tv-timesWe are reading reports that many of the NASCAR speedways are removing thousands of seats in an attempt to give the impression that they are hosting sellouts. You can fool us once in while, but can you do it all the time? Hmm.

There’s much competition lacking in motor sports right now. Could this be the reason that tracks aren’t pulling in more fans? And NASCAR isn’t the only sanction experiencing this problem. Lots of fans don’t like The Chase To The Sprint Cup, the last ten races. It hasn’t done what it was intended to do. Brian France, CEO of NASCAR, claims to be listening to the fans.

At least that’s what the talking heads in the anchor booths are telling the TV viewers. Well it’s obvious that France hasn’t been listening to them. Fans in attendance just plain don’t like The Chase. They would prefer going back to the old format where the driver that has accumulated the most points right up through the end of the season wins the championship.

However, there has been an increase in TV viewers. Which brings us to another reason for poor track attendance – the price of tickets are too costly, even with discounts. Consider that median income is down significantly since the downturn in the economy. Fortunately for the NASCAR teams, venues and the sanctioning body, they are all getting a lot more TV rights money. Because of that factor, NASCAR and it’s venues will more than likely survive.

Not so fortunate are the paved short tracks, including those under the NASCAR banner. Many of them are struggling with short fields of entries and some entrants go to special events only. A few are even expanding by building road courses, motocross tracks and drag strips to increase their cash flow. But to expand they have to make expensive capital improvements. The short tracks don’t have the luxury of TV rights money and have to rely on promotional programs to sell ticket such as two-for-one pricing and other gimmicks.

For all of motor sports, world wide, it’s going to be a long hard slog back to the top. There’s also a school of thought that the sport may never get back to pre-2008 levels. Which means that 2014 could be a bit of a turn around year.