Thursday, September 4, 2008
NASCAR.com's RaceView Free This Weekend
NASCAR TV has come a long way since the early days of Ken Squier and the Daytona 500 on CBS being mixed with taped highlights on ABC's Wide World of Sports.
Now, a multi-billion dollar TV contract brings three TV networks to the coverage of all the Sprint Cup Series races each season. But, that is not the only way to watch the action. Most fans know about the Hot Pass service that is available to DirecTV users, by only 17 of the 80 million TV homes in the US have DirectTV.
A viable solution for several seasons has been located on the Internet. Turner Sports Interactive pays NASCAR a lot of money to operate the NASCAR.com website. This group recently was given the NBA.com website by that organization and is one of the premier groups at pushing the website technology envelope.
Over the years, the video element of NASCAR.com has developed slowly but surely. This application works just like watching a video on YouTube. A fan goes to NASCAR.com, clicks on the video link and watches any of a host of recorded videos or live broadcasts. As with many things in life, to get the really good stuff requires parting with a little cash.
This weekend in Richmond, fans can see all the features of the high-end live video feed when NASCAR.com's Sprint RaceView is offered completely free for the Sprint Cup Series race. Click here to go directly to the page for the free service.
Earlier this season, TNT offered a similar broadband Internet application and called it RaceBuddy. It turned out to be a smashing success for one reason. It was free. The vast majority of NASCAR fans are already paying a hefty cable TV bill, so RaceBuddy worked to put TV viewers in the position of also watching the computer screen at the same time. There were lots of new first-time "NASCAR multi-taskers" this summer.
That is the concept that RaceView subscribers know all too well. RaceView has all kinds of gizmo's and gadgets, but the best is the driver audio selections and the ability to change camera angles. I have to admit that having the ability to pause and rewind just like a DVR or TiVo is also kind of cool.
While I have seen the demo, I have never subscribed to RaceView so I will also be sampling it for the first time this weekend. The folks at Turner tell me that even if the race is delayed to Sunday or even Monday, they will stick around and provide the entire event for free.
Reading the NASCAR.com website, the company is also offering a low price for all The Chase races to anyone who likes what they see this weekend and signs-up for 2009.
With many computer towers and laptops now being able to plug directly into HDTV sets, this weekend also may be an opportunity for some more adventurous types to see what RaceView looks like on a big HDTV screen. I look forward to hearing from those folks.
Before anyone goes off on a tangent, let's make one thing clear. There is no doubt that the front page of the NASCAR.com website is a mess. We know it, the fans know it and the Turner folks know it. It is one page on the Internet trying very hard to serve far too many masters. That will be a topic for another time.
I would suggest that fans can look for a major re-vamp of NASCAR.com with new technology and applications before Daytona in 2009. But for right now, please take a moment and let us know if you are going to sample RaceView this weekend.
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