Wednesday, April 2, 2008

TV Troubles For Nationwide Series In Texas


Things are always just a little bit different down in Texas.

Two good examples of that are the Thursday afternoon practice and the Thursday evening qualifying sessions for the NASCAR Nationwide Series.

The cars take to the track at Noon Eastern Time and after a short lunch break they end practice at 3PM. All 44 cars return to the track at 7PM for a qualifying session that should last about an hour. The Nationwide Series race itself does not take place until 3PM on Saturday.

SPEED Channel starts coverage of the activities in Texas on Friday and that network will handle the practice and qualifying sessions for the Sprint Cup Series. Unfortunately, that is the only series they will be televising.

As NASCAR fans and TV viewers can see from the ESPN programming schedule, there will be no TV coverage of the Nationwide Series practice sessions or qualifying on any of the ESPN family of networks. So, other than the race itself, there will be no TV coverage of the Nationwide Series in Texas.

Thursday, ESPN2 has "stripped" programming scheduled from Noon until 2PM Eastern. This means programming that runs every weekday at the same time like Oprah or The Price is Right. In this case, the show is called First Take.

Back to the Nationwide Series, it seems once again they are just the odd man out. SPEED has a certain number of practice and qualifying sessions they get to televise in the NASCAR contract and they do a good job.

Unfortunately, this leaves ESPN to prioritize between regular weekday programming, live sporting events, and the remaining NASCAR practice and qualifying sessions. The network's perspective on this Texas issue is very interesting.

Update: ESPN was outstanding in taking the time to address this issue, and responded to The Daly Planet with the following statement:

"We have the rights to televise all of the races in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, but do not have the rights to all practice and qualifying sessions. We did not have the rights to the sessions at Texas. By the time they were presented to us, we already had other programming commitments."

ESPN's response is appreciated and sheds some light on the reality of TV programming issues. It also sheds some light on the inability of NASCAR to step-in and solve these problems.

With ESPN having other commitments, and SPEED already televising all the practice and qualifying available to them in their NASCAR contract, isn't there a problem that remains unsolved? Isn't NASCAR the group to solve it?

As we mentioned earlier, the Texas Nationwide Series qualifying session takes place on Thursday at 7PM and should last about an hour. Ironically, it is a thirty minute version of NASCAR Now that is on ESPN2 at that time followed by an off-season version of the NFL Live program.

This week, the Nationwide Series entry list includes well known drivers like Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kyle Busch. It also highlights the young guns like Brad Coleman and Kelly Bires. In between, Nationwide regulars like Mike Wallace and Marcos Ambrose are squeezed-in with Cup-whackers like Tony Stewart, Kasey Kahne and Clint Bowyer. This field is loaded with exactly the type of racing diversity that NASCAR likes to put on the track. Qualifying is going to be a good show for the fans in the stands.

TV viewers will have to tune-into the NASCAR Countdown show at 2:30PM on Saturday to get a perspective on the action from practice and qualifying.

With all of the positive changes this season involving the NASCAR TV partners, it is disappointing that this issue could not be solved among them with NASCAR's help.

Note: This column was updated at 6PM on 4/2/08 with the ESPN statement. Thanks again to our friends at ESPN for taking the time to offer fans a response.

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53 comments:

SallyB said...

Just when we were all giving ESPN a big pat on the back for all the wonderful changes they have made since last year, they go and do this. How...disappointing that they don't feel the racing series to which they have exclusive rights is worth covering in depth. I guess we needed this ugly reminder of how important racing is to them.

Charlie said...

It is possible that ESPN believes that Nascar is the same as any stick and ball game. An example is how they just showed the winner last week in Martinsville and just the winner. ESPN may believe that all the viewers watching are only interested in who wins, just like in football, baseball, tennis, etc.
ESPN may believe that practice and qualifying have nothing to do with the out come of a race, so why show it. To them showing practice or qualifying is like showing a football team warming up or showing batting practice in baseball.
Why waste resources showing practice or qualifying. It is the race and the winner of that race that viewers want to see. Ask most viewer if they care if they miss batting practice or football players warming up and they will say it is not that big of a deal. ESPN must then also believe that most race fans only care about the winner of a race and all the practice and qualifying is just a waste of time to show on television.
I can't believe ESPN thinks this way but from what I have seen so far, they do.

Newracefan said...

