Thursday, September 27, 2007

ESPN Explains ABC's West Coast NASCAR Problems

It certainly has been an interesting season for the NEXTEL Cup Series telecasts on both ESPN and ABC. In the first year of their new TV contract, the ESPN production team is showing all the "Chase" races on their big broadcast sister, ABC.

This past Sunday, the Cup Series was racing in Dover, DE. At The Daly Planet there was a discussion underway about the TV coverage of the race in-progress. Suddenly, about an hour into the live race, something very strange happened. People started to stop-by and ask what the heck was going on with ABC?

Following a commercial break, viewers in both the Pacific and Mountain time zones were now watching a segment of NASCAR Countdown, ABC's pre-race show. There was Suzy Kolber and her gang in the Infield Studio saying once again what they had said an hour earlier.

Somehow, ABC had begun to re-air the pre-race show out of the commercial break. This recorded program continued and the NASCAR Countdown segment actually aired in its entirety. Somehow, the mistake was not caught, and things were not made right by quickly switching back to the live race.

Viewers in these two time zones lost eighteen laps of the live race, and that is kind of a tough pill to swallow. Especially, after such a long season and inside the final ten races of the year. Once the Pacific and Mountain viewers were returned to the race, there were no more "transmission" problems, as they are called in TV land.

The reason that these West Coast viewers were upset is because apparently no one told the ESPN on ABC NASCAR team that this had happened. It should have been relatively easy to put together a quick highlight package of the missing laps, but it never happened. Chances are, the Dover crew had no idea of this mistake.

The Daly Planet contacted the ESPN Media Relations Department, and after investigating this incident, they released the following statement:

"We sincerely apologize for the human error that caused a brief distribution problem and have taken steps to prevent this from happening again."

Sometimes, in TV land, things happen that are clearly and simply a mistake. This situation was a result of a failure in communication that ABC will certainly be addressing for the remainder of the NASCAR season. No one is saying that this was intentional.

It was nice of ESPN to take the time to send their statement to us, and it certainly helps the affected viewers to understand that the network is aware of the situation and it will not happen again.

So, off to Kansas with SPEED and ESPN combining to show the practices and qualifying of both the Busch and Cup Series. Then, the Busch race goes live on ESPN2 at 3PM Eastern Time. The "Chase" continues on Sunday at 1PM on ABC Sports. Pay attention on Saturday, as the Busch Series once again sneaks in between live college football games. Have a great racing weekend.

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below, or email if you wish not to be published. Thanks again for stopping-by and leaving your opinion.


SophiaZ123 said...

Well, DELAYED explanations are nice but with all the RECAPPING DURING THE RACE with Suzy, they could've called it to the attention to those gypped from a few laps earlier.

Also, I mentioned elsewhere but must be the only one who watches IRL sometimes, and this happened LAST YEAR with an INDY RACE. Forget which one but it came on at noon and they ran a Danica segment, back to back TWICE. THEN when the "started the race" they were like 8 laps in. I am pretty sure what was an ABC deal as well. NEVER heard a PEEP about that either.

This will not be the last mistake for NASCAR and they already LOST the last 3 laps earlier in the season.

But thanks for taking YOUR TIME to update us, John.

Anonymous said...

Thank You for getting to the bottom of this issue. All I wanted was an explanation from ABC, but now that I think about it, ABC should have produced a short review of the missed laps.

Labbie said...

That is an extremely poor apology/explanation. It says nothing.

Those of us that experienced the outage deserve more than a one sentence boilerplate response for what I consider to be an error of monumental proportions, no matter what sport/program was being aired at the time

Anonymous said...

"and have taken steps to prevent this from happening again."

The problem is, ESPN is taking baby steps in world of giant feet. Please, someone tell me why we have to stand by until they get this right. What steps could they have possibly taken with the exception of firing someone? I was thinking about this continual problem with the NASCAR broadcast situation. I have yet to see this type of problem with NFL Football, and they have many broadcasts every Sunday. ESPN cant get one broadcast to work out in NASCAR. They do a decent job when the race is a sleeper, or the track is so big -- no one realizes their mistakes. People cried about some of the FOX stuff, but you must admit this continual screw up syndrome was not present. They all know its a huge problem and they continue to rip the fans off. I say "rip off" because ESPN is a pay channel. This isnt free television, and although ABC is free, most of the broadcasting takes place on cable.

stricklinfan82 said...

There sure is a lot of "human error" going on in ESPN NASCAR land. First the Bristol Busch race, and now the West Coast ABC feed issue.

One small correction on your article Mr. Daly. There is officially no TV coverage of Cup practice at Kansas on Friday. Speed is doing a NASCAR Live show while Cup practice is going on in the background but ESPN is still screwing the race fans by not allowing Speed Channel to provide true live coverage of Cup practice sessions that they don't air themselves.

I still find it ridiculous that ESPN locks Speed out of doing Cup practice on Friday from 12:30-2:00 but gladly allows them to cover Busch practice from 2:00-3:30 and then again from 6:00-7:00 later that same day.

This crap of ESPN letting Speed Channel televise Friday Busch practices but not Cup practices is getting out of hand. How can NASCAR stand for letting their fans have access to all the Busch practice they want on TV but not have the option of watching one second of Cup practice? Really, does this make any sense at all that the Busch cars get more TV time on every weekend than the Cup cars do? Give me a break.

If Speed Channel can televise the Friday Busch practices that ESPN isn't televising themselves, why shouldn't they be allowed to televise the Friday Cup practices that ESPN isn't televising themselves?

Am I the only person offended by this?

Anonymous said...

stricklinfan82 said...

This crap of ESPN letting Speed Channel televise Friday Busch practices but not Cup practices is getting out of hand.

