Saturday, December 15, 2007

Your Christmas Present For The NASCAR TV Networks?

Sometimes, those people that seem to already have just about everything anyone can think of are hard to shop for at this time of the year. Ties, mugs, front door mats and socks with batteries just don't seem to measure-up where this group is concerned.

On the NASCAR TV Christmas List we have four names. ESPN, SPEED, TNT and Fox Sports. They each come with their own family, and each have very nice homes in California, Georgia, Connecticut and North Carolina.

This Christmas, it will be the first time that this group is sharing something together. In 2007, they all joined as one to comprise the group known as the NASCAR television partners. If you watched NASCAR, you met the group.

As we approach the week before Christmas, it might be a good time to think about the past year, and perhaps suggest something that we could give to the members of the group to make 2008 a better year. It's our NASCAR TV Christmas List.

It might be something they were missing, or something they already had that seems to have broken. It could be something a couple of them have, but somehow did not share.

Sometimes, a surprise gift is a great idea, so please consider a complete surprise gift or two on your list.

ESPN seems to already have a lot of "stuff," so maybe something other than even more "stuff" would be a good idea. SPEED, on the other hand, has some very fundamental things that it needs for 2008. It might not be too hard for regular readers of The Daly Planet to guess what is going to be on my list.

TNT is in Atlanta, which is a wonderful city. Since TNT stops by the NASCAR scene for only a couple of weeks in the summer, it might be a good idea to suggest a gift that made sense for that time of the year. It seems to be the only time they are around.

Fox Sport presents a big problem. They seem to have it all, and as the senior member of the group they need a gift with meaning. Hollywood Hotel coffee mugs are out.

As NASCAR fans, what one gift would you give to the four NASCAR TV partners that could make them have a better 2008 season? It's the time of the year for sharing, so how about letting us in on your ideas?

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below, and follow the instructions. Please read the rules for posting on the right side of the main page before adding your comment.

Thanks again for taking the time to stop by and fill out this 2007 Christmas List for the NASCAR TV partners.


Anonymous said...

JD I enjoyed listening to you on Sirius this morning. We need more programs addressing the problems that we all faced every race in 2007.

Maybe we could give them all lessons in how to cover a NASCAR race correctly and what the fans want to see covered. The start, the restarts, how drivers are after the go to the incare center, interviews with driver after the race if over. It would be nice to see the top 10 cross the finish line.

If someone doesn't listen the rating are going to continue to fall and it is the FAULT of ESPN/ABC, TNT, and anyone else that gives as the people that DO NOT know anything about racing.
Even some of the former race car drivers are horrible on-air.

Andy Petre did a good job and would like to see him back with some help from others that can tell what is going on.

They need announcer that are as good as the Sirius radio coverage.

Keep up the good work JD.

Merry Christmas.

stricklinfan82 said...

What I would like to get the 4 NASCAR TV partners for Christmas:

Fox Sports
I'd like to give them a button they can add to their production truck. The purpose of this button would be to give the director a way to switch to the cameras that are following the 2nd-43rd place drivers as they cross the finish line to complete the race. Their current system obviously has a bug in it that only allows the director a choice to switch between two cameras once the checkered flag falls - the camera following the car that just won and the camera that is focused on that driver's pit crew. I'd love to give the director an "easy button" that would free him up and give him the ability to show the viewers the rest of the cars crossing the finish line as well.

Speed Channel
I would like to give Speed Channel a contract that allows them to exercise an "in the best interest of NASCAR fans" clause and instantly gain the right to televise any Cup practice session that ESPN buys the rights to and chooses not to televise.

I'd like to give them the complete Fox NASCAR broadcasting crew - announcers, producer, director, etc. NASCAR fans would be the biggest winners if TNT's coverage was nothing more than Fox's fantastic coverage with TNT logos transposed on top of the 'FOX' logos.

