Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Tuesday TV/Media Notes:
Updated: SPEED HD has just been added to many cable systems across the nation including Comcast, Time Warner and AT&T. Check to see if you have SPEED HD and please report in if you do. Good luck!

Click on the title to read the complete story.
Edwards And Pastrana In Race Of Champions In December (995fm.com)
Kodak Steps-Out Of NASCAR (thatsracin.com)
Folks Upset With FCC Sponsorship Of David Gilliland (ohmygov.com)
NASCAR Angels TV Show In Kansas City (realitytvmagazine.com)
Best-Laid Plans Of The Chase (thatsracing.com)
Late Models On Dirt Coming To SPEED In December (whowon.com)
NASCAR's New Competition On TV - Bull Riding? (huffingtonpost.com)
Truck Series Ratings From Atlanta Up On SPEED (truckseries.com)
Texas Entry List Car Count: 47- Cup, 51-Nationwide, 34-Trucks.

Click the COMMENTS button below to add your opinion to any of these media stories. The rules for posting are located on the right side of the main page. Thanks.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

I checked my guide on the tv here in northern virginia but it's not listed yet. I have Comcast. I'll keep an eye out for it. Thanks.

Ryan said...

Midcontinent in South Dakota has it, finally. If I had to watch another fuzzy All-Star race I was gonna cry.

majorshouse said...

Personally I do not see why we need this stupid chase format. The Nationwide and truck series don't use it and I still do not understand why we ahve to have 36 races and many of them going to the same tracks twice in one year. I really think that other than Dytona and Talladega, this si really unnecessary and having less races seems to me would make things more interesting like they do with the truck series and seems to me if they would change some things on the car, it would make racing more fun to watch as well.

boyd said...

Just checked the listings. No SpeedHD on Time Warner in the Dallas area. Thank goodness the Food channel is now on HD.

Daly Planet Editor said...

majorshouse,

Let me help you with the three little letters that bring more terror to NASCAR than a PO'ed Tony Stewart with an open microphone.

That would be....NFL.

Before The Chase, the NFL wiped NASCAR off the map after September. That is why guys like DJ think the season should be shorter. Local teams are the one thing that NASCAR cannot compete against.

Golf, tennis and even the NHRA also tried this type of format because of football and it stinks as well.

There is a reason the NFL is numero uno.

JD

Kyle said...

NASCAR needs to schedule races later, after 5 or 7. This would lower competition in the TV world.

I.E.: This weekend's race at Texas is scheduled to begin at 3:30. There are a ton of Football games on during that time. Now, if they had that race later, it would excitement of night racing, and they would only have to compete with the Sunday night football game on NBC.

Daly Planet Editor said...

kyle,

If you noticed, NASCAR has been working hard to get some more tracks lit for night racing.

Ultimately, I think we will begin to see more Saturday night feature races.

Since they cannot control the reality of The Chase, years like this one are proof positive of changes coming in the future.

JD

Anonymous said...

Most local tracks run on Saturday night--a friend told me that when NASCAR runs a night race, it *kills* their business. Not saying I don't enjoy night races, but just be aware this is a 'victim' in this scenario, although tracks in the north stop running around when the Chase starts. But then you run into weather issues even in the South--more likely to have rain/cold in the fall--like we just saw at Atlanta (it was worse when they had it in November, which is one reason it moved.) That messes up the TV schedule even more. I don't envy NASCAR trying to work that out though.

I wouldn't have a problem with a shorter schedule, but good luck with that! I can't see the ISC and SMI going down without a fight (and in the ISC's case, they pretty much *are* NASCAR.) They have actually taken races away from themselves, but not often...

Anonymous said...

western NY Time Warner has SPEEDHD. Not sure how long they've had it because I don't subscribe.

Anonymous said...

I hear the cutting back of races as an answer to many of NASCAR problems. But that could also cause a whole slew of new problems. If you cut back 20% of the races, no one is going to have as much money--and I'm talking about the little people. The support staff for every race is huge, and many people make the bulk of their money on the 2 races their area may have.

Municipalities everywhere are having a hard time, and many of these towns are supported by the races where small business people serve the tens of thousands of folks that come into town and stay for 1/2 week.

Since 19 of the tracks are owned by 2 families, I don't see them having fewer races without their ability to recoup losses. There is also the tv revenue money. The ratings may be down, but they are still making boatloads of money.

