Saturday, April 26, 2008
No Love For NASCAR In Seattle
Saturday is one of the rare appearances of the Nationwide Series on the ABC Television Network.
It is a great opportunity to use the bigger broadcast network to expose more viewers to the sport. The race from Talladega is a perfect choice to do just that. The telecast begins at 2:30PM Eastern Time and 11:30AM Pacific.
Last season, it was the ABC local stations that caused a mess when ESPN tried to use them to broadcast the final seventeen Sprint Cup races of the season. Each station is a little kingdom, run by a General Manager. While it truly is a small business in many ways, these "affiliates" carry sports provided by the ABC Network on a regular basis.
KOMO-tv is the Seattle-based local ABC affiliate. On this Saturday, they have chosen to present the final thirty minutes of their children's programming instead of the network's NASCAR telecast. The issue for them is that the live broadcast begins at 11:30AM Pacific. In their mind this thirty minutes "belongs" to them.
Ironically, it is the Disney show Suite Life with Zack and Cody that will be covering the pre-race program from the track. KOMO-tv will then just join the in-progress NASCAR telecast at the top of the hour. Area NASCAR fans may have vivid memories of Suite Life for one very good reason.
Last season, KOMO-tv did the exact same thing to the Watkins Glen race. Rather than simply alter the children's block to begin the network sports program on time, KOMO is holding fast to the "little kingdom" philosophy that disrupted the NASCAR programming so often last season.
While to some casual fans this might not seem like a big deal, nothing could be further from the truth. This is Talladega, and telling the story and setting the field for this event is going to be a key part of the overall telecast. In addition, there are some stories remaining from the Nationwide race in Mexico City that have to be addressed. Tops on that list is the Marcos Ambrose vs. Boris Said situation.
One interesting fact is that KOMO-tv has no problem changing the children's programming for other sporting events that they determine to be "worthy." This decision is apparently directly related to the fact that this is a Nationwide Series event.
The bottom line is that the entire NASCAR telecast is an ABC Network "must carry." How a local station in a major market like this can once again just arbitrarily join the telecast thirty minutes late is puzzling. Unfortunately, this does not bode well for the ESPN NASCAR package that will begin on the ABC stations in July.
Thank you to the Seattle area readers of The Daly Planet for pointing out this information. If any other West Coast ABC stations decide to join this telecast in-progress, insert local news, or leave before the post-race interviews, please take a moment to tell us about it in the comments section below.
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