NASCAR has been all about the fans lately. From changing rules to make racing more competitive, to changing the Chase format to create exciting finishes. NASCAR has done a variety of things to build its fan base over the last 5-10 years. I myself have watched NASCAR for 13 years now, and has watched the sport change almost every year. I picked it up when I was just 8-years-old, and have loved it since, its now my passion and where I want to work one day. While I commend NASCAR for making changes, I believe there is one thing they just overlook. I believe this one thing is something that will 100% raise the attendance level at events, and that one thing is.... LOWER TICKET PRICES.
Now, I know this is easier said than done, and statistically prices have went down over the last five years, but more needs to be done. This is a sport fueled by money, that's completely understandable. It takes millions to fund the cars, tracks, and everything associated with the highest level of raising in the United States. Before I dive all into this subject and possible solutions I have I want to state my NASCAR race resume, just so everyone knows I do know what I am talking about. I have attended over 10 Cup races, and know the damage it can do to a race fans pocket. Usually my dad picks up the tab, but I myself have paid to go to a few races. I have attended races at Daytona, Charlotte, Darlington, Talladega, Atlanta, and will be adding Bristol to this list in August.
I know these tracks are usually high profile tracks, but these days all of them are. Now, I will admit that when I attend a race, I don't sit in the cheap seats, so I usually drop anywhere from $110-$150 per ticket. That's a decision I make, so I can't complain, but I think more can be done to lower prices. Earlier this year before I decided to go big or go home at the Coca Cola 600, I was looking for a cheaper seat. Then I realized that the cheapest seats were still $75. The cheap seats were sitting over in turn 4, where literally nothing can be seen. This is when I really paid attention to how much these racetracks charge.
As a fan I understand high prices. With millions of dollars spent for each car, and at most only 2 events a year per track, money has to be made all in one weekend. Most of the tracks don't operate outside of the two race weekends during the year. At the end of the day MONEY IS EVERYTHING in NASCAR, and the racetracks. So I have solutions for both NASCAR and racetracks to try and make it easier on the fans.
Let's start with NASCAR. My first suggestion is to lower the purses at races. As exciting as it is to hear that a driver will win $1,000,000 in one weekend, it is unnecessary to give away this much money 5 or 6 times each season. Lowering the money just 100,000 or so a few times a year will lead to big savings, which can add a little more wiggle room for tickets buyers. Next, make it cheaper for teams to operate. I know the technology used in the sport today is very VERY expensive, but NASCAR does control some of the costs. Give teams a little more freedom with equipment, where they can make money decisions. I know NASCAR wants equal racing, and that can still happen. Part of the fun in old time NASCAR was a variety of different parts and ideas used by each team, build a better car with better gear and you can be a better race team. NASCAR of course would have to mandate things, but let teams experiment a little.
Third, NASCAR could continue to evolve like other major sports, and add a salary cap to each team. Many drivers make over $10,000,000 each season now-a-days. Most of this money is from sponsors, but a cap could keep teams from blowing money are non-quality drivers. This idea is the one I am least serious about, but it was an interesting idea I had. Lastly, NASCAR needs to build up the lower divisions. If you hype up the Xfinity and Trucks Series, more fans will attend events. Simply getting 100 more fans in the stands can equal a few thousand dollars. These events are scheduled to run anyways, so why not develop these series a little more. Switch up rules packages, and maybe even add a Chase to the lower divisions to get fans intrigued.
Now, I want to offer my idea for the tracks. One, offer more local racing events during the year. Most local drivers would love to drive on a registered NASCAR racetrack. Just think if Darlington and tracks alike opened it's doors for local racing every week or other week, drivers would flock to the track. Entry fees, tickets, and concessions would bring in a steady income. Second, offer better quality weekend packages. NASCAR does offer some weekend packages, but I think more can be done. NASCAR needs to start scheduling all series at the same track for 3 days of racing. So let's say all three series run at Texas one weekend, and the Truck ticket is $50, Xfinity is $65, and Cup is $100, the overall price is $215. Now, say NASCAR offers a package for all three events at the price of $250 or $300, it sounds like a deal, so fans will jump at the opportunity. This way NASCAR makes more money, and fans feel like they are getting a better deal.
Overall, I just think NASCAR could do more to help the fans. Families shouldn't have to budget just to go to a single event. Of course going to a race is a luxury thing, and is a big deal, but it should be affordable. NASCAR hasn't been saling out many events these days, and to grow our sport we have to get more butts in the seats. NASCAR is about the atmosphere at each event, but if fans can't afford it, why would they come?
Thanks for the read, I know this one was a little long! Let me know what you think!!!