I guess it's a case of 1 step forward and 2 steps back. I was hopeful I could listen on trackpass, not so lucky, I guess I'll have to try the radio. Seems a little pathetic for 2008. ESPN just when I think things are going well you go and do something stupid

Lisa Hogan said...

JD-
Could this be as simple as a cost-saving decision by ESPN? Instead of the cost of two one-day events, they only have the cost of one one-day event.

Just a thought. :)

Daly Planet Editor said...

This column has been updated with a very nice response from ESPN that actually makes a lot of sense.

We appreciate ESPN taking the time to respond, and wonder if the ball is now in NASCAR's court?

JD

Anonymous said...

Update: ESPN was outstanding in taking the time to address this issue, and responded to The Daly Planet with the following statement:

"We have the rights to televise all of the races in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, but do not have the rights to all practice and qualifying sessions. We did not have the rights to the sessions at Texas. By the time they were presented to us, we already had other programming commitments."
---
That's pretty wild. I assumed it was ESPN making the decision not to air practice/qualifying. Thanks to you and ESPN for clearing that up.

You'd think NASCAR would divvy up all the rights in advance of the season, and not grant/present rights to a network later when their schedule might be set(especially ESPN which is overstuffed anyway).

All it would take is one or two planning sessions before the season!

Richard in N.C. said...

A half a bag is better than an empty bag. I would be happy with maybe a 1 hour taped qualifying highlights show on ESPNNEWS or ESPN Classic after the end of qualifying.

I suspect PRN will cover N-wide qualifying. However, I am in N.C. and I now find it difficult often to find a station here carrying qualifying, but that may change some with the end of basketball season.

JD, not being in the TV industry, I find it stranger that all the N-wide qualifying was not a part of ESPN's package than that ESPN just chose not to cover qualifying this week.

Also, from a fan/news perspective I believe the "off-season" for NFL is no longer than the NASCAR off-season.

I'm learning TV is stranger than that strange accent Jeff Burton has.

stricklinfan82 said...

JD,

It was nice of ESPN to respond that this wasn't their fault and it was basically NASCAR's fault for not offering them the rights sooner and implying that Speed could have chosen to air the Thursday activities themselves but chose not to.

Now would you mind contacting that same ESPN source and asking them what's going to happen to Cup practice sessions during their portion of the schedule and if we can expect morning practice blackouts and no live Happy Hour coverages again this year?

I'd love to see ESPN clear things up and tell us if they actually do own the rights to all the Cup practices that will go untelevised in the fall or if this is also a case where Speed could have televised them if they wanted to and just chose not to. If ESPN really doesn't own the rights to those sessions and Speed doesn't cover them again this year then perhaps our anger about the blackouts will shift to Speed Channel if that's who's ultimately at fault for it.

If ESPN answers this question as well please let me know. Thanks.

TexasRaceLady said...

JD, please thank ESPN for their answer. Now, at least, we understand the situation.

Even if practice and q'ing were televised tomorrow, we might not see it anyway. Mother Nature's thunderstorms are threatening all of North Texas on Thursday.

Since I live in North Texas, I'm going to be keeping an eye on the sky.

Anonymous said...

Why would NASCAR not give the rights to all the practice and qualifing in the Nationwide series to ESPN?

Daly Planet Editor said...

richard: You just never know what was being negotiated at the time. Could have been a day of the week problem or simply a time problem for ESPN.

stricklinfan: I am already warming them up for late July and the issues that will arise this season. With the COT in use, and the points race probably tight, there is going to be a howl if the first practice is not on TV.

If we can get a pipeline going with ESPN for answers to NASCAR TV issues, we may be able to open the door to the solutions for the fans.

JD

Newracefan said...

Ok I'll change that it's 2 steps forward and 1 step back for Nascar. ESPN thanks for adressing this issue quickly before it snowballed to a total ESPN bash.

Bill H said...

I think this is more of a Nascar scheduling issue than an ESPN broadcast issue. Why is Nascar having practice and qualifying on Thursday for a Saturday race? They always (at least 99% of the time) have qualifying the day before or the same day of the race. For ESPN to cover this they would have to have a crew sitting at the track for 3 days (not counting setup, breakdown). Speed on the other hand is already there for the 3 days they will cover (Fri,Sat,Sun).

BillWebz

Erik said...

