Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Thanks For The Great Questions, New Readers Can Check The Comments


Thank you for another good session of Q-and-A. See the comments below for the questions asked by the TDP readers.

Thanks for stopping by The Daly Planet during this busy week. Before we go to the Christmas break, we are going to try a final Q-and-A session for 2008.

We are trying to answer as many NASCAR TV and media questions today as possible. Several folks are going to help us behind-the-scenes with some answers, so we should be pretty well-informed.

The way this works is readers simply hit the COMMENTS button below and submit a question. The questions will appear shortly after they are submitted. Just check back to see when your question is answered.

These sessions have worked very well in the past and have often suggested topics for further comments and columns. Thanks in advance for all your help this season with our Q-and-A's. The rules for posting are located on the right side of the main page, so have at it.

64 comments:

Anonymous said...

Have you heard about any changes ESPN is making as far as the play by play announcer and pit road reporters. I would also like to know if their will be any more scheduled NASCAR shows on SPEED. Is NASCAR Now going to be on as it was last year.

Thank you

Marilyn

Bill H said...

Thanks JD for this opportunity, I'll break my questions down by category:

Hotpass:

Since Directv is discontinuing Hotpass, would I be right to assume thay will not be charging me for it automatically next year or do I need to make a call to cancel my subscription?

Economy:

With the economy slowing down, should we expect to see more commercials for lesser known companies as the broadcasters lower their ad rates to bring in money, or will we see less commercials as fewer companies advertise?

Will Speed and ESPN be dropping practice coverage due to less advertising dollars, or is this something they are contractually obligated to show?

Dead weight:

I know no one would want to be considered dead weight, but how what is the minimum amount of people (or positions) that are needed at a track to broadcast a race before the boradcast is affected?

Videos in the race:

Do you think with the economy slow down there will be less videos show during a race and more of the racing shown to reduce costs?

Bill H

Anonymous said...

Thanks for giving us the opportunity to ask questions. As a sports fan who's fairly new to NASCAR-watching, I wonder how (or if) NASCAR shares its broadcast contract money with teams. The recent NYTimes article made a brief mention of creating a pool for sponsor dollars but is there no sharing of broadcast money? I think the NFL shares broadcast and merchandising profits among all teams (only the Cowboys negotiate their own merchandising). Is there anything like that in NASCAR?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Marilyn,

We recently ran a column (you can scroll back through the site) about Marty Reid having his name mentioned as a possible play-by-play guy for ESPN's NASCAR coverage next season.

Right now, there is nothing changing on pit road with the four ESPN reporters that we are aware of for 2008.

SPEED and NASCAR have a weird relationship. SPEED does the weekend stuff from the track, but other than Monday's TWIN there is no "all NASCAR" show on the network during the weekdays.

You can see during this off-season that things on SPEED are bleak. Right now, nothing is changing for next year. But, we will keep trying.

ESPN had a gangbuster season with "NASCAR Now." While I encouraged them to produce the Sunday night one hour show all season long, it looks like they will only do that for the final seventeen Cup weekends that are actually telecast by ESPN.

Ryan, Nicole and Allen should be back in the same format. Hopefully, one change will be more discussion on weekdays using the ESPN journalists and reporters and less solos by guys like Brad Daugherty.

One note is that Tim Cowlishaw is not going to be on the NASCAR beat next season, he is going the stick-and-ball route.

Thanks for the question, Marilyn.

JD

Daly Planet Editor said...

Bill,

I am being told Hot Pass will automatically cancel and nothing will be billed.

The TV commercial formats will remain the same for 2008 with rare exceptions.

Discussion about practice sessions is on-going and the results should be released in a couple of weeks. There is a definite possibility that coverage in that area may change in several ways. Right now it is a wait and see.

Each track is different and crews are professionally assigned to operate the TV equipment that is allocated for use by the TV networks. It is up to The NASCAR Media Group and the NASCAR TV partners to determine the facilities for each event next season and then assign manpower.

There will be a reduction in the amount of "TV gizmo's" brought to the telecast and also a reduction in the total number of cameras. The final TV product delivered to the home should not be significantly affected.

