The Frontstretch: Brian France; Is He Stupid or Does He Not Understand The Word Contract? by Jeff Meyer -- Thursday November 15, 2007

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Brian France; Is He Stupid or Does He Not Understand The Word Contract?

Voices From the Heartland · Jeff Meyer · Thursday November 15, 2007


con•tract – kuh n-trakt – verb
to become drawn together or reduced in compass; become smaller; shrink

In February, NASCAR CEO Brian France, on the subject of lower television ratings, said:

"My view on television ratings, I mean, we look at them a little bit longer cycle or window than maybe you would think we would. TV ratings, depending on storylines, other competing things that are going around, are going to go down and up a little bit. We don’t get too hung up on it. We went down a little bit. My expectation is we’ll be up in TV ratings in ’07 for the all the reasons I mentioned in my opening remarks, all the momentum we have that we didn’t have last year."

OK, Brian; let's see how your expectations panned out compared to 2006. (And remember, 2006 ratings were down overall from 2005.) Percentages were provided if available.

Daytona (FOX): down. California (FOX): down 9.5%. Las Vegas (FOX): up 2%. Atlanta (FOX): no comparison available because the '06 race was ran on a Monday due to rain and broadcast on FX. Bristol (FOX): down 17%. Martinsville(FOX): down 14.5%. Texas (FOX): up 3.7%. Phoenix (FOX): down 8.3%. Talladega (FOX): no comparison available because the '06 race was ran on a Monday due to rain and broadcast on FX. Richmond (FOX): down (rain delay). Darlington (FOX): down 12.5%. Charlotte (FOX): down 11.8%. Dover (Fox): down, but the race was rain delayed to a Monday. Pocono, Michigan, Sonoma, Loudon, Daytona and Chicago (all TNT): All were down from '06, which were aired on Fox; and they say (whoever "they" is) that cable ratings are measured slightly different than network ratings. Indy, Pocono, Watkins Glen, Michigan, Bristol and California (all ESPN): Again, all down, cable vs. network. Richmond, Loudon and Dover (all ABC): Richmond and Loudon were up while Dover was down, but again, it is a case of network vs. cable as these races were aired on TNT in '06. Kansas (ABC): down. Talladega (ABC): down. Charlotte (ABC): down. Martinsville (ABC): down. Atlanta (ABC): down. Texas (ABC): down 14%. Phoenix (ABC): While I have yet to see the final ratings, the overnight ratings were down 17.1% compared to '06.

As of right now, the overall ratings for the season are down 9% compared to '06 and are down a whopping 21% from 2005. Surely, there must be a plausible reason; or maybe, they are not falling at all! Let's ask Brian France.

“Television ratings for almost everything are down – prime time, daytime, sports, whatever else,” France said at a business meeting last week in Phoenix. “We’re probably a victim of that to some level. You have to remember we’re still posting big audiences, and our TV partners are very satisfied. We’d love to be growing at better rates, but we’re not contracting at all. We’re pretty satisfied that story lines in the future and things go on that we’ll be fine.”

Not contracting at all huh? Must be a different definition of contract than those that I am aware of.

When Brian France actually goes in public and says something like that, it reminds of a question that one of my high school English teachers used to ask some of us students; "Are you stupid, or are you stoned!?"

Hard to tell with Brian.

Stay off the wall, (and off the dope!)

Jeff Meyer.

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Today on the Frontstretch:
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Beyond the Cockpit: Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. on Growing Up Racing and Owner Loyalties
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NASCAR Mailbox: Past Winners Aren’t Winning …. Yet
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11/15/2007 09:07 AM

Brian France as already proven himself a idiot. He should just keep his mouth shut, sit in a corner and slober, he will make more sense then.

11/15/2007 09:25 AM

I’d say smoking something. What ever he’s smoking is clouding his vision, and the Cheetos he’s crunching on is making it hard for him to hear the fan’s complaints.

J Furjanic
11/15/2007 09:46 AM

I keep asking Is Prince Brian ‘The All-Knowing’ subject to the same drug screening program that the drivers and officials are subject to?