I don't beleive that DuPont or Home Depot and others are going to pay the same when they have 20% less tv exposure.

It was reported that Camping World would make $100 million in advertising exposure with the new deal they struck with NASCAR-- and that's with trucks. Can you imagine the bucks on the Cup side?

Lots has to be decided and considered before fewer races are run.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 2:55PM,

On this blog, the usual topic is the TV ratings. The Sunday afternoon races once the NFL season is underway really take a pounding in the ratings unless a good tight Chase is happening.

I love Saturday night races and hope NASCAR considers more. Atlanta next year under the lights should be great once they fix the pavement.

JD

Anonymous said...

from anon 2:55

I was responding to the comments at 1:36 suggesting a shorter season.

I too think that Saturday night races would be wonderful. I just wonder how willing track owners are going to put up the millions it costs with the economy the way it is.

So many of these owners are facing higher taxes starting in January. The buzz is that corporate taxes may go up 10-25%. So if they lose 25% of their profit, they many not want to make many improvements.

stricklinfan82 said...

JD,

I don't know if you came across this while searching for relevant articles, but Jayski says ESPN's TV ratings were down AGAIN compared to last year's fall Atlanta race.

The exact breakdown is on Jayski's site but to simplify things, in fair "apples to apples comparisons" (races run on the same day of the week and same network in '07 to '08 without long rain delays), look at these numbers:

Fox: 6 races UP, 1 race DOWN
Speed: 2 races UP, 0 races DOWN
TNT: 3 races UP, 1 race DOWN
ESPN/ABC: 2 races UP, 6 races DOWN

Do you notice a trend here? Ratings were up across the board for Fox, then for Speed's exhibition races, then for TNT. ESPN only saw 2 ratings increases (the first ESPN race and the first ABC race, before fans knew what was in store for them) and now SIX DECREASES.

I don't think you can blame the CoT because it was still there from February through July when Fox, Speed, and TNT were doing races and all of their ratings were up. In fact the racing's been better during the ESPN portion of the schedule, in my opinion. Richmond, Loudon, Dover, and Kansas might have been the four best non-plate races of the entire year - and all were ESPN/ABC races.

I don't think you can blame the NFL or The Chase either. The NFL was there during the ABC schedule in '07, just like it is now. The Chase was pretty much a yawner in '07, just like it is now. Nothing has changed.

It seems to me the problem is ESPN and their ignore-the-track, scripted approach to covering NASCAR. NASCAR fans are running to Hotpass, MRN, and the Internet for actual race coverage. Casual fans also seem to be turned off by this approach. I'm not a casual fan, but logically speaking wouldn't you think that cars racing, bumping, and crashing live on the screen be a lot more of a lure away from football than Casey Mears covering up the screen calmly talking about his move to RCR next year?

If ESPN's ratings were up they would probably have every right to tell us to "shove it" for disliking their scripted ignore-the-track approach, because their plan to grab the "casual fan" would be working.

Unfortunately for ESPN it's clearly not working. NASCAR fans and casual fans are both disinterested in their coverage style, so no one is watching. So I see no justification for continuing with this ridiculous approach to covering NASCAR.

ESPN might not give a damn about whether or not the die-hard NASCAR fans are happy. I guess I could understand that, since their #1 priority is to make money. But when their bottom line is clearly being negatively affected by this scripted, ignore-the-track approach and their ratings are going down down down while everyone else's NASCAR ratings are going up up up, how in the world can they not wake up and realize that we upset NASCAR fans may actually have a point here?

FIX YOUR CUP COVERAGE ESPN! If not for the good of the NASCAR fans, for the good of yourselves. You should at least care about yourselves, right?, even if you couldn't care less about us.

Sean said...

Great point stricklin. Hopefully ESPN is taking notice and will be implifying the changes fans want next season

Richard in N.C. said...

I find it intriguing that almost all the major print reporters point to the declining ratings as evidence that the COT makes for bad racing - and virtually none of them ever criticize ESPN. But then print reporters are all-knowing.

Charlie said...