Thanks for the quiz!

JD

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 7:47PM,

Comparisons to stick-and-ball sports will ultimately drive you crazy where NASCAR is concerned.

Each team and each driver are independent contractors who can attend all or any of the races during the season.

In the older days, many teams were part-time and only maybe ten teams or so were running every race all season for the championship.

NASCAR is relatively new to the TV world, as this is only the second TV contract that NASCAR has negotiated. Before this, each track owner held the rights to the races at his tracks and the TV networks had to negotiate with a ton of people to get a NASCAR TV race package.

Once NASCAR got them all together and convinced the track operators to let NASCAR handle the negotiations, the results were a substantial increase in TV revenue for the track operators.

The reason stick-and-ball sports are different is because the teams are franchises and the leagues have unions and the players have contracts.

NASCAR is still relatively wide-open and that is the appeal for many. Prize money, contingency dollars and team sponsorships comprise the majority of the revenue for the owners excluding the manufacturer relationships.

As you saw with Chip Ganassi this season, an owner can just simply shut-down a team overnight. It would be impossible for NASCAR to somehow pay race teams like the NFL or MLB pay their teams.

This issue is going to be a hot one over the next two months as we approach Daytona and the reality of just how many teams are going to compete in all three national touring series comes to light.

Thanks,

JD

Anonymous said...

Does SPEED really NOT want me to watch their channel?

They seem to only have Pinks, and I don't watch it.

Additionally, I surf many websites and the SPEED website is the ONLY one that locks up my computer.

I would love to see some auto racing content, but it seems that SPEED is not interested.

Jeff (MI)

ri88girl said...

How quickly can the networks adapt to changing financial conditions? I understand that in theory the commercial lineup is supposed to be the same as last year says ESPN, but what do they do if there are not enough advertisers? Do they show less commercials? Do they insert ESPN promos instead? How is this kind of fluid situation handled? They can say everthing will remain the same, but whith businesses all over the spectrum going under overnight, that sounds like whistling past a grave yard to me.

ri88girl said...

Anybody else having trouble getting the countdown clock to load over at Jayski? (goes off humming theme from Twilight Zone...)

alex said...

JD,
Thanks for hosting this Q&A. It sure helps the work day move along quicker!


A few SPEED questions:

Does anyone know if Nascar Confidential will return next year, and for more than a handful of episodes?

Will the on-location support programming return in full? (Nascar Live, Nascar Performance, Trading Paint, etc.) I would assume that Raceday is fine, but it wouldn't suprise me if SPEED feels the effects of the economy and one of those shows are the first victim.

TNT:

Racebuddy was sucessful this year, largely due in part to the fact it was free. Now that TNT knows it is popular, do you think they'll try to charge a fee for it in 2009, or was it always intended to be free?

Not quite TNT, but a Turner question:

When does the Nascar/Turner website deal end? Do you think that when the deal is over, Nascar will try to maintain the site themselves and maybe even some way for fans to contact Nascar?


Thanks!!

alex said...

One more:

Several people mentioned Sirius in your last column as a great place for Nascar news in the off-season. I don't have satellite radio nor have ever listened to it, but I hear great things. While in the dark with Sirius, I usually get news from Jayski and the Rowdy podcast, and those are fine substitutes for TV.

Anyway, how many Sirius subscribers are there? Do they release ratings numbers for the various channels? Are the number of listeners a significant enough number to not justify a daily or weekly Nascar TV news show?

Thanks

Daly Planet Editor said...

ri88,

Fox and TNT are not primarily sports TV networks. They are going to have a tougher time with this season than ESPN.

In 2008 we saw ESPN use 12 announcers and 70 cameras on Sprint Cup races. Meanwhile, SPEED used 5 announcers and less than 40 cameras. Which racing was better covered?

TV is subjective and can use as much or as little equipment and manpower as the networks want to allocate.

Commercial formats are set and any unsold national time will be used to bonus an existing advertiser or generate income through a per-inquiry ad, that asks viewers to purchase something through a telephone number.

