CNN's Rachel Nichols: NASCAR May Lose Appeal to 'Mainstream' Audience with NRA Deal
Rachel Nichols, whom CNN chief Jeff Zucker hired from ESPN to anchor the network's weekend sports show that is in the works, hardly took any time espousing the network's elitist and liberal views by implying the National Rifle Association, which Gallup found to be more popular than President Barack Obama, was not a mainstream organization and could potentially repel "mainstream" viewers away from NASCAR.
On a panel on CNN's Monday edition of "Piers Morgan Tonight" that discussed the NRA's sponsorship of an April 13 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in Texas, Nichols said the NRA sponsorship could be a step backwards for NASCAR after the success it has had in drawing new viewers to the sport after Danica Patrick became the first female driver in history to win a pole when she did so at Daytona.
"NASCAR is trying to get more mainstream fans involved in the sport again," Nichols said, in reference to the new fans Danica Patrick has attracted to the sport. "You want to draw in those fans, and then you make the association with the NRA. You have to wonder, are those mainstream fans going to want to sit down on their television sets on a Saturday night and watch this race called the NRA 500?"
Later in the interview, she seemed to answer her own question when she acknowledged Texas Motor Speedway seats around 190,000, and NASCAR is expecting NRA-friendly fans to fill the stands since the race is now called the NRA 500.