Mr. Daly,
Give me a break! You know very well qualifying at Texas will last longer than an hour. That "about an hour" would be much closer to 1.5 hours. Plus, if ESPN used the Tivo style of showing qualifying, it'll last much longer.

This being said, there just isn't enough time for ESPN2 to show it with MLS soccer on at 8EST, and qualifying beginning at 7:05pm. You know better than that. This was the exact same reason why a taped practice was shown, instead of qualifying at Memphis (or was it Nashville?) You agreed a 1 hour window really wasn't enough time before a basketball game.

As you said, Texas decided to be different. If they qualified the same day as the race, in all likelyhood, qualifying would have been shown. But Texas chose not to do it just like just about every other NNS race.


Practice and qualifying just aren't important to the general audience, especially for a 2nd rate racing series. They aren't that important to many race fans either based upon the empty grandstands.

The days of having an unlimited amount of TV time for this extra stuff are long gone. While the number of TV channels have gone up, the availablity and demand for a wide range of sporting events as increased many times more. I liked the days of 90 cents a gallon gasoline, but the landscape has changed.

And finally, don't be so certain SPEED was chomping at the bit to air NNS practices as well for this race. Like ESPN, why would they want the added expense of showing up 2 days earlier than a normal NNS qualifying? Its disingenuous of you to speculate that SPEED would have wanted this in the first place.

l_long said...

JD, how far ahead are programming decisions made? In terms of what bumped possible NASCAR on EPSN coverages, I mean. I know some sports have schedules made up years in advance (like MLB or NFL or college football) but how far ahead is other sports programming booked?

Daly Planet Editor said...

long,

The schedules are done by a whole department that deals with this all the time. Imagine trying to just schedule college basketball. Many deals are done for years, which is the exact reason I asked ESPN to help us understand the issues.

That response helped to raise the issue that Erik is yelling about. The start of the program is not the only problem, once you commmit to a live event and it runs long you are stuck, as we saw with Cubs baseball on Monday.

If I get some additional info from SPEED about their issues with the Thursday live practice and qualifying, I will post it as an update to the column.

JD

Daly Planet Editor said...

Erik,

Did you really say?

"Practice and qualifying just aren't important to the general audience, especially for a 2nd rate racing series. They aren't that important to many race fans either based upon the empty grandstands."

Can I ask you a question? Do you know the first thing about NASCAR? If you want to talk TV and disagree, that is fine. But, please do not go over the line and talk racing because you have no clue and that is clear.

Go to NASCAR.com and look at the entry list for the Texas Nationwide race. Watching practice and having the announcers and pit reporters sort-out what is happening and then watching the live qualifying on this track would be great TV.

The entire point of this series is to mix the veterans with the kids and then add-in a slice of "regulars" so that there are always stories to tell and issues to talk about.

I completely agree with you about qualifying running long if it was carried live. I can even agree that SPEED might not want to foot the bill for an extra day on-site.

But, please do not let your enthusiasm spill-over into talking about NASCAR and putting down the teams and drivers who make a living racing full-time. That is just out-of-line.

JD

Erik said...

Mr. Daly

Okay, lets parse my statement.


Practice and qualifying just aren't important to the general audience.

Show me the TV ratings indicating practice and qualifying are watched as much as the race, and I'll admit I'm wrong.

2nd rate racing series
Poor word choice on my part. Reading it back, 2nd rate is offensive. I should have used 2nd tier. Nobody can argue that NNS and Sprint Cup are on the same level.

They aren't that important to many race fans either based upon the empty grandstands.

Again, I judge the relative importance of an event based upon how many people view it relative to the race itself.

Where I'm I wrong?

Richard in N.C. said...

I question many decisions made by SMI - but not their decisions when it comes to generating revenue. I feel certain Eddie Gossage believes N-wide qualifying on Thursday evening, after work, will be a reasonably big draw at the track or he would not commit the resources to hold it Thursday. In other words, I expect there will be a big crowd Thursday PM. TV is another issue.

Anonymous said...

Anybody who buys that ESPN BS is crazy...

On the slight chance it's true and they really would have shown practice and qualifying if they didn't already have programming scheduled, it wouldn't surprise me if SPEED rejected showing practice and qualifying as well. It's pretty obvious to me SPEED is backing way down on their NASCAR programming across the board which is a shame...

Anonymous said...

As a Dallas resident who will be at the track all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I do question why the Nationwide practice and qualifying is on Thursday.

