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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Maybe the biggest Myth in NASCAR



It only took a couple of hours for the complaints and whining concerning the TeVee broadcast of the Daytona 500 to take shape on message boards and blogs. One of the most common issues race fans seem to have is the number of commercials during a broadcasting of a race. This re-occurring theme has been played out season after season but does it really hold water? Or is it simply something that is told over and over enough that the masses believe it to be true without actually looking at the facts.

Back in 2003 this same complaint came up with some racing friends on the Sadler Fan Club Message Board where I used to write a precursor to this blog once a week called ‘Wednesday Rant’ where we addressed the ‘too many commercials’ complaint. In a nutshell, the complaint was that the Network TeVee package had ‘much more’ commercials than the old TNN/ESPN days. But when asked, no one could bring some factual numbers to the debate. But that all change, when Racingone.com did an independent analysis of the 2000 thru the 1st part of the 2003 season and showed that the commercial time for a NASCAR broadcast had not significantly changed no matter who was broadcasting it. Unfortunately those threads from SFC are long gone, but I did save the excel spreadsheet data I collected from that Racingone.com study. Now with the hard work from cawsnjaws.com, this data can be updated and compared. Lets take a look at the Daytona 500 from the start of the invocation to the waving of the checkered flag:

Network Total minutes of Broadcast total minutes of race broadcast Total minutes of Broadcast Commercials % of race broadcast
2000 CBS 205 162 43 79.02%
2001 FOX 201 157 44 78.11%
2002 NBC 229 180 49 78.60%
2003 FOX N/A due to rain broadcast

2004 FOX no data available

2005 FOX 268 207 61 77.24%
2007 FOX 235 176 59 74.89%
2008 FOX 218 166 52 76.15%


At a glance one might think that going from a 79% coverage of a race to a 76% is just proving the naysayer’s point, however I would point out that a 3% change in a broad sense equates to less than 30 seconds of additional commercial time per half hour. More importantly this equates to about a half a lap of 'action missed’ per half hour. That is simply not significant. More importantly over this decade, there is over a 77% average of race coverage for the ‘Great American Race’. This is not bad at all considering this is a FREE broadcast.

As the season continues, I will be readdressing this issue and further updating the figures with other race/venue data and see where this 'myth' goes.

2 comments:

MArc said...

So, when will you be joining Jamie and Adam on the MythBusters cast?

Word of advice if you do, hands off Kari, she's all MINE!!

vroom said...

Good stats, not much of a % decrease, but still a decrease.