Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Mark Cuban's HDNet Increases NASCAR Presence


While many cable TV viewers may not be familiar with HDNet, millions of others have been enjoying this service for years. Created by maverick businessman Mark Cuban, HDNet replays the full-length races from the Sprint Cup Series in HD on Thursday nights.

Launched back in 2001, HDNet has been slowly inching into the NASCAR world. This season, the service will partner once again with SPEED to carry a good chunk of NASCAR's Regional Touring Series action.

Here is the official information:

High definition pioneer HDNet will broadcast 16 races, continuing a partnership with NASCAR that began five years ago and provided the NASCAR Camping World Series with its first live television package. HDNet coverage will begin March 29 with the NASCAR Camping World Series opener at All-American Speedway in Roseville, Calif.

It includes the first eight races of the NASCAR Camping World Series West season, as well as the season-finale Oct. 18 at the new Kern County track in Bakersfield, Calif. The NASCAR Camping World Series East broadcast schedule on HDNet will pick-up with the July 19 race at Music City Motorplex in Nashville and run through the final seven races of the season, culminating with the live broadcast at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway Sept. 28.

HDNet’s broadcast schedule will also include the mid-season combination race between the East and the West at Iowa Speedway May 18. Last year, viewers watched then 16-year-old Joe Gibbs Racing development driver Joey Logano out-race 2007 Daytona 500 winner Kevin Harvick in a thrilling duel.

"HDNet is proud to continue this successful partnership with the NASCAR Camping World Series," said Mark Cuban, president and co-founder of HDNet. "NASCAR's stars of tomorrow have given us some great action over the years and we can't wait to offer race fans more of the same on HDNet this season!"


Cuban has some work to do to raise the profile of HDNet, and this type of creative partnership with SPEED and NASCAR will go a long way in that direction.

SPEED will re-air all of HDNet's sixteen races, and will produce another eight on their own. This combination is great exposure for the hard-working regional drivers.

The NASCAR Camping World Series is the top level of the NASCAR Developmental Series and is made up of two regional tours, the East and West, competing with identical race cars. The cars are similar in appearance and design to those cars used in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. The cars are powered by 350 to 358 cubic-inch V-8 engines. The series travels to many of NASCAR’s most historic short tracks as well as making several appearances in combination events with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

With SPEED now in over 75 million TV homes in North America, perhaps shows like RaceDay and This Week In NASCAR will take a moment to highlight the regional racing action this season. This would now make more sense than ever with all of these regional races airing on SPEED.

Last year, The Daly Planet pushed ESPN2's NASCAR Now very hard to include the regional series, including the fun NASCAR Modifieds who often race almost in ESPN's own backyard. Maybe this season NASCAR Now will take the plunge.

The regional racing series starts March 29th and runs through late October, with the big finale called the Toyota All-Star Showdown carried live on SPEED. You can check the regional racing series schedules at several Internet websites including NASCAR.com. Perhaps, you can attend a regional race in your area and say hi to the HDNet crew for The Daly Planet.

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25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, that's real swell, but as it's been posted on this blog numerous times some cable providers only carry some HD channels and most fans don't have HD televisions. So, thanks for the heads up, it gives me another reason to decide if I'm ready to take the HD plunge.

Tripp said...

I always wondered about HDNet's origins and raison d'etre. I had no idea Cuban was behind it, but I'm not surprised.

Sounds like his coverage this year will be similar to last. No bad thing. With two announcers in the booth, one pit reporter and a handful of cameras, these telecasts were fun to watch last year. The bare bones approach to the coverage of these small, local venues is almost a portal back in time. Small crews and purses, plain spoken driver and close racing is probably spiritually closer to the early days of NASCAR than the three major series are today. It may not be great broadcasting, but it's often great racing.

If you want to see the next Joey Legano, watch these races. You'll enjoy them. They might even motivate you to check out a race at one of your local tracks.

Tripp said...

anon 8:47 HDNet should be available on most cable offering. I believe it's on both Dish and DirecTV as well. With a rather enigmatic mix of programs, sports and movies, there's some good stuff to watch in HD... and it's commercial free.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Vizio 26 inch HDTV over at WalMart.com for less than $475.

If you watch the remaining 35 Cup races and throw in 13 Nationwide races for a total of 48...that is ten bucks a race.

And that is the new math of a racing fan.

JD

Newracefan said...

JD the problem isn't the TV it's the Comcast bill (I had to raise my son's room & board to cover the increase when I switched to HD DVR)

Anonymous said...

Tripp said...
anon 8:47 HDNet should be available on most cable offering. I believe it's on both Dish and DirecTV as well. With a rather enigmatic mix of programs, sports and movies, there's some good stuff to watch in HD... and it's commercial free.

March 5, 2008 8:55 PM

Last I heard HD net was not available on DirecTV, but only on Dish Network and one or 2 other cable operators.

Anonymous said...

JD and Tripp,

I live in a townhouse that does not allow me to hang anything on the outside of the building, so no dishes for me. So, I checked on-line with my cable provider, and HD service is 59.95/month. I have no idea if that's on top of what I already pay or instead of what I already pay. The website isn't very clear on that point. There are 22 HD channels available, but SPEED and TNT are not included. ESPN2 and ABC are included. To get HDNet requires an upgrade of $6/month.

And that doesn't even include the TV. Currently I have a 47 inch screen. I don't think I could downgrade to a 26 inch. The cars would look like ants!

Like Newracefan says, it isn't just the TV. It's all the other stuff that comes along with it. Until there are more HD channels, it just isn't cost effective for me. Unless, of course, I start watching Golf, FoodTV or Discovery Channel. Heck, they even have our local PBS station in HD. But no SPEED.