About the Jayski countdown clock, it must be able to access the clock on your PC in order to operate.

Thanks,

JD

Anonymous said...

JD:

As an XM subscriber, I can now listen to the NASACR channel Sirius offers and I enjoy it a great deal.

I heard Sirius also had (select) driver two-way channels.

1. How did they did this? Was it a different group of drivers each week?

2. Since I get Sirius "via" XM will they make this feature available to us XM subscriebsr in 2009?

Thanks for all you do on this website.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Alex,

Currently there are no additional episodes of any NASCAR Media Group TV shows like NASCAR Confidential ordered by SPEED for 2009. TWIN is back, as are the weekend shows like RaceDay and Victory Lane.

TNT is not interested in charging a fee for RaceBuddy in the future. This is an advertiser-supported model that TNT is working in several sports like the NBA under different names.

The NASCAR.com contract runs for a very long time. If I told you the number of years you would just start crying. OK, where will you be in 2014?

Sirius taps into the experience of the MRN radio broadcasters and uses a lot of them for the satellite radio channel devoted to NASCAR. Right now, Sirius is very affordable and with all that is going on right now in NASCAR, worth the money.

There is no NASCAR TV scheduled until February right now. If you want to be able to listen and even participate, Sirius is a very good Xmas present for yourself. Portable and easy to use.

Thanks for the questions,

JD

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 9:38AM,

The entire satellite radio merger is being hashed-out as we speak.

As you know, there are going to have to be some changes in the line-ups before February.

We watched the TV for the races themselves, but Sirius called the race action in the normal radio manner. I am not aware of any online driver audio directly.

One very strong channel in this entire merger is the Sirius NASCAR channel. You can bet that the powers that be are going to do everything possible to beef it up and offer even more live and original programming for 2009.

Once things sort-out, we will post the results of the merger.

JD

Jojaye said...

OK here goes

ESPN -
Is there a way to cut down the number of talking heads? And make the pre race shows shorter & more concise, with less junk?
Please tell me thats a cost saving move.

Is there any way they would consider "wide open" type coverage? It must save money -right? Sponsors commercials get seen, so more exposure.

Fox

Will they cut out using all the cut away cars completely or just not haul them to the tracks?

Speed

They aren't cutting the trucks coverage are they ? theres so little already!

Also - is Speed going to be able to keep giving us fans the practices & Quals that the others can't/ won't?

Why not have a weekly show for say 1 hour to give us off season updates & info? I haven't turned on Speed since I don't watch most of the "lifestyle" shows, except bits of the auctions.

TNT

Are we gonna get RaceBuddy back? Please.


Thanks for your hard work here JD! Sorry I haven't been around posting - working overtime & not complaining.
Retirement is tough for autoworkers.

Nan S said...

Will cost cutting move the Nascar coverge closer to the F1 coverage? The 3 announcers sit in Charlotte ,watch the live feed and make their commentary. They have a guy at the track to cover the pit, give the local impressions and do the interviews.

The whole group of people at the infield studio/hotel could easily be nuked and never missed. That saves a lot of airfares, hotel and food bills and salaries.

Steve L. said...

JD, in the last couple of years I remember seeing the DLP cable cam used during broadcasts. I think it was used by Fox more than the other networks if my memory is correct.

Is that camera used just for Fox? I have seen it used on football broadcasts, will we see it again in the coming year with NASCAR or is it not cost effective in these hard economic times?

red said...

thanks, jd, for this Q&A.

espn classic and classic race footage: what organization(s) originally filmed these races? how did espn get the rights to broadcast the footage that's on espn classic? how extensive and available is this archive to other "nascar media partners"?
(more of the history of the sport needs to be showcased.)

speaking of which: is hammerhead productions planning additional episodes of "back in the day"?

nascar images/nascar media group: can you provide an overview of this group? what specifically are they responsible for? what has to be approved by them before use by other media? how extensive is their reach into the sport?

nascar performance: any word on its future? if it continues in '09, any inside info on a set timeslot?

is racebuddy definitely back for '09? might it's role be expanded with the demise of hotpass?

thanks!

