In case you didn’t happen to notice Saturday night, the TNT coverage of the Quaker State 400 had more teen/grandfather wrestling matches than racing. Not only were there twenty commercial breaks from the invocation to the drop of the checkered flag (by my count), the repetition of advertisements was unparalleled by any sporting event I have ever watched. We repeatedly saw family feuds over dinner at KFC, headless deer, Nationwide vanishing deductibles and Dale Jr stealing cars, and last but not least, people jumping around holding Carl’s Jr burgers in their Spiderman costumes.
From the marketing side of the NASCAR industry, these advertisements are golden. Money is what fuels this expensive sport, whether it’s from sponsorships, advertisements, or fans. But if the advertisements during the race overwhelm the actual race coverage, will the fans stick around to watch? From the agitation and frustration on my Twitter timeline, anyone could tell that most of NASCAR Nation was fed up with the commercial breaks during the race.
People were losing their sanity over the amount of times “Mashed potatoes and gravy!” was played on TV. Don’t get me wrong, the fact that big-name companies want to reserve advertising spots in our sport is great, it proves that the fan base is large enough and dedicated enough to be worthy of a million KFC commercials in one night. All I’m saying is, wouldn’t it be more beneficial (and less annoying) to cut the amount of commercial time in half, and put that money into sponsoring cars? It’s a win-win situation. The companies still get their advertising time, and fans don’t have to lose their marbles over the fact that half of the racing coverage is composed of commercials.
If you ask me, twenty commercial breaks in 400 miles is completely absurd. There are plenty of teams out there running with little to no sponsorship, such as the 2004 Cup champion Kurt Busch, as well as many start and park teams that need more money in order to run full races. I’m sure something could be worked out so that these repetitive commercials can be made less frequent, fans can watch more racing, and companies can still have TV time; while funding the NASCAR franchise as a whole, as well as individual teams. Sounds like a plan, right? We’ll see if it’s put into action.
By Alanis King