The 54th running of the Daytona 500 has been postponed and NASCAR may have to answer to its fans before they're lost. For the first time in NASCAR history, the Daytona 500 will be run on a Monday and this will sure hurt the attendance at the Great American Race.
The new proposed date and time for the Daytona 500 will be Monday Feb. 27 at 7 p.m
In the early days of NASCAR, it had been a regional sport in the south east of the country. For years, NASCAR has run its top-series events on a Sunday, and when it was not as popular that was fine. People were not traveling far to attend events, but now its popularity is growing as it expands in the country.
Many people travel from all over the world to the Daytona 500 and NASCAR boasts that year after year there are many countries that fans have traveled from to attend. Nearly 200,000 people attend the Great American Race each year. Hopefully their flights were not early Monday.
The television ratings are bound to take a huge hit, as well. Being the highest viewer draw for NASCAR each year,the potential decline in viewership is going to hurt. A secret for advertisers: many new commercials are aired during the Daytona 50, and for years now these commercials have been better then most Superbowl commercials. It will be interesting to see if the same commercials will be aired during the postponed race. I can bet that NASCAR has a live stream of the race on NASCAR.com tomorrow, which it has done in the past for postponed races.
Although it is the first time the Daytona 500 has been run on Monday, this is not the first time a NASCAR event had to be run on Monday. When this happens, it appears that the stands are nearly empty during the postponed race. While I don’t expect the stands to be empty for the biggest race of the year, there will definitely be empty seats, and a lot of them.
I think it may be time to abolish the old tradition and have more races on Saturday. It is the only option in today’s day and age when fans work for big corporations and multinational organizations. These corporations may not be as lenient as the mom-and-pop shops that employed some people in the 60s, 70s and 80s when NASCAR didn’t draw the attendance and the attention it does today.
If more races, or at least the Daytona 500, were run on a Saturday, it could solve the fan, television and logistical issues that may happen if a rain out occurs. It may even boost attendance at some of the tracks that continuously don't sellout. It would also give fans an extra day to travel.
Some people spend thousands of dollars to attend the Daytona 500 this year. I hope they are able to take another day off of work.
NASCAR, it's time to make a change.