Blog Entry

Standardized Start times May be Gone

Posted on: January 19, 2011 3:58 pm
Edited on: January 19, 2011 3:58 pm
Posted By Pete Pistone

NASCAR made a big deal about employing standard start times for the 2010 Sprint Cup Series season in hopes of assisting and elevating television ratings. All races were run on a 1 p.m. (ET), 3 p.m. (ET) or 7:30 p.m. (ET) plan.

However it appears the 2011 season will not follow suit. Sagging TV ratings are reportedly driving the decision to shift start times to later on Sunday afternoons in hopes of recapturing a lost west coast viewership as well as leaking audiences into the lucrative prime time day part. While the Daytona 500 is slated to take the green flag at 1:19 p.m. ET, other start times for early season races have not been officially released. 

The decision of when to start events may well fall back into the hands of track operators and television network officials. Should that happen the return of more 2:30 eastern time starts may well dot the 2011 schedule, particularly in the second half of the season when NASCAR goes head-to-head with NFL most Sundays.

Category: Auto Racing

Since: Dec 4, 2007
Posted on: January 21, 2011 4:03 pm

Standardized Start times May be Gone

I agree the standardized start times were a good thing last least you knew when the races were going to be on.  The sagging television ratings are because of on-track factors more so than TV times.  Another is the fact that races are scheduled on ESPN, where people have to pay extra if they want to watch that channel....a few years ago, sure that was great, but not with a sagging economy and people losing their jobs and/or living paycheck to paycheck not knowing how to pay the bills they already have.  This is the problem with long-term TV deals on channels not carried on most basic TV packages.  You'll lose ratings faster then a greased cheetah strapped to a bullet train.

My advice to NASCAR is this:

1.) Get the races moved from ESPN to ABC, or at least some of them.
2.) Improve the on-track product before you worry about race start times.  This will benefit the sport a hell of a lot more than changing race times all over the place.

Since: Jan 21, 2011
Posted on: January 21, 2011 10:47 am

Standardized Start times May be Gone

How did we ever survive years ago when the races all started at the same time. If the Daytona 500 started at 12:00 noon on Sunday then the west coast got up and turned it on. So thats the way it was and everybody was excited about Stock car racing. Then someone got the bright idea of night racing., wow, did you ever go to the Charlotte night race and start to fall asleep. Even the drivers just cruise till the last fifty laps. I don't know bout everyone else but when I am busy all days and a night race comes on I never see the end cause I can't stay awake 15 hours. Part of the reason might be all the dang commericals. The last few years I have been taping the race and going about my business. When the race ends I rewind the tape and fast forward through the commericals. And for the night races I tape them also and watch them the next morning before I read the newpaper.

Since: Jan 20, 2011
Posted on: January 20, 2011 2:45 pm

Standardized Start times May be Gone

Finally someone gets it... I refuse to 120.00 a month for ESPN, charges for cable. Put the races on channels that don't cost me to watch... I will be there.

Since: Oct 16, 2010
Posted on: January 20, 2011 2:00 pm

Standardized Start times May be Gone

I totally agree. NASCAR is letting the networks dictate starting times. In the NFL, you know the games are going to start at 1:00 and 4:00, EVERY WEEK. The only thing that will improve the TV ratings will be if the NFL has a lockout and loses the season. But that won't help until September. NASCAR just doesn't get it.

Since: Oct 21, 2007
Posted on: January 20, 2011 1:45 pm

Standardized Start times May be Gone

This is the stupidest thing ever... the NFL doesn't let teams choose when to start their games.

Since: Mar 23, 2007
Posted on: January 19, 2011 10:38 pm

Standardized Start times May be Gone

The standard start times were actually a GOOD thing.

The sagging ratings have nothing to do with that.

If they want more people to watch the races then have the races on channels that more people have like ABC and FOX

Since: Dec 4, 2007
Posted on: January 19, 2011 8:58 pm

Standardized Start times May be Gone

At this point, I don't think any changes with start times are going to influence television ratings to curve back up...especially not with the NFL competing for viewers at the same time.

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