While NASCAR’s revised Chase format, implemented in 2014, has led many traditional fans of the sport to question the integrity of the championship, last Sunday’s season finale totaling an average of 7.64 million viewers made it the most watched fall NASCAR race in a decade.
Detractors will point out several factors that helped:
Could all of those factors contributed? Absolutely. Does it matter? Absolutely not.
The unfortunate business of motorsports has meant that an era of shrinking audience share and a quasi-polarized fanbase makes the inherit value increasing challenging, combined with an ever-increasing operational cost. With tangible metrics an inherit problem with all forms of motorsport, the ability to produce a large, universally accepted metric such as high television ratings is invaluable.
To put this in perspective, the season finale of the World Endurance Championship (WEC), garnered 6,000 viewers on FOX Sports 2 for the final hours of their race on the same weekend.
All part of NBC’s successful re-takeover of the second half of the season beginning this year, NASCAR’s continuing ability to create a changing product that stays ahead of its audience is unparalleled and proof that, even if the most loyal of fans resent it, they continue to prove their ability to demonstrate ROI that no other form of motorsport can.
Whatever the reason for the ratings boost, and no matter the resentment, the job of every marketing department just became a little easier.