Sunday, November 25, 2007

38 Races In 22 Minutes Cheats NASCAR Fans Again

The season rolled out of the garage in February at a cold and windy Daytona. It ended ten months later under beautiful South Florida skies with a smiling NEXTEL Cup Champion.

Thirty-eight events and thousands of racing miles comprised the 2007 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season. For the three TV networks covering this series, the commitment was huge in terms of manpower and logistics.

As TV packages go, NASCAR rivals tennis and golf as manufacturing hundreds of hours of live national TV coverage in a single season. Luckily, NASCAR racing is just a tad more popular than those two sports.

Putting aside the TV coverage of the practice and qualifying sessions, the Cup races alone generated over one hundred and fifty hours of live TV in 2007. Spread over ten months, it is easy to understand how this sport is very attractive to TV networks.

On this past Sunday afternoon, scheduled up against the early NFL games, ESPN2 presented their NASCAR NEXTEL Cup season-in-review program. As one might expect, it was produced in cooperation with NASCAR Images in Charlotte, the sport's official TV production group.

ESPN is the new "big daddy" of NASCAR. They televise the entire Busch/Nationwide Series, produce a daily NASCAR news program, and host the final seventeen NEXTEL Cup events live on either ESPN or ABC. This year-in-review program was a chance to look back on an incredible season that saw many first time events for both the network and the sport.

Before ESPN's Cup coverage began, they broadcast an outstanding series called Ultimate NASCAR. It gave viewers a chance to bond with Dr. Jerry Punch while he hosted a series of shows on diverse historical topics that really showed-off the best parts of the sport. The editing, sound effects, and grandeur of these programs was often breath-taking.

Now, after a year of hard work, ESPN was going to recap the entire season of the highest level of stock car racing in North America. Viewers could look forward to the ESPN and ABC TV team of Rusty Wallace, Andy Petree and Tim Brewer sharing their views.

Also, summing up their thoughts after a long year would be Allen Bestwick and Mike Massaro, two high-profile NASCAR veterans that were the backbone of ESPN's coverage of pit road this season.

Marty Smith would be there to give a good synopsis of an incredible year in NASCAR news. From Junior and Kyle changing rides to Toyota buying their way into Gibbs, this was a huge year of NASCAR news, even without the COT.

But, a funny thing happened on the way to this party. As the NEXTEL Cup year-in-review program began, there was absolutely no mention of ESPN. There were no ESPN announcers on-camera. There were no ESPN graphics. Something was very wrong.

Then, the voice heard next was the "generic voice-over announcer" that fans have come to understand works for NASCAR Images. His booming tones signaled another "NFL Films style" presentation of NASCAR action highly-edited into a set format. This was the NEXTEL Cup season-in-review show?

The 2007 footage began to zip by in a flurry of announcer voices that were never introduced, but magically seemed to be scripted for every moment. Using announcers from all three TV networks, from both radio networks, and from NASCAR Images the on-track action flew by at lightning speed. There was a very good reason it was so fast.

The entire thirty-eight race NEXTEL Cup season was going to be recapped on ESPN in twenty-two minutes. Let me say that once again. The 2007 Cup season was going to be pulverized into twenty-two minutes of video footage.

Twenty-two minutes is the amount of content that is left in a thirty minute show on ESPN after eight minutes are subtracted for commercials. Twenty-two minutes to cover one hundred and fifty hours of racing as a final tribute to the teams, drivers, and fans. Twenty-two minutes.

Regardless of the parties or the TV contract issues involved in this decision, it is completely amazing. NASCAR fans have been knocking down the email door at The Daly Planet asking about off-season TV programming. Other than this show and the Banquet...the NEXTEL Cup landscape is barren.

In the meantime, over at SPEED, NASCAR fans are being treated to daylong "theme blocks" of classics like PINKS, Unique Whips, and Payback. The NASCAR programming is completely gone from a network that basically survives because of the sport.

Can you imagine a two hour version of Inside NEXTEL Cup recapping the season?

How about a studio version of RaceDay where John Roberts leads a discussion looking back at the season with Jimmy, Kenny, and Wendy?

Maybe Steve Byrnes could lead the Trackside gang of Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond through a season-in-review with lots of guests on the phone and some in the studio. Viewers would not mind Junior checking in from the beach on his cell phone.

The point of this column is that NASCAR fans deserved more than just a thirty minute "generic" recap show on one cable network on a Sunday afternoon. This NASCAR Images show was a "throw-a-way" that was probably mandatory in the ESPN TV contract.

What other explanation could exist for a TV network that committed so many resources and so much time to NASCAR? Consider this, the NASCAR pre-race shows on both SPEED and ABC were longer than the year-in-review program. Does that make any sense at all?

SPEED can do a three hour RaceDay from Homestead but no three hour season-in-review? ESPN tells us they have spread NASCAR across five TV networks, an InternetTV site, and their own and Jayski sites as well...but they do not want to waste their time on a look back at their own efforts?

