Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Did TNT Sports "TiVo" the NASCAR Nation?
Email and comments are continuing to come in about the Chicagoland NEXTEL Cup event on TNT Sports. They are not about the announcing, or the competition, but rather about a "shift in time" that seemed to occur for some fans during the race.
In today's world, so many of us are comfortable with a wide array of media devices in our home. NASCAR fans love everything technical, and are almost always doing "something else" while the main TV coverage is on. These days, the options are almost endless.
Fans have DirectTV's Hot Pass, the pay-per-view in-car channels on cable TV, many options on the NASCAR.com website, and a tremendous amount of audio-only options available on satellite, Internet, and even telephone services.
One of the chief complaints of the past was that the NASCAR.com Internet video and audio services lagged behind the actual race because of technology issues. It was basically a difference in the pathways that signals took to get to the "home user" that caused this delay.
Last week in Chicago, TNT went to commercial with all of the broadcasting elements in sync, but it is being suggested they did not emerge that way. Daly Planet emailers are saying that out of the TV commercial, the TNT broadcast suddenly lagged behind the Internet services provided by the NASCAR.com website.
The TrackPass Pit Command, Scanner, and Race View services were now ahead of the actual race. Some emailers indicated it was as much as thirty seconds ahead, and it had been slightly behind during the entire event up to that point.
For the remainder of the event, folks are saying that the NASCAR.com site was consistently ahead of the TNT race broadcast. This seems a little hard to digest, as there are also DirecTV and PPV in-car feeds going on simultaneously.
The key part of this "time delay conspiracy theory" is that when the race was over, and Tony Stewart was done climbing the fence, TNT went to commercial. When the break was done, Tony was already in Victory Lane ready to hop-out of his car.
What they are saying is now that the race was over, TNT cut-out the delay and went back "live" because it no longer mattered if NASCAR.com's services were lagging. The race itself was over.
As these things go, there is always one little item to make even the biggest skeptic think a bit about both sides. This time, its simple. The biggest objection to the TrackPass services on NASCAR.com is their delay compared to the TV coverage.
Chicagoland was the last race for Turner Network Television of their short summer package. As viewers know, the network had never been shy on doing whatever it wanted to promote things in any way during the races. Remember Wally's World?
So, here is the head-scratcher. The NASCAR.com website is not owned by NASCAR. It is owned by a company that pays NASCAR a fee to be its online provider of content. The NASCAR.com staff is not located in the sport's "hometown" areas of Charlotte or Mooresville, North Carolina.
NASCAR.com is located in Atlanta, Georgia and is owned by Turner Sports Interactive. That's right, Turner Network Television (TNT) and Turner Sports Interactive are all part of the big Time Warner Corporation. Sister companies side-by-side in Atlanta, if you will.
One emailer who "says" he was present on pit road said the crews were complaining that the TV coverage on their satellite dishes was suddenly behind the race itself. I am not one to buy into "conspiracy theories," but if anyone has some additional information about this issue, or thinks this is just nuts, please let us know.
Unfortunately, I am one of the people who actually....just watched the race on TV.
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