Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Down Weekend for Offroad Motorsports on Network TV...

Well, that's not progress...

Global Rallycross has not generated any appreciable growth over the course of '14 and has actually regressed in terms of ratings over the past two events and LOORRS has continued its regular broadcasts on CBS but its ratings have stayed flat to marginally down over the past two years.

Now I'm not on the inside of the companies paying for these events to be broadcast on Network TV so in truth I really have NO IDEA whether perhaps even at the current ratings levels that their producers are happy.  It is certainly a possibility that NBC and CBS sell their airtime to Lucas and GRC at a low enough level that they can sell their advertising spots at a rate for them to turn a profit...maybe.

What I can tell you is that I've been tracking these ratings on a general basis for a number of years now, dating back to the old CORR days.  While its been great to see offroad motorsports (primarily short course) appear on network TV on a regular basis over the past few years, the ratings generated from it have not moved.  We now regularly see short course, Baja events, rallycross, stage rally, motocross, Best in the Desert and more on Network and near network (see NBCSN, CBS Sports, etc.) sources yet the broadcasts most accessible to the America public (the over the air broadcasts) have stagnated in terms of ratings/viewers.  There is a core audience here and these broadcasts are reaching this audience but they aren't bringing in a growing audience of viewers.  You can debate the reasons but the facts by now are fairly clear.

There is a lot to be said for the inconsistency and "random" nature of these broadcasts.  If you are a NASCAR fan you KNOW that pretty much every weekend there is a race (which is often EVERY weekend) you can sit down around 1PM Eastern and catch the race.  If you are a football fan (college or NFL) you KNOW that every Saturday or Sunday the games will be on during the season.  For offroad motorsports??  Well, there you can look up the schedule on any one of a dozen or more websites for the various series and see if the event is shown on a Saturday or a Sunday, early afternoon, late afternoon or if it will be another month before another broadcast is available (often the case), is it on CBS?  CBS Sports?  MavTV?  Do I get MavTV?.  This is just the nature of the beast with offroad racing at this point.  Its not NASCAR with live events taking place every weekend at the same time on the same channel and thus it has an uphill battle to to fight just in terms of getting casual viewers to watch.

For this past weekend, GRC saw a 0.3 rating on NBC which tied for the weekend's lowest rated sporting event on Network TV with the LOORRS which it faced off directly against in the same time slot over on CBS from 2-3PM Eastern.  Perhaps you could make the argument that either show's ratings would have been higher if they hadn't been facing off against one another and instead were competing for viewers against say...gymnastics or golf or the like.  Certainly I've made a case here before of combining the audiences of offroad motorsports that are shown at the same time, so I'll do so here again for the sake of positivity.  During this time period there was a combined 0.6 rating for offroad motorsports on Network TV equating to some 694,000 households and 763,000 people watching offroad racing of some kind during this period.  Now this doesn't help the advertisers who paid only to be on one broadcast or the other and got their message in front of "only" about 350,000 households and 382,000 people during this time.

The NBC broadcast of the Red Bull Hare Scramble which followed the GRC broadcast beat out both of the "car" oriented race shows with a 0.4 rating grabbing about 460,000 households and 510,000 viewers.  This holds true to another long term trend that I've noticed--whether its motocross, supercross or various Red Bull motorcycle events, they do usually out-rate the offroad "car" racing.  I would have a tendency to attribute that to the larger fan/participation rate of motorcycle racing.  While an extreme minority of people have ever driven in a SCORE, BITD, or Rally event of any kind you can show up in nearly any geographic region in the country on any weekend and find a number of motocross tracks, hare scrambles, trail rides, etc.  The sheer participation rate of offroad motorcycle riders dwarfs that of any combination of desert/shortcourse/rally drivers by what has to be many magnitudes and thus its a lot easier to find an individual who is familiar with jumping their motorcycle through the woods or over a tabletop, flipping through the channels and staying with one of these shows than it is short course, desert or rally.  That said, these motorcycle event ratings are never MASSIVELY better than these other offroad broadcasts...just marginally better...


TELECAST
DATE
NET
TIME (ET)
RATING
"World of X Games: Women of Action"
7/26
ABC
3:00-4:00pm
0.3
"ESPN Sports Saturday"
7/26
ABC
4:00-6:00pm
0.5
Lucas Oil Off Road Racing
7/26
CBS
2:00-3:00pm
0.3
PGA Tour: RBC Canadian Open: Third Round
7/26
CBS
3:00-6:00pm
0.4
Guinness Int'l Champions Cup: Manchester United-AS Roma
7/26
Fox
4:00-6:00pm
0.5
"UFC on Fox 12": Prelims
7/26
Fox
6:00-8:00pm
0.8
"UFC on Fox 12": Robbie Lawler-Matt Brown
7/26
Fox
8:00-10:00pm
1.6
Global Rallycross
7/26
NBC
2:00-3:00pm
0.3
Red Bull Hare Scramble
7/26
NBC
3:00-4:30pm
0.4
Asics World Series Of Beach Volleyball
7/26
NBC
4:30-6:00pm
0.5
"Road to the PGA Championship"
7/27
CBS
2:00-3:00pm
0.5
PGA Tour: RBC Canadian Open: Final Round
7/27
CBS
3:00-6:00pm
1.8
Tour de France review show
7/27
NBC
2:00-3:30pm
0.4
Asics World Series Of Beach Volleyball
7/27
NBC
3:30-5:00pm
0.6
Breeders' Cup Challenge Series: Haskell Invitational
7/27
NBC
5:00-6:00pm
0.8

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