NASCAR Sunday’s #1 topic was Ricky Stenhouse Jr. Daytona 500 earn. Topic No. 2 — by a margin closer than the distance between Stenhouse and runner-up Joey Logano — was fans’ frustration with commercials during the Fox Sports telecast.
Stenhouse winning for the first time since 2017 was surprising. Complaints about the ads have been constant in recent seasons. Surprisingly, Dale Earnhardt Jr. places some of the blame on the announcers who call the races.
Complaints have increased a lot, advertisements a little
Perception is reality for NASCAR fans. They feel like Fox Sports put a lot more ads in last weekend’s Daytona 500 than in races in recent seasons, so it was a topic on social media and in reader comments attached to the stories online.
However, information posted on Twitter (see above), which we have not independently verified, showed that the number of missed laps was roughly unchanged from the 2001 and 2010 races. Additionally, “side-by-side” ads replaced some of the “side-by-side” ads, complete departures from previous coverage.
Perception comes into play as there were some long breaks in the first half of the race. This is called “front loading,” and Fox and NBC both do it in their coverage of the NASCAR Cup Series.
Some complaints may come from quasi-advertisements, such as going on a sponsored camera in a mid-pack driver’s car for 30 to 60 seconds or posting a graph showing Toyota performance.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. says advertisers decide on certain ads
Hall of Fame Driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.an analyst for NBC’s coverage of the NASCAR Cup Series, made an interesting revelation about his Dale Jr.Download podcast by explaining that producers in the control truck sometimes ask announcers if it’s a good opportunity for a commercial break. Although no one can reasonably anticipate disaster, advertisers can sometimes predict that a potential leadership change is coming.
“If they think leadership changes are happening, they will try to wait,” Earnhardt said. “Usually they take a little direction from the stand. “Clint Bowyer, Tony Stewart, how do you feel? Are they about to sink? Do we have to stay here?’
Unfortunately for Fox, the network was on a commercial break when Kyle Larson took the lead from teammate Alex Bowman on lap 11 in the first major development of the day. There were 50 subsequent lead changes, but many complaints focused on this case.
While you can’t put this directly on the announcers due to the peloton racing on superspeedways, lead changes are often missed elsewhere.
The only commercials over the final 40 laps on Sunday came during the yellow flag laps. Yet fans continue to compare NASCAR coverage to ESPN’s non-stop presentation of Formula 1 races. The difference, of course, is that Fox and NBC pay much more for NASCAR broadcast rights than ESPN does for F1.
“It’s expensive to run these races,” Earnhardt said of the in-race ads. “Sometimes, though, I just understand the frequency or manner in which it is done. Could this be done differently without taking us away from where the action actually takes place? »
The audience has fallen, but not catastrophically
Audience for 2023 Daytona 500 was down 8% from a year ago, continuing a long-term trend facing many major sports. The growth of cable television and the rise of streaming options have diluted the audience, and the latter will be an ongoing challenge.
However, Show Daily Buzz reported that Fox’s racing TV show flooded the entire broadcast Sunday with 8,173,000 viewers. CBS News Show 60 minutes was second with 6,821,000. And the percentage of TVs in use and tuned into the race was the highest for the Daytona 500 since 2016.
It’s worth noting that Tiger Woods shot a third-round 67 on Saturday at the Genesis Invitational, which helped the tournament retain more viewers than it normally would have watched on Sunday. Woods was probably responsible for the tournament loss 31% audience gain from a year ago.
Woods undoubtedly meant more to the PGA Tour event than Jimmie Johnson and Travis Pastrana did to the 500.
Do you have a question or observation about racing? John Moriello of Sportscasting publishes a mailbag column every Friday. Email him at JohnM@Sportscasting.com.