Friday, November 7, 2008
NASCAR.com In The Spotlight
Over the past nineteen months, TDP has received tons of email about the various NASCAR websites available to Internet users for all kinds of purposes. From the streaming of live races to online video games, no website has generated more email than NASCAR.com, the official Internet home of the sport.
Some fans are surprised to learn that NASCAR is not in the Internet business. However, most fans do know that NASCAR is in the business of making money. With that in mind, NASCAR licensed the online rights to the sport. NASCAR.com is operated by a company in Atlanta, GA called Turner Interactive. Here are some official facts:
Turner Sports Interactive, a Time Warner Company, acquired all of NASCAR's interactive rights in October 2000 and became the exclusive producer of NASCAR.COM, the official site of NASCAR, in January 2001. Turner Sports Interactive bases its NASCAR.COM staff in Atlanta, with additional personnel in Charlotte and Daytona.
NASCAR.com is a tremendously popular website for a variety of reasons. Each year, it attracts over one billion visitors. The Turner Interactive group also runs additional websites for both in-house interests like TNT and clients like the PGA Tour. Turner was recently awarded the NBA.com website and is continuing to gear-up for that project.
The NASCAR.com frontpage has changed over the years and now seems to be trying to serve far too many masters. There are over 100 icons and words on the homepage that invite fans to click on them for everything from watching live races to shopping for T-shirts. Users can find a local garage for car service or start their own NASCAR blog. Rather than nudge users toward an ultimate destination, this homepage presents a menu with an almost overwhelming number of choices.
Turner Interactive and NASCAR have been working toward expanding the video choices on the website. The "video control room" is easy to access and has lots of content from SPEED TV programs, including This Week in NASCAR, Tradin' Paint and NASCAR Performance. Ultimately, this large selection of video will have to be given a larger presence among the text-based content now dominating the site.
Fans who have tried the race streaming or other live information services from this website have found that the interruptions in service and the problems with slow delivery of information have been fixed. This summer, TNT used NASCAR.com to offer RaceBuddy, an interactive broadband companion to six Sprint Cup Series races. It was a big hit and hopefully NASCAR and Turner may expand that service to other races and series.
This weekly opportunity for users to comment on various NASCAR-related websites should be taken seriously. It is a good opportunity to address three questions.
What NASCAR.com features are difficult to use or make information hard to find?
What are the best NASCAR.com features and what should be done to expand them?
What should be added to NASCAR.com that would upgrade your user experience?
The Turner folks have been very cooperative with TDP and worked directly with us to offer the best information about RaceBuddy, NASCAR.com and the TNT race package. No doubt your comments will be reviewed and discussed during the off-season by the NASCAR.com group.
To add a comment about your experiences with NASCAR.com, just click on the COMMENTS button below. The rules for posting are located on the right side of the main page. Thank you for taking the time to help us with this new feature on The Daly Planet.