I think anyone who has any clue about the economies of Florida, Arizona, Las Vegas, or Tennessee is getting sick and tired of hearing the non-stop whining and complaining that it is the economy, and only the economy, that caused the Jeff Byrd 500 to not be a sellout. I had a lot of emails pointing the finger at the enormous gas prices that Tennessee supposedly has. Well, let’s be original and start researching for ourselves.
[media-credit name=”CIA Stock Photo” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]Before I start, I will say I enjoyed the race, but I honestly like the old Bristol surface better. I think that the bumping and banging style that Bristol used to offer was much more exciting. Still an exciting race, but not what it used to be. Is that why the numbers were so low? No. It’s a combination of many things as I will show you.
If any of you guys have ever been down to Daytona and I’m not just talking about the track, what do you see? This town isn’t very classy. There are plenty of trailer parks to be seen and unfortunately many people consider the place to be a slum, with the exception of the race track. Daytona International Speedway is the only source for any economic boom in that city. Daytona’s unemployment rate comes dangerously close to 13% and as a state, Florida is about 12%. The Daytona 500 this year did sell out, so for some people that was surprising, but it is a new year and it’s always good to start off on the right track. There were no delays to fix a pot hole this time around. The average price for a gallon of gasoline in Florida is actually higher than the average for the entire country at $3.55 per gallon. Daytona track President Joie Chitwood III realizes this and says, Well hey…we need to lower the ticket prices. Done. More fans come.
Ok, so we arrive in Phoenix. Unemployment in Avondale is about 10% and relatively the same for the state. Gas prices are about $3.54 per gallon on average, so Arizona and Florida are kinda in that same area. Hotel prices are relatively the same, but it really depends where you stay. If you stay at a resort, you will pay higher prices. That is obvious. This race also sold out! Woah…we are really on a roll this year. Now, we go to Las Vegas a city that really needs a boost.
Welcome to Las Vegas and holy…gas prices are through the roof compared to Florida and Arizona. On average it costs about $3.67 per gallon and the unemployment rate has jumped to a record 15%! Las Vegas had an unemployment rate of just 3% in 2004. I got a lot of emails saying for example things like this, “There is no way they are going to sell out! HAHA NO Way!!” And guess what? The race sold out.
Obviously the economy isn’t having much of an effect on the fans and the sport they love. In case you didn’t know, all three of these race tracks cut the prices to the races and look at the difference!
And after a two week break we are now in Thunder Valley for the Jeff Byrd 500. Bristol has an unemployment rate of about 10% and some guys said, “Oh man. This is cake. They will sell out again.” Uh oh. We have run into a problem…this race fell way short of expectations. Is it the economy? No. If you haven’t taken a good look at Las Vegas’s economic problems, then take another look. What did Bristol Motor Speedway not do that the other tracks mentioned did? They lowered the prices of the tickets. This is a continuing problem in other sports for example, the NFL. Tom Brady makes $25,000 an hour + endorsements. Fans are no longer willing to pay arm and leg to see a football game. The players are making and demanding so much money, the prices are getting higher and higher.
The Green Bay Packers for example have announced that they will raise ticket prices by at least $5.00 for the 2011 season, but they are in a lockout, so obviously that won’t happen. NHL had the same problem. The league lost money and the players wanted more. That’s a problem and the NHL has never really recovered from that lockout.
Bristol didn’t prepare for the race and they got bit right in the arse because of it. Don’t blame the economy. Blame yourselves. Like I said before, the fans want to pay a reasonable price for the race and when they feel that the prices are too steep, well they stay home and watch Darrell Waltrip yap the entire race, or Larry McReynolds say, “We are about to take the green flag.” It’s much more exciting.
Opinions anyone? Good. Let it rip.