Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The New NASCAR TV Buzzword Is "Convergence" - Updated 1/16/08


Last season, The Daly Planet talked about how the challenge of finding NASCAR video highlights and interviews anytime was being met by the Internet. Interestingly, it was not the TV networks or the big sports magazine websites that were stepping-up to meet this need.

In fact, it seemed that many of the "big boys" were mired in internal issues like joining a club or paying a small fee or even making users download a new media player. What NASCAR fans found out in 2007 in no uncertain terms was that the fans themselves were taking control of NASCAR footage and editing it...for each other.

Since the time that we drew attention to YouTube and other NASCAR video-hosting sites, the scene has exploded. One reason was the absence of original NASCAR TV programming during the off-season. Even with pre-season testing shows now underway on SPEED, it was only a late schedule change by ESPN that brought some older Daytona 500 highlight shows to ESPN Classic. Other than that, it was pretty bleak.

As many fans know, the popular website Jayski.com has undergone some changes since it was bought by ESPN. One early change was the addition of NASCAR video with links to ESPN.com. Now, we see that Jay has added a "comment option" on his news posts that links directly into the ESPN.com comments section. Things in Internet land continue to change where NASCAR content is concerned, and here is one reason why.

The situation is about to get even more interesting when SPEEDtv.com rolls-out a brand new look on February 6th. The Fox-owned network has always been struggling with its online philosophy, as this network has many of the same issues as ESPN. Both are hybrid TV networks that are unique in nature. There is no road map.

Just as we have seen with ESPN.com, the folks at SPEED have clearly made video and portable access the priority for their "new look" website. "We are creating the hub and definitive home for all motor sports on the web," said SPEED VP Kevin Annison. "SPEEDtv.com is the online motor sports authority and destination point for all motor sports fans on the web."

The method to Mr. Annison's madness is very clear. SPEED has more motor sports video of all kinds than any other network. By shifting the site to cater to the user with broadband access, SPEED is pushing the agenda of video-on-demand, user interactivity, and the ability to use hand-held devices to access the same content.

Listen to Annison's remarks on that topic. "This is just the beginning in the evolution of SPEEDtv.com and SPEED Interactive, where the environment is more conducive to broadband vertical initiatives and digital brand extensions for the linear network," he said. Yes, some people do talk like that in real life.

Step back for a minute and look at sites like ESPN.com, Jayski.com, NASCAR.com and SPEEDtv.com. Think about what they have in common. Look at the direction in which they are going and what they are investing time, money and technology in building. If you squint your eyes, it's easy to see. They all want to be your TV.

The term for this is "convergence." The definition of a technological convergence is "the modern presence of a vast array of technology to perform very similar tasks." We have websites wanting to be your video source, TV networks asking for your email, and telephones and hand-held devices that you can use to watch the entire technology battle unfold while group texting your fantasy racing club.

In 2008, nowhere will that battle be bigger than NASCAR. Daly Planet readers will once again be multi-tasking with a wide variety of devices that always paint a hilarious picture of fans at home on race day.

Think of the ways to get race info. The HDTV has the TV network video, the Sirius Satellite radio player has the audio, the computer has Raceview from NASCAR.com while the whole race is being recorded on the DVR or TiVo. Throw in a second TV on DirecTV's Hot Pass, texts from NASCAR buddies on the cell phone and Internet checks on several websites to see what everyone is talking about. The word for this mess might be "non-convergence." In some form, don't we all do it?

Eventually, the technology convergence will result in one device that can handle all of the tasks listed above. It might be an HDTV look-a-like that can toggle between any kind of digital source, and allow you to change sources by simply touching the screen or using a voice command. A big flat screen on your wall that can handle any audio, video, Internet, phone or any other function without blinking an eye.

In the meantime, thirty-one days out from the Daytona 500, NASCAR fans have something else on their mind. Checking on the Sirius contract, dusting off the computer keyboard, renewing their Hot Pass, cleaning the old shows off the DVR and trying to remember how they laid things out last season in the "NASCAR media room."

How will you be watching the Daytona 500 this year? Are you one of the many multi-taskers? If you are going to be viewing or listening to more than just the NASCAR on Fox telecast, can you tell us the reason why? Both the TV networks and the Internet guys are fighting tooth-and-nail for your time and attention. How are you going to "consume" the Daytona 500 this season?

