NASCAR has been dealing with declining TV ratings and low attendance for a while now, and Denny Hamlin believes he knows the reason for the latter.
The Joe Gibbs Racing driver finished third in the Toyota Owners 400 on Sunday behind Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski, but there weren’t as many people watching at Richmond International Raceway in Virginia as usual. And while some in the sport might try to tiptoe around the question why, Hamlin was quick to point out that it’s not just NASCAR that’s been suffering.
“It’s 90 degrees and coverage on TV’s pretty excellent, so it’s tough to sit in the bleachers when it’s 90, but who knows?” Hamlin said Sunday, via For The Win. “I think that there’s more to it than just people not watching NASCAR. I think sports in general are way, way down. Attendance is down in a lot of other sports as well. It’s just viewing sports is different now than what it’s ever been.
“People with smartphones — they’re watching races and they’re watching games in the back of their car going up the highway. You don’t have to attend these races anymore. You get such a good experience through your cell phone, so the way we measure attendance and we measure TV ratings and all that — it’s always skewed because we live in a different world now.”
It’s hard to argue with Hamlin’s reasoning here. Not only is weather a deterrent — any outdoor sporting event has this problem — but it’s a lot easier to justify leaving or not even attending a game or a race when you can watch it on a TV or a device, often with a better view.
Thumbnail photo via Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports Images