Daly Planet Editor said...

Jo,

ESPN is discussing that right now. They may well be cutting back on the Nationwide Series coverage. Don't forget, they have no Sprint Cup duties until the final seventeen races of the season.

ESPN is not the type of company that is able to open itself up to new TV ideas like the Wide-Open coverage that TNT did for one race. It will not happen on ESPN or ABC in the current economic climate.

No idea yet what Fox will be bringing to the track next season. In 2008, they had a big Pit Box for Steve Byrnes and Jeff Hammond, a cutway car and the Hollywood Hotel. All those costs are being looked at right now in direct relations to the 2009 ad sales.

SPEED had a great year with the Trucks and there is no indication from them whatsoever that the coverage is going to be downsized.

Neither SPEED or ESPN offer any off-season NASCAR news show on TV. The only thing they update is their own websites.

No clue for RaceBuddy in 2009 yet, but the Turner guys like the concept and the sponsors got a big bang for their buck.

Thanks Jo,

JD

Daly Planet Editor said...

Nan,

The reason SPEED does the F-1 coverage that way is because F-1 controls the producing and directing of all the races and then sells the finished TV program to networks around the world.

This is called a "host feed" or "world feed" and since SPEED does not have any facilities except a pit reporter, it makes no sense to travel the other announcers.

This is not going to happen with NASCAR on American TV. We may see some reduction in the number of on-camera personalities, but the only thing that could be "left behind" is add-ons like Brewer in the Tech Center.

JD

Daly Planet Editor said...

Steve,

It's just a rental! You can see it working hard on many of the current NFL games.

They love it on Sunday nights with NBC and often the director Drew Esocoff and the producer Freddy Gaudelli use it for entire plays.

The Sunday night NFL package has totally embraced the concept of a cable-cam and makes it a big part of the game. I do not think we are going to see it back in NASCAR anytime soon.

JD

Vicky D said...

JD - thanks for the opportunity to ask a question. You mentioned TWIN being back on the air next year but has Speed announced the studio team - I got used to Steve and I always like Mikey but they need a couple more (exciting) drivers added. I also hope that another broadcast station picks up RaceBuddy. And has there been any talk of reductions of on-air people to save costs on any of the broadcasts? Thanks.

Daly Planet Editor said...

red,

That's a lot of questions!

Various private organizations like Sunbelt Video and others filmed stock car races before NASCAR got into the business. That footage has mostly been bought or duplicated and is in the hands of the NASCAR Media Group in Charlotte.

The NASCAR races airing on ESPN were done in the original NASCAR TV package from 1981 through the early 1990's. At that time, the TV networks owned the footage once the race was over. They are just sitting in the ESPN library and get replayed for free whenever.

There are no more "Back in the Day" shows. That run and contract ended a while back. "Shifting Gears" was Hammerhead's next project that aired in 2008.

NMG is just like PGA Tour productions or NBA Entertainment. All of the pro sports leagues have a TV arm that archives all the event footage, produces the support programming and controls the electronic media access to the product.

As I mentioned before, no clue yet to RaceBuddy but Coke loved it so hopefully it will return.

Whew!

JD

Daly Planet Editor said...

Vicky,

TWIN ended up striking a great note with the matching of Michael Waltrip and Chad Knaus.

Unfortunately, that kind of put Greg Biffle as the odd man out.

If SPEED adds a third panelist for 2009 and makes a good choice, that show could go through the roof.

Waltrip and Knaus have tremendous TV potential in the same way Schrader and Waltrip did over ten years ago!

JD

Anonymous said...

Another satellite radio question:

We know Jimmie quit doing his show a while back, and we know Tony's is gone (now that he is too busy as a team owner to do it).

Do you know if Junior and Mikey will continue their shows next season?

David said...

If I am correct in assuming the SEC deals starts next year on ESPN. Without the long awaited OCHO starting on ESPN or Classic going HD are we in for another year of NASCAR getting dumped for Basketball and Football again? Especially the Nationwide series?? Does ESPN still see that series works for them and does NASCAR feel ESPN is doing a good job with it??

