Saturday, July 7, 2007

TNT's "Wide Open" Coverage Divides NASCAR Fans


Since the TNT broadcast team had already produced several NEXTEL Cup events, fans knew what to expect from Bill Weber and crew. TNT's new infield "lift and spin" set had been unveiled, and Marc Fein had been introduced as the new pre-race host. The only thing new for fans at the Pepsi 400 would be the presentation of the race itself on their TV set. The results were mixed.

TNT presented its "Wide Open" coverage as the elimination of national commercials on the TV. OK, technically they said "full-screen" commercials. In what proved to be an easy to understand approach, the Turner tech guys simply put the standard TV picture into the longer and narrower High Definition "format" for the entire race.

This allowed a designated "dead zone" of space at the bottom of the screen to be used for the graphics and sponsor logos. When a national commercial was run, a special "flying box" appeared at the lower right and what Turner called the "branded sponsor content" played back. It was pretty simple stuff.

Turner produced specific commercials for this event for every sponsor except one. This content ran just like a normal spot, with the audio from the program muted and the video of the race behind the "flying box." It allowed fans to watch and hear the spot and keep an eye on the race as well. That was the positive aspect.

Many racing fans may remember the Indy Racing League broadcasts a while back that originated their races in "side-by-side" format. This squeezed the broadcast of the race into one box, while the commercial aired in another box on the other side of the screen. That would be "side-by-side," got it?

TNT's approach to this same situation left a couple of things to discuss. First, when the field was under yellow, there was no racing on the track. When the TNT "box" was on the screen, the field was just circling under yellow as the commercial played. The specific benefit of the TNT "box" comes when the field is racing. Unfortunately, a significant portion of the racing action was blocked by the part of the box that overlapped the picture.

So, this meant that the real key to the broadcast was how things worked at a crucial time under green while a commercial was running. The answer was...not too well. It turned out that the camera shots from TNT on a big track like Daytona often ran the drivers right into the area behind the "box," and they were blocked from view. Because the racing area and the commercial "box" overlapped, it caused another "dead space" that TNT failed to mention. Unfortunately, that space contained racing.

One hilarious note about this broadcast was the total disdain that Bill Weber had when explaining to viewers that the reason they were about to be "interrupted" for a commercial was because it was from their "local cable system." Suddenly, the three minutes an hour that cable systems insert automatically for local breaks was a big deal. This is from the network that ran 60 minutes of commercials in the last 190 minute race at Loudon. Weber threw the cable companies under the bus time-and-time again.

At NASCAR.com, they have a forum that allowed fans to voice their opinion of the TNT coverage. Most of the one hundred or so comments pointed out two issues. The first was the overlap of the commercial "box" into racing action, as we have discussed. The second is the on-going difficulty with the TNT Director getting "in sync" with the announcers. TNT seems to follow a pattern of covering laps, without listening to the announcers or allowing the camera to follow the actual racing action.

My only complaint is that I viewed the race on a standard TV, and will never know what I missed. The "widescreen" format pushes a lot of video out of the visible frame on my TV, as with Bill Weber, who disappeared during the on-camera open. That was the first clue that there was a lot of "stuff" viewers might be missing.

Finally, there is no doubt once again that the Most Valuable Player Award for this race goes to Larry McReynolds. Away from DW, McReynolds has been given the green light to "just speak up." Thank goodness he does. Neither Kyle Petty or Wally Dallenbach have the "crew chief" perspective or overall strategy knowledge of McReynolds. Time after time, everyone called on "Larry Mac" to address the issues.

Its always fun when someone tries something new to make things better, and that is certainly what TNT did tonight. It was nice to see more racing action, but annoying that the commercials were custom-made and extended length. Several of them were just plain weird. The Larry Mac Subway commercial was just plain dumb.

Hopefully, this telecast might spark some more debate about the proper way to air a NEXTEL Cup race. Already, fans have many alternatives, and this season they seem to be using them in droves. Something has to be done about the main network broadcast, or NASCAR will find themselves continuing to push fans away. TNT's efforts were a good step in that direction, and you have to give credit where credit is due...they pulled it off. Of course, a photo finish never hurts a TV broadcast.

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below, or email editor@thedalyplanet.tv if you wish not to be published.

63 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks to TNT for trying the new format. I much preferred it to the IRL's side-by-side. I watched it on an old-style 35" TV, and it worked fine.

This has potential. I hope TNT and the other networks keep working and tinkering with it.

I agree that is was cheesy of Webber to blame the breaks on the local cable folks, as if TNT would never dare show a commercial during a race. Give me a break, Bill.

Anonymous said...

Well I posted earlier in the race on a VERY LARGE NASCAR board, John.

MY FIRST GRIPE were the cars that "disappeared" under the lower dead space.

A few folks with REAL HD TV's said that's how it looked on their tv's "all the time" and that I WAS MISSING NOTHING. Ouch. Ok.

So I thought I was being OVERLY critical and never brought up that part.

SO we did INDEED miss some action though had the DIRECTOR PAID CLOSER ATTENTION and stopped more of the stupid zoom lens action, they would've backed the camera UP more to avoid the 'dead space.' PROVIDED TNT actually pays attention to the car race.