Maybe NASCAR will make a little note about an expanded post-season TV programming mix for 2008. With new sponsors, a new car, and struggling TV ratings, it just might be a good time to expand that season-in-review show to remind fans of the action over the ten months of the season. For this year...its just a little too late.

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. To add your comment, simply click on the COMMENTS button below or email if you wish not to be published. Thanks again for taking the time to stop by and leave your opinion.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Daly:
How right you are!
Even though the Cup & Busch shows produced by NASCAR Images were good, their brevity left something to be desired.
As you mentioned in your column about NASCAR NOW, it is apparent that ESPN, following Homestead, simply washed their collective hands of anything NASCAR. ESPN's efforts on Sunday simply reinforce that thinking.
I am disappointed with SPEED and their lack of forward programming for the 2008 season. Full-day blocks of some of the most useless shows absolutely kill the interest of NASCAR fans.
I posted earlier on your "Demands" column that FOX had better come out of the box with the best damn programming we've seen in decades! As they have all the ESPN programming on file, there should be no reason for FOX to present anything less. Hopefully, they might get their act together enough to have some live(or slightly live) programming in January to lead into the "Shootouts".
As far as ESPN and its coverage & production, let's just have the burial, stick the stone on top of the plot and move on.
(But, I hope the meeting/s with Mr. Helton & company and the TV parteners, and the NASCAR "suggestions" prove fruitful in the coming year!)
Just my musings...
Tom in Dayton.

Anonymous said...

I think the numbers show that America is burned out with the over saturation of Nascar. I have read comments from those in the sport who are asking if this might be the case. As for SPEED, a large part of their viewers have no interest in NASCAR. I think coverage should shut down for 1 month before January testing, this will give fans something to look towards...I just don't think a solid 12 months is good for any sport.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 6:44AM,

I don't really know what you are talking about.

This column was asking for a longer season-in-review show. Nothing was mentioned about more NASCAR races or other programs.

A large part of the SPEED viewers have no interest in NASCAR? Where on earth did you get that one from? While a small group might make noise on the SPEED message board, NASCAR dominates that network and the only other significant live event series they have is F-1, which cannot be put on ESPN or ESPN2 because of time constraints.

Maybe if you don't think that "a solid twelve months is good for any sport" you might want to check your cable dial.

It may include the NFL Network, the Golf Channel, the Tennis Channel and NBA-TV. Clearly, twelve months of coverage and a dedicated cable channel is exactly the way to go.

Maybe a season-in-review show longer than 22 minutes might be a good first step in that direction.

Anonymous said...

I turned the program on, watched a mere 5 minutes, then hit the remote. Checked the SPEED channel - more boredom.

Turned on my computer and enjoyed hours of racing talk on a 15" monitor rather than stare at the big screen TV with ESPN or SPEED offerings.

Guess I expected more from both those groups and am once again disappointed. BUT I'm learning! Won't even bother watching whatever crap they next decide to hype. They don't know racing....

Thank goodness you have the stamina and stomach to sit through their shows and offer us a synopsis. Keep up the good work - or else I won't know what's happening with either ESPN or SPEED. I'm done with them.

Anonymous said...

"A large part of the SPEED viewers have no interest in NASCAR? Where on earth did you get that one from?"

JD, I'm afraid he's right. SPEED viewers want to watch Pinks and all the other stupid game shows. NASCAR and racing in general have been absent from SPEED for a while now.

Sure, they do a great job with F1 and the Trucks, but that's appointment viewing. Nobody tunes in expecting to see racing-oriented programming anymore.

When SPEED traded race fans for the mouth-breathers who watch their lo-buck junk TV today, they lost something special.

I hope it worked out for them, it sure didn't for me.

Anonymous said...

If NASCAR dominates SPEED, why were there no NASCAR-oriented marathons of programming on Thanksgiving weekend? Why was it PINKS and all of those shows instead?

Fact is, except for the weekends and INC on Mondays, SPEED shows no interest in NASCAR programming. If the ratings indicated more of an interest from viewers, I assume they would show it. Someone has to be watching all of those PINKS and Unique Whips shows (not me, but they wouldn't air all the time if they weren't bringing in viewers).

As for SPEED and ESPN folks giving us a year in review show, give those folks a break, John. They've been on the air for 10 months now, with what, three weekends off during the season? It was Thanksgiving week, they deserve the week off. Now if they want to produce a season-end show sometime for December, fine, your point is valid.

I also agree with the poster that 12 months of NASCAR is too much. I have all of the sports channels you're talking about except the NFL one. As a NBA fan, I only watch the NBA network off season to see a few of the WNBA games in the summer and NBA training camp in the fall. Golf and tennis channels are more instructional and lifestyle oriented than actual sports in the offseason.

