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But The New York Times finds a bunch of people to argue that his success is killing the sport.
“Johnson and his team have been so dominant, say fans and other drivers, that he is one reason for Nascar’s noticeable slide in attendance and television ratings,” Dave Caldwell wrote on Monday.
Poor Jimmie. He can’t win, even when he wins. To his credit, he’s taking the negative feedback calmly.
“I just don’t see how it’s bad – I just don’t,” Johnson told the Times. “It’s not my fault. I’m sorry.”
He’s right, of course.Great teams lead to great ratings. As a corollary, dominant people in their sport make casual fans want to watch. The NBA had a golden age when Michael Jordan was around. People tuned in to watch Wayne Gretzky. Cycling was never more popular than when Lance Armstrong was winning the Tour de France.
NASCAR’s problem isn’t Jimmie Johnson. NASCAR’s problem is that races take between three and four hours. That’s a long time for a casual fan. Heck, that’s a long time for a dedicated fan. Officials should examine if there’s anything they can do. (And, while they’re at it, fix baseball as well.)
Stop blaming Jimmie Johnson. He’s only good for the sport.