Saturday, January 23, 2010
NASCAR Joins Domino's Pizza: Admits Their Past Product Was Poor
When I heard about all the changes NASCAR was making to better the sport for it’s fans and drivers, all I could think about was how this giant in the business world must have hit rock bottom, or at least the depths close to the bottom that NASCAR has never seen.
The announcements made by the NASCAR suits in Charlotte this past week were highlighted by NASCAR saying they would be “more relaxed” and encourage drivers to show more emotions. They also said changes would be made to increase the hole in the restrictor plates and go back to the spoiler instead of the rear wing.
Many companies in the current economic climate have had to regroup, change strategies and come up with new game plans to be able to realistically forecast growth, but seldom do they admit their faults to the public or financial analysts.
NASCAR’s new plan is to basically go back to the old plan, which is admitting their faults in past changes. It is commendable that they can admit their past failures in decision making, but it would have appeared more earnest if no so desperate.
Once some of the others came along with advertising campaigns just as big, like “Papa John’s“, and revenues were way down making their year over year charts look like the “diver down” flag, they shared all their recipe changes in a last ditch effort to get their slice of the business pie. In doing so, they shared comments from customers about how bad the pizza used to be, “It tasted like cardboard” and “the sauce is like ketchup”.
So now this big business pizza joint, who I thought was just fine but still never ordered much from, is admitting to me how bad the pizza used to be. They’re taking a 50-50 shot that they’ll maybe get some old clientele back, but they’re also alienating those who liked the old stuff. It’s business suicide, but it was a measure they were willing to take before the nose dive went off the charts.
In NASCAR’s case, we don’t have a Papa John’s circuit to run to for alternative stock car racing. It’s the only game in town, but why couldn’t they have come clean with their faults, which everyone had cried aloud about, when everything was rolling well with NASCAR’s bank account and future?
Last season saw television ratings increase slightly in only seven of the 40 NASCAR Sprint Cup events compared to 2008. The economy was bad, but most folks had TV sets before things went sour. The writing was on the wall and they needed some momentum for the next big TV contract in 2014, plain and simple.
The double-file restarts -- in the middle of the down 2009 season -- was a sign that NASCAR would be willing to do just about anything to garner more recognition and impress the sponsors and networks
How do you tell the likes of Kevin Harvick and Kyle Busch to go ahead and be that colorful personality with a style that the fans love and hate equally at the same time when it was NASCAR who made them stay after school writing “I will not misbehave again or else” a thousand times on the chalk board.
In a way, it’s refreshing to see a sport react so swiftly and make the subtle changes. On the other hand, NASCAR is also showing that it’s business is being run like a Korean liquor store where the prices fluctuate on a daily basis with never an ounce of consistency.
Can you picture the NASCAR fan that took a 10-year hiatus from the sport and he’s being told about all the “new” things going on in stock car racing. The first response might be, “why the hell did they make a change to a rule that was already there.”
And I don’t even want to attempt explaining all the add-on changes throughout the Chase for the Championship format, along with why Labor Day weekend doesn‘t have a race at Darlington anymore.
Again, it’s the only game in town.