Update: For a fascinating video glimpse of what is out there and on-the-way, click on this link and then play the video. How interesting!

Thanks for taking the time to tell us your thoughts on this topic. To add your comment, just click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the instructions. There is nothing to join and we do not want your email address. We just want to know how many buttons you will be pushing and on what device you will be typing as you watch the first Sprint Cup race of 2008.

52 comments:

Bill H said...

JD

I Noticed the "Comment" link on jayski yesterday and wanted to mention it, glad you did 1st so that it would be appropriate. The interesting, ironic, part of it is, you are commenting on espn's website on news generated by other websites, not theirs.

As for the 500. I'll be watching it on Fox and listening to my driver on Trackpass (Nascar.com). If I could Tivo Trackpass and sync it with a Tivo of the race, I would watch it at a different time and FF through the commercials (yes I know about Hot Pass, not willing to pay more for it yet). I'll also be discussing it live on the Nascar.com chat room (btw JD, maybe you could add a free www.meebo.com chat room on here for the in race discussion?).

BillWebz

SallyB said...

I naively thought the reason to have the television broadcast of the races was to be able to watch the race without having to 'multi-task'. When (if) I watch a race, I don't want to have to go to multiple sources...I want to concentrate on the race! So far, my method is to turn on the TV without sound, and listen to the radio call, which gives me all the information that TV ignores. I refuse to spend my time shuffling between the computer, TV, radio, etc. to find what I should be getting from the television broadcast, and refuse to pay some website to make up for the gaps that TV leaves. Guess I'm old fashioned that way.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy the "convergence" aspect of the sport, and like being able to listen to my driver's radio and see his telemetry during the race. in fact, we use two laptop PCs to follow two drivers.

But I only add the radio set to MRN/PRN during the second half of the season, because I feel like Fox gives me the play-by-play well enough (and ESPN doesn't).

Anonymous said...

I'll be watching the 500 the best way I know how - at Daytona.

Under usual circumstances, my race day set up is the tv on, with the volume on low; Race View with my favorite driver; a chat room open to talk to my friends, where a few people monitor the speeds of a few cars. I usually only look up at my tv when I hear something out of the ordinary or someone types "driver/car on tv".

Lisa Hogan said...

My plans are to attend the race.

PammH said...

I listen to the scanner of my fav driver at Nascar.com & am on the computer at my fav driver's forum, while watching TV. I have on MRN sometimes, particularly during the 2nd 1/2 of the season.

Tripp said...

Having played the multimedia delivery game last year, I'll watch the 500 on Fox and track my drivers on the free part of nascar.com. If Fox continues their high quality telecasts, I'll continue this regimen through their portion of the season.

When we get to the TNT and ESPN telecasts, the jury's still out. If it's like last year, the audio will be on Sirius and I'll invest in the pay side of nascar.com or other providers. These two networks have a lot of wood to chop before they'll get more of my attention during each race.

As an aside, I very much wanted to get DirecTV for "Hot Pass" when I moved here last fall, but the trees of the Granite State made that impossible. Had that been an option for me, this year's NASCAR consumption at my house might have had a different complexion.

Anonymous said...

We get to converge sleeping with racing.

Anonymous said...

I will watch on Hotpass so I don't have to listen to Chris Meyrers and D Waltrip.

Anonymous said...

I'll definitely watch live on Fox and DVR it for future review. I don't do Sirius as I prefer XM in general so I won't be listening to sat radio. If I can swing the $$ I'll get a new laptop, reconnect my WLAN and follow via Trackpass or a good chat room if I can find one.

What would be really cool is to attend the race in person with a laptop connected to NASCAR Timing and Scoring or Trackpass while listening to MRN or Sirius via headphones, switching to NASCAR race control and driver communications whenver you wanted to.

Jeff said...

I'll be watching every race on NASCAR HotPass in glorius HD.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Hey all,

Great comments. Let me ask some questions as a non-DirecTV guy. This season there will be four channels of Hot Pass.

How do you pick which channel to make your primary? Can you view all four channels on the same screen or do you have to use PIP? When you go back to the Fox feed, does it also bring back the Fox audio of the race? Finally, do you find that using Hot Pass you normally use more than one TV set?

