NASCAR was presented with a unique opportunity this week, to repeat history.
While every other major sporting league around the world canceled or postponed their events in an effort to slow the spread of Covid-19, NASCAR held out.
On Thursday NASCAR said this weekend’s activities in Atlanta would still happen, just without spectators. Meaning they along with IndyCar would be the only live sports on a weekend that saw every other event get canceled. A huge opportunity for the sport, sponsors, broadcast, everyone involved.
NASCAR Wanted A 1979 Daytona 500 Moment
If by some chance you’ve missed FOX and the sport talking about the 1979 Daytona 500 every chance they get here’s a quick breakdown.
The entire east coast of the country was snowed in over the 1979 Daytona 500 weekend. Coincidentally this was the first time the Daytona 500 would be broadcast live flag to flag. On Sunday as millions of American’s sat inside avoiding the impending white death just beyond their doors they tuned in to see what this Southern sport was all about.
On top of a tantalizing race for the win between Bobby Allison and Cale Yarborough, it featured a win by Richard Petty and his famed #43 car as the previously mentioned drivers fought on the backstretch following a crash on the last lap.
That race catapulted NASCAR onto the front pages of papers around the country. People returned to work and talked about what they saw on TV from Daytona. NASCAR finally reached outside of its niche in the American south.
Flash forward to 2020 and NASCAR was looking to capitalize on American’s being inside once again with no other live sports to watch.
Covid-19 Almost Gave NASCAR A Dream Scenario
NASCAR nearly had the same opportunity to capitalize this weekend. With no live sports on TV and NASCAR planning to race without spectators in Atlanta more than a few new eyes would be on the sport.
Under the recommendation of state and local governments, people were asked not to go out in large groups, limit social interaction, etc. Meaning people would be looking for something to watch.
NASCAR is on the rebound, the sport bottomed out over the last two years. However, to start the 2020 season the sport has seen viewership rise and the grandstands appear to have a few more people sitting in them. What better way to continue this rebound than to be the only live show on TV while the entire country desperately searched for anything to watch?
That’s why NASCAR held out. Well, that and the fact most of the teams were already in Atlanta. Mainly for the weekend domination in ratings.
Like most things in recent NASCAR history, they fumbled the decision. NASCAR went from racing on Thursday, to changing the schedule Friday morning, to completely canceling the next two weekends by lunchtime.
NASCAR won’t get their 1979 moment this year and it’s probably for the best.
Follow us on Twitter @ApexOff