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post #212 of Old 05-16-2013
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Re: Another America’s Cup entry destroyed

Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post

Originally Posted by TropicCat
That would be NASCAR where back in the day they installed restrictor plates to keep the cars under 200MPH. Now they limit a bunch of parameters to keep the speeds down...
Good example. So, why can't AC do something to limit its risk?
Not necessarily, as is so often the case, the solutions are not quite so simple... It's not very hard to make a compelling case that restrictor plates on the superspeedways in NASCAR have actually made the racing MORE dangerous, not less... It creates the sort of flat-out pack racing that virtually guarantees "The Big One" happening at some point - usually in the final laps - at tracks like Daytona and Talladega...

Charlie Doane has a pretty interesting take on the state of the AC, written shortly before last week's tragedy... He makes the very good point that the best chance the AC has to penetrate the consciousness, and engage the interest, of the non-sailing public, is to create the sort of story line that involves the personalities of those involved... After all, the most memorable AC meetings in history have always featured characters that were somewhat larger than life - Sir Thomas Lipton and Charlie Barr, The Mouth from the South Ted Turner, and of course the closest thing the AC has ever seen to the Average Everyman, Dennis Conner... Unfortunately, a guy like Larry Ellison is a pretty tough sell, not being a particularly appealing character to many outside of the yachting world... As a result, it seems we've now moved on towards an attempt to create the sort of spectacle that rivals the X-Games, or an event many have likened to NASCAR on Water...

What such comparisons overlook, however, is the real reason for the success of NASCAR... More than the spectacle itself, the genius of the marketing of NASCAR is the promotion of the Drivers as PERSONALITIES, and the encouragement of Rivalries between them... If there was one single moment that put NASCAR on the map of general public awareness, it was the fistfight between Donnie Allison and Cale Yarborough after their last-lap crash at Daytona in 1979... It was the first time the 500 had ever been broadcast live, and much of the nation was stuck indoors that day due to a major blizzard, millions were probably watching their first NASCAR race ever, and came to realize "Hey, these good ol' boys mean BUSINESS..."

The marketing of personalities like Dale Earnhardt, and the perpetration of Soap Opera storylines and rivalries - that is the real genius of NASCAR, not to mention the primary reason why they have been able to attract the interest of so many women to the sport... Selling the personalities of people like Larry Ellison or James Spithill to the American public? Damn, that's gonna be a tough sell, indeed - far easier to go with an X-Games type spectacle, instead...

Anyway, I thought Doane's was an interesting take...

AMERICA'S CUP CONUNDRUM: Need We Worship Larry Ellison?
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