Thanks for helping me out, I always wondered about those things.

JD

Anonymous said...

I will be watching Hotpass on two tv's while also using thr free part of nascar.com. if tony is a hotpass channel then he gets the hdtv. i sometimes flip through the drivers to see who they are running with. one of the featured drivers may not be one of "my guys", but he may be running around them. there are three audio options. fox (or tnt or espeeeen) has about a third of the scren at al times for their brodcast. you have the option to listen to either the broadcast feed, the hotpass announcers, or simply the team audio. i mainly just listen to the audio so i can hear how they work the throttle lap after lap. when trouble breaks out the crew chiefs and spotters usually fill the driver in better than espn fills in the viewer. hope this post isn't too long....thank you for this wonderful website mr. Daly. hopefully somebody "important" reads it and takes heed to what we have to say

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:15AM,

So, do you find yourself kind of "driving" your technology during the race? By that I mean actively changing audio and video channels to try and get as much of the type of "content" that you want?

This aggressive approach to NASCAR is fascinating to the media companies, none of whom can seem to get a handle on a single way to deliver all the info to you in one bundle.

Thanks,

JD

elena said...

I will be watching the 500 on Fox and have my computer on Fox Sports - Fox Trax (free). I like it better than the one on Nascar. I like to know the time span between drivers, where the driver started (hard to remember 43 positions), plus they have a blog on the same page if you want to participate.

SophiaZ123 said...

Amen SALLYB!!

I feel exactly like you. Multi tasking to 'watch' the race defeats the purpose of enjoying it imo.

I like thinking of the days when folks could lie on the couch and get ALL their info from the TV or be out in the car or yard, getting it from the radio. I REFUSE to do much this season. DEPENDING on how obnoxious SPEED gets with their new station and endless self promotion that will go with that, and seeing what NEW TOYS Fox may have, the tv will go off.

We know the BUSCH series (N series) will stink with ESPN.

If folks want to brag about doing 6 things at once to watch a race, good for them, but I am a laid back person and just want to WATCH or LISTEN.

When I have to come here and complain of horrible coverage, I consider THAT multi tasking, too and sadly, it's how I got INFORMATION about some races last year.

NASCAR is not going to make me WORK this year for what SHOULD COME ACROSS TV !!!

I will choose to catch highlights on VL and INC and SPEED report and read online, instead.

haus20 said...

I will definitely be "driving" my technology. I will be switching my hdtv between the network broadcast and hot pass. I will have my laptop on the end table next to the chair tracking the lap times and keeping up on the in race comments on this great site.

JD as far as hot pass options...
At least last year, there wasn't a way to have all four drivers on the same screen.

You are able to select different audio feeds for each channel. For example, you can be watching the Dale Jr. channel while listening to the Fox audio feed.

As far as how I choose which channel to focus my attenion, i am a tony fan so if he is on hot pass i will watch more of hot pass or as in the case with ESPN last year, if the broadcast team isn't cutting it, i will watch hot pass more no matter who is featured.

I do switch back and forth most of the time.

pbump said...

Full "convergence" at my house! I sit on the couch with my laptop on the coffee table and run pitcommand/raceview from nascar.com. I always set the audio to the #20 scanner. If the #20 is on hotpass, then I watch that channel and flip between audio for the hotpass announcers (depending on who is calling that channel) and FOX announcers. If something is going on with another hotpass driver, I may briefly switch to their channel or I may switch to FOX if I see something in the small feed that I want to see full screen. Post-FOX, things change. In addition to my laptop, I have Sirius on and only watch Hotpass. If the #20 is on, then I tune to that channel. Otherwise, I watch the channel for whichever driver may be within 5 cars of him at that time. Lots of channel flipping for this method, however, between the drivers chosen, I can usually see the #20 on the track. As for audio, I have on the #20 scanner and switch between hotpass announcers and sirius for the non-FOX portion of the season. All that said, I am getting really tired of losing my whole Sunday due to the later race times. I would much rather have the races start early so that I can have my afternoon and early evenings for errands and getting ready for the week. Based on that and the miracle of a DVR, I may choose to record some of the races (on FOX or one of the hotpass channels) for the first time in over 10 years.....