Everybody needs a few months off from a sport. That's why the NFL and college football are so successful, a short season means people look forward to it. I admit I had a twinge of regret this weekend with no races, but honestly I was getting tired at season end, and I suspect others were too.

Anonymous said...

Chase said: Thankfully, I didn't watch it assuming that it would be yet another useless attempt for a network to try to salvage a very forgettable season of coverage. However, I was wondering why doesn't ESPN hire our Mr. Daly? That would solve the problems immediately and we fans would at last get the coverage we need and deserve without any pre-scripting or pre-list of 'acceptable' questions, etc. This thought hit me as we sat down for T'giving Dinner and I for one think it's brilliant!

Anonymous said...

"How about a studio version of RaceDay where John Roberts leads a discussion looking back at the season with Jimmy, Kenny, and Wendy?"

What a dream that would be!

I was traveling over Thanksgiving, but I'd have set my VCR for that and savored every moment.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9:57: "If NASCAR dominates SPEED, why were there no NASCAR-oriented marathons of programming on Thanksgiving weekend? Why was it PINKS and all of those shows instead?"

Good point. They didn't show Survival of the Fastest marathons or old Inside Nextel Cup or Victory Lane, anything. They didn't last year either with Beyond the Wheel or 7 Days. SPEED's obviously determined that is not where their audience is, so (sadly) perhaps they don't feel the need for a season in review show.

I do see on Jayski SPEED is doing an hour-long Behind the Scenes of Champion's Week show on Friday, so they are providing some postseason programming. Maybe they will do something else in December; I agree those guys deserved a Thanksgiving vacation!

Gary said...

To anonymous at 6:44 a.m.:
Speed is trying to capitalize on the waning "Fast and Furious" crowd that was big 6 years ago. (Also the reason the COT design exists, BTW). With shows like Unique Gangmembers, and Pinks; there is a certain "element" that the programmers are catering to.NASCAR is their bread and butter, but those shows are jelly on the toast:It's good for awhile, but you don't really need it.
John, perhaps ESPN is trying to get out of 2007 fast, and re-group for better programming and coverage next year.
I can't believe I just typed that....

Anonymous said...

I still say there is little value in the extra sport channels

Golf is on ABC, ESPN, CBS & NBC

The extra 24 hour channels have very little in viewers & add little to the coverage of the sport. NFl network adds the most, but has the smallest amt off viewers due to extra $$ needed to subscribe on cable.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 9:40AM - I don't know where you got that from, but the only thing that did not work for SPEED with NASCAR was mid-week long-form race recaps. NBS 24/7 and the other NASCAR Images programs did not return for other issues.

I understand what you are saying about trading fans for casual non-racing viewers, but it comes down to the Programming Dept.

Anon 9:57AM - Fact? What fact? The NASCAR programming on SPEED is supplied by NASCAR Images, who has done a lousy job in several areas this season, mostly focused on the post-produced programs like Survival of the Fastest and Chasing Glory. Its not SPEED, its supply and demand.

Do you really think if NASCAR Images suggested a two or three hour live season wrap-up show before the banquet from NYC that would be a bad idea?

I would suggest that if the TV people are tired then we need some new TV people. Airing one more show on either SPEED or ESPN2 in support of over one hundred and fifty hours of live racing should not be a should be a pleasure.

Anon 10:47AM - I am just going to leave your post up there so I can come back to it and shake my head. Once again, what we asked for was opinion.

All those folks at the NFL Network, the Golf Channel, and NBA-TV are of little value? Let me help you out, most of the pro product is going to be migrating to a cable channel mixed with an Internet TV site within five years.

As we saw with the way the ABC stations treated NASCAR this season, the broadcast network model is over after this TV contract. When TNT left a post-race show fifteen minutes early to start a vampire movie, it showed just how bad an entertainment network is as the host for sports product.

The only long-term model for American sports leagues and sanctioning bodies is to control their own media, either over the TV or the Internet.

David Reutimann probably agrees with that one.

GinaV24 said...

Well, I'm not in the least surprised to hear the NASCAR got short shrift from ESPN again on it's review show. I have all of the VCR editions of the season in review from NASCAR starting back in the 90's (except for the 2001 season when they didn't do one). I missed this show, such as it was because I seldom watch any ESPN programming and the only time I watch Speed is when I know there will be NASCAR programming on such as INC. Pinks and all the other lame stupid shows don't interest me. I used to really enjoy watching the marathon version of the Rally car races from Europe on New Year's weekend, but they don't show that any more either. Now it's a marathon of car auctions -- that can be interesting but it's not going to hold my interest for a day. I really liked Beyond the Wheel when it was on -- Survival of the Fastest was something like it, but I thought it was one of the stupid shows, so I didn't watch it until I saw it by accident. I've written a letter to NASCAR at their PR office in Daytona, I don't expect that they will care because as long as the money keeps coming, why will they? But sooner or later, the golden geese that are the fans are going to quit watching all this junk. I already plan to miss the summer races with TNT and ESPN. Why bother?

