For a little change of pace, I decided I would talk to someone who isn’t a fan. I wanted to see what his point of view on the sport is and what, if anything the series could do to draw him in.
My friend Eric volunteered to let me ask him a few questions. His answers are below.
1. Are you a fan of any racing series?
Fan might be a strong word… I enjoy watching races for the atmosphere. And hanging out with friends and or family. The race is usually the excuse to make the trip or take the time off.
2. Have you ever been to an Indycar race, when/ where?
Back in the 80’s my family would go to the Indy 500 almost annually. I assume F1 is not Indycar… (though I think they look alike)
3. Is there anything that the drivers or the series could do that would make you a fan?
I am not sure that would make any difference to me :(
4. If the series had a better TV package would you tune in? (think ABC instead of NBC Sports network)
I do not think that coverage would make a difference to me.
5. Does social media influence you in one way or another about attending a race or watching on TV.
I do not think social media influences me on any subjects.
6. Would being able to get involved influence you? (getting to race with drivers for charity, etc)
I like cars and I would like to be able to drive a racecar; however, I am not in a position to donate to charities in an amount that would allow access to this. I believe most people are in the same position as I am. Corporations will be corporations… they will spend their monies the way their leaders want and that is what sports in general need these days. The prices of all professional sporting events has gotten so over the top that the standard person can hardly afford to get behind any professional sport outside of watching them on TV. Then the payrolls for professional athletes come into play with me. The pay has become to extreme that the athletes can no longer really connect with the common fan, no matter what they like to say.
In the case of Eric, it doesn’t sound like there is much hope of converting him into a fan. He does have some good points that the corporate world has driven prices up, including the 500. It is hard for typical families to be able to afford any big sporting event. Please keep in mind that I tried not to lead his answers, so I didn’t tell him about the level of accessibility of drivers and events. The series does do things that are cheap or free that allow families to be able to take part. I think what this interview shows is that the series needs to work to show people that fans do matter and it isn’t just corporations being in charge. One more thing, the different forms of open wheel need to work to differentiate themselves to people who aren’t totally caught up in racing. Eric wasn’t sure if Indy and F1 were the same. Indycar should be able to separate from other types of open wheel.
Although there was no light bulb kind of moment in this interview, I think it was an interesting perspective to hear from. Lets all keep pushing to get new fans, either to watch on TV or in person. Have a good week everyone!