Anonymous said...

When (if) I watch a race, I don't want to have to go to multiple sources...I want to concentrate on the race!
So then you wouldn't use a scanner at the track to hear your driver's radio?

You wouldn't use FanView to see your driver's stats at the track?

Using the internet at home allows people to do exactly what they'd probably do at the track--see and hear more.

I'm glad we have those options now. It's a lot more fun to know more about what's happening than TV can give you by itself?

GinaV24 said...

I'll be watching the Daytona 500 from the stands this year, but after that (with the exception of the California race which I never watch because of NASCAR's attempt to kill Darlington), I'll have trackpass on the computer so I can listen to my driver, the TV on mute (maybe not as much with Fox, but definitely once the switch to TNT and ESPN is made) and MRN on the radio for the best race announcers around. So, I guess I'm into convergence, too. I would love it if I could do all this with one type of equipment, but until they broadcast races the way I want (ala carte, so to speak), then I'll have to do it my way. I just upgraded to a wireless network for my computer so I'm no longer tied to the room where the computer is hooked up for trackpass.

Anonymous said...

I, for one will DVR the race (just incase) and watch it live on FOX.
Sorry I'm so boring but I'm just not into all that other 'stuff'.
I don't need to muti-task. On Monday I will come to jayski.com and here to the Daly Planet to see what I missed according to everyone else. I find all the comments very interesting but as much as I enjoy NASCAR news, I do get over loaded.........doesn't everyone?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Hey all, there is an update on the main column that contains a link and a video. Take a minute and view the video. Interesting stuff.

Anonymous said...

Daly Planet Editor said...

Hey all, there is an update on the main column that contains a link and a video. Take a minute and view the video. Interesting stuff.

Oooooo-kay, John...did so, only to learn that (typically) this is Microsoft vapor-ware. Will it ever see the light of day? Who knows.

If it does, I see nothing new there...other than choosing to PIP a driver's in-car video and team audio, the rest of the demo was getting to info re a driver or the track etc., that only the newest noobie would bother with instead of watching *the racing* while the race was in progress.

Not explained in this demo was whether or not the main video/audio of the racing would be continued while the broadcast was in commercial...I doubt it.

Thanks for passing the link on to us, tho.

Tom in Bristol

Lisa Hogan said...

Interesting idea for a column/comments, JD. I enjoy reading how everyone "races" in their home.

For a lot of us who say, "I just watch the race on TV", we are actually multi-tasking with other things going on in the household. :)

Daly Planet Editor said...

Tom,

What are you talking about? Could you help us out about vapor-ware and why you seem to be angry about this little video?

This site is asking for you to help us with the knowledge and opinions you have about certain topics. It is a forum.

If you have some updated info on what that was and how it drew video from TNT and NASCAR.com with a Microsoft program on top of it, I think we would like to hear about it.

You can see from the other comments on this page that most fans are trapped with all kinds of different devices working independently to try and coordinate their desired coverage of one race.

If you could help us out with more info about what you know and what might be coming up, it would be nice.

JD

Anonymous said...

It's really nice to know that there are many fans putting video bits together and sharing with other fans via the websites out there. Unfortunately, with school, taking care of things around the house and working out, I don't have time to spend searching and watching all of what's out there. Mostly I utilize TrackPass and have the race on t.v. with volume down.

As for Daytona, I will be there in person but I will be utilizing the trusty DVR unit to record SPEED's coverage leading up to the races and the N-series race and Cup race. (N-series is shorter and easier than saying/typing Nationwide Series) Work smarter, not harder I always say.

Anywhos, after Daytona, I'll use TrackPass so I can listen to and watch my favorite driver. The t.v. will be on but the volume will be low and I'll also record the race so I can go back and fast forward to the parts I want to see.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Daly:
Thanks for the link for the "glimpse" of the future. The archived article within that blog does much to explain what IPTV is and why it does what it does. I don't believe that a bundled service from one provider will be realistic until after the current TV contract between NASCAR and FOX/TNT/ESPN is concluded. Some entity then, with the tech then in place, will step up to deliver it to the at-home NASCAR race fan.
Depending on the quality of the TV broadcasts offered this year, I will utilize other options (radio, internet, etc) on an as-needed basis and make it through the season. Thankfully, I also can go to some races!
PS: Poole's blog has a fine tribute to BP today...
Thanks again, JD!
Tom in Dayton, OH.