Anonymous said...

What I meant as "little value" was as to us the viewer at this time. 2 of the 4 channels are pay extra for me on Comast. Until the events and games switch to the majority of them being shown on these channels, then the viewers will pay for these. How close are we to seeing Golf..NASCAR..NBA...Tennis..
similcasting events on their channels along with biggies?

SallyB said...

It seems to me that, if ESPN, ABC and FOX want to improve their ratingsnext season, they should be doing something over the 'off season' to get/keep people interested in the sport. A 30 minute wrap up of a 38 race season certainly supports the impression that they don't find their 'product' worthy of attention. It also gives the impression that the fans of racing aren't worth keeping around until Daytona next February. With much of the 'overkill' coverage on race day, maybe they should save some of that up to use during the winter to 'fire up' the fans for next year?

Anonymous said...

Hope NASCAR does not follow NFL model. From 11-21-07 article:

"The NFL has gambled twice and lost twice," says Rick Gentile, professor of sports management at Seton Hall U. "The first gamble was to create a 24/7 NFL cable network. The second was to put eight live regular-season NFL games exclusively on the network," instead of selling them to a willing bidder like Comcast's Versus network, which offered a strapping license fee -- reportedly $400 million a year -- to get the rights.

The NFL Network is way behind the business plan it drew up before it began operations in November 2003. It reaches only about 35 million cable/satellite homes (ESPN has 96.6 million customers). Just as bad, despite the high cost to the distributors that do carry it, the network will pocket a negligible cash flow of $5.4 million in 2007, according to SNL Kagan.

Chiefly responsible for the dismal cash flow are meek ratings: NFL Network averaged only 147,000 viewers in primetime during the third quarter, putting it 54th out of 69 cable networks monitored by Nielsen.

Anonymous said...

"Anon 9:40AM - I don't know where you got that from, but the only thing that did not work for SPEED with NASCAR was mid-week long-form race recaps. NBS 24/7 and the other NASCAR Images programs did not return for other issues.

I understand what you are saying about trading fans for casual non-racing viewers, but it comes down to the Programming Dept."

JD, I agree that the long-form race re-airs were never going to work. What did work was the original Totally NASCAR (w/Steve Byrnes & Krista Voda) and some of the NASCAR Images stuff like pre-DeSpain INC and NBS 24/7.

What most race fans would enjoy is a Monday through Thursday hour of intelligent programming on SPEED, say at 7 east/pac. Something like a half-hour of the day's news and features followed by a half-hour NASCAR Images type show.

I realize that SPEED's programming dept. has concluded that ratings don't indicate that mid-week programming for race fans is worthwhile. They say, "hey we put this crappy NASCAR show on every night and no one watched it!" Then they go and put on shows about a bunch of meatheads and the ratings go up and they say, "aha!" ESPN puts on a poorly produced daily show that's on in the middle of the afternoon for most people, and it gets crappy ratings, so they probably conclude that there's no market for it and put no further effort into it.

Both SPEED and ESPN are flawed in their evaluations of the interest of fans in a daily news show. The shows don't fail because of fan disinterest, they fail because they are crappy shows. Toss NASCAR Images in there, too. The blame lies with ignorant, self-indulgent telvision production, not fan apathy.

Anonymous said...

Daly Planet Editor, why so snappish and rude in your responses to comments today? You should be grateful that people are reading, much less providing feedback.

We get it. We really do. You wouldn't need any time off after ten months of constant travel and talking on air. Instead you'd be happy to produce a three hour season in review the day after Homestead. No need to wait a week or two to get some energy back, let's do it now!

We also get that you have determined that the world NEEDS a NASCAR Network (never mind that most of the population wouldn't have access to it, people are already mad about not being able to watch the banquet on ESPN Classic).

Nobody watches Pinks and Payback, SPEED just airs them as a favor to their producers. Surely no one with a brain would watch that drivel instead of a NASCAR show, right?

And finally, all would be right with SPEED and ESPN if they would follow your suggestions. Sorry, it's not that easy. While I agree with most of what you write, your increasingly "I know what's best and you viewers are clueless" attitude is starting to grate. You'd best reel it in pretty soon.

Anonymous said...

Given how boring most of the racing was this year, 22 minutes seems overly generous by about 10 minutes.

When NNC racing actually produces highlights worth watching, I'll be back watching and caring about the outcomes.
17 Fan from Ohio

Anonymous said...

As for SPEED and ESPN folks giving us a year in review show, give those folks a break, John. They've been on the air for 10 months now, with what, three weekends off during the season? It was Thanksgiving week, they deserve the week off. Now if they want to produce a season-end show sometime for December, fine, your point is valid.