Now I also noticed the cut off of half of Web and part of Kyle before the race but wasn't sure if that was a camera hiccup or what.

THAT said, if those bugs were worked out, it would be PERFECT.

Still, I thought it MUCH improved over sitting over ENDLESS, REPETITIVE COMMERCIALS of the same old same old again. And if I have to listen to that AMAZING GRACE commercial one more time, I am doing to DESPISE that once beloved hymmn.

So frankly, I will CHOOSE TONIGHT with "part of the screen missing" all the time, over ALL OF THE RACE BEING OFF MY SCREEN MUCH of the time.

Besides, the damn camera guys never catch the races on TNT anyhoo.

Still I would pick tonights race over the other coverage anytime.

Kyle is a breath of fresh air in the booth and I like Larry Mc.

Sometimes, I think folks lives are so cushy they will NEVER BE HAPPY.

Perhaps everybody wants COMMERCIAL FREE ACTION each week on Pay-Per-View at $39 a crack.

No thanks. I will take the free version of what I saw tonight.

Just my two pennies.

SophiaZ

bevo said...

First things first... thank you John for letting fans voice their opinions on NASCAR coverage. Your expert knowledge of broadcasting is what separates you from all other media critics.

An interesting note about Weber and the chemistry in the booth is that during the commercial break between the end of the race and the return to victory lane all of them were laughing and having a good time talking about the finish. He sounded much more relaxed than he does during the telecast and there was no friction at all. If he could carry that into the race people would not have such a big problem with him. That on camera ego of his is just annoying as heck.

Anonymous said...

The advertisers did not do well with the extended time. That Goodyear Blimp mini-movie near the start of the race was one of the most obnoxious things I've ever seen.

And the Larry Mac/Subway ad was a classic case of a 30-second idea stretched to two minutes. Do we really need to see every tiny detail of Larry's journey going back and forth between the booth and the Subway?

Most of my thoughts on the race coverage itself have already been expressed. There were some major issues for TNT in their first attempt but I'll take it over their typical commercial-break-bloated telecast.

Kyle Petty was particularly good and Bill Weber particularly bad when it came to the commentary. Dallenbach really shined at Infineon with his road course analysis and this week Petty shined, bringing a lot of good plate-race insight.


-Jon

Anonymous said...

Dude i really liked tonights coverage..and it brings me pain to say that because i hate Bill Weber like no other

a few tweaks here and there and i would more then approve of this being the regular thing

and i thought the Larry Mac ad with subway was hilarious. wouldve been freaking CLASSIC if BP was able todo it

Anonymous said...

It's hard for a Daytona race not to be, but I found this race extremely entertaining and fun to watch..partly because of the new format. The fact that TNT didn't jump to commercial each time the yellow flag flew allowed time for analysis of what caused the caution, pre-pit discussion of strategy, and saw how things shook out.

There were a few times during long green runs tonight that they would have had to fully cut away before, but we were still able to see the racing going on, even if we did have a box that obstructed the view at times.

I just appreciated having the opportunity to see more racing and have the production quality be more continuous instead of jagged, as we've seen TNT is capable of doing to promote "Saving Grace" and "Bill Engvall." Sooo annoying.

Rob From Toronto said...

unfortunately..living in Canada i'm treated to TSN..which i guess didnt get the memo..so i had to put up with a ton of normal commercials and suplerferous crap by our alleged "nascar expert" who's little mroe than an annoying equestrian announcer used for anything that moves..so i didnt get to experience the full-on effect of tnt's grand experiment....but from what i did see..and my T.V being of a fair enough quality to enjoy the race..i think i may have enjoyed it somewhat..i've been watching Nasacr basically in any way i can find since 1967 and up until the late 90's i was a sworn fan who did not miss anything and had all my nascar gear..now..i just have a ford jacket and ford hat..the commercialism is so horrendously annoying i dont purchase pretty much anything advertised on nascar telecasts and i've actually stopped watching most races except the road course's and short tracks

Anonymous said...

I thought the commericals were to long, like the goodyear tire one. Other than that it was much better.

SallyB said...

There were some good things about the 'wide open' coverage. The thing that annoyed me the most was Bill Weber constantly giving verbal commercials during the racing.

Anonymous said...

