Thursday, October 18, 2007

Open Post Night - Give Us Your NASCAR TV Statement


Since everyone seems to be very active right now with their thoughts on the entire NASCAR TV package and the issues involved in it, let's channel that momentum.

Right now, just give us your comment about one thing at this time that has stuck in your mind about this season's TV coverage of your favorite sport. This is like open mic night at the club, except our rule is "no poetry or singing."

Keep your thoughts focused, as people respond well to points made clearly and concisely. OK, its "open post night," let them rip.

To post your comments about NASCAR TV coverage, simply click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the directions. The rules for posting are on the right hand side of the main page, and thanks for taking the time to offer your thoughts in these final weeks of the season.

44 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have been mightily disappointd in the quality of ESPN/ABC's coverage of NASCAR this season. After the very good work of Fox, the idea that we'd be seeing coverage provided by The Worldwide Leader in Sports was exciting.

Unfortunately, the result has been poor coverage that has dropped, in some instances, to the downright insulting.

From the network's use of talent that clearly does not know the sport, something it would never do with baseball or football, to the use of the gimmmicky technology of the "Draft Tracker," which adds nothing to the broadcast, to the network's insistence on focusing on the "Chase" drivers to the vritual exclusion of the rest of the field, ESPN/ABC demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of NASCAR as well as a lack of respect for its millions of fans.

When combined with the network's childish unwillingness to allow anyone else to air practice sessions that it doesn't care to show itself, all we can assume is that ESPN/ABC just doesn't care.

Now we're hearing that the network's stations are pre-empting the pre-race show, cutting out before the end of the race for news--again, something that would never happen with any other sport--or simply airing the entire race hours later.

When so many people are turning to radio broadcasts to find out what's happening on the track, that's a danger sign that the network really ought to heed.

Give me one good reason why I, or any of the other millions of NASCAR fans in this country, should be pleased with what we have seen this on ESPN/ABC year.

I can't think of one.

Anonymous said...

Here's one thing that's stuck in my mind:

There are many different ways to use up my spare time over the weekend. I used to spend much of that time watching NASCAR races, and would even re-arrange my schedule around them. Unfortunately, I now have been afflicted by a syndrome, let's call it "ESPN Fatigue", that has changed my approach. Watching NASCAR is now way down on my list, behind household chores, other sports on TV, movies, general family time, outdoor exercise, etc. If there's nothing else to do, I might turn the race on for a while, but the ESPN antics usually drive me away pretty quickly. It's much easier and less aggravating to just catch the highlights and results on Victory Lane. Sorry NASCAR! Maybe you'll wake up and realize what's happening, someday, maybe...

Richard in N.C. said...

JOHN, why do you think ESPN has been so ill-prepared to handle NASCAR in terms of talent and the mechanics of putting the races on the air - and has appeared to adjust so little for Cup after carrying the Busch races for the first 1/2 of the season? Arrogance? Revenge?

SophiaZ123 said...

Get rid of the junk on the screen: Draft Tracker, excess graphics, too many interviews DURING the green flag.

BETTER CAMERA DIRECTION: Wider angles of cars on track without them being TOO FAR AWAY and small on the screen.

SOMEBODY PAY ATTENTION, and check what is going on ON the track with the camera.
STOP CHANGING the cameras too frequently!!

FOLLOW UP on spins, wrecks, engine problems. Tell us so we don't have to SUBSTITUTE radio and Internet.

If ABC /ESPNcan't get the job done, FIRE THEM.

p.s. not that NASCAR CARES about the fans being HAPPY with ABC/ESPN..at this point it's OBVIOUS THEY CARE NOT ONE WHIT about the fans at home.

LeftyTurner said...

I agree with most that ESPN's coverage is less than stellar. But to question the knowledge of Dr. Jerry Punch, Rusty Wallace, and Andy Petree is ludicrous. The failings in production have nothing to do with the knowledge these three individuals have of the sport. Jerry Punch has been covering races, and well, since I was a kid. Rusty and Andy have been working in racing just as long. It is an ignorant fan that says they do not have the knowledge. In fact, the only ESPN personalities that don't know the sport are Suzy Kolber and Brent Musberger.

drpep said...