I admit I haven't been happy with many of the performances of the broadcasters this season. But they are people with families, and I don't begrudge them time off immediately after a long season. Many of us were out of town or otherwise busy this weekend anyway, so we wouldn't have seen them do a season wrap up if they had worked on one this week. They might as well wait for a better time when more people can watch if they choose to do one.

Anonymous said...

@anon 1:11--the banquet is being reaired at midnight eastern on the deuce so those without Classic can still watch

I do agree about the "recap" shows. I wasn't expecting much seeing that both were just 30 minutes but even having a familiar voice (besides Mr. NA$CAR Images) would have been nice :).

I've been enjoying the Ultimate NA$CAR shows as well! Every time I think that's all another one pops up :).

I really miss the 2K2/2K3 SPEED. I watched NA$CAR in 2K1 but didn't watch SPEED. I recall seeing on the guide this "Totally NA$CAR" and kept saying that I'd tune in but never did. One day in early 2K3 I was reading DWs column and someone asked him if Mikey's show was back on and DW said it was. So I'm like "What Mikey show?" and I looked it up and that's how I fell in love with Totally NA$CAR and Steve :) as well as Rally racing.

But back then, they had a "best of IWC" each week and would show highlights. That's how I found out why Schrader can only give 1 and 1/2 thumbs up :) as they had already aired that by the time I found the show. Relived the now infamous Happy vs. Biffle Bristol incident. They even showed some clips that they didn't have time for on the show. When Mikey had his "Party with the Posse" they showed quick highlights on IWC, but during the "Best of" they showed more.

Heck, back then they even reaired some WT episodes.

They even had (Thursdays?) "old school" races where Matt Yumyum and Mike Joy took turns recapping an old race and if able, had someone who was a key factor on set to discuss the race.

And they also had "themes" back then too. I can't remember what Monday was, but they had Two Wheel Tuesday and Winston Cup Wednesday. On Mondays after IWC they'd have the Pick 'em Ups reair. So you looked forward to whatever day because you knew WHAT would be on that day and it was good quality programming!

Now we have crap. The only time I've watched Payback or Whips was when someone NA$CAR was one (save the one Payback I saw with Jay Leno). They FINALLY canceled that T&A show, I can't even remember the name of it. It's funny, I've asked several folks here in DFW and NONE of them had even heard of that bar. The SPEED talking head kept posting that it was a popular show. We were like HOW...WHOSE watching? Heck, darn near every post was wondering when it would be canceled and how people (who normally aren't prudish) didn't want their kids watching SPEED due to the commercials for that show.

I know in the past SPEED has done their wrap up shows closer to Christmas so there can still be hope for them. However, none so far have topped the 2K2 one, those were great!

But yes it would have been nice to have a "final" IWC/RaceDay to say hey this is how it is. I'll have to check my 2K3 IWCs but I *think* they even did that. They had the Homestead wrap up from Homestead and I *think* they came back the next week and did a wrap up. But of course back then, they also aired IWC even if it was an off weekend unlike now. There was one for the Easter one I believe, that they were trying to pretend that they taped it on Monday but Mikey kept slipping up.

I was checking my DVR guide and it shows for the next few weeks out that 'Chasing Glory' is still going to air so those who have missed it can check it out :).

Anonymous said...

So this show was on yesterday? I didn't even know about it and even if I had, I probably wouldn't have watched it anyway.

Besides, the Titans were playing the Bengals and I have to support Vince Young since he graduated from UT here in Austin. Granted, the Titans lost their a** but I am a true fan, not a fairweather fan who only supports my team (or driver) in times of success.

Anywhos, with the racing season over, football is the name of the day around here now. IF there was a true, worth watching, bonafide recap show of the NASCAR season, who produced it and what network it was going to air on would be a major factor in my deciding on whether or not to watch said show. Hence, ESPN does not make me all giddy with excitement after their dismal 'covearge' of the races.

Glad to know that I didn't miss anything.

Richard in N.C. said...

Wait a minute. I have friends who are golf "nuts" - like I am a racing nut- who only watch the Golf Channel EVERY DAY. As a racing fan, I would like to see some racing news or commentary daily- rather than having to go to various internet sites to read what is going on. I'm not aware off-hand of any other industry segment that gets a 2 month vacation - and there are shows that could be repeated. I agree completely with JD.
Also my understanding is that ratings for the NFL channel are down because the NFL is battling with Time Wormer and some other cable cos. over carry fees and placement - and thus does not have broad penetration.

Anonymous said...

Golf and racing on TV are apples and oranges. The people who watch Golf Channel usually play golf - my family members included. They have a ton of shows to teach you how to improve your game, tips from the pros, best equipment, etc. Golfers never get tired of that stuff, which is why that channel is so popular.

People who watch NASCAR usually aren't race car drivers. So a multitude of shows about how to improve as a driver, or what firesuits or helmets to buy, are not going to be helpful or well-watched.

