While most have talked about the track, how it raced, or the general buzz around the city surrounding the event, there is one specific thing exclusive to this weekend’s racing action that is getting very little publicity but is something NASCAR would be smart to adopt and implement in future races.
NASCAR Clash at the Coliseum undeniably a huge success
The numbers don’t lie. In addition to more than 50,000 fans inside the LA Coliseum for this unique event, there were plenty of eyeballs watching from the comfort of home.
More than 4.2 million viewers tuned in to watch the event, a 168% increase over last year when the exhibition race was held on a Tuesday night at Daytona and aired on FS1. More impressively, it was more than the 3.2 million viewers who watched the 2021 championship race at Phoenix in November.
Even more intriguing, fans weren’t just interested in the main event. According to Fox Sports, the 2.56 million viewers who watched qualifying was the most since the 2016 Daytona 500 and the highest-rated non-Daytona qualifying event in at least 20 years.
Amount of time for event was a template for future
While the numbers are impressive, there’s one statistic that has largely gone unnoticed. Time.
The weekend’s worth of races were broken down into practice and qualifying on Saturday, followed by heat races, last chance qualifiers, and the main event on Sunday.
The heat races and last chance qualifiers combined lasted just north of two hours. Then, the featured race late Sunday afternoon lasted less than two hours, and it included an intermission with entertainment by Ice Cube.
NASCAR provided multiple options for fans. For those die-hards, they could get four hours of racing action if they wanted. Others, especially those newer to the sport, who didn’t want to spend their entire afternoon at the Coliseum or viewing at home, had the opportunity to watch the main event in a reasonable amount of time and get on with their lives.
NASCAR could implement this into future races
Whether it’s NFL, MLB, or NASCAR, the duration of an event has been a common complaint among sports fans for years. It’s not rare to see a game or race last three or even four hours.
The simple solution for NASCAR would be to shorten the races. However, that’s not the only option that would reduce the amount of time fans have to commit on race day. Stage breaks have undeniably extended the time of races. Remove them altogether or reduce them from two to one.
While commercials and the accompanying television money are critical to the sport, there are multiple examples of others (Formula 1) who manage to produce a quality product and do it commercial-free or with ads running side-by-side.
If NASCAR is sincere in growing its fan base, the Clash at the Coliseum provided them with the template. And shorter races will be a good opportunity to appeal to a larger audience limited in time but also interested in the product.