Granted, the tickets are pretty inexpensive for Thursday and I think they have a concert but it does seem like kind of a money making deal for Gossage, etc.

For those of us who can only get Friday off of work it's kind of a shame we only get to see the Nationwide cars during the race.

From the TV POV, I can understand why ESPN and/or SPEED wouldn't want to have everybody in town one day early for Nationwide practice and qualifying.

stricklinfan82 said...

It's not rocket science that more people watch the races than watch qualifying or practice, and that more people watch the Cup Series races than the Nationwide or Truck Series. To use that as logic to justify abolishing any TV coverage of any practice session, qualifying session, Truck race, or Nationwide race would seem silly to anyone with a half a brain though.

In a related story, more people watch playoff games then regular season games... so there should be no TV coverage of regular season games right? In fact more people watch championship round games than preliminary round games in the playoffs... so let's get rid of TV coverage of the preliminary rounds too right? While we're at it, more people watch football championship games than baseball, basketball, or hockey championship games so let's just get rid of TV coverage of all of them too. And more people watch the World Cup than the Super Bowl... so why even bother televising the Super Bowl?

The point is, because sporting event A draws a bigger crowd and bigger TV ratings than sporting event B does, that doesn't mean there should be no TV coverage of sporting event B as a result!

But hey we get it, you don't like NASCAR and we're all idiots for liking NASCAR and for ever suggesting that one of our NASCAR events is important enough to appear on TV. We know, you won't be happy until NASCAR is completely abolished from television altogether. No more Cup racing on TV, no more Nationwide racing on TV, no more Truck racing on TV, no more NASCAR Now on TV, or more practice/qualifying sessions on TV, no more Trackside, no more Speed Report, no more Wind Tunnel, etc.

I'm glad this forum at least gives you a reason to live though... you'd probably do something a lot more harmful in the real world if you had to fill your need for a cheap high by commiting daily random acts of violence instead of your current escape of bashing a bunch of NASCAR fans on a NASCAR blog on the Internet everyday and sitting intently at your computer screen reloading the page every 15 seconds just waiting and waiting and waiting for someone to respond to you so you can respond and repeat the same process over again.

JD, perhaps a constant deletion of his nonesense posts that serve not to express an opinion, but to defend a TV network's NASCAR fan-detrimental decisions as if he is an all-knowing corporate spokesman for them, would make him crawl back into the hole he came from, LOL.

Gymmie said...

Thanks to ESPN for the information! It's a shame but at least we understand now.

Daly Planet Editor said...

It should be interesting to see how things play out at the track. If Thursday's activities work out for Eddie Gossage, we will certainly be seeing pressure to carry these sessions next season.

JD

LuckyForward said...

I appreciate ESPN's response, as much as I appreciate this blog and how Mr. Daly's efforts are viewed by folks such as ESPN.

I know nothing of television programming, but I know much about creating and keeping massive schedules. ESPN has to fill their schedule with what is offered them at any given moment, as they have to secure advertisers for that schedule. If they were not offered the programming in time to purchase and schedule it, there is nothing ESPN could do.

Kudos to them for their response.

Speedcouch said...

I guess I find this just nitpicking. This series has become nothing but a bunch of cherrypicking Cup drivers anyway, so what's the big deal? As to comment that fans won't know what happened in practice and qualfying until Saturday, that's just absurd with the Internet these days. The Hot Lap which covers this series, Jayski, Racing One and a ton of other sites will have the information posted right after the practice and qualying sessions end.

I hate to sound like the curmudgeon I am, but it's not like back in 1993 when I remember there being NO information about Cup qualifying in my area. We'd pay to call a 1-900 to get qualifying results for Cup. There is just so much information available on the net these days, I just can't see making such a big deal out of the lack of live qualifying for this series on TV.

red said...

all i can add to this discussion is the following: being given the reasoning behind an action goes a long way to preventing frustration and angry words. i appreciate ESPN providing this site with the information and i would encourage them to "keep us in the loop" as a matter of practice going forward.
SPEED, FOX, and ABC: are you reading and listening?!?

and, as always, jd: thanks for everything you've created and keep running for us! for me, you're one of my first stops each morning.

Anonymous said...

Don't know if this is relevant, but qualifying today is sponsored by The Dalas Mornng News and had coupons for free admission in the paper for the past few weeks. Gossage doesn't depend on fan turnout for income so he can schedule when he wants. He has his money through sponsorship. I don't know if the newspaper had anything to do with the choice of Thursday as qualifying date. Could this be another example of sponsors determining things? Please excuse if this has been covered before, it's early.