I'm looking at the Golf Channel schedule for today (offseason). They have a daily news show which is repeated eight times (that type of programming could apply to a NASCAR network). Other than that, it's reality shows (Big Break and My World), hours of product showcase shows (balls, clubs), a few hours of instructional shows and two replays of tournaments. Looking at the schedule for the rest of the week, the tournament replays are not the norm, usually those are condensed one hour highlight programs and there are more instruction shows instead.

The Tennis channel (offseason)? Some tournament repeats, and a bunch of reality, player biography and tennis travel shows. They de-emphasize instruction (early mornings only) and there's no daily news show, which is why it isn't nearly as popular as Golf Channel.

Anonymous said...

"the banquet is being reaired at midnight eastern on the deuce so those without Classic can still watch"

I just visited a NASCAR board, and a lot of people want to watch it live, and they're upset they don't have the option when others do. ESPN and NASCAR got lucky that Dale Jr is not involved in the banquet this year, otherwise they would be facing some extremely angry viewers the rest of this week and beyond.

I notice we're not hearing Jim Hunter complaining about certain drivers not going to the banquet like he did a couple years back when Gordon, Jr, and Kahne didn't go because they weren't in the Chase. (Remember his "Dale Earnhardt Sr. came to the banquet every year no matter what, so they should too" speech)I'm sure Hunter knows many fans aren't going to get to see the banquet until the next day at the earliest - not many are going to stay up until 3AM on the East Coast to see the end on ESPN2 -so he's not going to complain about driver attendance this year.

Anonymous said...

22 minutes out of a 30 minute show is par for the course, look at how much time is spent on commericals during a race. As far as a year in review who needs it? we all saw what went on during the year, that's like watching a movie you have already seen. I would rather see what some of the drivers do on their time off.

Anonymous said...

Plus Speed reviewed the 2007 season on Saturday morning and repeated it on Sunday morning before the race. Rutledge hosted it, it was like the shows with Krista Voda earlier in the week reviewing the 2005 and 2006 Chase.

Thornton,Colorado said...

John, I completely agree with your article. But the irony is 22 minutes is the LONGEST stretch of race coverage all year. Even on the replays, ESPN execs were probably trying to figure out how they can put more commercials in.
Just look at their programming and the underlying theme-Pardon The Interruption is based on two minute segments, and how much they can argue in between-Around The Horn is based on two minute segments and how much they can argue in between-Sportscenter is based on two minute segments, and how much they can argue in between. Hmmm.... I'm seeing a trend here on how they approach programming. It's all based on a third graders mentality.......

Matt said...

No one is asking for days of non-stop coverage of NASCAR. However, those of us who have been around for a while (I've been a fan for 15years) can remember a new version of Inside Winston Cup Racing on TNN every Sunday, ESPN's Winter Heat racing series featuring NASCAR West and Late Model series, and NASCAR Winston Cup marathons during Christmas and New Years on ESPN2. All we ask for ONE of those things during the Winter. And I would think that one of those things could get snowed-in, bored sports fans turned onto NASCAR.

Illpolo said...

To Anon at 1:11pm on the can you call someone out for being snappy and rude and then follow it with a post that does just the same?

To some of the posters who feel like there should not be a show or coverage after the season...PLEASE SPEAK FOR YOURSELVES! Just because you don't or won't watch because you are tired of racing doesn't mean there are many of us fans who would love to watch any coverage possible.

There are not just a ton of things to wrap up from the season, but also race-related news happening all the time AND plenty of things to preview for next year already. Storylines like Jr. with Hendrick, Johnson shooting for his third, Gordon needing to get even better in order to win his 5th, Toyota's with JGR, drivers who will benefit from changing teams, how will Kyle Busch do with JGR...the list can go on. Even a once-per-week show that repeats at other times during the week would be fine.

As for production teams needing time off...uhhh, most of us working folks do our jobs 12-months out of the year with a week off here and there for vacation. Why shouldn't that be the same for anyone who has chosen this profession?

Anonymous said...

--To Anon at 1:11pm on the can you call someone out for being snappy and rude and then follow it with a post that does just the same?

Uhhhh, I'm just guessing, but so that person knows what it feels like?

I think people are speaking for themselves, as you are. That's why it's a blog with comments. Everyone -not just you - has a right to their opinion.

It seems the ESPN and SPEED production team, as well as most other NASCAR media types, based on the lack of stories on sites I visit - may have taken Thanksgiving week off. Apparently some people have a problem with them taking the week off and not producing a show to their liking. I don't have a problem with them taking the week off. I don't think anyone is saying they should take the next three months off, though it seems that is what you are inferring. To each his own.

Oh....and there's already a once per week show like that. It's called the Speed Report.

Anonymous said...

