Hooray hooray, it's finally Y2K! With any luck, we can now put the faux "end of the century" hoopla behind us and get on with the rest of our lives! It promises to be an exciting year, on and off the track. The two major sanctioning bodies are busily touting their new products only time will tell if it's hype or reality.
It's been a good start for Drag Racing Online also. We at DRO truly enjoy what we do, and we appreciate all of you who take the time to log on and check out what we have to say. We'll do our best to hold up our end of the bargain and bring you the best in on-line drag racing coverage.
Speaking of coverage, NHRA finally saw fit to release it's television schedule for the coming season. NHRA heralds it as "the best ever". If so, why the delay in releasing it? More likely, they realize (as we do) that it is a retreat of sorts from where they were just a few short years ago.
With all events shown live or same-day tape delayed, at least we will know where and when to tune in. But I don't view the tape delay angle as much of a positive, in terms of attracting new fans to the sport. For one thing, it puts drag racing up against prime time TV (such as it is). Secondly, history tells us that tape delay does not equal ratings points. No ratings points, no advertiser interest. No advertiser interest, no increase in available sponsorships. Etc, etc, etc!!
On a more positive note, "NHRA Today" will return to the air waves, albeit in a different form and using a different name. I always viewed that show as one of the few worthwhile things NHRA did, WHEN they used the airtime to profile sportsman racers and/or low buck nitro racers. Forget the comedy skits, and dump the speeches by the empty suits and you've got a pretty fair weekly show. There's only one problem - it isn't going to be a weekly show! It will air on race weekends only. Fellas, if ya want to "drive tune in", you need to be pitching the message every week! Make all the usual excuses it doesn't matter! Find a way to make it happen!
Speaking of an industry making it happen, let me present Horse Racing! The smart money was saying "extinction" for this sport only a few months ago. All measurable indicators pointed down, with no real consensus on how to right the ship. But late in the year, Horse Racing made a bold move: they formed their own television network!
Through an alliance with TV Guide and the Dish Satellite TV Network, horse racing is on live television seven days a week, from noon until 10 PM. You can't bet on it yet (unless you live in Kentucky, Maryland or Oregon), but all parties have signed on for a ten year commitment, and are in for the long haul.
See anything ya like here, Powers That Be? Let's see: long term commitment, significant (and real) marketing / financial / media partners, constant exposure on television. All it took was a bit of vision, and the will to make a bold move. Food for thought, at the very least, wouldn't you say?
As always, e-mails are welcome - it's firstname.lastname@example.org.
photos by Jeff Burk
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