JEff said...

It's just qualifying. Get over it.

Anonymous said...

Even with the explanation/excuse its still silly.

Why on earth would the qualifying and practice session rights be dribbled out in bits in the first place? Isn't the whole purpose of these big, all-encompassing, TV rights contracts to ensure that coverage would be smooth, continuous and COMPLETE.

As for getting the info off the internet, that only goes so far. You see the one-lap speeds. They'll tell you who crashed. You may even be able to find fastest 10-lap average if you hunt hard enough on a good day.

BUT you don't see who has the car down in the track and riding well, who can run any line he chooses, who is sliding out of control in every corner, whose team is throwing every conceivable change at the car in a desperate attempt to improve, or whose initial poor performance improves when they find the just-right combination.

Anonymous said...

I'm soooo not surprised at this whole thing ... I knew it would happen the minute Brian France announced the exclusivity of the contract ...

ESPN's answer sounds more like something that would come from a politician ... and their so-called regular programming CAN be bumped for something else like Nationwide practice / qualifying ... It's not like "ESPN First Take" is the final episode of "M*A*S*H" or the episode where they tell us "Who shot J.R.?" ... The NCAA swimming & diving championships that they're showing today took place last weekend ... Everybody knows who won ...


Last month, ESPN screwed over people who are fans of figure skating with their uber tape delay of the figure skating World Championships ... 2+ days of delay ... At least with the CBC, they aired it at midnight ...


SPEED should've been offered everything that ESPN didn't want to be bothered with ... The crews are already going to be at the track today setting up the cameras/sound, so it wouldn't take that much more to broadcast Nationwide practice & qaulifying ...


At least TNT/NBC were smart in 2006 ... They let SPEED pick up a lot of the practice / qualifying sessions of Cup and Busch ... Fans were happy that they didn't have to be constantly scouring a tv schedule to see what was on when & where ... There was also a lot of cohesiveness to the programs themselves ...



SPEED's only got 2 new shows on today ... "Setup" and "Livin' the Low Life" ... It's not like those two shows couldn't be bumped ... esp since "Setup" comes on at 5pm pacific and LtLL is on at 7:30pm pacific and everything else is reruns ...

Anonymous said...

In a related story, more people watch playoff games then regular season games... so there should be no TV coverage of regular season games right? In fact more people watch championship round games than preliminary round games in the playoffs... so let's get rid of TV coverage of the preliminary rounds too right? While we're at it, more people watch football championship games than baseball, basketball, or hockey championship games so let's just get rid of TV coverage of all of them too. And more people watch the World Cup than the Super Bowl... so why even bother televising the Super Bowl?

Your comparisons here really aren't valid. Difference being, those regular season games make an actual difference in the standings, seeding, home court advantage, etc. The results count.

Cup, nationwide and Truck practice do none of that. Qualifying slots may affect how someone does in the race, but it's not the end result of the actual race - which is what counts and what should be compared to a regular season game. So airing a regular season game would take priority over airing a practice or qualifying session.

I agree with the poster above who calls this "nitpicking". If this schedule called for SPEED or ESPN to come in a day early at added expense, then I don't think it's necessary.

Anonymous said...

Cup, nationwide and Truck practice do none of that. Qualifying slots may affect how someone does in the race, but it's not the end result of the actual race - which is what counts and what should be compared to a regular season game. So airing a regular season game would take priority over airing a practice or qualifying session.

If the final result is the only thing that matters why not skip televising anything and just post the finishing order on the internet?

The entire point of having professional sports exist at all is that they are entertaining to watch. Nascar practices and qualifying sessions are entertaining to watch -- especially for the serious fans who know enough to understand that how a car sits on the track and how it handles is going to affect the outcome of the race.

Anonymous said...

Sports entertain, but they also crown champions and winners. NASCAR is a sport, you know. Winning is important.

This site is about TV. If it comes down to televising an event which is "entertaining" but has no result vs. an event that has an end result, the TV network should go for the latter.

Comparing an "entertaining" practice or qualifying to a race or a regular season game in another sport is plain silly.

stricklinfan82 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
stricklinfan82 said...

Your comparisons here really aren't valid. Difference being, those regular season games make an actual difference in the standings, seeding, home court advantage, etc. The results count.

