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When Going in Circles is Going Backward: Outcome Uncertainty in NASCAR


Author Info

  • Jason P. Berkowitz

    (Department of Finance, UNC Charlotte, Charlotte, NC, USA)

  • Craig A. Depken II

    (Department of Economics, UNC Charlotte, Charlotte, NC, USA,

  • Dennis P. Wilson

    (Department of Economics, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY, USA)


Using data from the 2007, 2008, and 2009 National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) seasons, this article shows that the uncertainty of outcome hypothesis pertains to both race attendance and television audience, with the former only responding to season-level uncertainty and the latter responding to both race-level and season-level uncertainties. Counter to conventional wisdom, the price of gasoline and unemployment were unrelated to the reported level of attendance. Furthermore, NASCAR broadcasts lose audience when competing against other high-interest sporting events and declines in both television ratings and audience size during the NASCAR season were not unique to 2009. Overall, the empirical evidence suggests that declining competitive balance might have been the common factor that reduced both television audiences and race attendance during this period.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by in its journal Journal of Sports Economics.

Volume (Year): 12 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
Pages: 253-283

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Handle: RePEc:sae:jospec:v:12:y:2011:i:3:p:253-283

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Related research

Keywords: competitiveness; adjusted churn; motor sports; uncertainty of outcome;


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Cited by:
  1. Young Hoon Lee & Jigyu Chung & Joonho Kang, 2012. "Ex Ante and Ex Post Expectation of Outcome Uncertainty and Television Viewership of a Baseball Game," Working Papers, Research Institute for Market Economy, Sogang University 1206, Research Institute for Market Economy, Sogang University.
  2. Tainsky, Scott & Kerwin, Shannon & Xu, Jie & Zhou, Yilun, 2014. "Will the real fans please remain seated? Gender and television ratings for pre-game and game broadcasts," Sport Management Review, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 190-204.
  3. Frick, Bernd & Humphreys, Brad, 2011. "Prize Structure and Performance: Evidence from NASCAR," Working Papers 2011-12, University of Alberta, Department of Economics.


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