Albert Einstein Politely Begs To Differ, George

According to the unstoppable blogging machine known as George Phillips, VERSUS can expand its IndyCar audience not by altering the way in which the League is packaged to (and perceived by) the masses, but rather through the re-broadcasting of old races. During the off-season. To people who aren’t necessarily IndyCar fans. The rationale?

This could give them a different audience than the hockey fans they get in the winter months. They could also use this programming to attract more fans to the IndyCar season in the spring. Versus is doing an outstanding job with their broadcasts. Now they just need to get people to watch them.

Doing the same thing over and over again while expecting different results? Why that almost seems … insane.

Except George Phillips is not insane. He’s a talented writer who requires zero sleep, sure … but he’s certainly not insane. No, it’s just that he — and most of you — are die-hard IndyCar fans who genuinely love open-wheel racing. You love everything about it. To the point where, in this crucial fishing expedition for more viewers & fans, you’re convinced that we’ve got just the right bait. And if nobody’s biting? Well that’s quite simple, you say. MORE BAIT!!!

My thought? Why not try … different bait?

For the second time in as many weeks, I’m re-proposing my “Hard Knocks”-style television series for IndyCar. Because — again — the reality of the situation is this: it’s not the racing action that will initially attract newcomers to the sport … it’s the racing personalities. And if you don’t agree with that, then you didn’t see Tony Kanaan’s video yesterday. All it did was do more for the recruitment of new fans than all of this year’s races combined.

Understand, re-airing old races probably would “rekindle” the flames of wayward or disinterested IndyCar fans, as George suggests, and there is certainly value to that. But let us not presume that it will stoke the interest of those who were never fans to begin with. That’s been tried already. Repeatedly. Why should we expect different results now?

I thank you all for your time, and good day.

(We now return to your regularly scheduled pointless irreverency & snark.)

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Albert Einstein Politely Begs To Differ, George

  1. I agree that Americans love to watch “personalities” and celebrities. NAPCAR series are popular because fans watch their favorite celebrity drivers in trucks and cars bearing huge numbersthat they can easily follow around oval tracks.. IndyCar has foreign drivers that ‘mericans haven’t seen coming up through sprint cars, ARCA series an’ Nationwide series, driving formula cars with small numbers that can’t be easily followed’ on street course and road courses. IndyCar teams have identically-painted cars which don’t help fans spot and follow chosen racers. NAPCAR tin-tops are so much easier for the drunken masses to watch, and the racers are mostly ‘mericans that they can see on 17 Speed channel shows, cardboard cut-outs in retail stores and 189 TV ads for beer and cars and trucks. Exposure, celebrity and personalities are key to popularity of a race series. Unless Versus runs shows showcasing the men and women without their helmets, the indifferent fans will remain indifferent until a flaming tragedy is shown on SportsCenter.

  2. What’s with all the “quotation marks?” I agree — I wouldn’t watch repeats of old races, and I’m a pretty hard-core fan. Unless maybe it was the race where Sarah Fisher led late at Michigan. But that’s about it. Rerun Mid-Ohio? Hardly worth my time the first time around. Rerun the 1989 Indy 500. Probably won’t watch. Bigger fish to fry and more live, new, never-been-seen-before things competing for my attention.

  3. Double Secret

    I would definitely watch. I frequently tape races to watch later, including in the winter. Granted, I would not bother with this year’s Mid-Ohio; but this has been a boring year. It has been exciting in the past, it will be exciting again.

  4. P Daddy

    Roy I agree but have to disagree. Haven’t they tried the alternative already? Helio on one of the biggest shows in pop culture didn’t bring viewers. Danica showing her ass in SI hasn’t brought new viewers. Throwing a “Hard Wrecks” style show isn’t going to bring new viewers. The problem is this, noone watches Versus. Plain and simple. Today’s viewers don’t search channels they’re not used to watching. Too many other options. So you have to give people a reason to tune to Versus. Maybe if we had “Housewives of the IRL” or “The Bachelor” with one of the metro drivers than you could get women to watch. Only guys who like racing would watch “Hard Wrecks”, get the ladies involved and you got yourself sumpin’!!!

  5. Hamilton Fish

    P Daddy…I would agree with you, but then how to you explain the success of Bravo, History Channel, Discovery and VH1? Aside from the History Channel’s nightly ode to the 3rd Reich and or “Revelations: This Shit Will Be Crazy If It Does Go Down” those channels have dogshit programming and yet people flock there. Word of mouth still is one of the most viable forms of marketing.

  6. BC

    HEY, wow, so for example we could have:

    A documentary-style miniseries featuring Sarah Fisher Racing’s 2010 go at the ICS (drama, tears, the underdog factor, etc.)

    A more in-depth miniseries following any one team’s Month of May. This could either be a team like Andretti Green (Danica draws ‘em in, TK keeps ‘em watching) or a “chasing the dream” kind of situation like an Indy one-off with a young American driver.*

    “The Milka Way: Her Own Line”
    (A joke. But who could resist?)

    *I suppose procuring one of those in the first place might be the biggest challenge…

  7. P Daddy

    Hamilton Fish, then your answer is the product. Maybe we need to take a good hard look at the fact that people just don’t care about IndyCar racing. Word of mouth isn’t working for IndyCar. Because if it did they’d watch. What were VS ratings for the Tour De France? What were their ratings for the Stanley Cup? Not always the most interesting products but with the right personalities and reasons people tuned in. Obviously it ain’t working with IndyCar or the ratings would reflect it.

  8. izod9

    Versus could run “Best crashes of the IRL” in the off season and some people might watch. I’d watch. Whatever happened to Speed’s crash highlights at Christmas, it was my favorite show of the year.

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