Promotion. In most forms, realms or types – whether it be sports, or movies or products – is almost always laced in some way with exaggeration. And for the most part, consumers are willing to understand and live with that fact.
Despite another new try with another confusing format, Saturday’s NASCAR Sprint Showdown turned out to be another in a long line of less than dramatic or exciting All-Star events.
Turn to any form of NASCAR covering media over the past three days and the theme has been the same: How can NASCAR fix its All-Star event?
Contrived efforts to somehow take action-sapped racing and turn it interesting through formatted segments, field inversions, mandatory pit stops or even confusing mathematics involving average finishes has only served to turn uninteresting into uninteresting and complicated.
And lost in all the talk of quick fix gimmicks to return a once proud event to glory is the question of how much damage has been done by the continued push of disingenuous marketing?
Promoting the NASCAR All-Star event as no holds barred shootout is like the WNBA promoting itself as an above the rim slam dunk fest. NASCAR is guilty, the track ownership is guilty, the broadcasting partners are guilty and even the drivers are guilty.
Pushed on fans annually in the weeks leading up to the All-Star event is a story of the astonishing dramatics that’s in store at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Listen to drivers talk when asked about the All-Star event in the weeks leading up to it and one would think upcoming was theater on par to rival the Gladiators vs. the Lions.
Talk is about letting it all hang out, doing anything to win because no points and big money are on the line. Offered are overhyped predictions of beating, banging, gouging and rooting for every position on the track.
And they know it won’t happen because they know they’re the one’s that won’t do it. Maybe 20 years ago, not today.
Beating, banging, pushing, shoving, going for it all on the track with no regard for the consequences? Sure, that’s a pretty picture painted of the days of old when it comes to stock racing and the early days of the All-Star event, but it’s hardly representative of what fans are going to see these days at speed on most 1.5-mile cookie cutter ovals like Charlotte Motor Speedway.
And yet it’s a myth still pushed and pushed and pushed every year.
And when people get sold a bill of goods over and over they most likely are going to stop buying into whatever they’re being sold going forward. Ultimately the ticket-buying consumer will decide if the All-Star event needs to remain. Selling them annually on a blockbuster that will never really happen is only going to serve to hurt the product more and more each year no matter the format.