The bestrace finish in years, but diminished by the telecast.
Side by side, which is the creation of Lingner Group Productions for the IRL is far better than the "Pablo Picasso" look of the TNT screen layout. I found it annoyingly intrusive, magnified by the tediously long actual commercials. And what is TNT thinking allowing the use of their talent in a Subway spot WHILE THE RACE IS ON???? Very poor editorial judgement on that one.
Thought they under-emphasized 2 big late race events. The first was the amazing move that Kyle Busch made cutting from the outside lane to the inside IN A CORNER!. Wally saw it and reacted but the producer appaerently had no idea how HARD that move is to pull off, particularly in a car that was as loose as the 5 was, and we never saw a replay. The other miss was McMurray at the finish. He won by coming down against the 5 door and took the air off Kyle Busch. It almost spun the 5 out and you could see Busch's hands sawing the wheel to saty straight. No mention during any of the replays.
Did anyone else the the Pepsi paid Jeff Gordon 'special' on TNT leading into race coverage? Called "24 on 24" it was an embarrassing assemblage of Gordon sycophants heaping sound byte accolades on him. It included NETWORK NEWS anchor Brian Williams, gushing and "gee whizzing" at being so close to a NASCAR star. Bad image move by Mr. Williams and his agent on that one. The other kicker was sound from Fox sports head David Hill, pontificating about Jeffs career. Not only would David Hill not know Jeff Gordon from Robby Gordon, he wouldn't know Jeff Gordon from a Gordon Setter! He knows a "thimble full" about NASCAR- and once called Darrell Waltrip Darrell "Wallace". I heard him say it!
Anyone else think that one hour image campaign was bad?

Anonymous said...

I love the 16-9 format------and the off screen commercials - I actually watched the commercials -------on a 61 HD screen that is the best technical race broadcast I have seen !!!!!
Hope to see more of this format in the future !!!! If Fox would do this wow !!!

Anonymous said...

I too watched in HDTV. I give thumbs up to everything I saw. Larry Mac and Subway was great.

Daly Planet Editor said...

To the HDTV viewers...did TNT compress the picture up when you would have normally seen it full screen? I get a bit confused about the HDTV aspect ratio. Was it normal, or did it get "shrunk?" Thanks.

BEK said...

I thought. . . Ugh. The whole freakin' race was nothing but a commercial. That "wide open" format seemed like a good idea, but the graphics, popups and logos of sponsors constantly parading on the screen were far too distracting. I didn't think the amount of commercials were any less--it was all commercials, all the time. EVERYTHING was sponsored, and I was so sick of seeing Jeff Gordon and Pepsi by the end of the evening that I'll never drink Pepsi again. And especially not that "24" drink. I wonder if the "local cable companies" had trouble selling ads--here in Texas, our satellite provider seemed to run the Midas brakes commercial with the flying mattress at least four times a commercial break.

I got so fed up with the constant barrage of advertising that I utilized my DirecTV hotpass that I'd paid for an hardly used all year, and turned to the Stewart channel just in time to see the crash with Hamlin. Great coverage, including back in the garage while the crew hammered and welded and thrashed away on the car to try to get it back on the track. And they interviewed Stewart for quite a while, eventually DW (doing commentary on the DirecTV this week) chatting with TStew for quite a while on items such as Stewart's Eldora racetrack. Stewart entered the interview tense, upset, pissed off, and by the end of the spot he was actually in a laughing mood. This was far better viewing than TNT's race coverage.

disney81 said...

i have direct tv hot pass and enjoy it. channel flipped to the TNT broadcast and if i did not have the hot pass i thought it was a good try for the first time out. and hope the sponsors feel the same way. this is good and hope they can improve it more. it is a work in progress that can be improved.

Anonymous said...

Well, the way I see it is that beggars can't be choosers! I would take last night's broadcast over any of the other TNT productions. Yes, I agree that some improvements could be made, but overall it is far better than what we have had! It is also much better than side-by-side. That said, I was flipping between TNT and DirecTV Hotpass with DW and Steve Byrnes. This was Darrell's first time hosting and it was a blast! Other than him talking over the scanner communication, they did an excellent job and did very well with their 2 strikes (the 20 and 29) before ending up following the 18. (Note that it is possible to switch to scanner-only audio, if you want.) They had a very, very long interview with Tony after the crash and by the time they were done, Tony was in good spirits, laughing, and was backing off some of his initial negative comments. Hotpass has some great commentator lineups (another good one last night was Jeff Hammond and Wendy Venturini) and is well worth the money ($59 for the rest of the season). I can't imagine watching a race without it anymore!

Anonymous said...

Keep Kyle,Wally,Larry Mac and the new commercial format. Ditch Webber,8 second snatch shots of two cars that have nothing to do with what the announcers are discussing and add some long shots that show half the field for about ten or fifteen seconds. In other words cover the race and get rid of the fluff.

Steve L. said...

I'm not sold on this format yet but would be willing to try it again. I also watched on a regular TV and wondered what I was missing on each side of the picture.

As with most TNT telecasts, I had a problem with the sound. It was loud and then quiet. Webbers mic would be okay but going to a pit reporter you could tell it was a lot lower. Up, down, up and then down throughout the entire race. I watch the race with my DVR hooked up to my stereo and Cerwin-Vega speakers so I hear many things I would miss if watched with TV sound alone. I wish they would tape a race and watch (and listen) to it real close. Maybe they would learn something.
Thank goodness for TIVO, I still zoomed past their commercials while watching the cars go "really fast"!

Anonymous said...

My nickel's worth on Wide Open...

With the exception of that really stupid Goodyear Blimp piece that lead off the commercials, it was not as bad as I had anticipated that it would be.

My biggest objection was that there seemed to be a disconnect between the booth and the production truck regarding the timing of spots. The action on the track should have dictated the timing of the spots. I also think that the commercial box would have been better placed on the lower left side. I would rather see the end of a pass than the beginning.