There are 43 cars on the track in the Cup series, not the 13 that are covered during the playoffs.
There are 43 cars racing in the Cup Lite series not just the buschwackers.
There are almost 50 cars qualifying during both events, lets hear about ALL of them , not the just chosen ones. DON'T interview Carl Edwards 3 times during Cup Lite qualifying at the expense of Eric McClure or Mark Green.

Anonymous said...

I used sit in front of the TV and watch NASCAR from teh start of the pre-race show, until the coverage was over some 6 hours later. I know find myself recording just the race, to watch it at a later time when I get around to it, sometimes a few days later.

This allows me the luxury of fast forwarding through the ever monotonous "draft tracker" (which I am not sure is scientifically accurate to begin with) and anything to do with Tim Brewer and the ESPN Tech Center. Watching him is like looking at a beaten down dog stuck in a cage. I half expect to see him chained to that computer showing the ever popular "valve train problem". He has no vibrancy to his presentation, and everything he attempts to explain sounds painful (I am still upset about his "dead puupy in the litter" coment). With all of the money dumped into that place, you think that ESPN could just do away with Brewer completely and somebody in the production booth could push the buttons. They could learn something from the Fox broadcast team.

I do not have any desire to listen to Suzy Kolber struggle through another broadcast anymore. She may have some knowledge about other sports, but not NASCAR (although a quick scan of the internet shows she has quite the following). I mean, she is asking questions to Brad Daugherty (at least he sounds like he has a pulse) like he is the NASCAR encyclopedia. He is OK, but by no means the expert. How many times does NASCAR Nation have to ask for Allen Bestwick to be in the booth?

I love NASCAR, but can't wait for the season to be over. At least then it will be that much closer to the return of some real coverage.

Don Betke said...

AS I watch Indy Racing Series on ESPN, I find it amazing that the coverage of that racing is so superior to that of the Cup series. From the Side by Side coverage during commercials to the quality of the commentators, who seem to actually work together as opposed to trying to force themselves on the viewer, it appears to me that the governing body seems to have the best wishes of the viewer in mind. Though I have never been a fan of ol' DW and have been a forever Rusty fan, I actually find myself wishing Darrell did it all year long. I wonder how many fans out there think ESPN's coverage is better than Fox's. Fox's isnt perfect by any means, but they actually seem to like what they are doing, and it seems apparent to the viewer. Now this is the first year of coverage on ESPN, but the self proclaimed "Worldwide leader in sports" has been doing other forms of motorsports for years, so it isnt like this all new to them. I really wanted to like it, but I find myself listening to it on the radio, my wife now wonders why Im not on the basement as much as I was. Walkmans are a beautiful thing.

Andy Pandy said...

I was watching TV a few days ago and came across a rugby game. I had never seem more a clip of a rugby game before, but I decided to watch it for a while. I had no idea what the rules were (and still don't), but I watched and tried to figure out what they were doing while the announcers commented on what was going on down on the field. They didn't explain what the different fouls were or why the guys could seem to be stopped and then all of a sudden take off again, and I didn't want them to.

I was visiting a different world, and I was trying to understand and fit in. That's what I want from NASCAR announcers. No more NASCAR for Dummies - give me NASCAR for NASCAR Fans. Stop explaining every little detail over and over for newbies. If someone is interested, they will learn by watching. How about targeting the broadcast to the folks who got you there by tuning in for years on the other networks, and on ESPN the last time around.

Busch Series Fan! said...

I am just amazed that the Busch series races are more interesting to watch than the cup races, and definitely the Craftman truck series races are even better than the Busch races. But part of that is Nascar is really ruining the Busch series. I also get tired of ESPN/ABC spending so much time with the chasers and not with all the also rans.

Erik said...

ESPN/ABC's coverage has been fine with me. They walking the fine line trying to do exactly what Brian France wants them to do, greatly broaden the appeal of the sport. This means catering to the new fan with how the broadcasts are produced. This limits the racing jargon, or at least explains it so the new fan doesn't feel left out completely like a high school dropout in a Calculus class.

NASCAR is not the NFL, NBA, or MLB. Outside of the south, America has not grown up watching the sport. Therefore, the broadcasts have to reflect that. This is exactly what NHL teams have done when they were expanding. And this is what NASCAR needs to do.

