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FOX’s NASCAR Race Hub Canceled: What Happened?

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What’s Happening?

On Wednesday evening, Kelly Crandall of RACER dropped a report that NASCAR Race Hub would be canceled after its final show on Tuesday, June 11th. This is the Tuesday after Fox’s portion of the 2024 NASCAR season ends. What happened to NASCAR Race Hub?

  • NASCAR Race Hub first premiered in 2009 on Speed. When Speed was dropped in favor of FS1 in 2013, NASCAR Race Hub came along to the new cable channel.
  • Since then, Race Hub has been Fox’s daily NASCAR show throughout the NASCAR season. They recently celebrated their 2,500th episode in January.
  • Fans are upset to see Race Hub gone from daily television. However, what were the reasons for Fox to drop Race Hub?

Contractual Obligation

NASCAR signed a new media rights deal last off-season, and that includes a new contract with Fox. Alan Bailery reports that the new TV contract does not require that Fox broadcast NASCAR Race Hub, whereas the expiring contract did.

Fox is no longer obligated to broadcast Race Hub, so if they don’t see any value in it, then why broadcast it? It’s a disappointment to many fans, and it’s tough for those who put a lot of effort into the show. However, as they always say, this is a business at the end of the day.

Low Viewership keeps track of the viewership of different TV shows, including NASCAR Race Hub. Looking at this chart, since March 29, 2022, Race Hub generally brings in well under 200,000 viewers per show, compared to NASCAR Cup Series races which bring in roughly 2 million viewers on cable and between 3.5-4.5 million viewers on network TV. This is highlighted in the chart below.

The two major spikes in the chart are the “Best of Radioactive: Daytona” from February 17th (Rain delay coverage) and NASCAR Race Hub from last Sunday, May 5th (pre-race coverage). The typical Race Hub show does not bring in that many viewers.

Now, Jett MDK points out that this viewership is around twice as high as the typical viewership for another popular show on FS1, Undisputed featuring sports media legend, Skip Bayless. However, the big difference between these two shows is when they are broadcast. Undisputed is on at 9:30 AM ET, right as the workday is starting, whereas NASCAR Race Hub is on at 6 PM ET, prime time as it were, as people are either getting home from or are home from work.

A better representation of the popularity of these two shows is their presence on social media since this is how people will mostly consume these shows. Undisputed on FS1 has 772,000 followers on Instagram, whereas NASCAR Race Hub doesn’t even have a dedicated social media page. The NASCAR on Fox page on Instagram, which includes Race Hub soundbites, has 580,000 followers.

On YouTube, the Undisputed channel, which uploads segments of the show, has 2.6 million subscribers. NASCAR on Fox has only 209,000 subscribers. The reality is that, while NASCAR Race Hub brings in more traditional TV viewership, the actual audience it reaches beyond that is quite limited.

The Changing Media Landscape

This comparison also gives some insight into the changing media landscape. A daily sports news show just does not have the same value that it once did. If fans want to see breaking news, they no longer have to wait for either the paper tomorrow morning or to tune into a news program that night.

Nowadays, when news breaks, reporters immediately pick it up, which puts the news out there for consumers. Multiple outlets report on the story and create content surrounding it that fans can consume while on their lunch break at work. By the time a show like NASCAR Race Hub hits the air, the news is already out.

This is true even of Race Hub’s special segments. For example, Radioactive is arguably the most popular Race Hub segment, and that content is uploaded to NASCAR’s YouTube channel. Fans don’t have to watch Race Hub if they just want to see Radioactive. It’s a different world now than it was 15-20 years ago.

It’s worth noting that NBC doesn’t even have a daily NASCAR show. NASCAR America left television after the 2021 season when NBCSN shut down, and the show rebranded as “NASCAR America: Motormouths,” now on two days per week on Peacock as a podcast.

The advantage of this is that fans can consume it whenever they want. They don’t have to sit in front of the TV at a specific time to get their NASCAR news of the day.

All that to say, all of the content that Race Hub provides, fans consume through other, more streamlined, mediums. Does this mean Race Hub as a whole is obsolete? Maybe in its current form, but it can if they can put it into a more modern package, elements of it can work.

Keep segments like Radioactive and upload that to YouTube either on NASCAR’s YouTube channel or NASCAR on Fox. The “Happy Harvick” podcast allows fans to consume NASCAR content when they want. Fox can find creative ways to include the personalities of Fox like Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Larry McReynolds, Michael Waltrip, Adam Alexander, Kaitlyn Vincie, Shannon Spake, etc.

The loss of NASCAR Race Hub stings for many fans, and it’s heartbreaking for those who work as hard as they do on the show. However, this doesn’t mean that NASCAR on Fox content needs to come to a standstill. Maybe it just needs to be reworked into a more modern format.

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