Stuff I Read This Week

Steven Gardner writes:

Three items I read this week are pertinent to the discussion here. Two deal with NASCAR’s ratings. One is about the Sonics deal in the Legislature.

The New York Times addressed NASCAR’s ratings.

H. A. Wheeler, longtime race promoter and president of Lowe’s Motor Speedway in North Carolina, said that Nascar is in transition as it struggles to straddle two worlds.

“Are we moonshiners, country music, banjos and Route 66?” said Wheeler, who is known as Humpy. “Or are we merlot and Rodeo Drive? We just have to settle down and say: ‘Is this what we want? Exactly who are we?’ ”

The comment at the end of the story was telling.

In the Los Angeles Times Ed Hinton addresses the same idea, but does a good job providing context to NASCAR’s recent decline.

If NASCAR is running a ratings fever, then the NBA is burning up. On the same Sunday as the Bristol race’s 17-point ratings dip, the NBA ratings for nationally televised games dropped 29% from last year . . .

The Texas race was easily the most-watched sports event of last weekend, drawing a 5.6 in the final Nielsen ratings released Thursday, to 2.2 for the NBA’s most popular game, both nationally and in Texas, the Dallas Mavericks vs. the San Antonio Spurs.

Major League Baseball managed only a 2.4 cumulative for regional games, the PGA Tour a 1.9, the LPGA a 1.3 and the NHL playoffs 1.3.

Year-round, NASCAR remains a solid second to the NFL in ratings.

In Seattle David Postman asks, Did Semantics Kill the Sonics Arena?

Several of the lawmakers who met with Gov. Chris Gregoire this afternoon to talk about a financing plan for the Sonic said the deal was doomed this session because it focused too much on basketball. There may not be support for a basketball arena, they said, but there could be for a “multi-purpose facility” with a basketball team as the key tenant.

In Christopher Dunagan’s story about the proposed track property being in limbo, some of the same kind of conversation took place.

Ben Pecora, director of Kitsap Sports Council, said he has been working with community groups to expand ball fields and other sports venues throughout Kitsap County. He said he had been talking with ISC about using the site for community events.

“I couldn’t believe there wasn’t more emphasis on developing space around the track for fields,” he said. “There just aren’t enough places for people to play.”

Track supporters did try to sell the idea using the site as home to a new place for local events, such as business conferences, scouting events and soccer games.

It’s as true as Renton arena fans talking about having a major political party convention in town one day. I mean it could happen. Other stuff will happen too. But we’re not doing any of this for that, anymore than I’d put an elephant in my front yard for the fertilizer.

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