Granted, not everything has been perfect. There are growing pains. ESPN could get better with their pre-race and pit reporting.

Also, NASCAR fans need to understand that ESPN does air other sports on race day, and those events may run long. Its like a student growing up with his own room, and now has to learn to share a dorm room in college. This isn't TNT or FX where the raace is surrounded by old movies. For the ability to get the race broadcasts out to the casual sports fans, broaden the audience, and bring more money for the great sponsors, this is a small price to pay.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure that NASCAR wants to duplicate the recent growth and success of the NBA & NHL. With help from Turner/TNT, it would appear that the ESPN model has not been very successful at growing the audience for the sport in light of continued, declining ratings.

Anonymous said...

There are 43 cars!! I want to see all of them not just Rusty's buddy Kurt Bush every five seconds.

Anonymous said...

ESPN/ABC's coverage has been fine with me.
Thanks, we know that.

We obviously expect a higher-quality product than you will accept.

Anonymous said...

Erik, go back to your edit bay. There's some SC highlights waiting to be cut.

Anonymous said...

The most disappointing thing about the NASCAR coverage since ESPN has taken over is that NASCAR hasn't insisted or assisted ESPN fix the problems documented on this forum (and others) so that long time fans such as myself can enjoy the race and have the coverage we are accustomed to receiving while balancing that with their own agenda - to bring new fans to this sport.

Brian France is the Captain of NASCAR and needs to be held accountable for not ensuring ESPN was "ready to roll" with appropriate commentators, appropriate graphics, timing commercials appropriately, making sure affiliates were going to stay with the coverage through the entire event, and covering the whole field of drivers. These errors have been pointed out on this forum for NASCAR and ESPN to correct by now.

I have no idea if HotPass, DirectTV, MRN or PRN are available in my area and I don't intend to find out. I should be able to turn on my television and view the race, in it's entirety, every week. Other sports afford their legions of fans this level of respect and I would expect no less level of respect from ESPN and NASCAR towards NASCAR fans. I faithfully pay my cable bill every month, and ESPN is a channel that I receive, so they are getting money from me every month, even if I only watch them when my sport of choice is on the air. The Heidi incident happened many years ago and should never be repeated. Just the fact that it happened is appalling to me! How could NASCAR not make sure they had a Heidi clause in their contract?

I realize Brian France has had a tough year. He's lost his father, brother-in-law, and sister-in-law in a three month time span. He's also been securing Nationwide to sponsor the soon to be renmaed Busch Series and battling AT&T over sponsorship deals with a team owner who has a lot of respect and clout in this sport. So, I realize he's been concentrating on many different things and I've tried to cut him some slack, but come on dude! You're father has got to be rolling in his grave!

I get the feeling NASCAR read the contract wtih ESPN, saw the dollar amount, and signed on the dotted line without reading the details of what ESPN felt they should deliver. Sound familiar? Think back on how NASCAR doles out penalties to teams for infractions. That same wishy-washy way of enforcing rules for some teams seems to be the way they are dealing with ESPN - as long as King Brian receives his check, ESPN is doing a great job. Maybe, when the lack of dollars hits the right pocket the changes will occur.

In the mean time, the only way I can fight back is to withdraw my support. This is totally passive-aggressive and may prove futile, but the first time the "expert analyst" mangles a participant's name, makes up a phrase, focuses on his former ride instead of the field, continues his grudge against another driver or just flat out blows a call, I'm outta there for the race. The same thing goes for missed restarts, missed pit stops, not following up on driver's that have fallen off the pace or out of the race. I expect it all from the self proclaimed world leader of sports. They've had seven years to catch a broadcast and see how race coverage has changed since their last broadcast and Brian France has had plenty of time since signing on the dotted line to ensure fans would have seemless coverage to a new network.

Anonymous said...

"the network's use of talent that clearly does not know the sport, something it would never do with baseball or football,"

This is my biggest issue with ESPN this season. I realize they want to promote from within and have talented people at ESPN Radio and ESPNNews. But why do they not see that when they put people on the leads of broadcast teams for NASCAR Now and NASCAR Countdown who do not comprehend NASCAR, much less live and breathe it, it's a disaster waiting to happen?