Oh, and another cost in there - the cable company charged my complex $200 per unit to install some equipment in our attic so that we could receive HD. If each unit did it individually, it would have cost $400 per unit. They also replaced all the cable wires in the walls that go to all the TV outlets.

Just more numbers to add to your equation.

Anonymous said...

anon at 10:05 PM,

According to an FCC law, you can put up a dish on your town home or apartment and you landlord or home owners association cannot say anything about it. I would look into that.

SonicAD said...

anon 9:47:

HDNet is available on both of the satellite companies, and most cable companies carry it as well... it's probably the biggest of the HD specific channels. I think Comcast is the only major provider not to carry it.

Anonymous said...

COX and Time Warner do not have it. It is not listed in the HDTV listings for DirecTV either.

Anonymous said...

Do you guys know you can watch the races on FOX and ABC in HD for FREE. You do not have to pay any cable or satellite company to receive those HD channels. as long as you don't live in a completely mountainous or completely rural area, you will be able to get those channels for free with just an antenna.

Speedcouch said...

Newracefan said...

>JD the problem isn't the TV it's >the Comcast bill (I had to raise >my son's room & board to cover the increase when I switched to HD DVR)


DirecTV is still a better value for your money than Comcast and they have nearly 100 HD channels now.

As to HDNet, it's an awesome network that we've had on DirecTV since it's inception in late 2001. It's really a shame that they lost half the Busch East/West schedule to SPEED last season. Watching the races commercial-free and in glorious HD on HDNet was SO much better! Plus the races SPEED shows are edited down to almost nothing and are shown most times 6 weeks after the fact.

Now if the series could just produce some better racing to so with the awesome pictures. ;-) Only 150 laps and over half of them under cautions a lot of time isn't quality racing. It's no wonder Logano could dominate when he's got Joe Gibb's equipment.

Speedcouch said...

For the person who said they can't find HDNet on the DirecTV guide, it's channel 79, but you have to have the HD package to get it.

Anonymous said...

Yes DirecTV HD has HDNet. It's a cool, quirky channel. Glad they are showing this regional action.

JD..any word if we'll ever see the old Cascar series down here in the states again?

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Yes, HDNet is definitely available on DirecTV. As are a lot of the current HD offerings. They advertise bandwidth for 100s, but I think they only have about 60-70 online at present (not counting locals).

Those cheaper HD sets at WalMart that JD alluded to are often 720i resolution sets. Buyer beware. You really want at least 1080i, get a 1080p TV if you can find one at a decent price - you need this resolution to realize all the clarity of Blu-Ray and HD DVD discs, and future 1080p TV programming when it ever rolls out.

Get HD as soon as you can. Get an HD DVR while you're at it. You won't know how you got by without it once you're in the club, I promise.

Geez said...

Funny this should come up. My cable company says I should be getting HD Net, and I keep telling them that I'm not.

I kind of let it go because the programming wasn't all that important to me anyway. Looks like a personnel appearance at their office is in order. :)

Charles said...

anon 12:39 am -

I don't know what site you were looking at, but the Time Warner Cable site actually lists HDNet and HDNet Movies as part of their HD Premium tier. I thought it was there. My family doesn't have it, but my folks do.

Just FYI.

Anonymous said...

HD Net is available on our Time Warner cable. The upgrade to HD is free here, but HD Net is 5 dollars a month more.

And as far as the series formerly known as Busch East...the tour comes up here every summer, and the drivers all come out on the track with their cars for autographs. The races are a blast to watch with the young guns and the older vets like Matt Kobyluck.

Anonymous said...

I just checked and Time Warner here in Austin charges another $6 for four HD channels, including HDNet as long as you have a qualifying DVR package. More then likely we have the qualifying package since we have an HD tv, HDMI cable and DVR unit but, geez, are they freaking expensive! The cable bill is already at $97 bucks a month and they always jack it up ten more dollars in the spring, too.

Ever since going to the races at Volusia during SpeedWeeks, though, I'm hooked and want more dirt racing. Be it on HDNet or in person around the Austin area, I'll take it all!

We're looking at getting either DirecTV or Dish Network pretty soon with the HD/DVR bundle. I appreciate everyone's information and tips on this blog as it's been very helpful!

william rice said...

I'm always surprised that so many people are against getting HD. I have two HD TVs both are tube TVs one is a square 27" I bought new at Kmart for $250(on clearance) and the other is a widescreen 32" I bought from a friend that was moving for around three hundred. Trust me it's worth it. Just the new programming I get on the HD channels is worth it and the picture is quite nice. It's VERY easy to get used to.

kenn said...

If your landlord says you can't attach anything to the building, you can have your DirecTV dish on a tripod. They charge you for the tripod, but it's a one-time fee, around $20. If you are not permitted to drill holes, the installer will use thin "jumpers" which conform to the contours of a window or sliding glass door. You can still lock the door.

If you have a choice, choose DirecTV. (You might not be able to get it if a tree or building is in the way.) I like their service. The installers come on time. The phone support answers and resolves your question before you hang up. The prices have not gone up since I got the service in August 2006. And the DVR that comes with it is excellent for zapping commercials or looking at something you might have missed.

But most of all, DirecTV has Hot Pass, which I love. Even if you don't sign up for it, they give a free week during each season.

Anonymous said...
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Geez said...

Yes, it is available on the HD tier. And I have the HD tier. But I get the dreaded "not authorized" when I tune to it, and they can't seem to figure out why. Go figure. :)

Anonymous said...

I have paid Dish Network $ 10 per month for approx 3 years for HD. I have also had to pay an additional charge of $ 10 per month for the HD receiver charge. As it turns out, if you signed up long ago then you have to have your receiver replaced to receive all of the new channels and sign another contract. I'm just switching to Direct and I plan on having HDNet now that I know about it. Plus I want the Direct pass thing.