Anonymous said...

I plan to tivo the race if my drivers are allowed to race. They are not in the top-35, so that may not happen. If I'm in the car, I will listen to it on Sirius. Otherwise, no special effort this year.

I just got home from watching today's testing at the track. I am a formerly very fanatic NASCAR fan. I'm just getting tired of Brian France's ignoring the fans..."everything is just fine, the fans don't count."

If France ever takes his head out of his butt and starts listening to the fans, I may become a fan again. The top-35 and Penske's abuse of it was the final straw.

Cheers...

KoHoSo said...

SophiaZ123 said...

NASCAR is not going to make me WORK this year for what SHOULD COME ACROSS TV !!!

And, amen to you, Sophia!

In general, I find "multitasking" fun for tings like practice and qualifying. The IndyCar Series does a very good job with this providing live timing and scoring, video feeds, and chat rooms. And, they're all free.

Yes, I realize that the ICS ain't NASCAR...just stick with me here.

While I multitask all the time both at work and at home with various media, when it comes to the main event, I want to focus. I'm not against multitasking in general and I think it should be made available for those who want it. It's just not for me.

However, multitasking offerings should not have to be presented or taken because the main outlet fails so terribly at properly covering the event. From inane commentary to failing to show most of the field at the finish to the Dale Earnhardt, Jr. fetish (and I am a Little E fan), I don't see why I should have to pay when it has been proven in years past that a race telecast can be fully entertaining and informative without needing outside sources.

Listening to the scanners over NASCAR.com used to be free. Due to the delay, I found them only partially useful on the big tracks and too distracting on the short ones because whatever the driver talked about was already old news.

It was around the time that NASCAR decided that it wasn't making enough money and started charging for things like scanner access when I started to question what was going on in their headquarters. It also began the decline in how much I spend every year on NASCAR...a number that is now pretty much zero unless you count the part of my cable bill that brings me the ESPN channels, TNT, and Speed.

So, no, I will not be multitasking the Daytona 500. I will check the weather forecast to make sure that rain will not be threatening the event. If the skies look clear, I will start watching the race about two hours late off of my DVR. This will ensure that I will not have any other tasks besides getting up to get a fresh beer and hitting the fast-forward button anytime I see even a hint of the completely useless Hollywood Hotel on my TV screen...oh yeah, and to hit the "whiz" button on my remote through all of the commercials...especially any promos for American Idol so I don't have to multitask cleaning barf off of my couch while watching the race.

Nope...not one extra dime to NASCAR for things that used to be free, and not a dime to watch a secondary channel that has to be put up as an escape from the poor product put on the air.

PammH said...

I checked the video & although there was alot of information available with this new toy, it cluttered up the screen during the racing. This is a problem we complain about loud & often as it is! If you could get the info while in commercial, that would work for me, but not likely.

Anonymous said...

Nope...not one extra dime to NASCAR for things that used to be free, and not a dime to watch a secondary channel that has to be put up as an escape from the poor product put on the air.
Your loss.

Prospector said...

I agree totally with those that want to just watch a professional broadcast of the race with my feet up and a cold adult beverage in my hand.

I don't want to run from one source to another. I neither have, nor want, all the electronic gadgets. Just give me a good race with, cars that I can identify with, made by American companies, and I will be happy.

And yes, I know that ain't gonna happen.

My use of all this technology is limited to using the TIVO so I can FF thru the endless commercials.

I have nothing against those that watch races through the eyes of multiple TV's, computers, HD,etc.
It tires me out to think about it.

Watching a race should be relaxing entertainment not an exercise in multi-tasking.
Just give me a good race.

Anonymous said...

I don't want to run from one source to another.

There's no running involved.

With wi-fi technology, I bring two laptops into the living room, call up two drivers' scanners, and that's about it. Want to know how your driver's doing when he's not on TV? Turn your head and look at the PC.

It's not real tough.

Daly Planet Editor said...

I think these excellent comments show exactly the situation facing the NASCAR on Fox gang.