I am not fond of Webber as "the man", but he was probably given a pretty firm script to follow regarding sponsor mentions and promos. I appreciated knowing that I had 75 seconds to make a snack during the local cable breaks.

Overall, I think that with the right tweaks, the Wide Open concept has the potential to be an improvement for racing fans.

KE said...

I was pleasantly surprised by TNT's coverage. Enjoyed the new format tremendously. TNT's broadcast started out on several positive notes. Kyle's interview of Richard was fantastic, and to follow that up with Wendy's taped interview with Mario Andretti and her subsequent live interview with John Andretti (one of the most underated drivers who got lost in the 'young gun' media controlled hype) was fantastic.

Really enjoyed the atmosphere Kyle brings to the booth. He is soooo comfortable just being himself, it appears to be changing the dynamics in the booth. I have always enjoyed Wally for his straight forward comments. Weber, I wouldn't miss in the least. Imagine what the booth would be like with AB, KP, and WD. That would be my dream team. Larry obviously knows his stuff, but he still gets on my nerves.

I did go to the DirectPass early in the race just to check it out. Heard DW, groaned, had horrible flashbacks to FOX coverage, and quickly changed back to TNT.

As for the commercial issue that seemed to bother others, no problem. By showing the commercials in the format they did, TNT gave a choice to viewers what to focus on. I CHOSE to focus on the race, not the commercials.

All in all, a very enjoyable race. Fantastic finish.

Anonymous said...

I have to say I did enjoy Larry Mac and Kyle Petty, but Wally and the rest of the crew could just go away.

I really miss the original ESPN coverage, Bob Jenkins, BP, Ned Jarrett and Jerry Punch.....that was a real broadcast crew, without the muss and fuss of todays messed up coverages by Fox, TNT and yet to be seen "new" ESPN.

To me, the new Wide Open coverage just sucked and made me yearn even more of the good old days.

Prospector said...

I thought the "Wide Open" coverage provided the best total race coverage I have seen in years. Most of the commercials were not objectionable and I even caught myself watching some of them as opposed as to the way I usually watch a race, TIVO and FF through the commercials.
If only the quality of the director's decisions could be improved this would be a great format.

Anonymous said...

The HD screen layout had far too much unused space at the bottom covered with a black NASCAR logo

The commercial window box covered too much track action
Side by side is far better, and they run standard length commercials instead of the TNT endless epics.

Enough Jeff Gordon stuff, too!!!

Anonymous said...

I guess it is Mr Daly's business to always be critical. I usually agree, but for once, I was very happy with the broadcast. I liked the wide screen view and seeing all the action.
While I get no enjoyment from Bill Webber or Wally, I think Kyle ads an insight that has not been there beofre. Even Rusty and DW don't mention the subtle things that Kyle brings up. If Webber and Wally are toned down, maybe gone, we might have a flawless telecast!

Anonymous said...

Please TNT, make Webber go away.j

Anonymous said...

Best TNT race yet....that weber guy needs help.John Kernan would be much better in that spot!

GinaV24 said...

Just a note -- the race is sponsored by Pepsi and who has Pepsi as their sponsor? Jeff Gordon, so this year it was all about Jeff and Pepsi -- if Coke gets the sponsorship next year, it will all be about the Coke family of drivers -- so gag me with a spoon. The commercials in the corner of the tv was interesting at least because I could then see most of the race instead of missing so much when TNT goes into 5 minute of racing, 5 minutes of commercial mode, so I have to say it was pretty much OK. It was weird though that the the commentators seemed to be talking to one another most of the time rather than calling the action in the race -- maybe that was because until the last 30 laps, there wasn't much, except for a few wrecks here and there. Also, while a commercial was running, no one in the booth spoke. Weber is still a jerk, Wally & Kyle do a nice job and Larry Mac is amazing on this broadcast away from DW. If it means I get to see most of the race and less of commercials, well then let's fine tune this and drive on.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Thanks for the comments, but I hope that before you take me to task for being critical of TNT, you review my comments over the past several months. This "Wide Open" coverage was interesting, but it did not make up for the fact that the previous races had lots of issues. Its only my business to offer my opinion of NASCAR TV issues, and then let others offer theirs. Thanks.

Steve in Indiana said...

I have been bashing TNT all along, but as for last night...LOVED it! I'd be happy to see every race televised in this format.

A VERY pleasant surprise.

Anonymous said...

When they originally announced the idea, it seemed great. No commercials. But that idea quickly went away as we saw. The nice thing about how they did the commercials was we did still get to see some racing without having to listen to Whiny Weber. And with the Pepsi sponsorship and all the shots and references to Jeff Gordon, I thought Weber was going to wet his pants in sheer delight since he seems to have some sort of "thing" for all things Hendrick. Thank God he didn't do the plane crash story again like he ran into the ground every season since the crash.

One thing I noticed was when the pit reporters talked to Kyle, Larry, Wally, or Marc, they referred to them by their first names. When it came to Weber, it wasn't Bill, it was Weber. That tells me they all have a lot of disdain for him. Especially when you consider how he got his job in the broadcast booth, but that's for another day.

