There have been an endless amount of Forza 3 vs GT5 comparison threads, and although I am somewhat tired of them, hopefully this thread will add another aspect to the ongoing argument. That's right, I want to talk to you about NASCAR (ignores your redneck jokes) I'm sure many of you (or at least the ones who don't really pay attention to racing) quickly disregard NASCAR being in GT5. Unfortunately everyone is underestimating the impact NASCAR will have on GT5, and, possibly, PS3 sales. Quickly, let me say that I acknowledge that nobody truly knows how NASCAR will play in GT5. I highly doubt there will be 43 car fields, and asKazunori Yamauchi stated when asked if all the NASCAR cars would be in the game, he said "Probably not all the cars at the beginning, I can only promise that there will be a lot." That being said, here are some facts, figures, and opinions to consider when looking at the importance of NASCAR in GT5.
1) The EA Sports Monopoly. EA Sports has owned the rights to make NASCAR games since 2004. This has a few meanings. The most important one is that NASCAR gamers have been stuck with a single NASCAR game per year for the past few years. This wouldn't be that much of a problem except for the fact that it is EA Sports. Their games have lacked the authenticity that other NASCAR games, such as NASCAR: Dirt to Daytona and NASCAR Racing 2003, had. I've spent years on the EA forums begging for improvements, and most of my wishes fell on deaf ears. Furthermore, EA is only releasing one game this year for NASCAR fans, NASCAR Kart Racing for the Wii. THAT is a huge hit below the belt to NASCAR fans, in fact it's probably the biggest insult EA has ever given to NASCAR fans. There's been a new NASCAR game every year since 1997 for the Playstation consoles! Luckily, EA's monopoly ends at the end of this year, which is one reason why I highly doubt GT5 will be released before 2010. Once it is released, NASCAR gamers have something to look forward to. NASCAR in GT5 has a ton of NASCAR gamers beyond excited.
2) The popularity of NASCAR. Many people don't realize it but NASCAR is the 2nd most popular sport in the United States, only behind football. When football is not going on, NASCAR races are usually the #1 rated sports event for television on that particular weekend. This years Daytona 500 averaged 16 million viewers, and most weekends see 7-10 million viewers. This weekend NASCAR will be at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which could have up to 400,000 fans attending the race. To compare, the average Super Bowl sees roughly 70,000 fans or only 17.5% of the 400,000 possible race fans at this weekend's event. Most of the time you see about 100,000 to 200,000 fans based on the size of the track. 17 of the top 20 most-attended sports or entertainment events in the world are NASCAR events. Clearly, a lot of people watch NASCAR and attend NASCAR races, and all of those fans could be potential customers for GT5 and/or the PS3.
3) The economics of NASCAR. To back up what I said above, here are some numbers about NASCAR that might surprise you (some of these numbers come from the latest CNBC special"Inside Track: Refuelingthe Businessof NASCAR"):
The first national television deal for NASCAR between Fox, TNT, and NBC was sold for $2.4 billion dollars for a 6 year package in 2000. A $4.5 billion dollar, 8 year deal was done in late 2005 with Fox, TNT, and ABC/ESPN.
Nextel paid $750,000,000 over ten years to sponsor the top NASCAR series.
Budweiser pays about $20 million to sponsor a car. Aflac pays $78 million over three years to sponsor Carl Edwards.
NASCAR fans spend roughly $2,000,000,000.00 a year on merchandise.
A company's Sponsorship in NASCAR makes NASCAR fans three times more likely to buy their product.
Since Toyota entered the NASCAR Craftsman truck series in 2004, the purchase consideration for a Toyota truck has gone up 3 fold.
Because of Amp Energy sponsoring Dale Jr, Amp has had 5,000,000 new customers try the product, brand awareness has gone from the 50% range to 76%, and Amp is now in 4th place in the energy drink category, up from 6th when it agreed to put it's logo on Dale Jr's car.More importantly, there was over $750,000,000.00 spent on Amp branded merchandise at the race track.This is a clear illustration of what NASCAR can do for anyone's bottom line.
Well hopefully this wasn't too boring for the few of you that will probably read this. To sum things up, NASCAR being in GT5 is a big deal, especially IF NASCAR gamers will have to own a PS3 to play a game with NASCAR in it (iracing will offer NASCAR racing, but this is subscription based and on PC's only). If you are wondering if someone would consider buying a PS3 just to play NASCAR on GT5, all I can say is look at the numbers above. It might not mean the PS3 will start outselling the 360, but I can guarantee that it will indeed help Sony at the end of the day.
Lastly, if GT5's racing at Daytona is anything like it is in GT5P, NASCAR fans are going to be ecstatic about GT5 for quite some time.
Thanks for reading my article!