Cup, nationwide and Truck practice do none of that. Qualifying slots may affect how someone does in the race, but it's not the end result of the actual race - which is what counts and what should be compared to a regular season game. So airing a regular season game would take priority over airing a practice or qualifying session.


I think qualifying is a very good comparison to the regular season of a profressional sports league.

Qualifying eliminates teams, just like a regular season does.

Qualifying also creates "seeding" of sorts. Just like the #1 seed that gets an easier opponent in the first round of the playoffs, the pole sitter and the other top qualifiers get much easier roads by not having to fight traffic at the start of the race.

As for "home court/field/ice advantage", pit stall selection based on qualifying results would be very comparable to that. The better qualifiers get the better pit stalls. The pole sitter generally gets the last pit and a huge advantage on every caution flag pit stop. The other top qualifiers generally pick the pit stalls with openings before or after them, so that also serves as an advantage.

A regular season doesn't determine the final oucome of the playoffs, just like qualifying doesn't determine the final outcome of a race. But both NASCAR qualifying and a stick-and-ball regular season serve the same purposes of eliminating teams before the "main event" and giving the teams that performed best in the preliminary event a better advantage in the main event.

That being said, the intent of my post was not to say Nationwide qualifying is more important than an MLB, NBA, NHL, or NFL regular season game. I'm not going to say the ratings for qualifying/practice sessions are better than stick-and-ball regular season games and should take precedence over those games, I'm not that naive. My comparison was in response to the Daly Planet's resident anti-NASCAR poster that doesn't want any NASCAR programming on TV.

He reasoned that since practice sessions, qualifying sessions, Truck, and Nationwide races get lower ratings and lower attendance than Cup races, they shouldn't be televised. In his world "anything NASCAR that doesn't outrate a Cup race shouldn't be on TV".

That's where I drew the comparison to stick-and-ball regular seasons. It's completely ridiculous to justify the pre-emption of a NASCAR event ONLY because more people watch the Cup races than that particular event. That's the exact same thing as saying more people watch the World Series than the rest of the playoffs or the regular reason, so you shouldn't televise anything other than the World Series.

The "casual fan" may typically only watch the Super Bowl or the World Series.. just like the "casual fan" might only watch the Chase for the Sprint Cup or the Daytona 500. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't televise the rest of the NFL or MLB playoffs, or races 2-26 in the Sprint Cup Series... as the anti-NASCAR agitator would reason.

Likewise, the "general NFL or MLB fan" might not watch many regular season games and wait until the playoffs start to start watching the sport. Same with NASCAR, a lot of fans only watch the Cup races themselves and don't typically watch the Friday/Saturday on-track activity.

But again, that doesn't mean it's okay not to televise the regular season games in stick-and-ball sports and that doesn't mean it's okay not to televise the Friday/Saturday activities at a race track... again, like the illogical anti-NASCAR continues to suggest.

A lot of people still watch the Friday/Saturday on-track activity.. even if more people watch the Sunday race, so you can't use the Cup race ratings and attendance figures as justification that nothing else NASCAR-related should be on TV. Hopefully my stick-and-ball comparisons have helped support that point.

Daly Planet Editor said...

I think its important to emphasize that one key element of putting the practices on TV is to allow the analysts and pit reporters to let the NASCAR fans watch the real and true stories of the sport unfold before their eyes.

As SPEED has done many times during practice sessions, reporters follow teams in trouble and document what is happening in the garage as well as on the track.

The results of practice on the Internet have no comparision the the reality of what happened to get those results. This is what TV is all about, seeing what is going on.

As I have said many times when the Fox Director decides for the fans that the winnner is the only one being seen on TV, he probably has missed the best story of the race which is often times not who finished first.

JD

Lisa Hogan said...

I am in the group of veteran hard-core fans who would like TV coverage to start when the garages open and end when the garages close at each track.

I wouldn't be able to watch all of that coverage...what with having to earn a living and all....:)

Anonymous said...

I think its important to emphasize that one key element of putting the practices on TV is to allow the analysts and pit reporters to let the NASCAR fans watch the real and true stories of the sport unfold before their eyes.


This is essentially making these sessions into a "news" program as who is doing well, who has problems, etc. before the race. Its not much different than the "Coaches' Shows" where the head coach goes over the week's practice, which players are hurt, the outlook on the upcoming game, and shows highlights from the week's practices.