It comes through in the coverage, guys. Clearly there are people in the fold who have the knowledge and ability, but because of office politics and ESPN "branding" are not being used.

My second biggest issue with the coverage? The passive reaction to poor coverage from NASCAR execs themselves. Unlike David Stern, Roger Gooddell and the recently retired Paul Tagliabue, it's almost as if ESPN/ABC/Disney is the boss of Brian France rather than a respected partner.

Robin Miller of SPEED has a rumor (emphasize rumor) in today's Notebook that Brian's uncle Jim may take over as CEO. I have nothing against Brian France (except when he spins negatives to make NASCAR look better), but I do not believe his heart is in NASCAR. There is nothing wrong with not being interested in the family business - if you admit it instead of doing a half-hearted job.

Newracefan said...

Lose the graphics, I want to see a full screen view of the car on the track during qualifying and if time does not allow showing everyone give a summary of how each car did. Don't interview the same drivers over and over every driver has fans that want to see them. Stop showing the guys talking in the booth with their special guest hearing their voice is fine but they need to be talking about what is happening on the race track.

SHOW THE CARS ON THE TRACK DURING GREEN FLAG RUNS. The only interview I want to see in with the driver who crashed just to see with my own eyes he is ok but split screen it if already back back under green flag. Tell me why cars are off the track, or laps behind don't just ignore them if they are not the "12" or JR. I keep track of several drivers and they are not all the special 13.
Tell us who got the lap back for each caution.
Get rid of the bias in the booth every driver deserves respect even when they make an error in judgement.
Go through the field a during the race and don't just do the 13.
Talk about more that the top 10 unless you are looking at internet you have no idea who is moving forward unless they get inside the top 10 or again are the special 12.
"If the race ended now" IT'S NOT ENDING NOW spo what difference does it make.

ALso what sophiaZ said.

Rich said...

It's easy to tell that the guys in the ESPN/ABC booth have an agenda, and will stop at nothing to push it. The 8 car does not have to be in every shot. Every time someone bumps the 8 car, Dale Jr. doesn't immediately chase them down and wreck them. If a driver wrecked his competitor every time he got bumped, the track would be empty after 400 miles.


I would like to see followups when there are incidents on the track, and I'd like to see guys in the booth that have a clue on how to cover a race. Punch belongs in the pits, Bestwick belongs in the booth, and Rusty belongs anywhere that isn't covered by a tv camera.


ESPN is determined to ruin Nascar for me the same way they did with Monday Night Football. They have that idotic scoreboard in the middle of the screen for MNF, and that idiotic draft tracker for Nascar.

Both telecasts are loaded with "play by play" types that everyone hates. Why is ESPN trying so hard to ruin sports television?

Anonymous said...

---How about targeting the broadcast to the folks who got you there by tuning in for years on the other networks, and on ESPN the last time around. (Andy Pandy)

I read an interview with an ESPN staffer whose job was the crunch the NASCAR ratings numbers a few races into the season. The network was taking a big hit in the age group 50+ males, but he said the good news was they really don't matter in the ratings (to advertisers and networks) so it wasn't a cause for concern. I thought that was insulting and I'm 29!

The head of FOX NASCAR coverage (David Hill) also said it didn't matter if overall household ratings were down if he got the 18-34 audience to increase.

But I saw another article that noted that NASCAR ratings are extremely weak in the 17 and under age group.
"Only 3 percent of NASCAR's audience is between the ages of 12 and 17, according to Nielsen Sports Marketing, an arm of the television rating service."

Losing one audience and not gaining another? Doesn't sound like a recipe for success to me.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if ESPN promotes its 18 to 34 ratings to Pfizer when selling it ad time for Viagra?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Great comments folks. Let's keep it going with a focus on the season as a whole, not just the ESPN portion.

JD

stricklinfan82 said...

One thing sticks out above everything else - the terrible job ESPN has done in their return to covering the sport.

- as soon as the ESPN portion of the Cup schedule started, no practice coverage on Friday or Saturday mornings

- draft tracks

- Brent Musburger, Suzy Kolber, and Chris Fowler hosting races on ABC and ESPN

- Erik Kuselias and Doug Banks being chosen as the co-hosts of the new NASCAR Now program, and upon Banks's firing still not getting it right and replacing him with Ryan Burr instead of a NASCAR-knowledgable person

- Constant Sportscenter minutes, Monday Night Football and Sunday Night Baseball promos and Google Earth shots of Fenway Park and Gillette Stadium taking up the entire screen during green flag racing.