What a divergent cluster of technology they face when trying to simply deliver one single Cup race into the home over a broadcast network TV.

We have the "old school" viewers who just want one single source to provide total entertainment all the way through to the multi-tasking fans like pbump who have all the bells and whistles and really like it that way.

This season certainly should present some interesting technology moments as the races begin.

JD

Anonymous said...

This comment is outside today's theme but I thought that I would pass on that after following NASCAR for 20 years I am going to give the networks one more year to improve. If the coverage and announcing does not improve I will get my info from the print media and the Internet. As has been strongly stated, last year's coverage was terrible. Lastly, DW may think that he and Cris Meyers are entertaining. Maybe so for the 12 year old mind. To me they are unprofessional.

Newracefan said...

During Fox broadcasts. Sitting comfortably on couch watching and listening to TV with laptop for Pit command and my drivers radio. Can always count on the Fox guys to get excited appropriately so I'll know which source to listen to more closely. Will use Racetrax lap by lap during commercials and be checking this blog. During non Fox races will pay much more attention to Race Trax and this blog even when the commercials are not on.
JD really liked the video and would utilize that technology but only on a very large TV so having my drivers in camera shot wouldn't block too much of the track. since I am all ready using 2 sources of audio not I would prob still use the laptop, well at least as long as I can continue to follow 2 conversations at the same time ;).

SophiaZ123 said...

pammH and Prospector

TOTALLY agree.

Sorry those of us who want ONE SOURCE are OLD SCHOOL. I can see some are turning this into a debate.

Those of us with no energy, money or access to MULTI TASk during the race are lazy slugs?

Our loss?

Sorry, I don't want crap of text on my screen OVER the racing? and just certain CAMERAS of certain drivers?? Thats what we gripe about and now we are supposed to PAY for these extra hi tech toys.

Not for me either. guess I am just an old lady.:(

Least I know I am not alone.

KoHoSo said...

Anonymous 5:06 said...

Your loss.

Really? My bank balance and blood pressure levels say otherwise. ;^)

Anonymous said...

KoHoSo said...
Anonymous 5:06 said...

Your loss.

Really? My bank balance and blood pressure levels say otherwise. ;^)

January 16, 2008 7:25 PM

Man O Man, If your blood pressure is effected by watching NASCAR, than you really need to find something else to occupy your time. That is such a sad comment on somebodys life.

Anonymous said...

SophiaZ123 said...
Amen SALLYB!!

I feel exactly like you. Multi tasking to 'watch' the race defeats the purpose of enjoying it imo.

I like thinking of the days when folks could lie on the couch and get ALL their info from the TV or be out in the car or yard, getting it from the radio.

When could you ever get to hear "in car" radio of your drivers, realtime stats and in-car cameras on demand????? Why you continue to say this type of coverage was all free, is beyond me. We have so many great ways to watch this sport, it is your loss if you refuse to embrace it.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Hey guys,

The reason we are all here is because we like NASCAR racing. How we choose to enjoy it is up to each of us.

This topic is here to let people tell us how they prefer to watch NASCAR this season. There is absolutely no right or wrong.

Let me just ask another question. Does anyone use their hand-held device or their cell phone to "consume" live races? If so, what do you access and how do you find that it works?

Thanks,

JD

rich said...

JD Many Thanks for the great blog. I will be Tivoing the Fox broadcast off my Direct TV satellite feed and on a second set will be recording Hotpass of my driver or best available favorite. I will bounce between the audio choices and will even bounce between driver video depending on action on the track. I find that I usually don't need the radio audio until the latter part of the season. Usually use the laptop to follow FoxSports. So I definitely drive my equipment. I hope to live to have it all on one set. I really think that it might only be 5 years or so before that is reality. Checked out the video link and that's where it is headed. Hopefully we will not get stuck with full blown Pay Per View ala boxing. Thanks again for this site. I begin and end each day with you and Jayski.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Rich,

Thanks for the good words. Can you tell me what Fox Sports does online during the race that you follow? Also, what makes that better or worse than the NASCAR.com offerings?

Thanks!

JD

rich said...

I think that Foxsports calls their offering FoxTrax. It is just a personal preference over Nascar.com. Of course I don't know what it will look like this year but I just liked the layout better. I don't believe that they really offered anything not available on Nascar Trackpass.

elena said...