22 minutes is about 20 minutes longer than it needed to be for this snoozer season. Next season will be worse. NASCAR has been going downhill quickly and the COT will be the nail in the coffin.
When they race a car that looks like something we all drive and the brand can be distinguished without sticker, some people will come back. When we ungag the drivers and let the rough side show again, people will come back. When we fire up Darlington on Labor Day and re-light the Rock, more people will come back. Until then, I am back to being a football fan.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, a NASCAR network in the near future, 1-4 years, would end up on a cable pay tier just like all of the other sports channels other than The Golf Channel. Or if NASCAR is stubborn like the NFL and tries to demand a certain placement on basic cable, it won't be on a tier at all. I believe this change would end up angering NASCAR fans, especially older fans or fans on a fixed budget.

The reason The Golf Channel isn't on pay tier? Because of its advertising base. The median household income of a GC viewer is $77,381. 51 percent of the audience has a household income of $150,000 +. I don't think NASCAR or many other sports can compare to that ad base.

Anonymous said...

@anon 2:15--yup, it was on at 1:30 and 2pm eastern I believe

@anon 3:42--ah I see what you're saying! Yes

@anon 4:12--they're showing 'Chasing Glory' for at least the next 3 weeks so you can see some of it, even if it was footage from 2 years ago

Big Henry said...

Whenever you can't figure out the answer to a question, John, the answer is usually MONEY. Speed is a business, they make their money from advertisers. Statistics show this programming doesn't get viewers. So, no ad buyers = no show.

Simple, huh?

Newracefan said...

I was somewhat disappointed with the 30 min shows, I agree that everyone deserves some time off and I for one would have been happy to wait another week to get an hour long version for each series. I would love to see some wrap up shows on Speed but I would settle for some reairs of INC, Survival, etc. because right now I'm skipping right past the junk they're showing.

Kevin in SoCal said...

To Sandie @ 2:15PM:

That biker show on Speed you cant remember was Texas Hardtails. I found it on Yahoo Maps once while it was airing. I dont know if its still around. But I enjoyed that show and was bummed that it was cancelled. But I'm the type of guy who reads Playboy for the articles AND the pictures! *grin*

Sorry abou the off-topic John, I havent watch the Year in Review shows yet. Tivo'ed them and will watch tonight.

Anonymous said...

@kevin in socal--Thanks! Don't know why I was going blank on it! I did give it a chance though!

Daly Planet Editor said...

OK, let's get things back on track.

1 - The season in review was a NASCAR Images show alone. It aired on ESPN2. There was no season-in-review show on SPEED, only the preview before Homestead.

2 - No one is saying anyone should spent time away from their family over Thanksgiving. Pre-planning could have had every race but Homestead already edited, and resulted in a two hour Monday INC that reviewed the season. (btw..that show used to be ninety minutes long each week).

3 - The same advertisers who participate in NASCAR during the season would participate in a well-planned season-in-review. It would need to be in primetime.

4 - For those of you new to the sport, there have been many shows that continued on a weekly basis through the off-season, and several attempts at televising winter racing. We are not trying to invent the wheel, just asking for a better season-in-review show.

5 - As for golf and racing, I think they are great examples of two sports that have a lot of the same dynamic. Early rounds = practice and quailfying.

The season runs all year, with the bulk of the big stuff in the same ten month period.

Personalities in golf drive the sport, because they play a lot of the same courses over-and-over. Drivers make the our sport, because the tracks remain the same.

The only reason I have been vocal in my support of a NASCAR Network is because SPEED decreased their non-weekend NASCAR programming to a trickle, and ESPN never added anything other than the daily news show.

I think fans would enjoy a wide variety of shows covering all kinds of topics from travel to talk shows. If SPEED does not want this idea to proceed, than some additional NASCAR programming next season might be a nice idea.

Finally, we have also been doing this project since February. Some readers have been with us since the beginning, and some folks joined us along the way.

Through thousands of comments, we have strived to explain our personal views without throwing darts at others or speaking as authorities on one certain topic.

Everybody has an opinion, and they are welcome. Beginning with this post, any comment disrespecting another reader or myself will be deleted. Any comment that offers stats and facts or posts a link will be deleted.

This is the only way to limit this discussion to a civil one, and I promise to also obey those rules.

So, on we go to the Banquet. It should be interesting.

Anonymous said...

Any comment that offers stats and facts or posts a link will be deleted.

???? What kind of rule is that? Is that so that when you state something as fact instead of your opinion, it can't be refuted?

You just said there was no season in review show on SPEED. I saw one with my own two eyes Sunday morning the 18th at 9AM. It was a compilation of a lot of Beyond the Wheel type footage, hosted by Rutledge Wood. Everything up through the final race.

Earlier today, you said NASCAR dominates the SPEED network and now you say "SPEED decreased their non-weekend NASCAR programming to a trickle".. So which is the fact we are supposed to rely on?

