The Frontstretch: Toasting NASCAR Leadership: Cheap Tickets, Good Seats Now Everywhere by Jeff Meyer -- Thursday March 24, 2011

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Toasting NASCAR Leadership: Cheap Tickets, Good Seats Now Everywhere

Voices From The Heartland · Jeff Meyer · Thursday March 24, 2011


Yes, you read the headline correctly. I, Jeff Meyer, a staunch advocate of many years for the removal of our sport’s leader, Brian France from all things NASCAR (hey, I’m being nice! I never once said he should be shot or anything ultra-insensitive as that) am now asking that you, the true race fan, be thankful for Mr. France and I pray that he remains at the helm for many years to come.

As many of you know, I have, for many years urged the true NASCAR fan base to let their voices be heard in the lofty penthouses of Daytona Beach by singing with their wallets (or purses, for the women and murses for those not quite sure.) The sweet sound of money is obviously the only thing that Brian is acutely aware of.

To be quite honest, the song didn’t quite play out as I maybe had once imagined (or maybe it did, I’m not quite sure) but the effect for the true race fan has, in reality, turned out very nicely. The trick is to simply look at it from a different angle AND… and this may be the most important part, remember that thrill and excitement of actually feeling the roar of the 357 CID motors. Here is the angle…

As long as the ineptitude of Brian France reigns over NASCAR, the easier it gets for the true race fan to enjoy a night or weekend at the races. No, I do not like all the roads that Brian has led this once proud sport down, but the fact remains (because I was a fan long before I was a journalist) that I still love attending events live.

When Brian took his position as CEO in 2003, the sport was riding on a high that was brought on not only on the life, but especially the death, of Dale Earnhardt, Sr. Dale’s tragic demise sparked an interest in NASCAR of millions upon millions of what Brian later so aptly named “casual fans.”

Dale was like Jesse Owens, Babe Ruth, Joe Namath, Wayne Gretsky, O.J. Simpson, Wilt Chamberlain or Billie Jean King… you might not have been a fan of any of their sports, but you certainly knew who they were and what they did. With Dale’s death, and especially the way it occurred, suddenly it was “cool” to be a fan of a sport that had the reputation of being “redneck.”

Well at the height of that popularity wave, the NASCAR world was given a “marketing genius” named Brian France who saw the gold and wanted more. So he instituted major changes that were quite… hell, you know the story… prices went up, casual fans left, (who in the hell in their right mind would want “casual fans” anyway?? Never did understand that!) ratings fell, hardcore fans became casual fans and ratings and attendance fell even more. Throw in a bad economy and you now have the opportunity we have today!

The long and the short of it is, it is a “buyers” market in the world of NASCAR right now; you just have to be savvy and know how to find the deals. Tickets can be had for ANY race on the schedule, even the once-fabled “hardest ticket in all of sports to obtain,” the night race at Bristol.

So what does “being savvy” mean? It allows you to shop around for those tickets just like you do airline tickets (only with NASCAR, you got more options such as eBay, etc.) Don’t be afraid to actually go to an event without tickets in hand, as I did several times this last decade when heading to Bristol, even when they were selling out every race. Deals can be found, as I said, in such places as eBay, Craigslist and my favorite, the bulletin boards of the campgrounds themselves. People get stuck with extra tickets all the time when their buddies can’t come at the last minute and things like that.

Personally, at Bristol, I have never paid more than 10 dollars over face value for tickets and I have even sold extras that I had for less than face value! It also helps to know your venue when shopping. Have that map of the stands in your mind or in your hand when thinking of buying. You’d be surprised at the quality of seats you can find if you just shop around a bit.

As for lodging, the same principles apply. Don’t think strictly about hotels and motels. Think outside the box a bit. Look on the internet… people rent out extra rooms in their homes and even the entire home for days at a time. Especially around Bristol, there are cabins, rentals, rooms in homes, people renting their yards out to campers… so much so that there all websites devoted strictly to such matters. All of these things have come down significantly in price the last couple of years and we owe it all to Brian France.

Yes, there are empty seats in the stands… so what! That ain’t my problem. That’s Brian’s problem. There are also less people in line to buy a beer or to get rid of a beer too! That’s a good thing!

So, I say, it’s time for us in the media to stop bitching about all the empty seats. We should, if anything, shut up about it and just enjoy the hopefully long reign of Brian Z. France…Genius!

Stay off the wall, (and off Brian’s back. Just let him amuse himself over there in the corner!)

Jeff Meyer

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©2000 - 2008 Jeff Meyer and Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!

03/24/2011 07:20 AM

Hey Jeff that’s one way to look at it.
I like the extra elbow room too. Way to be optimistic.

Bill B
03/24/2011 08:08 AM

No one really wants casual fans, they just want their money.

The Mad Man
03/24/2011 11:42 AM

With the way the “marketing genius” has managed to screw the pooch, he’s going to be lucky to get the former hard core fans turned casual fans back in the stands. Alienating your core fan base is not a smart thing to do and chasing them away is even less smart. Even with the prices coming down to affordable levels, fans have got a long memory of what the “marketing genius” has done to them and the sport so they won’t be coming back any time soon.

Also, Bruton needs to smarten up too. Folks aren’t really interested in attending the Cup Lite races at Bristol as shown by the empty grandstands this past weekend and forcing fans to buy tickets for the entire weekend instead of just the race they want tends to be a really big irritant. So Bruton needs to sell single tickets for both races instead of a forced weekend ticket packages.

Carl D.
03/24/2011 01:10 PM

To be honest, Brian France was going after newer, younger fans, not casual fans. That’s necessary; the old-timers like me aren’t going to be around forever and newer fans are vital for Nascar to continue to thrive. Where France blew it was by instituting changes and gimmicks that had an adverse impact on the actual racing, i.e. cookie-cutter tacks, the new car, and especially the chase. TV ratings as well as track attendance figures are indisputable evidence that these changes were failures. The effect was that the newer,younger fans became casual fans, and have since moved on. Inneptitude and failure of this magnitude would have resulted in the firing of any other CEO in a major business, but family businesses have their perks, especially when Daddy ain’t around anymore to see how poorly the business is being run.

03/24/2011 02:14 PM

Jeff, is your tongue out of your cheek yet?

03/24/2011 02:24 PM

Awesome, such a positive dig “at the man(child)”

03/24/2011 06:00 PM

If BZF is a “marketing genius”, I’m a brain surgeon.


Contact Jeff Meyer

Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:

Voices From The Cheap Seats: The Tale Of Two Tires
BSNews! Bruton’s Plans Extend Beyond Bristol’s Track
Top Ten Reasons Fans Failed To Show Up At Bristol Sunday
BSNews! NASCAR CEO Given "Special" Award Amidst Lavish Fanfare
Fan Coun-ci-What? Just What Is It That NASCAR Wants To Study?

Want to know more about Jeff Meyer or view his complete article archives? Then hop on over to his archive and bio page.