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 12:15PM,

Am being told that is all part of the Sirius and XM merger taking place and that program line-ups where NASCAR is concerned will be made public after the new year.

JD

Daly Planet Editor said...

David,

Right now it looks like another year of the same where the Nationwide Series is concerned.

Lots of the practice and qualifying is already on SPEED. ESPN is just struggling with the races once college football begins.

ESPN has not made any public move to staff-up the ESPN Classic network and continues to have a "zero" programming budget attached to it.

It seems that it will again be a hodgepodge of free replays of older programs, "instant classics" when ESPN has the rights to re-air shows and an overflow channel for live events. Such a shame.

NASCAR is very careful not to criticize the TV partners in public and prefers to meet behind-the-scenes.

Since the Nationwide Series has been effectively beaten to pieces by college football on ESPN the last two seasons, there is little doubt it is on the list to be discussed.

Thanks,

JD

allisong said...

To: Anon @ 9:38:

Sirius has had separate driver to crew radio channels for each cup race the last two years. I don't know if any changes are planned for next year, but the way it has worked is there were 5 channels - 4 drivers Sirius picked, and 1 fan's choice that would be voted for on the website up to Friday of race weekend.

While listening to the driver's channel, you would hear the regular MRN/PRN broadcast, but when anyone on the team keyed the radio, the broadcast would dim instantly and the radio communication would come through quite clearly.

It really is great for those of us who don't want to pay for, or don't have the right computer set up for Trackpass. The first year (2007) they actually had 10 channels, but cut it back to 5 last year. It would really upset me if that service went away.

glenc1 said...

JD--you've probably answered this in the past, but just a clarification...

Is there a 'clause' requiring 43 cars in the field for TV $$$ to be paid? I never was able to sort out if that was rumor or fact.

Anonymous said...

Is there really a solution to ESPN's programming overload when the college football season starts? The Nationwide series will always end up on the short end of the stick when ESPN has to choose between football and a Nationwide race.

There is ESPN Classic, though even if ESPN turns it into ESPN 3, it doesn't mean it will automatically be picked up on all basic cable packages.

This is a problem without a solution. College football isn't going away. No matter how hard Brian France tries and tells ESPN he is upset, he is not going to be able to get ESPN to reprioritize Nationwide above College Football.

The kickoff times for the games that proceed the race are fixed. Can't really start a sporting event earlier than 12 ET.

The races could be pushed back by about 30 minutes allow for a full 3:30 minute window for football.

Though clearing away an entire afternoon during a busy to of the year to make sure a Nationwide broadcast can be shown in its entirity from the pre-race show to the post-race wrapup just isn't going to happen.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Glen,

When we talk about this issue, we are only talking about the Sprint Cup Series. As you know, the Trucks ran with around 33 to 35 teams this season and the Nationwide Series has a bunch of "start and park" guys in the back so most of the fields were full.

Where Fox and TNT are concerned, I have been told there is no clause mandating a full Sprint Cup Series field or making an issue if there is not.

As far as ESPN is concerned, the network that paid top dollar for the final Chase races, no information has ever been leaked about that issue.

One would have to assume that if the answer for Fox and TNT was no, then most likely the same TV contract language is in the ESPN contract.

JD

alex said...

JD 1:13,

Nascar should criticise ESPN publically instead of behind the scenes. If more organizations voiced the opinion that is probably shared by many, maybe the "Worldwide Leader" would listen up and change a few things. Complaining where very few people can hear isn't going to do Nascar a whole lot of good IMO.

What's the worst that can happen? ESPN might not show practices, or push races to ESPN Classic, or they could even butcher a telecast of a Cup race to show their arrogance toward Nascar. Oh wait, that's already happened.

It seems that Nascar thinks they can get their point across better while behind closed doors. While they may be right, I think that doing it publicly is the only way to be sure that ESPN acknowledges there is a problem with themselves to begin with.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 2:05PM,

I am not really sure if there is a question in there.

Time-and-time again we have folks who try to compare NASCAR to stick-and-ball sports. I just don't get it.

