While most people probably would have scoffed at the thought of NASCAR becoming family friendly ten years ago, it, it is now becoming a more and more difficult question to answer. In fact, it is a discussion that is becoming more and more prevalent after Formula One decided to ditch Grid Girls in an effort to appear more progressive to the main stream media.
Unfortunately for NASCAR, it now faces the beast that is family friendly in the eyes and decided between mainstream appeal and the fans that are still dedicated to the sport. Yeah, that probably not a lot of people on the latter side, especially after a multitude of retirements, constant rule changes and a playoff system that turned tons of fans off the sport completely , but does NASCAR really have to sell them out to appease others?
Pro: More mainstream appeal.
This is a hard thing to say, but i think everyone can realize that NASCAR would have a lot more mainstream appeal if they would just be a little more progressive. That’s not to say that NASCAR has to go all out and endear themselves to The Democratic party or decry Donald Trump, but they do need to understand that some parts of their culture’s are frowned upon for various reasons.
Wit that being said, it would be probably be a good idea if NASCAR continued to deny more mature sponsors, stayed neutral on politics and actually banned The Rebel Flag. In the end, at least doing those things wouldn’t scare other people off from giving the sport a chance. Like it or not, political linage is a very prominent thing for an public entity and by playing the game of becoming more family friendly, NASCAR is opening itself to more possibilities.
Con: Alienating more fans.
If there is one thing NASCAR needs to do right now to survive, its to not alienate its fans anymore. Of course some NASCAR fans are fickle and will leave for the most ridiculous of reasons like a bad call or rule change, but there is no doubt that becoming family friendly would be the straw that broke the camels back. It could even the dumbest decision NASCAR has made in the last five years alone.
Lets be honest here. NASCAR fans don;t want this! Maybe some do and they probably deserve to enjoy the sport too, but it affects things that make the sport special. Why would NASCAR have to sacrifice its identity here as a southern style rebel sport in order to bring in more fans. One would hope that NASCAR would have more respect for itself then that, but with the things they have been doing in the past couple of years, its hard to think that.
Pro: Younger fans
Its no secret that NASCAR is a business and while longtime NASCAR fans probably wish that they were pandered to from time to time, it makes more sense for NASCAR to go after the younger crowd. Not only does this move allow NASCAR to slowly become more and more acceptable to watch with the family, it will also create lifelong fans who will one day turn the race on for their family as well.
This creates a customer in NASCAR’s mind and allows them to sell the family on merchandise, various sponsors and tickets to upcoming events for life. Then there’s the fact that doing so might endear the young children to NASCAR as well and that also has the possibility of creating fans for life. Either way, becoming more family friendly is a great way to put more and more eyes on the sport, but it does with the above mentioned cost.
Con: losing its identity.
NASCAR is not a mainstream sport and if it does somehow become one in the near future , it will be the final nail in the coffin that finally kills the sport for good. Think about it! NASCAR gained popularity back in the late 70’s and early 80’s because of the attitude of the sport. It was bold, brash, and it had a sexy southern charm that could attract even the most skeptical people.
It had larger then life personalities like Dale Earnhardt, Richard Petty, Cale Yarbrough, Michael Waltrip that all talked up the sport in the best way possible. Not only that, it had rivalries that brought fans to their feet and left them in the complete shock, which are all part of NASCAR’s appeal. Its not something that can be bottled up and sold as a commodity or molded into a family friendly spectacle Its something organic and that shouldn’t be touched.