Inside groove : a historical descriptive analysis of NASCAR and IndyCar's standing within sports media

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Fox, Torey Wayne
Pollard, Timothy D.
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Thesis (M.A.)
Department of Telecommunications
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The distribution of sports content is changing in the United States and around the world. As television evolves and new distribution channels are created, sports organizations like the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL are being forced to share content amongst linear and digital platforms to maintain audience growth. For non-mainstream organizations like NASCAR (stock car racing) and IndyCar (open-wheel racing), the need to modernize distribution in the 21st century is even more critical for survival in a very crowded, cluttered sports landscape. This thesis project is a historical descriptive analysis of the past, present, and future distribution methods of NASCAR and IndyCar content. Using medium theory as a guiding principle, the contents of this project primarily focus on two areas ¾ television distribution and web, digital, and social media distribution. An extensive look at NASCAR and IndyCar’s historical position on network and cable television is included in this thesis as well as a comprehensive overview of both organizations’ use of new media in reaching newer, predominately younger audiences. Lastly, this research project takes a critical look at postings from official NASCAR and IndyCar social media accounts during the weeks of the 2016 Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500 to determine techniques of both sanctioning bodies in modernizing and leveraging content. The collective goal of this historical analysis is to determine which motorsports organization is best positioned within this transitional state of sports media as well to explain why NASCAR and IndyCar are currently positioned where they are in terms of American sports culture.