With the wide-circulating rumors of a NASCAR sale, the shock displayed by many shouldn’t be a huge surprise if one were to examine the realities of the current climate of the sport.
There’s plenty of articles and reports, including on this site, of the challenges that NASCAR has faced in recent years. Declining television ratings, an unwillingness by title sponsors to pay the requested rate, and so on.
Here’s the challenge. The organization is built to run as it does now. All evidence would point to the idea that the market is changing drastically… and NASCAR is not keeping up. The evidence is in the constantly growing list of changes to the sport, all in the name of bringing in new fans, yet the numbers continue to dwindle. Stage racing, new car templates, continually revised “Playoff” format, etc. It’s becoming a proverbial “kitchen sink” scenario, and it doesn’t seem to have much effect.
This leads to a fundamental question, is NASCAR equipped to adapt to the changing market? The current car culture, and resulting manufacturer attention, is emphasizing technologies that are removed from the sport’s traditions. Electric and hybrid vehicles, autonomous driving, etc., aren’t in-line with a sport that emphasized high horsepower, fuel-burning monsters.
A radical re-think might be required, or maybe not? This is the problem, there is no easy solution, because there’s no “one” problem to cure.
This points to a fundamental problem, perhaps the current organization isn’t equipped to move with this new line of thinking. Perhaps this is why a sale of the company is the best option.
A sale would mean a wholesale change. Perhaps a holding company, equity group, etc., with resources, staffing, and more importantly approach that is different from the current organization, is exactly what the sport needs.
As a privately owned group, “cashing out” now for NASCAR’s leadership, while there’s still a viable market, and putting the sport in the hands of a business leadership that might be more adept at the current market, may not be such a bad idea.