- a lack of chemistry in the broadcast booth and struggles by the guys in the production truck - missing restart after restart, not being able to locate on-track incidents in a timely fashion to show them on TV before the incidents were long over, missing the pass for the lead on the last lap at Talladega

- the debacles by ESPN and ABC: "human error" costing viewers the final 3 laps of the fall Busch race at Bristol, "human error" causing the west coast to watch a re-air of an entire pre-race show segment during green flag racing, ABC dumping the Cup race at Kansas to cable after a little bit of rain (something NBC nor Fox did in their 6 years of covering NASCAR before the new TV contract kicked in, it took ABC 4 weeks to accomplish what NBC and Fox couldn't in 6+ years)

Honorable mention to TNT's awful coverage, most notably their melt-down in Sonoma, but their indiscretions only lasted 6 weeks, while ESPN's have lasted all year and stick out a lot more.

Anonymous said...

Other than only showing one car -the winner- crossing the finish line, I didn't have any real problems with FOX. That was a huge problem, but (with viewer complaints and Daly Planet repeated prodding) they seemed to get it by the end of their portion of the season. I'm even OK with Chris Myers in his limited role.

TNT coverage was abysmal -their commercial load and placement showed they weren't even embarrassed about the lack of effort into the coverage. But the difference between TNT and ESPN is that TNT has six races and so doesn't have a real incentive to improve. ESPN has many more races, much more exposure (ABC) and funds, and they should incentive to improve. NASCAR and sponsors should be breathing down ESPN's neck.

That's why I'm thinking the majority of the comments here will be about ESPN, as they are so far tonight.

Richard in N.C. said...

The real amazing thing to me in this year's NASCAR coverage has been NASCAR's apparent lack of interest or lack of influence. Letting TNT keep part of the package was obviously a giant mistake and clearly damaged the momentum generated by FOX. Why NASCAR has not forced ESPN to bring its coverage of the sport up to scratch is a mystery to me - unless both NASCAR and ESPN are convinced that real NASCAR fans love the sport so much that we will put up with anything. Could it be that NASCAR believes shoddy treatment by TNT and ESPN will generate demand for a NASCAR channel like the NBA and NFL have??

It is curious down here that when the area print media mentions the decline in TV ratings, it always implies that the problem is caused by NASCAR and the COT. I do not recall seeing any articles in the print media down here even mentioning that many NASCAR fans are upset with how TNT and ESPN have covered the sport.

haus20 said...

I am thankful that all of the races are on tv and live for that matter. Think about all of the other racing series that are around. Some are on tape delay, some aren't even covered. We get to watch 36+ races each year. We get to see most of the practices / qualifiying we get real time lap data and hotpass if we so choose. Sure, the coverage has not been perfect - especially for ESPN and TNT, but it beats the alternative of having to read about the race the next day to find out the results.

I too could give a million complaints about commentators, graphics and production quality, but I just wanted to say I have really enjoyed being a NASCAR fan for the last 4 years.

I never thought that my son, who is now 3, would have watched more NASCAR in his life than baseball, but that is what has happened.

SophiaZ123 said...

Though a tad confused by your wanting us to not just focus on ESPN, JD, I just wanted to add, my GRIPE, and I think most on here would be with ANY NETWORK treating the sport and fans so shabbily.

I can only DREAM Miller's rumor has legs, but he is the first to admit when he says "you heard it here first" on WT, he is also often wrong.

BUT Brian France deserves to be taken out behind the woodshed and spanked. I do not believe he cares at ALL about love of the sport of long time fans.

It's plain as the proverbial nose on the face.

I really do WANT to be positive about watching the race on tv and the person who said he should not have to seek out ANYTHING because he pays his cable bill, AMEN to that!!

Last year my small station AM MRN Affiliates tossed NASCAR around to instead broadcase H.S. Football or basketball games. This year, the FM station is faithful for the CUP races except for the Brickyard (and I didn't know where to find the INDY network)

Still, we SHOULD be able to COUNT on the folks calling the race, and, and, AND TO SHOW THE FRICKING END OF THE RACE.

