Monday, April 7, 2008
ESPNEWS Finds A NASCAR Niche
Things have been changing all over ESPN this season where NASCAR is concerned.
The new integration of the sport into all the areas of this big company has been yielding positive results in some unusual areas. One of them is ESPNEWS.
This network has gone back to the policy it had years ago of covering the post-race news conferences after the Sprint Cup Series races. While in 2007 ESPNEWS struggled to figure out how to squeeze NASCAR into its already busy Sundays of sports highlights and news, this year is much different.
The TV arm of the sport called the NASCAR Media Group uplinks the post-race press conferences live. Simply by tapping into this raw feed, ESPNEWS has been presenting to NASCAR fans a slice of the sport that cannot be seen anywhere else.
While SPEED offers three post-race shows, only one of them focuses on NASCAR alone and that program uses on-site reporters to interview the drivers and personalities. Since ESPN2 does not produce a NASCAR Now show on Sunday night, this ESPNEWS live coverage is unique.
The assembled NASCAR media ask questions of the drivers, crew chiefs and owners. The second and third place drivers are up first, as the race winner is still involved in Victory Lane activities. As ESPNEWS viewers know from Tony Stewart's recent tire rant, lots of things can happen in the Infield Media Center.
After the Sunday Texas race, the patience and commitment of ESPNEWS was put to the test as a big time lapse happened between the appearance of the second and third place drivers and the eventual appearance by the winning driver and his entourage.
The network hung-in there and continually informed viewers that when Carl Edwards appeared, they would break-in live and have his comments. Minutes later, that is exactly what happened. Unrestricted by pit reporters and network time restraints, this coverage is raw and wonderful.
It also allows fan an opportunity to see the live interaction between the NASCAR personalities and the media members who cover the sport. This dynamic is going to be what determines the content of the stories in the newspapers and on the Internet about the event. It is fascinating to watch it unfold.
Hopefully, ESPNEWS may expand this presence to have a coordinator on-site. This would help both NASCAR and ESPN to make sure all of the comments make the air. Simply holding the drivers for one minute while a commercial clears would allow their comments to be broadcast live nationally.
When the value of this TV time becomes apparent, perhaps we will see more media-savvy drivers make themselves available to the press in the Media Center after the races. In the same manner, having the moderator repeat the media questions or using a microphone would allow fans at home to clearly hear both the question and who was asking it.
This ESPNEWS coverage has been an unexpected bonus this season, and NASCAR fans who want a little more than the usual network TV post-race show may like to see this media process unfold. It certainly is interesting to see what the drivers actually say, and what the media subsequently reports.
The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Simply click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy instructions. The rules for posting are located on the right side of the main page. Thanks again for stopping by.