College football has nothing to do with the problem. NASCAR had live Nationwide races on cable TV (including ESPN) for decades before this ESPN TV contract came along. No problems.

The ultimate irony is that ESPN builds-up the series from February through August and then kills it from September through November. This is the only NASCAR series that ESPN carries from start-to-finish.

There are many options for the future, including airing the problem race broadcasts on SPEED or another cable TV network. SPEED already stepped-in twice this season and pulled ESPN and NASCAR out of a jam.

The failure to change ESPN Classic into an ESPN3HD and begin to move it to an expanded HD basic package is a statement about the relationship between the cable TV systems and their most expensive channel by far, ESPN.

Ultimately, it is up to NASCAR to decide if once again letting the Nationwide Series just get creamed once college football begins is truly in the best interest of the overall sport.

We shall see...

JD

Daly Planet Editor said...

Alex,

There are a lot of things NASCAR should have done or spoken-out about, but that is not the corporate world in which we live.

ESPN and NASCAR are high-powered big-ego companies who need each other as much as they hate each other.

ESPN needed the Sprint Cup races during the Chase for ABC because they had no NFL Football.

NASCAR needed ESPN because they had no other broadcast network that wanted to play with them for The Chase.

Now, we have what we have. An imperfect and dysfunctional union between a stick-and-ball driven company with a New England culture and a Daytona and Charlotte-based family-run business that is used to being the big dog in town.

End result, a lot of money changed hands but no one really seems to be able to establish any meaningful lines of communication.

2009 should be interesting.

JD

stricklinfan82 said...

In relation to other comments about Speed seemingly moving away from auto racing, ARCA's website reported that their contract with Speed Channel forces Speed to televise a minimum of 10 races per year. Well, they released the 2009 TV schedule and Speed is only airing the absolute minimum - 10 races.

Two-part question:

1.) Should that be seen as a bad sign for those of us that were hoping for more auto racing on Speed and less "other stuff" like the tow-truck show?

2.) Any chance that anyone else will pick up the rest of the ARCA TV schedule that Speed doesn't want?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Stricklinfan,

ARCA is in a world of hurt like most racing series. 10 is the SPEED number, and the rest are a mix of HDNet and regional TV as far as I can tell.

I have not gotten the official release yet, but no doubt the money crunch is going to roll down into the ARCA valley.

JD

David said...

JD,

Its a little thing but it irks me. Will ESPN be using the same graphic format for qualifying in 2009? I dont understand using a third to 2-5ths of the screen with all the clutter they use. Also on the black their tracker is not as easy to follow as SPEED's is.

Just curious if they will amend how that will look next year. Nothing major, just wonderin.

Daly Planet Editor said...

David,

For two years now, the ESPN qualfying coverage has been the worst part of their NASCAR package.

This is especially true because SPEED handles Cup qualifying for the Fox and TNT portions of the schedule.

So, when ESPN begins to show Cup qualifying and goes to this very bizarre graphics format, the comparisons are easy to make.

Apparently, ESPN and SPEED have two very different approaches to the same thing. SPEED tells the tale as it happens and treats every team with the same amount of respect. McReynolds always has the info on what is going on.

ESPN is in more of a race preview mode and focuses on interviews and live graphic information. They take the action on the track and push it to the back burner with the little video box and the live interviews while other cars are at speed.

At least in 2008 they cut out the celebrity interviews and all the other network-driven agendas. Maybe the new budget constraints will help them to keep it simple and let the cars do the talking.

JD

David said...

Yeah, I hear ya JD. Thats why I skip qualifying on ESPN and watch NASCAR.com's live leaderboard. Or put SIRIUS on.

Second question. The economy as we all are aware is in a tough situation. This has spilled over to NASCAR and several teams will probably have blank cars for a number of races next year. With that being said do you expect the tv partners will work hard to give those guys a little extra air time like FOX did for Yates last year? Or do we see some partners ignore sponsor woes like the plague to paint a good picture much like ESPN did when CAT disappeared overnight off Dave Blaney's car?