Why the HELLO!! NASCAR is not screaming about this is just mind numbing.

My sympathies to those who had the rug yanked out from under them after investing their hearts and time into the race. A real "Elvis SHOOT THE TV moment" for those ripped off viewers.

Kathy said...

Personally, I love the Fox coverage...but my biggest gripe for the season is the fact that I have to search each week to see where the qualifications will air. And I agree that there should be more consideration of fans whose favorite driver may be fighting to stay in the top 35 or is trying to get a lap back after a green flag stop. There are 43 stories to tell and each of those drivers has a fan base that wants to see their guy get some face time.

Anonymous said...

"Only 3 percent of NASCAR's audience is between the ages of 12 and 17, according to Nielsen Sports Marketing, an arm of the television rating service."

Good ol' Monte Dutton had a piece mentioning this:

Author Robert Lipsyte, promoting his young-adult novel Yellow Flag at Lowe’s Motor Speedway on Thursday, cautioned against the notion that understanding of NASCAR is widespread among the younger generation of sports fans.

Speaking at schools to promote the book, Lipsyte said he was stunned at “how little the next generation knows about NASCAR.”

The New York Times writer said he had been asked about the lack of racial diversity by students who “assumed it was because of racism.”

So the NASCAR TV folks probably have to be a little worried about this generation - but I don't think flashy graphics and contemporary music are going to create fans, as they seem to think. This may be the one issue that is more of a NASCAR problem and less of a TV problem.

slithybill said...

What I'm missing in the coverage during the Chase is the FUN. The FOX broadcast team (including SPEED) ALL seem to be having fun and enjoying what they're doing. FOX and SPEED can be goofy and silly, but when they need to be serious they are. The ESPN team seems to be either bored, aggravated, or overly-excited, but the problem is it varies from personality to personality. FOX and SPEED present a united front, and all seem to feed off of each other's energy while they are on the air.

Obviously, the FOX and SPEED teams have been together much longer than the ESPN folks. Hopefully, the ESPN broadcast team will eventually gel and act like they're friends and act like they actually want to be at the races letting us viewers know what's happening both on and off the track. Maybe during the off-season ESPN can do some "team building" exercises and find the spark that's missing in time for the 2008 Allstate 400.

Desmond said...

All of the networks need to show a great deal of improvement, in my eyes.

*FOX: I never thought I'd call NASCAR on FOX the best of the broadcasts! But there are still substantial problems: how Darrell Waltrip starts each race, how only one car is shown finishing at the end, and the ceaseless emphasis on showbiz that the other packages have since followed. (Don't forget that FOX was also the first to bring a non-racing figure on board in an extensive role, Chris Myers.) At least the "race breaks" were cut this year, and the announcers and production team are solid. Keep up the good work!
*TNT only seemed to use NASCAR as filler between basketball seasons. Bill Weber sounded unnaturally grumpy, Wally Dallenbach was bland, and Kyle Petty was OK at best. Don't forget the lack of a finishing order at Sonoma or the early start of the vampire movie after Michigan. "Wide Open" at Daytona was the only saving grace.
*And ESPN: I can completely understand the bitterness that I see all over this site. Whether it's dumping a race on ESPN2, losing the final two laps of one race, running a tape instead of live coverage at another in some areas (with no apology), or not cracking the whip to make sure affiliates don't pre-empt prerace shows or even the end of the race, it's bad enough already. Now add an apparently bored lap-by-lap announcer, two mediocre commentators, a second-rate pit crew (except for Allen Bestwick), bells and whistles like the tech center and draft track, and not one but two "hosts" pretending to know NASCAR, and NASCAR on ESPN looks at times like the XFL. Uggh!

