NASCAR, like all professional sports organizations, is looking for ways to get fans more engaged. And one thing that could make a considerable difference is fantasy sports.
Fantasy racing already exists in NASCAR and other circuits. But if you’ve ever played, you might’ve noticed the feeling that something just seems to be missing.
During a recent episode of his “Dale Jr. Download” podcast, Dale Earnhardt Jr. explained that NASCAR might’ve already found the solution to making fantasy racing more interesting.
“One thing about the stages I think is interesting — and I know this sounds trivial — but NASCAR struggled for a really, really long time trying to create a fantasy platform,” Earnhardt said. “There’s millions of dollars in fantasy sports, right? Look at the NFL — there’s millions of dollars in that industry.
” … So NASCAR struggled to find a way to make fantasy fun. We’d get scored at the end of the race and at the end of the race only. So how do you make that fun?”
Earnhardt raises a great point. The allure of most fantasy sports is the extra incentive it creates not just to watch more games, but to watch them more closely. What if fantasy football players only saw their points rack up after games finished?
That’s how NASCAR fantasy works in most formats, but Earnhardt thinks stage racing changes everything.
“So the stages provide an opportunity for NASCAR to have a legitimate fantasy platform, for drivers to actually score points in the middle of the race, so you’re watching the race and seeing your teams do well and fantasy play out before your eyes,” the Hendrick Motorsports driver said. “It’s much like when you’re watching an NFL game, and your running back scores a touchdown. Boom! Four, six points, whatever.”
Obviously, NASCAR has a long ways to go before its fantasy platform comes within a light year of fantasy football’s popularity. But hey, if it does, perhaps the soon-to-be retired Earnhardt could become NASCAR’s version of Matthew Berry.
Thumbnail photo via Mike DiNovo/USA TODAY Sports Images
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