Sports fans have no shortage of options to watch nowadays, and in at least one case, the old school might be losing ground to the new school.
Rallycross is a relatively new sport — having been invented in 1968 — but has gained a lot of popularity recently, both internationally and in the U.S. By contrast, baseball, which is considered America’s pastime, has seen the size its fan base slowly decline.
Hoonigan Racing’s Ken Block think he knows why.
The FIA WRX driver told SVT Performance he thinks the combination of rallycross’ format, exciting highlights and close racing is allowing it to succeed, while traditional sports are struggling to adapt.
“(Rallycross), to me, fits into the way consumers want to be fed information,” Block told SVT Performance. “It’s short spurts of really good racing and then it stops. So you get to watch lots of little races, and it’s lots of little bits of information that tends to be on the phone or the computer.
“Even the highlight reels — if you watch the highlights that World Rallycross puts out — they put up, like, four minutes and it covers like two heats, but in those two heats you get to see the highlights of eight little races. So it’s a lot of little bits of action that happen that make it a cool motorsport for people to absorb.”
Block also suggested sports like baseball and NASCAR, which have seen some degree of decline in viewership, no longer fit the way millenials want to consume sports.
“My dad loved baseball and I have friends that love NASCAR,” Block said, via SVT. “I can’t watch three hours of one sport. It’s too slow for me. I think that’s why some of these sports, over time, need to change or they are going to suffer like baseball is now.”
If America were to build a purpose-built rallycross circuit, which Block hopes it does, the sport could gain even more traction. Should that happen, more traditional sports could have change even more quickly to meet the evolving expectations of modern consumers.
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Thumbnail photo via FIA WRX