JD states that this convergence is something the Fox crew will be facing. Well, I tell you, a lot of us that follow other sports do it while watching them too.

I think the advent of wireless and laptops has made it easy. You don't have to sit in a room with a desk so you can follow with your computer. I sit on my couch with a wireless laptop and enjoy the tv while I check for additional stats.

I have been following the Australian Open and they have a slam tracker. It's great, I have the tv on, but I still can look at the computer and see the tally of aces, 1st serve %, double faults, net approaches, etc.

When I watch the NFL, they also have a game center and I watch tv while checking all the active stats.

I sense that so many of us do this that it has just become a way of watching that seems normal to us. I actually think it would be too boring if the broadcasters were just spitting out a bunch of stats. Their personality has to bring more to the table than that.

I think all the channels are quite aware that fans do this. Most of them have this on their web sites, plus the NFL and Fox and others. The NFL and MLB have the game centers I like the best, and each season they improve the sites.

I don't really see it as a negative, just as another tool to make viewing more enjoyable. This is one of the reasons I watch sports live.

haus20 said...

For those of you who simply like to watch the race, I completely understand. My wife is with you. She doesn't understand why I set up a "command center" around my chair for each race either.

NASCAR is the only sport where I use my computer to supplement my viewing. I have tried it with football, but I am not a fantasy player so stats don't matter as much to me.

However in NASCAR, the information that is available is more than simply "stats." It is information that tells you how your driver is doing in relation to the other drivers. Is he catching up or falling behind. It is kind of like down and distance in football. It tells me how close he is to the next position and how far ahead he is from the driver chasing him.

I want to know if my driver is making up time each lap or losing time and it isn't realistic to expect that the network can provide that information for me at every moment during the race.

There are 43 different drivers for the network to try to keep up with. They run the crawl on the top of the screen showing the running order along with various other bits of info, but it takes time to cycle through to my driver. Obviously I am not watching lap times on every single lap, but it is nice to have the information handy when I want it.

Patrick said...

In 2006, I watched the races live, had TrackPass (free with Time Warner Road Runner) and used the included Scanner to listen to my favorite driver's radio.
In 2007, TrackPass was no longer free to TWRR customers. So, I used the Live Leaderboard and the scaled down Scanner (free for TWRR customers) to listen to my favorite driver again while watching live TV. I hated the changes they made to the website. The Leaderboard was a lot better as a separate window running probably on Java.
This year, I am debating purchasing the RaceView (mainly because it includes TrackPass and Scanner). I don't think I want a video game version of the action on the track, but want the other features. For me, I would consider this a splurge financially and certainly understand those who don't want to spend a dime on something that should be communicated for free. However, I did not enjoy the racing as much because I couldn't tell where the others were. My dilemna is that I feel I'm being penalized for being a fan and wanting more information. I am essentially rewarding Nascar with my money for an inferior product in order to get the information I desire.

Anonymous said...

I don't think I want a video game version of the action on the track, but want the other features.
I didn't think I would either, but found that it was really interesting to have a view of my driver's car available during the entire race.

Anonymous said...

"Your loss."

Brian France? Is that really you?

Richard in N.C. said...

JD- I look forward to the Daytona 500 every year - 1 of the 4 or 5 races I MUST see every year. So I plan to watch it live, but also tape it just in case something comes up and to re-view later. While I really enjoy the FOX crew, I will probably listen to some of the race on MRN (while watching FOX) because I also really enjoy Barney Hall. Also I will probably have the race up on FOX Sports FOX Trac so I can keep up with and highlight drivers I'm most interested in. I dislike NASCAR.com because it is too much like a giant pop-up ad and not as easy to navigate for me as FOX Sports website, so I almost never use NASCAR.com.

Did you happen to see the BostonHerald interview with Julie Sobieski - where she said ESPN doesn't have any changes in NASCAR coverage "we are prepared to announce right now"?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Richard, that interview is the subject of a new column that has just been posted. In the future, when you need that kind of question answered, please drop me an email at editor@thedalyplanet.tv anytime.

JD

Richard in N.C. said...

JD- Sorry. I should have known if I'd seen something that you would be 2 steps ahead.