Speedway Motorsports chairman Bruton Smith has proposed blacking out races in local markets that don’t sell out.
“That’s exactly what should happen,” Smith said. “It worked for the NFL, so you have a forerunner there who has done it successfully.”
I understand his reasoning, but I don’t think it will fly. Auto Club in Fontana doesn’t sell out, but could you imagine one of the largest TV markets in the country not having the race on TV live? I doubt all the sponsors involved in NASCAR would appreciate that.
Another problem is the how large of an area to blackout since NASCAR tracks draw from so many miles away. If Richmond doesn’t sell out does Virginia Beach/Norfolk get blacked out? What about the Washington DC area? Certainly Charlottesville won’t see the race.
And what about Lowes Motorspeedway in Charlotte? If that didn’t sell out then the NASCAR team’s employees that don’t attend races themselves would be left in the lurch.
Any new blackouts would have to wait until a new broadcast contract is completed anyway. There’s no provision for one in the current contract.
I don’t see this happening.