The sports world is much different today than it was 20 years ago. The events themselves haven’t changed much, but the culture surrounding sports has. Professional sports are no longer just about what happens on the playing field. All the behind-the-scenes work, people, and money involve have taken a substantial role in every sport.
Along with maintaining those details; the sports’ governing bodies have to please fans. Fans are vital to a sport’s success. Each sport does whatever it takes to expand the fan base. Whether it’s attracting the event to other sports fans or enticing regular people, bringing in more fans is something each sport needs to do in order to prosper. As fans’ taste changes constantly, sports have to do their job and make adjustments in order to be able to attract more fans. Sports concentrate more on bringing in fans than losing fans because they know once a person devotes their loyalty, they likely aren’t going away.
Right now, NASCAR is in an important stage of the sport. They need to bring the sports’ ratings back up. Keeping things the same won’t do the trick. Changing things around in order to find the magical recipe that brings in attention is what NASCAR is currently working at.
Nothing will improve by keeping the same ‘ole, same ‘ole. NASCAR needs to make adjustments in order to let the sport return to its prosperous days. Since NASCAR can’t revert back to all components of their glory days from the early 2000’s, they need to create new ways to make the sport thrive.
The right path for doing that is by attracting the modern sports fan. That fan likes excitement, action, and speed. That type of fan can easily be attracted and they will come in flocks. By seeing the excitement advertised in racing, they will be curious enough to check the sport out. Thousands could do that which is exactly what NASCAR wants. How is NASCAR to do that, though? Implement a complete change to their top tier. Give the chance for thrilling action a better opportunity to present itself.
Fans may not agree on their favorite driver or what is right for the sport, but they do agree on one topic. They want to see NASCAR stick around for a very long time. For that to happen, things need to change and NASCAR needs to create the excitement that other prosperous sports currently have.
Many fans refuse to compare NASCAR to other professional sports. The common argument is that racing is different. Yes, it is different. We race cars, make pit stops, and have a long and enduring season. The commonality between NASCAR and other sports is the goal in which they shoot for. The ultimate goal is to create loyal fans, make those fans happy, and drive in new fans. At the very least, you can agree that is what NASCAR and other sports have in common.
Fans are what keep sports going. They need fans to survive. Fans have devoted their passion to sports. They won’t just go away. Even with a radical change, fans won’t walk away from the sport. The sports’ governing bodies know that, so taking the risk of change is completely worth it to them.
NASCAR knows fans aren’t going to stop watching due to a change in which they don’t agree with. Fans are addicted to the fast cars. It would be very difficult to end that addiction due to one disagreement they have with the sport. This is why NASCAR is comfortable with making the change in the points system.
All they have to lose is maybe a few fans, but for the most part, they are in a position to gain a bigger following. A risk they find worth taking. And they will take it, no matter what a few fans say. Yes, NASCAR has reacted to fans in the past, but those circumstances were different. They had more to lose then like the sport’s credibility. Now, they are not in a position to lose that.
The changes NASCAR is set to make are all in an attempt to create excitement. Doesn’t four drivers going into the season finale needing to finish better than each other sound incredibly intriguing? The unknown factor and knowing anything can happen is what ultimately will make the season finale much more like a championship deciding game that is seen in other sports. A game in which is widely more popular than NASCAR’s current season finale.
The title battle at Homestead-Miami between Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth last season didn’t provide the ‘wow’ factor that is always seen in other sports’ season finales. The NFL has the Super Bowl which no matter what the details of the game are, generates a giant buzz. The NBA has the NBA Finals which put you on the edge of your seat during each quarter of every game. MLB’s World Series leaves you hanging each time the ball leaves the pitchers hand. NHL’s Stanley Cup Finals is the ultimate battle of hockey’s best each season. All of those events are thrilling no matter what the circumstances are.
NASCAR’s season finale relies much more on the circumstances determined by the racing itself in the prior events to establish what kind of hype the final race has. 2013 didn’t quite have the buzz the 2011 Homestead-Miami race had. 2011 featured Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards going back and forth throughout the race. That created an atmosphere close to what other sports have in every season finale. Other sports have that every year, NASCAR hasn’t in two seasons.
As much as it might be weird to have NASCAR attempt to create the ‘Game 7’ feeling, it’s what other sports do and they thrive. NASCAR desperately needs to keep up with those other sports to remain prominent. What they will be the last to do is make the conclusion of the season the most exciting part of the whole year. It may not seem like something that needs to be done, but watch the first season with the new system and then decide whether you liked that season finale better or the one under the old system.
Eliminations in the Chase also attest to NASCAR attempting to generate the same excitement from other sports’ playoff system. For example, the NBA playoffs feature three rounds before the championship series. Each round features the deciding game of the series which will advance one team and send one home. In NASCAR, the deciding race in their three “rounds” will be just as exciting. Drivers close to the cutoff line will put on a spectacular show in order to survive. Seeing drivers race their heart out in more races in the Chase than just the finale is NASCAR’s ultimate goal with eliminations.
NASCAR’s new system is set to generate the most excitement by putting the emphasis on winning. Winning is what the modern day sports fan wants to see. Seeing who wins is much more appealing than seeing who stays consistent enough to take home the championship. The modern fan wants quick and immediate results. They don’t want to wait around to see what happens. They want to be able to watch a race and know by the end what the victory means for the winner. By just about guaranteeing the winner of a race a Chase birth under the new system, the fan NASCAR is trying to attract will be impressed. Fans will also be able to leave the track or turn the TV off after a race and know the implications that individual race had on the entire season. That is a quick answer and one modern fans will enjoy seeing.
NASCAR does not want to throw out their current and loyal fans. All they want to do is increase the fan base. NASCAR appreciates their current following and wants to keep them around. By changing things around once in awhile, new enthusiasm is built. Current fans know they enjoy excitement and deep down, they would like to see more. NASCAR knows that and will be attempting to please fans with this newly found excitement.
Traditional fans are the ones who mostly oppose the new changes. They have been around for awhile and like what NASCAR has going. They became a fan long ago when the world was a different place. Things change. Nothing can stay the same forever. The traditional fans don’t have the mindset of the modern fans. Modern fans discovered the sport more recently and hold a sense of the current sports culture. They know what sports are more about now. They can tell things aren’t the same as they were many years ago.
Traditional fans have a hard time adjusting to what the new sports world is all about. It’s about fast-paced action and excitement. It wasn’t that way 20 years ago. Things have changed and it’s up to traditional fans to acknowledge that. By knowing the sports world is much different today, it is easier to understand where NASCAR is going with these drastic changes. These updates are necessary to keep the sport prominent and for its continued growth.
Change is an interesting thing. Change can be good as well as bad. It may seem scary at first because an unknown is created and not knowing what the change will do is frightening. Watching change unfold can create greatness. NASCAR revolutionized the championship fight back in 2004 with the Chase. That change turned out to be something spectacular. No one knows what’s on the other end of this proposed modification. We could witness the greatest NASCAR season ever under the new system. We also could not, but its 50-50 either way because we just don’t know.
NASCAR has reasoning behind this change. They have to stay on the up and up in the sports world. Falling behind will do them no good. If you want to see NASCAR around for a long time, this change is likely what is needed. This will be an uncomfortable adjustment, but overall, it’s a rather great one. This is potentially the alteration which sends NASCAR into another golden age. NASCAR wouldn’t implement it without knowing that it is a good move for the sport. Don’t bash the system before you give it a chance. You never know, you could be all for it by the end of the season
By Jason Schultz