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Bursting the NASCAR Bubble

nascardriversAdmittedly, I am no fan of NASCAR. Never have been. Racing shouldn’t involve only going left. Racing shouldn’t involve only drivers from the States, save for a few Canadians and one Colombian. Racing shouldn’t involve tires that are taller on the outside than on the inside. Racing shouldn’t involve old, fat guys – look at Le Mans endurance drivers, look at Formula 1 drivers; they’re fit and they also have a work out regiment. So there are these things that are wrong with NASCAR in my opinion. With that being said, I also respect NASCAR. It’s a pretty brutal racing series where crashes are the norm. And running that engine at redline for 500 miles is pretty buff as well. And they have done a hell of a job marketing, especially the drivers and their personalities, to the legions of fans in the States.

NASCAR has been growing by leaps and bounds in the States and commercial sponsors have been throwing money at it like there’s no tomorrow. But as the global economic crisis has hit Formula 1, it’s affecting NASCAR as well. Here’s the difference, however – whereas international level motorsports, such as ALMS and Formula 1, are not completely brutalized by the economic downturn as they are supported by an internatinal consortium of companies and brands, NASCAR’s primary funding comes from American companies and brands. And American companies are the ones feeling the biggest brunt of the downturn. European and Asian governments & economies have been quicker to react and / or don’t have the same level of fundamental economic problems – do you see Honda, BMW, Porsche, Ferrari and the like asking for a multi-billion dollar bailout from the government?

So the very reason why NASCAR grew so fast – “American pride,” “USA,” “Made in America” and all that good stuff – is ultimately the very reason why the NASCAR’s bubble is bursting. All three Detroit brands are in trouble and I certainly hope that if the government grants the bailout aid, they’ll have to nix NASCAR altogether. (Let’s face it… unlike other motorsports series, NASCAR isn’t used as an R&D platform so it doesn’t contribute anything except “brand awareness”) American brands like Home Depot and Lowe’s are facing a downward spiral, as new home starts, let alone home sales, continue to drop. People aren’t buying clothes, so Wrangler, Lee and all those other brands are going to hurt as well. NASCAR’s driver line up, made up of good old boys, isn’t going to attract international sponsors. And since NASCAR has acted and branded itself much like a xenophobic American, international broadcasters aren’t going to pay the rights fees to carry it on their airwaves. Hell, why would a French station carry NASCAR when the closest thing to anything French in NASCAR was the movie Talledega Nights (insert “Perrier”).

Frankly, I wouldn’t shed a tear if NASCAR went away permanently. Perhaps then Speed would start carrying some real racing, like WRC, ALMS, FIA GT, DTM and so on. And not air them at 4am Wednesday mornings so no one bothers to watch it. Perhaps with the demise of NASCAR, we can also finally get rid of those stupid Chrysler Hemi commercials, “Is that a Hemi?” Let it be known, it’s been a long time since Chrysler made an engine head with true hemispherical design.

Suckers.

December 10, 2008 Posted by | Features & Opinions, Formula 1, Motorsports, NASCAR, Talkin Trash | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Recession? Don’t Tell The Yankees

The country’s infrastucture is collapsing.  Automakers are begging on Capitol Hill are begging like Oliver Twist.  We owe China and Japan rent.  Incomes are plummeting.  Layoffs are the new playoffs.  Crime rates are rising.  However, the Yankees still mustered $160 million to sign C.C. Sabathia.  That is the largest pitching contract in the history of the universe. 

Rich Getting Richer

Rich Getting Richer

The Yankees signing of Sabathia highlights everything that’s wrong with Major League Baseball.  In times when the economy is down only the richest of teams can subsist without worrying, and in fact the big 6 (Yankees, Red Sox, Mets, Cubs, Angels, and Dodgers) can take advantage of the times and make themselves richer, thus distancing themselves from the rest of the pack.  The Yankees now own the highest paid position player (A-Rod) and the highest paid pitcher (Sabathia).  Combine their salaries and you’ll see that the duo is worth more than the entire Royals roster.  That’s mind-blowing.  Here’s the kicker…the Yankees are getting NYC to build them a new house.  How’s that going down?  What do you think folks who live in Harlem, Washington Heights, and Brooklyn have to say about that?  The Yankees are the new Kennedy’s (see papa Joe’s business moves during the Depression), building their empire as the world is in shambles.   The imbalance of Major League Baseball parallels the imbalance of reality.

 

FlyMaster Signing Off…For Now!

December 10, 2008 Posted by | Features & Opinions, Major League Baseball, Talkin Trash | , , , , , | Leave a comment