Do what you want, it's your site. I agree that the conversation should be civil. Just know the state of discourse will go down with that rule. It leaves you free to state whatever you want without anyone having a way to disagree. I recall "I agree with Marty (Smith)" t-shirts being on sale for a time at I suppose this site will turn into "I agree with John Daly". Too bad, and I doubt that's what the network folks who look to this page are looking for. But again, it's your site and your playing field.

Richard in N.C. said...

Personally I do not object to a lack of racing programming during Thanksgiving week - but I do question the lack of any racing coverage in December and the first 3 weeks of January. Jayski does not shut down for 2 months. Also, I thought SPEED would be doing "year-end" review shows for NASCAR, ALMS, and Formula 1 like they did last year.
Not being in marketing, it would seem reasonable that SPEED & ESPN would want to have some continued racing programming during the "off-season" to keep fans in the habit of coming to their channels.

AndyPandy said...

To anonymous at 7:06 -

The real reason The Golf Channel isn't on pay tier is because it is owned by Comcast. As a matter of fact, my local Comcast folks recently moved The Golf Channel to channel 3, so it conveniently is on whenever the VCR shuts off (I'm old school - no DVR).

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 9:26PM,

My friend, you saw a program prior to the final race of the season for the championship. I don't know if you are new to the sport, but what we are talking about here is exactly that kind of program...after the final race. We can only have a season-in-review program after the season is over.

In reference to SPEED, they absolutely decreased their non-weekend NASCAR programming. Many fans of NBS 24/7, Beyond the Wheel, and other shows will attest to that.

They also use the Thursday through Sunday block to put out more NASCAR programming than the other three NASCAR TV partners..combined. The SPEED Stage has become a franchise for the network.

The discourse will be civil and if you look back at archives or comments you will see great opinions of very different mindsets being shared. That will continue, as it has all season.

If you would like to return, we would welcome you back. I hope you can clearly see my responses to your issues, as that is how this site has operated for almost five hundred original content TV columns since February.

Anonymous said...

I may be the only one, but I don't understand this statement:

'Any comment that offers stats and facts or posts a link will be deleted.'

I've seen a lot of good information posted in these columns from links and stats. Like back with all the Carl Edwards and his mom comments. Some people this season have posted a lot of ratings information, which I like to see and is related to TV.

The column you did the other day was completely based on a Winston-Salem newspaper article from Jayski; I saw it mentioned here twice and read it before you wrote about it. I'm not sure of the fairness that you can write about and quote extensively from an article and someone can't post the link or a link to an article like it.

Unless I'm understanding you wrong, which could be the case. Does this apply to this column entry only or the site overall?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 10:37PM,

Unfortunately, I am being held responsible for the stats and info posted in the comments section of this blog. Technically, I own it.

Before anyone posts a link to another website or enters a large amount of stats, like TV ratings, they are going to need to email me first.

The reason is very simple. I do an initial fact check on my columns and then have a freelancer do another check. Folks in the comments section do not follow those guidelines.

What we had sometimes was misleading information posted as fact. Those stats and things are not really needed for a site that only asks for your comments on a daily NASCAR TV column.

I am in the process of changing the rules on the main page, so that anyone with stats, facts, or links that they would like to post can just drop me an email so I can make sure things are on the up-and-up.

I am not sure if this is a sign of success or just some folks who really like to make their case.

Bottom line, if in doubt...drop me an email before you comment.


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Illpolo said...

I wonder if it is a coincidence that almost all of the Anonymous posters sound alike?

As a race fan, I am always looking for MORE coverage and BETTER coverage. When I cannot get that, I like having a place to vent or have my opinion heard, even if it started as a forum just to reiterate what I was thinking while watching a race or another the end of the season when it was obvious that my/our comments were being heard by others beyond the usual posters.

IF the coverage of Nascar was of high quality, I wouldn't feel the need to post or read comments about the coverage as much or at all, because I will be enjoying a race or the other coverage between races. In fact, this site wouldn't be as popular because we would all be satisfied with the sport and its coverage.

Since that is not the case, those who want to express their opinion about this use the site.

Why on earth someone would want to waste their time trolling or expressing the fact that they want "less" coverage of Nascar, that there shouldn't be a Nascar-related channel, or that the sport is going downhill has me completely baffled?

Thank you for the great site JD! Our TV Production class is now studying Program Development and Content and has used the 38 Races In 22 Minutes example you posted for some great discussions.

Desmond said...

I missed this program, but once I saw the blog entry for it, I knew that I would not be surprised. There is less and less respect given to NASCAR fans every day by the television networks.

SPEED Channel has every NEXTEL Cup, Busch, and truck series race available on tape. Why not play them back in the same marathon format as they do the lifestyle shows? Why not even tack on the extra edition of Inside NEXTEL Cup, as it has done in previous years?

It would make up for the rapid-fire presentation that ESPN2 gave us on Sunday.