All in all, it was an improvement over their "normal" (if you can call it that) broadcast, but it didn't live up to it's hype. Sort of like the COT and NASCAR not living up to their hype. I'd have to give it a D+, which is an improvement over the F- I'd normally give them.

Anonymous said...

WHAT AN IMPROVEMENT. I actually watched/listened to the whole race instead of flipping back and forth between the radio broadcast and the TV. As far as the box in the right lower corner, if it were switched to the lower left corner we would see more of the race. GET RID OF WEBER.Kyle and Larry would be quite enough. I am a Jr fan and usually if he is out of the race or the running, I switch to something else, but not this time. I cannot believe that I would ever say the Tv coverage was better than the radio, but this was. My only complaint would be the minimovie commercials were way too long. I got to the point that I muted the audio and listened to the radio..thank god for remotes.
Minihoss

Tripp said...

I really liked the "Wide Open" coverage from a technical perspective. Watched on a 50" HD set, I felt like I was more "at the race" than with traditional broadcasts because it was almost always on the screen.

I thought the "custom" commercials in the "box" were effective for the advertisers. First, I stayed in my seat to watch the track action when they came on when I otherwise might launch off to the kitchen or elsewhere, so my eyes were still on the screen and available to the commercial message. Second, I was drawn into the commercial if the content was interesting or entertaining. (Larry Mac's Subway spot was effective, no matter how good or silly you it was.) Finally, I stayed interested in the broadcast of the race, which I often don't do with plate races. The format helped keep my eyes open as my bedtime approached, again keeping those eyes around for commercial messages.

In the wide screen format it seemed to me that the camera shots included more cars in frame than normal, but that could be simply because it was a plate race.

The Pepsi 400 was TNT's first attempt at what I would hope is the template for future NASCAR broadcasts from a technical perspective.

This new format didn't fix my issues with air talent and direction, but TNT should be awarded major props trying something different and potentially dangerous and doing a great job in making it work.

Anonymous said...

I watched the TNT Wide Open Event on a 50" HD TV and saw nothing what was suppose to be happening, like a 4:3 aspect ratio??? (Reported earlier this week). I wished the commercial box would have been moved over to a corner so keeping more field of screen. Turner going to full screen for his up and coming programs was annoying, why not split screen that too??

This was the first race in years where I could watch the pit stops and rights and wrongs in the pit boxes. Usually the Daytona 400 is a boring race, but last night proved me wrong. It wasn't the TNT production that did that, just some crazy driving made this a good race.

As for the booth announcers, Wally and Kyle do a good job, and Kyle stays on top of the wrecks quite well. Good old Dave was about the same, but I'd take him over what's coming up end of this month. Hopefully ESPN will see this and read all the comments about last night race. (We all know they won't, they and their graphic tv screen production)..............

Overall I'll give TNT a 8.5 out of 10 on this format.

Anonymous said...

jeff's explanation of the wide open format seemed a little misleading. he said that they took the 16x9 format of the HD broadcast and put it on the 4:3 screen, which would mean to me you would see everything on the 4:3 screen that you would normally have seen on the 16:9 broadcast. however it appeared that they just took the normal 4:3 broadcast and covered up the bottom with graphics,

i watched the HD broadcast, and it was the same concept, the normal widescreen image (which is the 4:3 picture plus extra width) covered on the bottom with graphics, not shrunk in any way.
so you still saw more picture width in the HD than in the 4:3 broadcast.

it would have been nice if when there was nothing going on in the bottom portion to let the race picture through instead of covering it with a black box.

and yes, the flying box covered up some action, but remember in the old format you'd be in full commercial, and wouldn't have seen anything. i just hit the mute button whenever those commercials came on and watched the race :)

MBeard, Muskogee, OK said...

TNT did try to do SOMETHING to relieve the load of commercials and let us see more racing. AND, it was BETTER than the load of commercials. Not perfect, but better.

Let's not forget the "why" of the commercial load. What was it the networks paid to NASCAR (France family) for the rights to broadcast races, $4BILLION wasn't it? I'm not sure about that, it may have only been a meager $2BILLION! Either way THAT amount of money equals a LOAD of commercials DURING the races! The networks have two choices the way I see it, charge more for less commercials, or don't televise the races. Now, now, don't get irate! The networks MUST make a profit (stockholders)or not bid. If no one bids, no televising of races. If NASCAR takes LESS billions, the purses go down. Catch 22 is what they call it.

I GRUMBLE about the darn commercials just like every one else, but I do understand the reason. I applaud TNT for their try, and with all these suggestions, it can be better, but those pesky commercials are going to HAVE to stick in there where we HAVE to see them, in my opinion anyway.

nancy said...

Kudos to TNT for at leastg trying to improve our viewing--while not perfect it was an improvement--again Weber is his usual and Thank Goodness for Larry Mac and Wally and Kyle. Commercials are only as good or bad as the peopole that produce them and they do fade away---

Anonymous said...

