Drafting the Circuits

By: Candice Smith  @Chief187s


Empty NASCAR Seats

Brickyard 400 from 2013 Photo: Charlie Nye, Indianapolis Star

Another summer weekend is upon us in the world of NASCAR and racing will occur at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.  New England’s race fans get to converge on the centrally located track of their region and delight in all associated when NASCAR comes to town.

For those who cannot attend the live event, television watching of the event will happen. Undoubtedly the comments around social media will revolve around why there are so few people in the seats at yet another NASCAR Sprint Cup event.

I, for one, am tired of those comments.

Look, there are reasons for empty seats at these stadiums and, unlike the haters the sport has, it’s not lack of a good product.

NASCAR is still a very popular and well-loved sport. It still has its rabid and loyal fans who tune in week in and week out to watch the action.

So, why the empty seats?

It’s no secret – the economy still stinks.

Yes, it’s true. It is simply too expensive for the average NASCAR fan to purchase tickets, drive or fly to the event, stay in lodging, eat, and possibly by a souvenir or two for one weekend’s worth of entertainment.

And that’s if you are one person. If you want to take your family of four – and I have a family of five – you have to raise the amount exponentially for cost.

I want to believe the country is recovering financially, but I know it hasn’t and isn’t going to soon. And this is not just a national problem, it’s a global one. Racing around the world has suffered and continues to suffer.

As somebody who has been fortunate enough to attend races with my family as fans and alone as a media representative, I simply cannot rationalize going right now.

And I am obviously not alone.

Many fans have realized that with greater technology and social media, you no longer need to physically be there to have up-to-the-second coverage.

An HDTV set allows for crisp picture and like-there views.  Big screen TVs creates the setting for immersing oneself into the race. State-of-the-art sound systems produce heart-thumping acoustics that shake the living room.

Now, if they could invent “Smellavision” then the aroma of sweet, pungent gas and burning rubber could transport the viewer completely!

Another fact is that one has all of the creature comforts needed at home. In addition to the fabulous way to watch the race, there are no lines or yucky rest rooms to contend with, just one’s own private one. The kitchen and refrigerator can be fully stocked with tasty treats, cold beverages, and whatever one desires to feast.

Let’s face it, if you have a family or a life, it’s difficult to find time to attend an entire weekend of activities NASCAR puts on when it comes to the closest venue. Many families have children enrolled in myriad activities, and other families are working seven days a week to make ends meet. Who has the time anymore?

True fans make the time and most of them (us) do, but usually by catching it on television.

Lastly, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the all-important social media aspect. Nowadays fans follow all of their favorite drivers, crew chiefs, pit crew members, owners, media favorites, et al, on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and any and every other outlet available.

Not only do fans follow their favorites and constantly watch for up-to-the-second updates constantly leading up to, during, and after the race, but they themselves are tweeting, creating new statuses, and the like.

It is a social media world. No longer do people need to be there as long as they have a device that connects them to the event.

I plan to attend more NASCAR races live in the future, both as media and as a fan with my family.  That has to wait until the economy improves and my schedule lightens up – I’m not sure which one of those will happen first!

Until then, I’m just thankful I can still get my NASCAR fix on television, through social media, and from the comfort of my home.

Now, that’s the last I want to hear about empty seats at NASCAR events!