How long have I flogged my “NASCAR races are too long” horse?
I’m not the only one…
Fox Sports chairman David Hill believes NASCAR races need to be shortened to fit into a three-hour broadcast window.
Hill says the length of races — many stretch well into 4 hours or more, is one of the problems that’s contributed to NASCAR’s sinking television ratings.
“I think the racing is far too long,” Hill said during Charlotte Motor Speedway’s annual media tour. “There is more diversion, more opportunities for stuff than any other time in man’s history.”
Hill said the ideal for Fox would be a four-hour broadcast window, with 40 minutes of pre-race coverage and 20 minutes of post-race coverage. Asked if he’d push NASCAR to shorten any of its races, Hill didn’t miss a beat.
“NASCAR doesn’t negotiate,” he deadpanned.
The 38-race schedule is divided by three networks, and Fox holds the rights to the first 13 events of the season. The network’s deal with NASCAR, a partnership that began in 2001, runs through 2014, and Hill said it’s too soon to speculate on if the relationship will continue past the current deal.
Personally, Hill said, he’d like to continue airing NASCAR on Fox. But because it’s a business decision, the next few seasons will determine how aggressively Fox pursues a new contract.
Hill strongly defended the efforts of NASCAR chairman Brian France to stop the slide in both attendance and ratings.
“I really think they are trying,” he said. “I like them all, they are fantastic. They do know they have problems, and they are trying very hard to fix them. It’s tough.”
Hill said Fox is content with the consistent start times NASCAR instituted last season to simplify the television schedule for viewers. But NASCAR president Mike Helton said during testing last week that the start times needed to be reconsidered because the season is so long.
Once again, I point to last year’s Daytona 500. They screwed around trying to fix holes in the track and the telecast stretched to a mind-numbing 6 hours.
That’s longer than the NFL Superbowl, and NOTHING on sports Television is bigger or more important than the S-Bowl, and they had their biggest show done in less than 4 hours.
Take the hint NASCAR, please!
You want better TV ratings again?
Shorten your shows!