I think it's tough for offshore powerboat racing to gain national TV coverage on a major network regardless of whether or not you're running offshore or "just offshore" (read: beachfront). As a matter of fact, I'm not certain why you would ever want coverage from any of the three major networks...it would be a simple fluff piece with absolutely NO chance of long term support...so quit barking up the tree for CBS, NBC or ABC...they're a complete and total waste of time.
The gig offshore powerboat racing had with Speedvision is what you want...had it not been sold some moron who didn't understand the entire reason for the channel offshore powerboat racing might still be on the air and strong.
When MMA fighting (read: UFC) wanted to grow their sport (the number growing sport worldwide right now), you didn't see them begging a major network...it wouldn't have worked long term and even Dana White was smart enough to realize that...instead they went to Spike and pushed their product there...if it was successful (and they felt it would be) it would have a chance at long term success...had it not been for Spike I can assure you MMA as a sport and the UFC as an organization would not be in their current number one growth spot.
Curling (you know sliding "stones" on the ice) has a better chance of landing a big network deal than offshore racing and it's boring as hell. The problem with offshore racing isn't whether or not it's offshore or next to shore, it's entirely to do with the product itself.
NASCAR is successful for many reasons (even today as they find the need to reinvent themselves), first everyone can identify with the brand of cars as they win. Even Powerboat Magazine has failed offshore powerboat racing by not understanding this relatively easy to understand concept...they rarely mention much about the brands that are racing...particularly not in the race results...the driver/throttleman should be listed as well as the boat model and power...if you want the average boating "Joe" to follow it, give him/her a reason to.
NASCAR is also successful because they market with common everyday products...the product of NASCAR had to become successful before the sponsors came...and that came when more people had their eyes on the cars...not just in the stands but with cameras following them. Not as easily done in offshore racing...spectators can't see anything...and a boat running along the shore, even when traveling in excess of 100mph looks like it's crawling...cameras following the boat...well, you have a much larger canvas with a big offshore boat than a car, but...it's bouncing around and hard to follow all that well...even if you could not many of the boats have major sponsors at this time...again, you have to have the successful formula before you will have big sponsorship opportunities...and offshore powerboat racing just isn't there.
Some of these things might seem petty...but if you add them up they become something larger...and you need to address them one at a time to have a better product to offer.
The history of powerboat racing...well, this in and of itself is the largest detriment to the sport. Anyone looking at promoting the sport let alone televising it is certain to look into the history and while I can promise you it's filled with colorful people...some good, some great and unfortunately some that are down right bad people, there's not a lot of stability in it. Look at the big names that come and go...when one rolls in everyone clammers around them, treats them like Gods and hopes they bring attention to the sport. History has shown time and time again that these people (read: celebrities) come and go quicker than Bravo I with 1000 horsepower in front of it.
NASCAR wasn't built on celebrities...it created them...it created legends. Our sport has great legends...they're just not promoted well. You can't blame promoters for trying to make the best of an actor or singer that jump into our sport...but I think they always do more damage than good.
In the end, I think the sport was making great strides in the late 90's early 00's...I believe Michael Allweiss had a great vision and was pushing it in the right direction but everyone wasn't onboard and ego's got in the way...on both sides. I think this was the closest our sport ever came to going mainstream.
The last thing I will say it that our sport has always had too many people or organizations thinking they can do it better...too many sanctioning bodies trying to deliver the same thing only different...dividing a sport that just wasn't big enough to be divided. Creating animosity between teams, people, companies and even fans.
I don't have all the answers...but if I had a million dollars...well, I'd buy myself a nice boat and run like hell! By the way, did you know gas is less than .15 cents a gallon in Venezuela...imagine that...less than .20 cents a minute at wide open throttle!! Anyone up for a boat ride?