I loved it. I thought it was the best covered nascar race I have ever seen. With the exception of the first in demand IROC race that they didn't have commercials and you could hear the announcers talking durring the commercials. I am more then willing to give up a lil screen space to not goto commercial during green. Although I do prefer IRL side by side. I will take either over conventional broadcasts. Thanks TNT a+++

Anonymous said...

It wasn't bad at all. Of course, pre-race (and actually during part of the race) I watched Live Earth concerts! I then tried to listen to the group, but couldn't handle it after last week and the week before (those flashbacks are a horrible thing), so I muted the t.v. and had the radio broadcast going....allows me to have less aggravation for 3 hours!

Anonymous said...

I really liked the 'wide-open' format and don't feel like I missed much of the race with the boxes and all. About the only thing I noticed about the lengthy commercials they ran at the bottom of the screen was that they were different and long. During each race, I listen to TrackScan via TrackPass on the computer so the volume on the t.v. is turned real low. Because of this I don't really hear the commercials and only turn the volume up whenever the guys are talking about my favorite drivers.

One thing that I've noticed, however, is that TNT's coverage of the races has gotten consistently worse over the past few years. ESPN's isn't much better, either. There's nothing like getting ready to watch the Busch race and NOT getting to see the traditional pre-race invocation, singing of the national anthem, flyover and the most famous words in NASCAR-'gentlemen start your engines!' There have been at least two Busch races where ESPN has failed to include all of these items in their broadcast and it is extremely irritating to me. To me, it's ESPN's way of saying that this long-standing tradition of religion and patriotism that have been a part of our sport for so long don't matter to them-or to the fans and they couldn't be more mistaken if this is the case.

Another thing that I'm tired of is the commentators on both networks spending endless time talking about the #42 and how great he is and Cup drivers running in the Busch series. How long will they insist on beating these dead horses? Enough about the #42 already. He's from Mexico (or wherever) and all I can say is who cares? I sure don't. The guys is an arrogant a**, a dirty driver and needs to go back to whatever series he came from. Is the near-constant coverage of the #42 the network's way of being politically correct? If so, then why don't they pick up the truck races and spend just as much time on Bill Lester? At least the fans like him and he seems to be a down-to-earth, genuinely likeable guy. And he races clean, too.

As for the Cup guys running Busch races, they've earned the right to be there and if they weren't in the races, I wouldn't watch them. Any veteran racer who got his Cup ride the old-fashioned way has more than paid his dues and can race any circuit he wants as far as I'm concerned.

projectpappy09 said...

To be honest, I actually liked the Wide Open coverage. I was a little irritated when the "short films" came on during the early part of the race at seemingly the worst times, as TNT missed a restart on the audio side. However, I liked how the commercials were kept to a minimum during the later portion of the race. The Larry Mac-Subway "movie" was quite hilarious, but most ads, like Miller Lite's and Goodyear's, were really dumb. Last, but not least, why am I seeing a preview for a show that I had seen earlier in the day that could have easily been shown last week?

Anonymous said...

HDTV viewing was the same as the 4:3 format except we did not have the letter-box effect on the top. I have a nice 21" tv I roll into the tv room. On it I could not read the graphics due to compressed format.

Anonymous said...

much better coverage, hopefully everyone involved is happy so we may see it again in the future...i saw more racing last night so i am happy

SophiaZ123 said...

Letterbox format?? We did NOT have that on any of the 4 tvs in this house.

They are standard tvs..no plasma or HD or flat panel..some with a flatter screen...but all we had was the bottom 1/4 cluttered up.

I am getting confused...some had a black edge at the TOP of the screen???

We still loved it over normal covered in this house..and I am very picky and my room mate as well.

BETTER than Side by side in IRL.

Though maybe the fight after the IRL today may help THEIR ratings but I digress.

We totally enjoyed last night.

Anonymous said...

I liked Benny Parsons but whenever he and Wally Dallenbach were together it just seemed like 'dumb' happened. With KP, it seems that Wally is now really interested in the racing and not the goofing off so much. Thats a bonus as far as I'm concerned. Its a shame that TNT's had such a great format last night and still kept Weber around to screw it up. Here's what I think:
The second Kyle retires from the car, they need to put him and Wally in charge of the whole broadcast. Have Larry Mac do the technical stuff and grab Wendy Venturini to do the pit work. At least she never asks a question if she doesn't know the answer and she doesn't ask stupid questions such as, "Where is your Daytona 500 trophy now?" instead of something like, "Compare the car you have this weekend to the one thats in Daytona USA." I really hope the Gods have seen the light and get rid of darrell waltrip so he can go to work for his brother and help sink Toyota completely. Kyle, Wally, Larry and Wendy together with the wide open format and I think we're good.... oh... and some camera guys and directors who actually know what nascar is.

Anonymous said...

I liked the coverage. Yes, they can improve, but I give them kudos for their effort to give us better racing coverage while at the same time trying to satisfy their advertisers.

Really disliked the Goodyear Blimp commercial.

I detest Bill Weber. Why they hired him is a mystery.

They should put Matt Yocum in the booth. I've seen Kyle, Wally and Matt interact, and their chemistry is terrific.

