It is an unfortunate reality that sports are an entertainment. It is not only professional sports, but also amateur sports as well. Entertainment is a business like any other; management needs to innovate to draw new customers while satisfying the existing customers (that?s us fans). Thanks to television, we no longer need to exchange money for entertainment because advertisers are more interested in our attention.
A few months ago Bruton Smith gave the following statement about green-white-checkered finishes.
"We owe that to those race fans. Race fans ? we?ve polled them over the years ? they want to see a green-flag finish. I am a strong advocate of that. We used two of them yesterday ? we still had one to go. I am a very strong advocate because this gives those race fans what they paid for and what the richly deserve and that is a finish under green."
I would like to take this opportunity to clarify what fans are "owed".
A ticket buying fan is owed a place to sit (assuming one's ticket does not indicate "standing room only" admittance). This fan is owed access to a sanitary lavatory. This fan is owed the ability to carry a cooler provided that it conforms to a maximum size and contains no glass items. This fan deserves to watch all competitors in the event try their best to win. The fan deserves the sanctioning body to operate an event in a fair and impartial manner.
The only things Bruton Smith is responsible for are seating areas, toilets, and coolers. Drivers and crews are responsible for the on track product. The sanctioning body only needs to minimize its influence on the event.
If I buy a ticket to a Phillies' game' I am entitled to most of the same things. The players should try their best, the stadium should be clean, etc. With that said, I do not deserve to watch the Phillies win! I do not deserve the game to be entertaining! If the Phillies lose by 25 runs, I cannot do anything about it. This was the risk I willfully took on when I purchased my ticket.
So a ticket buying fan does not deserve to watch an entertaining race, or a green flag finish. That is all part of the risk this fan took on when the tickets were bought. With television (pay-per-view aside) you?re only paying with your attention, so you get a pay-as-you-go system where you only have to watch the things you want to see. The transaction carries less risk, but it lacks a certain ambiance.
Watching the Super Bowl this year, the Colts lead the Saints 10-6 at halftime. In the second half, the Saints came from behind to win the game 31-17. It was a great game and a fascinating story, considering the effects Hurricane Katrina had on New Orleans 5 years ago. So what if the NFL had decided to allow the Saints points to count for double in the second half? What if a hot dog wrapper fell on the field, and in the process of cleaning it up, the Saints were awarded 3 extra points at the start of the second half? A heavy handed sanctioning body complicates things too much. I will have more on that in Part Two.
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