I read somewhere today (and since I saw it on the internet you know it is true) that up to 40 million Brazilians will watch tomorrow's Sao Paulo Indy 300.
If that is the case, that is freaking awesome. As I said the other day, the Brazilians are going to pour a sellout crowd to watch a race more than will more than likely be run in the rain, but they will still be partying like its 1999. And given there are an estimated 206 million people in Brazil, that means close to 20 percent of the nation will see the race. Like I said, they do it up right.
That probably won't be happening here. Because Brazil is an hour ahead of Eastern Daylight Time and four hours ahead of the west coast, it will be on at a crappy time here in the States. While some of us hard cores will be going to church at 8:30 in hopes of getting home in time for IndyCar 36 an hour later, about the only thing half of the country gets up early for is the NFL and the Indy 500.
Which means, yes, television ratings will more than likely take a step back this weekend. But let's not go on suicide watch here, OK? I've already heard some rumblings about less-than stellar ratings and how it will lead to the eventual death of IndyCar, because everything negative that comes out of the series is going to lead to the eventual death of IndyCar, don't cha know.
Because despite the fact that attendance, TV ratings, sponsorship and participation are improving (Indy being the lone exception, but I'll address that later next week) we are just one week of bad ratings from extinction. And despite the fact that 28 days from today 300,000 people will be at the Speedway (as always), the Indy 500 will someday be a NASCAR race. Yes, I have heard that one. Several times.
Here's the deal people, this race isn't for us. While ratings are important, this race isn't being run for that reason. It's being run for Brazil and the sponsors from that country who are awesome enough to spend millions of dollars in a country several thousand miles from home. It is a thank you of sorts and is a good business move because 40 million people are going to watch the race, and millions of those have been, and will continue to, watch the rest of the races in the series.
While many of us don't understand why there is a race in China, it's for that same reason. The sponsors use IndyCar to broaden the reach of their individual brands, and they believe that China is a place that will help them expand that even further.
I'm sure most of us already know all of this, but I wanted to throw out a reminder. Enjoy the race!