I am not one who is unable to admit when I am wrong...and I was wrong here. I thought that the LOORRS broadcast this past weekend would draw a larger audience than the prior TORC shows had on ABC. Incorrect.
On a holiday weekend with no NASCAR and on a network that has historically done well with short-course off-road racing, I anticipated an increase in ratings over this year's TORC results. What did the first network LOORRS broadcast generate?
A 0.5 which is EXACTLY the same as the last TORC broadcast a few weeks back. While the 0.5 is better than the September TORC show it is not as high as the 0.7 for the TORC broadcast earlier in the year. Again, as with the 0.5 for TORC, the LOORRS broadcast had an estimated 575,000 households tuning in with an estimated 633,000 viewers.
So...no knockout blow here. If LOORRS had been able to knock one out of the park with this broadcast by generating a 1.0 or higher it would have put them in a VERY strong position with NBC and advertisers coming in to '10. So what's the reason for the lack of improving ratings? By all accounts the LOORRS broadcast was better looking, better announced and better edited than the TORC programs and it wan't facing significantly different viewing competition (the NFL was on opposing channels for both the last TORC broadcast and this LOORRS show).
That leaves me with marketing...In both cases ABC and NBC failed to run a single promo (that I saw) for either broadcast. Now this is pretty standard with NBC's compilation shows (Jeep World of Adventure Sports, etc.) but if short course is ever going to grow beyond just filler for a network to throw in on a given weekend the network will have to take an active roll in promoting the sport. Its a chicken and egg thing I'm afraid and without an overwhelming reason, the networks are just not going to invest the money necessary to build an audience.