I have Charter in Upper Michigan and no listing for SpeedHD. They did add two new HD channels last month and adding two more the end of this month. The only new sports HD is the Big Ten Network. And yes, one of those new HD channels is the Food Network.
I do have a question. I do not have an HD Tv but have been wondering about this. Let’s say I have an HD Tv and I am watching EspnHD channel. I then switch over to the regular Espn but it says in the guide that this show is in HD. Is there a difference in the picture quality from Espn being telecast in HD and the EspnHD picture?

Anonymous said...

Not the subject of this topic, and maybe more sports business than TV specifically. However, the Winston-Salem Journal has an item saying Nascar somehow vetoed GEM moving to Toyota from Dodge.

With Cerberus trying to sell off Chrysler to GM, this doesn't seem fair to a team that has an option to jump off a ship that may be sinking.

Dot said...

@ Strick, ditto.

Re: the FCC sponsorship. $335K seems pretty cheap for hood sponsorship. Do they get a deal? The reason the watch dog group is mad is because they too realize that David G is an odd wad and not getting any coverage. They can thank ESPN for that. No wonder sponsors are hard to find for Cup. Better coverage from ESPN might also raise their ratings. They don't have to go into vast details about the driver, just show all the cars at some point during the race.

Anonymous said...

No Speed HD for Time Warner in Northern New York...but if Western NY has it, maybe some day.
We do get Lifetime Movie Network in HD, although none of the movies are in HD....

Newracefan said...

No Speed HD Comcast outside of Philly.

Anonymous said...

anon 7:10--I'm the western NY anon. I even noticed "Toon Disney" on the HD list--if SPEED hadn't been there it would have been pretty ridiculous, lol. But I would think northern NY would have enough viewership that it's coming soon. Enjoy that snow tonight!

ttc said...

JD: Because Saturday night Cup races play havoc with dinner here on the Left coast, I'd rather see everything run on Sunday. :)

And wouldn't it be poetic justice for ABC/ESPN if Jimmie Johnson clinches the championship at Phoenix or leaves Texas with an insurmoutable lead?

Anonymous said...

The ratings drop has as much to do with ESPN's coverage as the price of tea in China has to do with all the qualifying rain outs.

Though, the fact that the championship is all but wrapped up could have something to do with it. If there was at least a little bit of suspense, there would be more viewers.

Lindsey Young from the Chattanooga Times Free press mentioned that the number of media outlets covering the race has dropped dramatically.

Just an overall lack of interest.

There are much bigger fish to fry to turn things around other than a change in the play by play booth.

bevo said...

Since the reasoning for the chase format was to raise ratings against college and NFL games it would be interesting to compare the ratings for three or four years pre-chase to those since the format change. Factor in the difference of the overall ratings growth for the other races and I have a feeling the net change would be rather negligible. I've pretty much forgotten the formulas from my statistics classes in college but I'm sure some young whippersnapper could do it.

Daly Planet Editor said...

There is a new post up continuing the NASCAR on TV discussion.

JD

Richard in N.C. said...

I believe the decline in newspaper coverage has much more to do with the economy, the cost of travel, and the financial problems of the newspaper industry than a decline in interest. Both David Poole of the Charlotte Observer and Mike Mulhern of the Winston-Salem Journal have failed to attend many more races this year than in the past - and before the chase began.

The item I have never seen anything on is whether subscriptions to the Direct TV pay service ( Hot Pass? ) have increased or decreased.

I find it hard to believe that interest in NASCAR and its coverage on TV was steady or increasing while Kyle Busch was building up a substantial lead ( on FOX & TNT), but suddenly began to decline for lack of interest when the chase started, carried on ESPN. I believe there is much more evidence that ESPN is driving viewers away than Jimmie Johnson.

Anonymous said...

I blame lower ratings on one thing: The Car of Tomorrow.

Sorry, but when you leader can get out in front and is then uncatchable because of "clean air", it's not worth watching. When only a few elite cars can make a pass because the "air in traffic" makes it otherwise nearly impossible for side-by-side racing, it's not worth watching. When marquee events and important races are marred by tire problems, it's not worth watching.

There have been a few good races and a few great finishes this year - but the BOTTOM LINE is that the quality of the on-track racing this year has been unquestionably subpar. It doesn't help that this new (and ugly) car seems most affected on the cookie-cutter ovals that dominate the schedule.

Fix the COT and you can see ratings go up quickly - especially if the economy hurts live attendance (which it clearly is given the horrible attendance at Atlanta).