Kyle beats Waltrip and Wallace hands down.

Larry Mac is great.

Anonymous said...

I have to admit I only watched the final 25 laps. I liked what tnt tried to do. my first complaint is that the announcers on this telecast sucked and it starts with the leader bill weber. I've never heard so many people step on each other and most of the time it was yappy mcyapstein weber. I get the sense that he is trying to be the host, play by play (which he is the worst), pit road reporter and jokester (which he is not funny). tnt may be ok if they canned that guy or do this... make him just your host or send him back to pit road! all night it didn't sound natural and the interaction between the tnt booth and pit road was so forced and who could top who....and let's drop the nicknames.
2nd. bill weber sucks!
3rd. I watched on an old 30 inch or so TV and everything was cut off on both ends. especially when they showed pit stops with 3 cars in the boxes.
4th. wide open coverage to mean still felt like it had commercials!!! IT WAS SO DAM FORCED!
5th. did I mention bill weber sucks

seriously TNT ... get rid of that guy and I bet people would like your racing again.

luckily ESPN has tnt to lower the bar so we can at least think their announcers are good.
let me add a 6th. bill weber and rusty wallace suck!

Anonymous said...

I would rather watch a cobra dance than listen to Bill Weber and I really, really hate snakes !

Anonymous said...

T.N.T. Your great, thank you for the full coverage tv. I loved it. Thank you. Now I just hope the other networks follow your lead... Thank You.....

Anonymous said...

Just so you know, I have an HD TV and the cars dissapeared as well. HD TV's tend to cut a LITTLE out, but this was a gigantic space. It needs work and I'm hoping they'll fix it, because I thought it was new and different in an okay way.

Anonymous said...

Sound??? How about the sound?? At times the sound of the cars racing and engines screaming down the front stretch, [which is very cool by the way...] simply drown out what the commentators are trying to say. Several times it was down right annoying. We shouldn't have to turn to MRN for the audio while the race is being televised on TV.

Just my thought about the race....
Walt
Altoona, PA

superchicken_VI said...

The Indy Car Series coverage on ABC/ESPN2 with Side-By-Side was a wonderful invention. As someone who DVRs every race to watch beginning an hour after the drop of the green so that I can avoid the large ad content, it Side-By-Side was the first method the producers had to keep me watching the ads.

I am no fan of the TNT production or Bill Weber (I'm still upset they moved Alan Bestwick for him), but the TNT "Wide Open" format was a huge improvement. I watched on my 40" HDTV set, and with Side-By-Side I often can't tell who is whom. With Wide Open, I could always tell what was going on in the action, because the commercials were more of a picture-in-picture format, which left the action full size.

I had heard it reported that ESPN/ABC proposed using Side-By-Side for Busch and Cup this year, only to have NASCAR tell them that the fan base wouldn't accept it. Then TNT ran this format last night. I hope that NASCAR runs with this format for all races on any network, because it made the race much more cohesive and more like an at-track experience. The TNT HD video quality far exceeds that of Fox on my provider, so I was very pleased with what I saw last night.

As for missing racing action from the commercial window, I didn't notice much that I was missing. I would have missed much more if they had gone to commercial to show me another ad for another stupid show that I'm never going to watch and cut out the action. I don't need to ever see Kyra Sedgewick's face again, or hear about "Saving Grace".

As much as I will not miss Bill Weber and the producers that never seem to be on-top of the action, I know that if ABC/ESPN covers Cup like they cover Busch, I'm going to wish all of the races were on Speed.

Anonymous said...

Hey TNT, you have now beat to death, that remake of born to be wild (your theme song). How about you do us all a favor and bury it?
At this point, I'd much rather listen to the emergency tone alert.

Taylor said...

I watched the HD feed on my 42" plasma on the DVR, and caught the SD feed live in snippets while I was at work.

Regarding the aspect ratio: it looked as if the cameras were shooting to not only protect the center, but the top 2/3 as well. HD viewers got an aspect ratio mimicing that of a movie (2.4:1 or so) while SD viewers got 16:9. Regardless, the SD image was still center-cut from the HD image, so there was nothing special on the HD feed other than a crisper image.

I was pleasantly surprised with the coverage and thought it was far superior to the "side-by-side" used by the IRL and ABC/ESPN. Sure, the commerical window blocked some action on the track, but at least I could see it. The race window on the IRL coverage is so small you can't really tell what is going on.

My chief complaint was the graphic box underneath the running-order. It was empty too often. If the powers that be are going to take away that much real estate on the screen, there should ALWAYS be some sort of information in that box.

The ideal situation IMHO is to use the graphics as they did before and run the commericals as they did last night.

Two other small gripes: the row-by-row starting lineup was not title-safe. The crew chiefs' names were cut-off on the bottom. Also on those "local" breaks, TNT would sneak in an extra fullscreen promo before hitting the official local break. I probably wouldn't have known the difference in SD, but I have a 5.1 audio receiver. TNTHD is always flagged 5.1. My receiver never showed stereo sound until we hit the real local break.

bevo said...

anonymous 2:10 p.m. July 8 -

Enough about the #42 already. He's from Mexico (or wherever) and all I can say is who cares? I sure don't. The guys is an arrogant a**, a dirty driver and needs to go back to whatever series he came from. Is the near-constant coverage of the #42 the network's way of being politically correct?