You rarely see the coin flip aired live. Like qualifying, that can have an affect on the outcome, but it doesn't determine it. Only the contest itself does.

Though neither should be considered "must see TV". They provide additional color on the upcoming event, but the event itself still reigns supreme.

In a situation where there are limited resources (i.e. broadcast time), a sporting event with a real outcome should always be given preference to these extras.

I don't see anyone saying they shouldn't be aired at all. They provided valuable information. Like anything, its a matter of setting priorities, and getting a return on an investment.

Richard in N.C. said...

From everything I've read, it sure sounds to me like not televising N-wide practice & qualifying is an economic issue. It sounds like neither ESPN nor SPEED would have people on the ground and up and running Thursday without changing their normal scheduling and essentially adding an extra day's cost. It sounds to me like TMS is trying to see if they can get an extra day's revenue (and maybe added fans going forward) by having the N-wide teams running on Thursday. If it is successful for TMS, then maybe other tracks will try and then the networks will follow. I'm certain NASCAR has some say-so, but I bet the Thursday scheduling is primarily a TMS decision.

Newracefan said...

I've been home this week to get some things done. Right now I have practice up on the laptop and the replay of the race on TV andnot really getting those things done as planned. Now that I know a little more about Nascar the Racetrax stats of who is fastest is something but it is not enough to get a feel of who is where. Did Reut (he's on top of the board) stomp on it for 1 lap, how did it look, cause if it was ugly or he couldn't maintain that speed for more than 1-2 laps it means nothing. The Speed guys will usually give you 10 or 20 lap averages, show us the guys sliding, etc. TV usually gives more insight than numbers and televising practice shares that information with the fans. If I can not get to watch practive how about a 30 minute evaluation of all those issues to give a feel for who's running where perferrably with some sort of video clips. I'd take that over nothing for the NW series. Not really good enough for cup so don't anyone get any bright ideas.

Truck Series Fan! said...

Well another time that Nationwide fans get the short end of the stick. And why are the fields getting smaller and the fans in the stands getting scarcer? This is part of the problem.

Newracefan said...

We may not have seen much anyway. 2 practices became 1 due to rain and still waiting on qualifying because the track got rained on again.

stricklinfan82 said...

Wow, according to NASCAR.com it looks like Kasey Kahne had a very hard crash in Nationwide practice today, I sure hope he's alright. It sure would have been nice if there was some TV coverage coming out of Texas today to fill us in on the details.

So much for the theory that NASCAR fans "wouldn't miss anything important" if the TV crews stayed home an extra day and didn't cover Thursday's on-track action.

Hopefully this is a lesson learned for both ESPN and Speed, who each had a chance to cover today's on-track action and chose not to.

I wonder if there were any cameras on hand to catch the crash so we can see exactly what happened at some point tomorrow. JD, do you have any idea if any cameras are there filming today's action?

Erik said...

I could almost imagine the howls from some posters on here as ESPN would dare dump a rain delayed NNS qualifying session of vital importance for a boring regular season soccer game that doesn't matter, and would probably end in a 0-0 tie anyway.

Bottom line, its a difficult job putting together a television schedule. In a perfect world, there would be plenty of time for everything to be shown live.

We're heading that way with Internet distribution, but it doesn't come cheap. It needs to turn a profit through ads and subscriptions in order to justify the production costs.

Trying to squeeze qualifying in a 1 hour timeslot with a live event not buffered by a pregame show would be as crazy as scheduling a college football game in a 2.5 hour timeslot.

I'd love to see more live practice and qualifying sessions, but not at the expense of all the other major and minor often overlooked sports that ESPN can bring to those fan bases. NASCAR was once in that position too.

Until the day everything can be streamed, we all have to learn to share and understand that you can't get everything yo want.

Erik said...


So much for the theory that NASCAR fans "wouldn't miss anything important" if the TV crews stayed home an extra day and didn't cover Thursday's on-track action.


Players in "stick-and-ball" sports get injured all the time during practice, and many times, the cameras aren't focused on them. You'll still hear about the details in the news reports.

stricklinfan82 said...

Erik,

ESPN Classic and Speed Channel were certainly viable options for TV coverage since they had no live sporting events and were just re-airing a bunch of old programming. No one suggested that soccer or anything other live sport should have to be pre-empted for NASCAR, we'd just like taped re-airs to be pre-empted in a case like this where ESPN or ESPN2 aren't available.

