While I try to stay out of the sports business, (in the interest of transparency, my first bachelor’s is in Sports Management) I have to say that Brad. K. is more then right about what he says. I’ll explain:
NASCAR, like anything else, is a business. And this is something people don’t want to know. The first thing they said in Sports Management classes was: “Get the word ‘sports’ out of your mind. It’s ‘sports entertainment.’ Learn that term.”
Like any other business, the products of controlled, marketed and operated in such a way to maximize profits. No one goes into any endeavor without wanting to make a profit, and sports teams and owners are no different.
The France family, who own NASCAR and ISC (their track ownership arm who own 2/3 of the tracks on the circuit give or take) aren’t fools. They didn’t become billionaires by being stupid.
With that said, let me explain some dirty little secrets about the business side of NASCAR. First off, let’s talk demographics. On a rough guess (since I don’t have access to their records) I’d say their fan base breaks down like this:
Yes, I know they don’t add up to 100% exactly. It’s a rough guess.
Now, if you’re running their business and 50% of your fans come to see a particular make run well, or win, each week…what would you do? If you were smart, and mind you the Frances are, you’d make sure that brand wins the corresponding amount of races to match the % paying to see the win.
This is why you see teams like Hendrick win so much. It’s not that they’re so “superior” to the others, but the fact that NASCAR needs him, and Richard Childress to a lesser amount, to fly the Bowtie banner. Without allowing them to run things that give them an advantage, then the Bowtie fans couldn’t count on the number of race wins they’d get.
And before you call me a ‘conspiracy theorist’ bear in mind I know how this business works. And, if you ever get a chance to talk to people who’ve been on the NASCAR teams (and you’d be surprised how many IRL team members were in NASCAR before coming to open wheel) you’ll learn the same thing I”m telling you now.
It’s all business.
Thus, Bad Brad’s opinion is spot on and accurate. Nothing more, nothing less.
I could go on for an hour explaining how all this works, but I won’t. If anyone wants to know more, then they can drop a comment and I’ll be glad to discuss it off blog.