I don't think complaining to NASCAR, ESPN or even SPEED will make any difference. I think we need to complain to the sponsors of the cars in the practices we DO NOT get to see. A well worded email or phone call to say, Budweiser, about how they are not getting the full exposure they are paying for with practices not getting televised may help more.

Bill H (aka BillWebz)

Anonymous said...

ESPN's apparently devoting their "B-team" to NASCAR while using their "A" players on what thy consider to be real sports, like football and baseball.

Just another way of showing their contempt for NASCAR and its fans. No surprise.

Anonymous said...

How can they be so good with ball sports and so bad with racing. This whole season has been one big joke.Please give speedtv the works next year PLEASE

SophiaZ123 said...

Stricklanfan and Bill H

agree with both of you about SPEED lock out which goes back to my comment, NASCAR does not care because I can't BELIEVE SPONSORS are not upset with lack of being seen on TV.


Anonymous said...

First let me say that I hate ESPNs coverage of NASCAR and I hate that we don't get to see all of the practices. However, I don't think ESPN has locked out Speed. I believe the coverage was all "contracted out" and decided before the season started. I believe Speed would have had to bid or PAY to cover practice live and they chose not to do so. Why? I don't know. Actually, I don't know any of this to be fact but I do believe it to be true. John would know more about how this works...

SophiaZ123 said...

I am watching NASCAR LIVE before heading out to an appt and they are saying they are under red flag due to some issue Robbie gordon had.

THIS IS SO ANNOYING they can NOT SHOW US what is happening.



Anonymous said...

It's very simple, NASCAR was born & raised in the SOUTH, ESPN is in yankee land! NASCAR will NEVER be considered a "real sport" until somebody buys a TV Network and moves it to the South! ESPN SUCKS!!!

Anonymous said...

The reason that SPEED can not carry the practice for Nextel but can for BUSCH is that they are two diffent contracts. Remember that one of SPEED's parent companies is FOX so I am sure ESPN (not ESPN2)wants to get all it can out of the money they spent on their portion of the season. To the point that they do not want anyone associated with their competors to have access to what they purchased when they won the contract. The BUSCH series is different ESPN holds all the rights for the full season. Remember to the networks the NEXTEL series is the money maker, BUSCH series just a tag along.

Anonymous said...

ANON. at 1:44

Speed HAS Nextel practice next week as they have had several times this year!

Anonymous said...

I am definitely in the minority, because I dont see us on the west coast missing 18 laps as a huge deal. It was all green flag racing, and nothing happened. If there was a caution or some other thing, then yes it would be a big deal. Otherwise, someone screwed up, feces occurred, and life moves on.
Also, I'm at work all day on Friday, so I cant watch any of the practices. I dont care if they're on TV or not. I simply log on to a website and look at the times afterwards. If anything happens during the practices, they'll show it in replays 20 times during the weekend and online.
Kevin in SoCal

MelissaAnne said...

Sorry Kevin in SoCal, I'm on the west coast, and I totally disagree. I don't watch a race to see a lap here and there. I want the green to the checkers.
Also, a friend of mine pointed out the amusing ABC slogan for the Chase: "Miss a Lap, Miss a Lot"

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
It was all green flag racing, and nothing happened. If there was a caution or some other thing, then yes it would be a big deal.
Kevin in SoCal

September 28, 2007 2:03 PM

It was NOT all green flag racing. When ABC finally switched back, the caution flag was out.

Anonymous said...

So, let me get this straight. You dont believe missing 18 laps of racing with a caution flag coming out was a problem? You dont believe switching back to a pre-race show televised an hour or so earlier is a problem? Under that belief system you would also believe its Ok to be watching a movie, and have the network switch back to the 6:00 news for 20-30 minutes and then back to the movie, that type of response to a huge blunder makes no sense to me.

Anonymous said...

You misunderstood my comments. Yes it was a problem, but I dont feel its as big a deal as being made on here. Yes I'm upset that we missed 18 laps of racing, but since nothing happened during that time, is that worth killing someone over it? The caution flag came out right when the coverage went back to live, and they replayed why the caution came out. Its not like we missed something huge like Dale Jr being sucked out of his racecar by aliens.
And for the record, I am upset that they miss restarts, because something happens during a restart. But 18 green flag laps where nothing happened? Not such a big deal to me. Your opinion my vary.
Kevin in SoCal

Anonymous said...

Yes I'm upset that we missed 18 laps of racing, but since nothing happened during that time, is that worth killing someone over it?

Let's see what happens if they miss 18 minutes of an NFL game, even if no one score during that time.

Busch Series Fan! said...

Well I believe this happened earlier in the year here in the Central Time Zone I don't recall the race but the broadcast started showing Nascar Countdown again the jumped back to the race without an explanation. Sorry I can't remember the whole scenario.

Anonymous said...

How do you know nothing happened in you didn't see it?

slithybill said...

Kevin in SoCal said...
I am definitely in the minority, because I dont see us on the west coast missing 18 laps as a huge deal. It was all green flag racing, and nothing happened.

That "nothing" was 18 laps of RACING. That's what I tune in every week to see, or hope to see, depending on the network.

Big Henry said...

Some of you yokels still think of ESPN as a "pay" channel? Um, you cheapskates ain't the target audience for anyone.

Anonymous said...

Doesnt matter if we are the target or not. ESPN is a pay channel. Multiply that pay by the millions of TV viewers each week, and you can see the target. The pay comes in the form of monies paid in advance and for the most part are guaranteed. Please tell us little brain local-yocals who the ESPN target is. Must be the aliens from the before mentioned post. I would suggest the ESPN target is anyone living on the earth today with a TV.