It's no secret that NASCAR has suffered substantial attendance losses over the last several years.
Where the sport was once flying high and was the envy of most other sports leagues with one race sellout after the next, recent attendance woes have cost NASCAR and its fans deeply.
But at the same time, even with conspicuous empty seats at many NASCAR tracks, the fact remains that the sport is still pulling in more fans on a Sunday afternoon or Saturday night than most other sports events—even more than the typical NFL game.
While we may have gotten spoiled for years, if not decades, of regularly having 160,000 fans at Bristol Motor Speedway or 150,000 fans at Texas Motor Speedway, having maybe 110,000 at Bristol or 100,000 at Texas today is still a heck of a lot better than most other sports venues.
Admittedly, money is the biggest reason for the loss of many fans. While race tickets remain fairly affordable when compared to other prime seating in other sports, it's all the other ancillary costs that factor in to whether fans can still afford to make it to places like Talladega, Richmond, Watkins Glen or even Daytona.
While it may cost you $50 or $75 for a race ticket, things like airfare, gas, rental cars—and especially hotels—often drives the price tag out of reach of fans today.
Example: When I was a regular at Bristol Motor Speedway from 2001 through 2008, I'd attend each spring and summer race. Without exception, I'd wind up spending anywhere from $1,500 to as much as $2,200 for airfare, rental car, food, gas and of course, hotels for a typical three- or four-day weekend.
Hotels in the Bristol (both Va. and Tenn.), Johnson City, Kingsport and surrounding locales within an hour's drive of the track regularly charged $200 to $400 PER NIGHT for a room that normally would go for maybe one-fourth of that amount on non-race weekends.
It's no wonder so many fans have stopped coming to races. While they would love to see the action in person—there's really no other experience like it—they can just as easily as watch races on TV and in the comfort of their own homes and save themselves a heck of a chunk of change.
It's a no-brainer for most.
But NASCAR continues to try different things to bring back fans that have scaled back on attending races in-person. There have been countless promotions, ticket price incentives and more, but attracting fans—and also creating new ones—remains a slow and difficult process at times.
Here's five suggestions we'd like to see implemented to hopefully lift up attendance next season and beyond. While we'll likely never see the kind of capacity crowds we saw in NASCAR's heydays from about 1996 through 2006, there's still hope that current numbers will start going back up rather than continue to stay stagnant or even drop as they have been in the last few years.
Let's also hear your suggestions, as well.