Suggestions for 2008:
*FOX: Get rid of Myers and put either Steve Byrnes or Krista Voda in the Hollywood Hotel. And, please DW, stop with BBB! (Although that's more a wish than anything realistic.)
*TNT: If this is really just basketball filler, why not just put in Ernie Johnson and Charles Barkley? LOL Seriously though, tell Bill Weber to lighten up and replace Dallenbach with McReynolds in the booth. Get rid of the "Studio 54 set" and Marc Fein.
*ESPN: Complete overhaul. Out: Rusty Wallace, Brad Daugherty, Jamie Little, Brent Musburger, and Suzy Kolber. To the pits: Dr. Jerry Punch. To the booth: Bestwick. In: Dale Jarrett and Shannon Spake for the races and Bob Jenkins for NASCAR Countdown. NASCAR Now: Either Ryan Burr in Bristol, CT or, even better, John Kernan from a new location near the Concord Airport in NC.

Thank you for reading, and God bless all of you.

Anonymous said...

DW, stop with BBB!

It takes him, what, three seconds to say that? Out of a 3+ hour race?

If that's your major complaint, I'd say Fo is doing just fine.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
I wonder if ESPN promotes its 18 to 34 ratings to Pfizer when selling it ad time for Viagra?

The ratings that count the most are the 18-49 range, so Pfizer could still be interested in appealing to the top level of that age group. But lately a subset of that age range, 18-34 males, is a desired commodity because it's difficult to get them to watch TV in general (they've been lost to video games).

It is true that when viewers hit 50, TV executives and advertisers really don't care what they do or don't watch. That goes for NASCAR or traditional evening programming. The networks are more than willing to lose the longtime NASCAR TV fan in the hopes of getting their kid or grandkid instead.

Anonymous said...

I too could give a million complaints about commentators, graphics and production quality, but I just wanted to say I have really enjoyed being a NASCAR fan for the last 4 years.
You would have enjoyed it even more if you'd been around a few years earlier.

Anonymous said...

I have to say that I enjoy FOX coverage best of all. I think that Mike Joy, DW and Larry McReynolds seem to realy enjoy working together and are definitely knowledgeable of NASCAR. I wish that Fox would continue NASCAR all season, but realize that that will not happen. If ESPN put Alan Bestwick as play by play, nothing agains Dr. Jerry Punch (He is much better in the pits); Andy Petree is great as an analyst and I'm not sure about another person. I don't think Rusty needs to be an analyst, put him as a pit reporter. Dale Jarrett knows the sport, but his voice kind of gets on my nerves sometimes. I don't think Kyle Petty is the one either. Of the three, Jarrett would be the best. Please don't bring Suzy Kolber back next year, and Brad Dougherty is okay, but he needs to be less know-it-all. I do hope ESPN will be better next year. I know there have been growing pains and it just HAS to get better.

The numbers on the scroll at the top of the screen is hard to read. They need to use a better font. There are just a lot of little things that ESPN could do to make the coverage better and this site has pretty much suggested everything. Thanks for letting us have this opportunity, Mr Dale.

Anonymous said...

The "18-34" demographic that everyone is apoplectic about is a complete manipulation of the broadcast ad sales industry by advertising agencies. 18-34 year olds do not have NEARLY the disposeable incomes of those in the 45-54 group. Yet the ad agencies have convinced their clients that 18-34 is the MUST HAVE demo, and as a result,the advertisers insist that the networks deliver that demo. Its a self perpetuating shell game.
The fact is that the 50+ demo is the largest and fastest growing, and they are the ones that NASCAR is losing thru its attempt to become "hip" and "Hollywood-esque"
Rock and Roll pre race concerts and Draft Tracker video effects are not going to grow the audience.

Anonymous said...

TV execs are notorious for their short-sightedness. (Remember "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" Massive ratings. So they ran it every night for a couple of months until no one cared anymore, then they dumped it. Happens all the time.)

What that means for us is, they will attempt to attract new, younger viewers to NASCAR by whatever means necessary, even if it drives off the core fans. Then, when those new viewers move on to something else--because they clearly weren't that interested in racing in the first place--they'll say, "See, no one watches NASCAR," and dump it.

The fact is, they don't care.

But NASCAR ought to, because they're the ones who are going to take it it in the you-know-what when they're back to $4 million annual TV contracts.

Anonymous said...

NASCAR core fans aren't going anywhere no matter how bad the broadcasts are to them (other than hot pass). If they are true fans, they'll stick with the sport.

The broadcasts are playing out like any political campaign. The candidates will try to attract the moderates, knowing full well their core base supporters will not vote for the other guy.