Save your breath though. I know, that too would be a bad idea for some other reason. Any time NASCAR is on TV at the expense of anything else it's an awful idea in your mind.

We get your point. You don't need to constantly pretend you work in television and have the slightest clue about any of the dynamics involved in sports TV contracts or what it's like being a program director for a major television network.

JD worked in TV and has a lot of contacts in the business right now. Occasionally we get people working in the TV truck to post here. Occasionally we get to hear from real TV executives through JD's contacts with them.

We understand you're just a random guy with zero credentials that pretends to sound smart when you haven't the slightest clue about what you speak. You just want to defend no TV coverage of NASCAR and poor TV coverage of NASCAR when it does exist, we get it.

Save yourself the time and effort and keep your posts to a simple "NASCAR shouldn't be on TV at the expensive of anything else. Everything else is more important than NASCAR and should get priority over NASCAR. And when NASCAR is on TV, bad coverage is perfectly acceptable because... well, I said so."

That way you can copy and paste the same comment every week and save yourself the time and effort you spend to type a million different words to get across the same idea over and over again.

Once you get the TV job you're so desperately clamouring for please feel free to join us when you actually have credibility and real knowledge of what you speak about. Until then how about keeping the PR statements regarding the decisions of TV networks to the real people involved in making those decisions?

Thanks :)

Sincerely,

The Daly Planet's favorite Hut Stricklin fan.

Anonymous said...

"Wow, according to NASCAR.com it looks like Kasey Kahne had a very hard crash in Nationwide practice today, I sure hope he's alright."


Let's be clear. Kasey hit the wall and had to go to a backup car, as someone does nearly every week. he was not hurt or injured. The online news updates simply state that he hit the wall and had to go to a backup; that's it. Don't you think they would mention if he was hurt or had to be treated for something other than a routine visit to the care center that drivers have to do after any wreck?

No need for exaggeration or to make it seem someone got hurt and the cameras weren't there to catch it.

Daly Planet Editor said...

There is a new post up about the Thursday NASCAR Now and the Texas rain situation.

JD

stricklinfan82 said...

anon,

Thank you for the update. All I saw was a picture of the wrecked car on NASCAR.com on the Live Leaderboard link, with the subtitle saying "Leaderboard: Kahne crashes in practice, qualifying delayed". I still stand by my statement that it appeared to be a very hard hit based on the picture I saw (afterall they are running 200+ mph on the straightaways).

At the time I saw no mention of his condition on NASCAR.com or on Jayski's or anywhere else so I was merely expressing that I hoped he was okay.

I wasn't trying to exaggerate anything in my post. My point was that TV missed the story of a Cup star being involved in a hard practice crash... I wasn't trying to imply that anyone was hurt.

Erik said...

Stricklinfan,
You've obviously had to take the "short bus" to school. I really do feel sorry for you. At some point in time, you may actually be able to master reading comprehension and actually be able to make sense out of all those letters on the computer screen. Only at that time, would you actually be able to understand the wide range of comments on JD's blog.

After that, you might even be able to pick up some critical thinking skills and learn how to have your own opinions. Imagine that! I still have hope.

stricklinfan82 said...

Erik,

I take the fact that you couldn't argue against the validity of any of my points about your credentials and simply resorted to childish name-calling as a compliment.

I almost thought you'd be able to refute my claim that you have no experience dealing with TV contracts or being a TV network programming director, and as such have no justification for speaking credibly about the complications and costs of covering a sporting event and the difficulties of being a program director.

I'll continue to give opinions on what I'm seeing on TV and you continue to play "ESPN PR guy" and explain to us in "facts" what ESPN and the other TV networks were thinking about in their decision making processes regarding their NASCAR programming schedule.

By the way, you might want to try spending a day with a special-needs child some time. It would be an eye-opening experience that would make you think twice before you ever thought about making light of their situation by making another "short bus" joke. Either you're very naive on that subject or you just shed some light as to what kind of human being you really are by making a classless comment like that.

Erik said...

stricklinfan,
You started this whole mess. I haven't called you or any other indivdual poster out. Its too bad you have the inability to think for yourself.

I have never claimed I worked for ESPN. The comments are my own. I never was stupid enough to think you speak for all die-hard NASCAR fans. Again, your reading comprehension problems are showing through.