Avid NASCAR fans at the Sharpie 500Enlarge Photo
NASCAR ain't what it used to be. Over the last half-century, the sport has morphed from stock car races for a smallish group of enthusiasts into a multi-bajillion dollar industry, chock full of logo-covered jumpsuits and more licensing opportunities than you can shake a pop starlet at. Just goes to show what a little stick-to-itiveness can do.
But given the changing face of America--specifically, the changing face of Chrysler--the Wall Street Journal went poking under NASCAR's hood the weekend, hoping to dig up a piece about the sport's sad demise. And they almost succeeded.
To be fair, there have been some major changes in the sport. Dodge used to be a big NASCAR player, but the company and its teams have stumbled in recent years, leaving room for Toyota and other makers to slip into the field. More generally, shrinking ad revenue from Detroit has hurt event organizers and diminished the number of team sponsorships doled out by the Big Three. For longtime fans, the face of the sport has changed, and naturally, some of them miss "the good ol' days".
On the other hand, as this chart demonstrates, NASCAR ain't doing all that bad. Ad revenue of roughly half a billion dollars? Over six million viewers per race? Well, we've seen desperate, and that ain't it yet.