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Why it's not "big" time

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Old 05-18-2005, 11:47 AM
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Default Why it's not "big" time

I have heard time and time again about Offshore Racing being the next "NASCAR" and other such things. It has been debated in this forum numerous times. The most recent was a reasonable discussion prompted by TX2 (who incidentally, knows what he's talking about) In 40 some odd years that I have been associated with boat racing of all types, I have never seen the sport approach its goals and to me the reasons are simple enough.
I worked for NASCAR for several seasons before becoming involved with the boats. Under Bill France Sr. I learned that his secret was "show first, race second". In other words, his concern was that the spectators got a good show and then he worried about the racing. Thus the stories about him throwing yellow flags for no apparent reason. Fact was, he threw them to tighten the field and make a show of it for the spectators. It took about two or three seasons and about six multi-millionaires in the sport before they all started seeing "rabbits on the track" and other such things. In other words they got it. Make it a show.
Most argue about the organizations that sanction the races. I don't think it's the organizations as much as it is the philosophy of the entire sport. I have spoken many times at drivers meetings and such and have gotten all sorts of nods when I talk about putting on the show yet the minute the boats are in the water there's first place half a lap or more in front of second. What kind of television do you think that makes for the average fan at home not to mention the fan watching it live?
I do think that the cutting down of classes is a step in the right direction. I could see something like venues that run multiple classes (so we keep new people coming into the sport) and a circuit that runs premium classes (no it doesn't have to be separate sanctioning bodies or it could be). I remember the hey-days of inboard hydro's when 16 classes would be run and then on top of that you ran two heats to determine the wins. Try to explain that to a fan whose seeing it for the first time.
When a sanctioning body looked at just televising the big classes all sorts of complaints were heard. In fact, the so-called premium classes are the ones that attract the viewers, but everyone was more concerned whether their class or their boat was shown. So the question has to be asked ... is it racing for the racers or racing for the fans?
So far the sport in my 40 plus years has been racing for the racers. The racers want the backing from the fans and enjoy the newspaper articles and such, but when it comes down to the start line it seems to become an individual thing and harkens back to the "my boats faster than your boat" and that's all that matters.
Please don't think I am condemning boat racing in any shape or form. I wouldn't have given so much if I didn't think it was a great sport and more importantly on a personal note, that it had some pretty great folks involved. Some of my best and longest friendships have been from the boat racing world.
APBA was making some big strides when courses were pulled down and put in front of the fans and the yellow flag was introduced. Although things ended badly there was definitely some progress made toward putting on a show that the fans could appreciate and understand.
I guess the summation of this whole thing is to say that the philosophy of the sport has got to change if it is to leave the rut it has been in. It is a great sport with a tremendous potential but it lacks in fan appeal and therefore lacks in sponsorship, television, etc.
My hope in posting this is to try and redirect the debates from sniping at each organization and look to solutions and ways to make this sport not only better but successful. I happen to think that whichever organization you choose to run with, you've got to make it fan friendly and racers on the water will have to do that because no organization can control once the boats leave the dock.

Last edited by Boatnutz; 05-18-2005 at 11:57 AM. Reason: couple of word mistakes
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Old 05-18-2005, 12:26 PM
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Default Re: Why it's not "big" time

Welcome. Nice first post. Would you mind stating who you are?

What's the difference between NASCAR and offshore??? In Offshore, the owners drive their own boats.

I agree, Offshore is about the racers enjoying a weekend in a nice location. And if some people show up to watch, all the better. From what I see a show for the spectators isn't the primary concern.

I agree, that yellow flags made the racing more interesting, just as a restart in NASCAR is exciting to watch. Face it, the best part of a race is the first lap. Yellow flags offered a second start and made for interesting racing.

Will Offshore ever find an audience? Maybe if they stop stepping on their own toes.
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Old 05-18-2005, 12:40 PM
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Default Re: Why it's not "big" time

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron P
Will Offshore ever find an audience?
NO...

Everybody owns a car so they can relate at some level to car racing. Few own boats and have never been on one, they don't care about the sport. Heck...I've owned boats for 35 years and I could care less about the sport!! They even have lawnmower racing on tv more than boat racing!!! I guess everyone owns one of those too LOL!!!!
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Old 05-18-2005, 12:53 PM
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Default Re: Why it's not "big" time

Quote:
Originally Posted by Indy
NO...

Everybody owns a car so they can relate at some level to car racing. Few own boats and have never been on one, they don't care about the sport. Heck...I've owned boats for 35 years and I could care less about the sport!! They even have lawnmower racing on tv more than boat racing!!! I guess everyone owns one of those too LOL!!!!
Ohio State fan, figures.

But I guess I agree to some extent (which is hard for this Michigan Alum to do!). I know a LOT more people who don't own boats and care very little for boat racing... but I know exactly where they are every Sunday afternoon from Feb. to Nov.... in front of the TV watching NASCAR or in their VERY expensive seats at the track.

Part of the problem is that not every venue is as fan freindly as the next... where as all NASCAR tracks are for the most part, very similar to each other.... seats all around.
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Old 05-18-2005, 03:07 PM
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Default Re: Why it's not "big" time

Main reason probably is there are far fewer boat owners than car owners. The big money isn't going to step up and sponsor boat races on TV.
Organizational confusion are an issue also. Again big money isn't going to step up and sponsor.

Cannot get 100.000 spectators near enough to the course in seats at $40 -$100 each.

The unlimited hydros race for the gold cup on the Detroit River each year and estimated crowds of 400, 000 plus attend and event is in continual financial jeopardy.
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Old 05-18-2005, 03:12 PM
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Default Re: Why it's not "big" time

Haven't you heard Offshore boat racing is alive and booming?!?!?
Check out your local Poker Run!
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Old 05-18-2005, 03:19 PM
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Default Re: Why it's not "big" time

The real problem is that there is no infield for rednecks to park their RVs, yella buses and Uhaul campers.

I can't believe you guys missed this.

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Old 05-18-2005, 03:35 PM
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Default Re: Why it's not "big" time

Yup, and no "turn 4" for the ladies to show off the goods either!
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Old 05-18-2005, 03:47 PM
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Default Re: Why it's not "big" time

Quote:
Originally Posted by Troutly
Boatnutz,

I see you signed up this screen name way back in January, 2004, but you have not posted anything while using it until now. Mind telling us what other screen name(s) you are known by?
Maybe he is one heck of a lurker?
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Old 05-18-2005, 07:07 PM
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Default Re: Why it's not "big" time

Quote:
Originally Posted by fund razor
Maybe he is one heck of a lurker?
no one could hold back that long
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