I'd like to give them a corporate guy that actually has a clue how to cover NASCAR. This new 'suit' in the ESPN corporate office would review ESPN's NASCAR TV disaster in 2007 and on his/her first day on the job would use an ounce of common sense to immediately make the following changes heading into 2008:

- hiring a NASCAR knowledgable person to host 'NASCAR Now'

- ridding all NASCAR broadcasts of football, baseball, basketball, soccer, and all other types of non-NASCAR broadcasters

- hiring a producer and director that actually have a clue how to cover a NASCAR race

- fixing the scheduling debacle that happened on every Saturday during college football season (no more 3 hour windows for college football games immediately preceding NASCAR, no tape-delays of Cup practice sessions, etc.)

- actually using the TV rights their network bought to present TV coverage of Friday and Saturday morning Cup practice sessions (or freeing up those sessions to Speed)

Anonymous said...

I'd give ESPN a new EP in charge of NASCAR programming, one who knows and enjoys NASCAR, so we'd get watchable races in 2008!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 7:44AM,

Please re-phrase your comment. We do not use the names of the behind the camera staff in this blog for a wide variety of reasons.

Your point is understood, and I hope you take the time to make it again. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

Motorsports TV Writer John Daly reviews the network television coverage of the stock car racing scene.

Please re-phrase your comment. We do not use the names of the behind the camera staff in this blog for a wide variety of reasons.

Wow, I don't see how you "review network coverage" and only name on-air people? Do you not think the coverage is influenced by producers and directors as well as announcers? Sounds like this must be an announcer review blog! Too bad my previous comment on the background of the ESPN producer was censored. His work with ESPN early in NASCAR, then FOX and back with ESPN, make comments made on here by some people just sound stupid.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 12:33PM,

I guess by your tone that you are new to The Daly Planet. People who work behind the scenes in TV have what is called a reasonable expectation of privacy.

While the announcers and some executives choose to be in the public eye, these folks do not.

It was my pleasure to work with the gentleman that you mentioned on a wide variety of motorsports for many years, including NASCAR and CART.

All I asked you to do was re-phrase your comment without mentioning names. If a TV executive chooses to feature himself in a news story or an interview, then that is allowed to be discussed.

Otherwise, it makes no point and just begins a cycle of name calling that never ends. We did fine this season talking about NASCAR TV without those names, and if you would like to take a moment to check the archives you can clearly see that.

I hope you consider coming back and posting your comment again. Thanks.


Anonymous said...

My gift to ESPN would be twofold.

First, a complete set of DVD's with all the Nascar coverage from the past 5 years on it. The way to use this is to have each person involved in the Nascar broadcasts not merely watch these events but STUDY them -- so as to learn the rhythm and flow of a race, the nature of the various tracks, the names and backgrounds of the drivers, and to thoroughly familiarize themselves with Nascar issues as they have developed over time. There is simply NO EXCUSE for any member of the broadcasting team -- people being PAID to know these things -- to have less familiarity with these things than a fan could gain with 6 weeks of concentrated attention.

The second part of ESPN's gift is a new corporate culture that will emphasize telling the story of the race/game AS IT IS ACTUALLY UNFOLDING IN FRONT OF THEM instead of deciding in advance what the script will be and following that regardless of the nature of the actual events (which will benefit those of us who enjoy football too since they pre-script games just like they pre-script races).

TNT's gift is simple and minimal. I would give Bill Weber the wisdom to know how to evoke the drama of the event without overdoing it and the humility to remember that we didn't tune in to see him.

I echo the poster above in giving a joint gift to Speed and to the fans by giving Speed the automatic right to broadcast ANY practice/qualifying/??? session that involves cars on the track that ESPN chooses not to broadcast -- including the right to jump in and take over when the normal length of a college football game interferes with ESPN showing the taped practice.

What should I give Fox -- the network that has just about everything? How about the gift of good health for their most critical people -- DW, Hammond, Larry Mac, Dick Bergren, and the camera operators who always seem to be in the right place at the right time. One of my major complaints with ESPN coverage is the inability to discover what happened during an on-track incident -- because Fox always has 3-5 camera angles and an analysis of the likely cause before they even get the cars lined up to pit.

Merry Christmas to all and a Happy 2008 season.


Newracefan said...