Looks like this makes my point!

11/15/2007 01:19 PM

Why is it when I see the phrase “story lines” in a NASCAR article I just cringe? ‘Course I also cringe when I hear the word “show” being tossed around so much nowadays..suppose it only makes sense as racing has taken a back seat,(behind the rollbars), to TV spots, merchindising, pre-show concerts, Hollywood, post race shows…oh, wait, who am I kidding..there isn’t such a thing as post race shows..

11/15/2007 02:02 PM

At 21% since 2005 , the nose dive NASCAR’s TV ratings have taken is about the same level of plunge as CD sales. Executives in the music business are tearing their hair out and trying every new sales strategy under the sun. But Brian France doesn’t see the seriousness of NASCAR’s descent. This stay the course mentally will be that 2008 will see even greater declines in viewership and attendance-IMHO.

11/15/2007 02:29 PM

Brian appears to be the Tony George of Nascar. Wonder if they are related?

11/15/2007 03:45 PM

Brian France has totally ignored the fans, the owners, and the drivers since he has taken over. The network coverage was very poor this year as well, coupled with poor announcing from the booth (We miss you, Benny Parsons and Ned Jarrett). Also, way too many commercials while the green flag racing was going on. This would never fly when watching other professional sports. The networks seem way too focused on the coverage of only certain drivers and storylines throughout the year at the expense of not enough coverage of the rest of the overall drivers in the field. There are 43 drivers in each race and only a half dozen ever seem to get any attention. Are the declining viewership ratings any surprise?

john ollis
11/15/2007 04:01 PM

I avoid the racetracks because of the obvious threat of a terror attack at such a well-attended event. Also the race coverage in the past was so good I took the lazy-man’s out and watched it on tv. today the commentators think that they must talk all throughout the race, instead of letting the images speak for themselves. The COT looks like a child’s slot-car, and races almost as well. NASCAR is not a soap-opera, but it is treated as one by the networks. I think a fight or two(with the helmets off, Jeff Gordon,) would help. Jeff and Jimmy act like they are running to be Hillary’s VP.

11/15/2007 04:24 PM

What a coincidence, my ex girlfriend used to say “It is better to be thought stupid, than to speak and remove all doubt”

11/15/2007 04:37 PM

Over the course of the season I have gradually went from watching every race to muting the t.v and turning up the radio, those guys make nascar sound a helluva lot more exciting.

I think espn is the worst network to carry nascar they obviously dont care about the sport. I try to find nascar shows on espn and your lucky if you catach any news at all. So many restarts missed and action missed to some degree it seems quite intentional. To add injury to insult you have brad running his mouth about nothn, amazing how he went from basketball to knowing everything about nascar and remembering the good ol days back when king richard was winning races. And the lady that comes on and talks i wish she would just shut up! Finally Rusty just over does the explaining of things. And that draft crap is driving me nuts. I hope next year they have Allen B. leadn the show and dale jarret would be a good addition. Andy is pretty knowledgable. Now as far as Brian goes I read somewhere he is getting replaced by a nephew or somthn I hope it happens soon cause he is killing nascar. Hes not big Bill so stop trying to be like him.

Sally B
11/15/2007 05:50 PM

Brian France insists on showing the public over and over that he has no touch with reality. He also has no idea what racing should be about. Somewhere, there’s a village looking for it’s Idiot. They need to check out Daytona.

Margo L
11/15/2007 08:10 PM

Take heart fans . It won’t be long before Brian France is out of Nascar . If you were one of the investors in Nascar , ISC , White River , etc . how long would you allow your stock to keep plummeting before you asked for his resignation ? We’ll be rid of him soon .

11/15/2007 09:22 PM

Today’s NASCAR Sucks!!!

Thanks Brainless Brian!

11/16/2007 08:14 AM


OF COURSE Brian France understands the word contract: that’s something you make a company sign to become the “Official” [insert product here] of NASCAR.

Next question?


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