of 40 000 posted, so it is less then that.
Canada has 35 million people

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