Brian France wants to go after the new fans, knowing full well the core fans aren't going anywhere.

JHD said...

NASCAR is not the NFL, NBA, or MLB. Outside of the south, America has not grown up watching the sport. Therefore, the broadcasts have to reflect that. This is exactly what NHL teams have done when they were expanding.
Except, Erik, that the NHL didn't (and still doesn't) treat its core fans as if they were complete morons while bringing new fans up to speed on the sport. And as one of those core NHL fans, I never EVER felt the need to mute the sound so I could enjoy the game without being condescended to by the broadcasters. Nice try on the comparison, but no cigar.

Really what stands out for me TV wise this season is cringing at all the broadcasters. This is the first year I felt the need to pull up MRN on the radio, or log into Trackpass to listen to my driver's scanner, in order to get a better sense of what was happening on my screen. And it isn't limited to ESPN, I have done this all year with TNT and FOX too.

Erik said...

jhd,
Since you're such a hockey fan, you'd realize that the NHL is broadcast quite a bit differently than NASCAR. Only a small fraction of broadcasts are national. Most everything else is regional, just shown in the cities the teams playing are in. Whilst the national broadcasts aren't necessarly geared to the new fan (however Fox's glowing hockey puck was), those regional broadcasts definatly were in the new hockey cities.

Since there aren't regional NASCAR Busch and Cup broadcasts, the same thing only can be done at the national level.

Anonymous said...

Whilst the national broadcasts aren't necessarly geared to the new fan (however Fox's glowing hockey puck was)

...and how long did that last?

You'd think ESPN could have learned from that debacle before they started the stupid "Draft Tracker" gizmo.

Hey, drop that into the suggestion box next time you're at work, will you? Maybe it'll help.

JHD said...

you'd realize that the NHL is broadcast quite a bit differently than NASCAR
Which was my point - good job catching that, Erik.

They are broadcast differently - overall, the NHL broadcasts are much better done than NASCAR broadcasts. I get Center Ice, so I see exactly what has been and is currently done on the regional level in all cities.

And most likely as a direct result of how they broadcast, the NHL seems to have increased its fanbase, both in local attendance of games, as well TV viewership. NASCAR apparently isn't able to say that right now.

Then again, hockey is almost never shown on ESPN, but it is broadcast on NBC and primarily on FOX/FSN. And funnily enough, of the 3 networks broadcasting NASCAR, FOX seems to be closest to getting it right this year, while ESPN continually gets taken to task for its racing coverage.

Why is it so difficult for you (as well as ESPN, and to a lesser extent NBC) to accept the fact that the NASCAR broadcast is NOT acceptable to its fans in its current state, and that changes need to be implemented? Why else would JD have needed to make a post asking for our suggestions on the broadcast to boost viewership? And why else would there actually be suggestions, most of which are reasonable and could easily be incorporated into the broadcasts?

Most of us are not asking for the impossible. We're asking that the networks treat our sport with the same respect it shows the other sports it covers. And that means showing us the race in a way that allows home viewers to see what's going on and be able to enjoy the race.

If they can't or won't do this, then they need to give up their contract to a network who can and will. I don't see that as being so unreasonable, why do you?

TGOM said...

I have many issues with NASCAR's ESPN/ABC package but in order to keep my opinion "clear and concise," I shall choose one:

NASCAR has no contingency plan when an ABC affiliate opts not to air ESPN's programming.

Last week, it was just the pre-race show. This week, understandably, it was the pre-race show and the race itself that was preempted by the Los Angeles ABC affiliate, KABC.

When the broadcast network partner opts not to air a program, ESPN should make the program available on one of their other billion channels. It is beyond my comprehension that this contingency plan is not in place, especially for the second largest television market. When did NASCAR stop caring about ratings?

michael said...

I was first introduced to nascar in the late 50's and watched it all the time (Im 57 years old), in fact I would never miss a race. However, as of a few years ago, I really dont watch it at all anymore, for in "my" opinion it has been reduced to just plain old crap. In my opinion, the only "real" form of racing now is dirt track, F1, moto gp, to name a few. Watching these forms of racing compared to nascar is like watching "ultimate fighting to the WWF, with nascar being the WWF".