For all the parteners (except Speed) I give Speeds Truck Series horizontal ticker, simple and easy to read. I am also taking away the multicolored ticker that requires a key to understand and I am blowing up the chase ticker.
TO Fox I give the the Finishing Position Vertical ticker and the camera ESPN sometimes remembers to use during the Busch races to view cars crossing the finish line with an extension that shows all the running cars.
To Speed I give a year round sponser for the 30 minute version of Wendy's Real Deal to run every Monday before or after INC.
To INC ((they deserve their own Christmas Present) I gife a life time renewal with Steve B/John R/Krista V/or Wendy V as host and a better year for Mikey and Schrader which makes them more fun to watch (that part's for us).
To TNT I give the side by side broadcast for all their races with Kyle out of the car and in the booth.
To ESPN I give (oh so many to choose from) new found respect for Nascar and it's fans from top to bottom resulting in: A year round Nascar Now with a host who understands the sport, telecasts of the race and not a show about the race, and so on, and so on, and so on.

Newracefan said...

OOPs forgot
To Brent Musberger and Suzy Kober I give new gigs that conflict directly with any and all Nascar activities.

Patrick said...

RE: newracefan's comments.

I happen to enjoy Suzy, so I would gift her some Nascar knowledge that would hopefully make her contributions relevant and entertaining.

To Rusty: How about a Dale Carnegie course on public speaking. Preferably, one that is scheduled through November to spare us one year of 'hot rods' and 'lemme tell ya'


Richard in N.C. said...

Respect and appreciation for NASCAR and its fans.

Anonymous said...

I'd give them all a paid weekend off and require them to watch the TV coverage of the races. Then I would ask them to tell me something/anything about all 43 drivers pertaining to that days race.

Erik said...

My gift to ESPN will be an additional SD and HD slot in the channel lineup of all cable and satellite systems across the country available from day one for the launch of a new channel dedicated to auto racing. This channel would compete head to head with SPEED and aim to surpass it in all levels from daily news shows, race coverage, and behind the scenes feature shows. NASCAR and its fan base can find a permanent, stable home on a widely distributed network with a best in class crew in front of and behind the camera to present all the action.

slithybill said...

Here are my Christmas presents:

To ESPN--The courage to change your corporate mentality on how to cover NASCAR. Not every sport fits into the cookie-cutter mold that is baseball, basketball and football. This type of change must come from the top, even higher-up than the producers of the telecasts.

I would accomplish this by giving every employee of ESPN an all-expense paid trip to Daytona for 2008 Speedweeks. (Some of them can even fly to Daytona straight from Arizona after the Superbowl.) Let the on-air talent and off-air heroes experience the "Superbowl of Motorsports" firsthand. Give them pit road and garage passes and let them spend two weeks at the track. Then, maybe they'll cover the rest of the season with a little more respect and insight.

They should set up temporary studios/stages so that ALL their programs (not just the NASCAR-related shows) can be filmed live in Daytona. Just because ESPN won't be televising the Daytona 500 doesn't mean they shouldn't promote it and have a presence. FOX will be televising the Superbowl and I imagine ESPN will be talking it up on every show and will even be broadcasting live in some fashion from the area. At least in Daytona ESPN will have access inside the track due to the Nationwide Series.

To FOX--The grace to not trumpet the fact that ESPN got it wrong last season. Please don't rub it in our faces that you "outdid" the Worldwide Leader in Sports with your NASCAR coverage. If ESPN gets their act together (and gets their people in the right positions) the shoe could very easily be on the other foot in 2009.

To TNT--The humility to admit a mistake has been made. Then find a way to sell back your 6 races to NASCAR (unless you broadcast all your races in side-by-side mode).

To SPEED--The tenacity to go to NASCAR and get the rights to cover practice and qualifying for ALL 36 points races for the Sprint Cup Series. And the ability to clear your Monday night schedule to make it a NASCAR night once again.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!


Anonymous said...

NASCAR and its fan base can find a permanent, stable home on a widely distributed network with a best in class crew in front of and behind the camera to present all the action.

Fox is getting all the races next year? That would be a gift!