Women and NASCAR

The women’s world cup ended a few days ago. Australia won. I think.

I have to admit that I did not watch a single ball, even though many of the matches were broadcast live here in the states on ESPN3.

It’s not that I dislike female sports. I think women’s soccer is phenomenally entertaining, and I would go on the record to say that women’s college basketball is more fun to watch than men’s college basketball. It’s more…fundamental.

Since women are not physically as strong as men (for the most part, and speaking only of athletes), the sports that reward physical domination, speed, and strength more so than other sports, like basketball and soccer, can be quite interesting when played by women, because they rely on passing and staying organized. They play the game the way the inventors intended. Honestly, at times, it’s like two completely different sports are being played.

Games that do not reward simple brute strength, however, like cricket, and baseball, and the like, are simply more entertaining when played by men, mostly because that is what we are used to seeing.

In other words, I did not not watch the cricket women’s world cup because I think women’s cricket is boring, it’s just not what I am interested in. It’s the same reason I don’t watch MLS, for instance.

Congrats to the Aussie ladies, though. Nice work.


This morning, on NPR, I heard about a new ad campaign from NASCAR – attempting to attract hispanics – and millenials.

I will just quote the pertinent part of the article verbatim:

“Will it work? Brand strategist Adam Hanft doesn’t think so.

‘NASCAR is doing all the right things,’ he says, ‘but they may be doing it for the wrong sport.’

Hanft says even a polished ad campaign won’t change the fact that car racing is time consuming.

‘It’s a huge time suck,’ he says,  ‘you’re kind of in for the day.’

Perhaps, not the best sport for time-starved, multi-tasking millennials.”

The last line is some rather shameless editorializing on the part of the journalist, but it’s a valid point, especially for those of us that love a game that last five days long.

An five hour NASCAR race is short compared to first class and even 50 over cricket.

A couple things:

1. I disagree that millenials aren’t ready for a sport that requires a bit more effort and time.

2. Is it time for NASCAR to introduce a shorter format?


I really dislike NASCAR, but I still have a lot of respect for their marketing successes. Up until recently, they were achieving real cross-over status. They had taken a niche, southern sport and made it a national hit that attracted people of all types. Cricket could take a lesson there, despite the fact that NASCAR’s popularity has ebbed over the last few years.

I am going to watch this campaign closely, see if there is anything that can translate over to the world of cricket. I would love to help cricket find a way to attract millenials without resorting to all T20, all the time, as seems to be their go-to solution right now.


3 Replies to “Women and NASCAR”

  1. Matt, your loss I guess.

    I really enjoy the women’s game. Power does matter in cricket. In the pace bowlers, the players who muscle the ball over the fence, and in the risk associated with trying to deceive someone with that power.

    Women’s cricket has many more spinners, offering a lot more flight, because they are less likely to get walloped. The captaincy – particularly from Fields – was attacking, leaving in slips and short-legs, to take advantage of the pressure that a lower ability to hit over the top entails. The fast bowlers swing the ball more; and you won’t find a more attractive action than Holly Ferling’s; or a nicer run-up than Ellyse Perry’s. To counter-act the spin and swing the batting is more technically correct, albeit with the odd ugly mow across the wicket when the run-rate demands it.

    You should give it a go. Women’s cricket is much better relative to men’s cricket than women’s tennis is relative to men’s tennis – with their grunting and one-dimensional games.

    1. Well I’m sold! (And disappointed I didn’t give it a try during the tournament). Cheers.

      (And it’s an arguable point – but while power does matter in cricket, it does not matter as much as in, say, basketball, for instance.)

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