The Demand for Aggressive Behavior in American Stock Car Racing

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Abstract

Aggressive driving is an inherent feature of auto racing, and nowhere more so than in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series. This chapter explores the role that aggressive driving plays in the demand for NASCAR racing in the USA. We ­examine a set of models that estimate the impact of aggressive driving, including the accidents that often are its result, on the size of the Sprint Cup television audience. Our results indicate that aggressive driving is a very important determinant of fan demand. After controlling for the availability of substitutes, the anticipated speed and closeness of competition, a variety of institutional parameters, and other variables that are likely to affect viewers’ choices, we find evidence that the degree of aggressive driving is positively related to the number of people watching Sprint Cup broadcasts in the pre-chase era, and that the effects are both quantitatively large and statistically significant.