1. Juan Pablo Montoya is from Bogata, Columbia - not Mexico

2. CART champion in 1999, 2000 Indy 500 winner,Formula 3000 champion (F1's Busch series), 7 Formula 1 victories including 2003 Monaco GP (F1's Indy 500),twice number 3 in F1 championship.

3.Not being "politically correct" - Just not being xenophobic. I know, it's a big word...look it up if you ever see a dictionary.

Anonymous said...

I watched the whole thing on my dvr after it was over. I have to say that they are getting closer to what needs to be done to properly televise a race. I have a 65" HDTV and I didn't notice too many issues with the camera angles and such. I personally liked it every time Bill said that they had to give the local networks their 90 seconds - that meant it was time for me to hit the 30sec forward button 3 times.....
The commercials were at least something different from the ones we see 50 times over and over again every race. I actually found myself watching the commercials for once - good news for the advertisers and reason to quit running the same boring ones over and over again....
I have almost completely quit watching any NASCAR races on tv, fed up with the commercials and NASCARS newer policies in general. If they keep tweaking on this race format I might be inclined to watch more of them.

Lance said...

for all y'all gripin' about the t.v. coverage of racin'....do something 'ol school.

turn down the t.v. volume on the race and turn on and up! MRN RADIO.

Joe from Philly said...

I thought is was actually pretty good. Now I'm watching it on a pretty darn large HD screen so I did not have any of the viewing trouble a Standard Def viewer might but I found it to be good. I found there to be plenty of DVR skipping opportunities as they were showing a commercial box under caution.

I honestly don't believe this format provided good value to the advertisers. I don't see this catching on.

I wouldn't be surprised to see a hybrid of this format in the future though as advertisers will continue to try to get content in front of the DVR/Tivo eyes out there....

Anonymous said...

With these numbers, how can you complain!!!! Daytona vs NH
Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Pepsi 400:
Total number of commercials: 34
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 24
Total number of promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 56
Total number of companies or entities advertised in brief promos or crawlers: 14 (companies: Ford, Nextel, Miller Lite, Auto Zone, DirecTV, Subway, Principal Financial, Toyota, Pepsi, PepsiRacing.com, GoodYear, Sprint, 24 Energy Drink, '24×24 Wide Open with Jeff Gordon') There were 13 full-length commercials that were run in the lower right-hand portion of the screen during the broadcast. Total amount of time these ads took during broadcast: app. 21 min.
Start time to record race/commercial periods 07/07/07: 7:59 PM
End time to record race/commercial periods 07/07/07: 11:17 PM
Total minutes: 198
Minutes of race broadcast: 181
Minutes of commercials: 17
Total race brdcst time: 181 Total comm. brdcst time: 17



Race and Commercial Breakdown of the Lenox 300:
Total number of commercials: 139
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 77
Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 26
Start time to record race/commercial periods 07/01/07: 2:30 PM
End time to record race/commercial periods 07/01/07: 5:42 PM
Total minutes: 192
Minutes of race broadcast: 130
Minutes of commercials: 62
Total race brdcst time: 130 Total comm. brdcst time: 62

Bobby said...

Did anyone catch the golf cart that Mr. McReynolds used was painted yellow (for Subway) and carried #28 on it?

Real race fans do understand the meaning of the #28 on his golf cart that he used from studio to booth.

Anonymous said...

I think the wide open coverage is great I just wish that the huge graphic only showed up during the "commercial break".

Anonymous said...

Good Lord... All Mr. Daly can do week in week out is complain about cars being hidden behind a silly commercial and Bill Weber sounding stiff. Remember when races were tape-delayed or worse, never shown? And I'm talking less that 20 years ago.

Who cares if it is NBC, TNT, Fox, ESPN, or ABC... the darn race is on. My favorite sport is on every week in Hi-Def and it's great.

I heard Mr. Daly a few weeks back on Sirius and had to check out his website. Is there ANYTHING he likes about a live NASCAR television broadcast? The Bob Jenkins/Benny Parsons/Ned Jarrett crew ain't getting back together. Deal with it dude!

Enjoy your favorite sport live each and every weekend.

Anonymous said...

I love nascar but if they dont stop letting tnt's sorry ass coverage ruin races then they will! and deserve to lose more fans.give me the damd race and commercials but not at the same time.the more money they make the more they have to get.i'm getting tired of it

robbybee said...

I applaud what TNT tried. It all looked great on my 40" HDTV.

I really think that TNT's coverage of NASCAR is superior to anything put on by ESPN/ABC or FOX - but that's obviously not the opinion of the lovers of that rabid varmint "DIGGER". (Get your Digger Gear at DW Store Dot Com)

BTW, if the sound of the cars drowns out the announcers too much for you, turn off the damn surround sound and just go stereo! My sound system is set for 6-channel Stereo and it sounds MUCH better than the 5.1 surround sound!