Daly Planet Editor said...

David,

No doubt that veterans like Mike Joy, Larry McReynolds and DW will be all over it.

Since the Fox team combines with SPEED to handle the practice, qualifying and racing there is no doubt we will see some big-time help for the teams having a tough time when the season starts.

As I said in an earlier reply, hopefully ESPN will loosen the reigns on "NASCAR Now" and let them talk about the real stories and offer support to teams as part of the sport rather then continue to hype and report like outsiders.

JD

Andrew said...

I have two quick questions, JD.

First, do you know if DW will be bringing "Boogity, Boogity, Boogity" back this year? I know there was some talk last offseason about him stopping it. Personally, I love it and hope he continues.

And, second, do you know what Claire B. Lang's role will be on Sirius NASCAR Radio? She said when she was doing her champion's week coverage that she would have a show next year. Personally, I wasn't a big fan and certainly hope she doesn't replace any of the current shows.

Thanks!

diane said...

Racing is a niche sport. Just try looking for WRC or V-8's. Sometimes a niche sport explodes in popularity for awhile. Look at how ice skating took off after the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan assault. For years there was tons of skating on TV and ESPN had a big bucks contract. Now that's all gone, with ESPN ending its figure skating coverage.

So, here's my question. I see the same thing happening with Nascar. I see a contracting audience, do the networks see this as well? Are they just pretending that it is a growing viewing market, or will they cut back the coverage to be more in line with the return for them? I'm sure when current contracts expire in a few years that the prices they will offer Nascar will take a dive.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Andrew,

I think DW will be doing that as long as he is working on TV. Not so sure about the music videos however.

Talked to Claire a while back and she is going to be on the air next season, but as we mentioned before, Sirius is getting through a major merger with XM and the new line-ups are not out yet.

Claire is a person who targets a bit of a different kind of fan and she certainly does have a very loyal group of listeners.

Thanks,

JD

Anonymous said...

JD,
With Kyle Petty apparently not driving a Cup car any more are you hearing of any expanded role for him say maybe on Speed besides Tradin' Paint?

Or is that show still scheduled?

I for one hope Ole DW drops the 'boogity'. It's run it's course IMHO.

Thanks for the Q&A session JD!

Tracy said...

JD- do you know if there are any more shows in production like RIDE OF THEIR LIVES and DALE?

Daly Planet Editor said...

diane,

There are always a combination of factors that result in the ups-and-downs of motorsports around the world.

Unfortunately, the number one item is money. NASCAR was riding high and with the IRL having TV trouble and the NHRA dealing with its issues the sky was really the limit.

Then, a season of tire disasters, bad COT racing and vanilla drivers began a slide that NASCAR is still going down.

Unfortunately, the formal and non-personal approach of ESPN to the final part of the Cup and Nationwide season really did nothing to help.

These same issues were raised during historical events like the Arab Oil Embargo and gas shortages.

Writers trying to couple NASCAR with environmental issues and pronouncing the sport dead as a doornail is kind of old hat.

The only difference now is that the Big 3 are a mess and need to get things right in a hurry in order to survive.

Only when the car manufacturers sort themselves out will the slow process of building the sport up again with the American public begin.

Any way you cut it, 2009 is going to be a tough year for all of us.

JD

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 4:26PM,

Right now he is only talking about Tradin' Paint, the TNT package and a Grand-Am ride at Daytona.

Not sure if he is mad, sad or glad all this is finally over but he has not said boo about his future plans.

JD

Daly Planet Editor said...

tracy,

I am trying hard to get in the loop about those type of things, but they are just not easy to follow.

Right now, there is not a darn thing going-on other than The NASCAR Media Group moving this summer into downtown Charlotte and SPEED is moving right now into their new HD building on Harris Blvd. right down the street from the Lowe's Motor Speedway.

JD

Dot said...

I have read the comments in shifts today. I don't recall seeing this question.

Any talk about changing the start times of the NW/Cup races? I don't mind them starting in the AM so the right coasters can use more of their weekends for other things. Starting the races earlier may nab more viewers.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Dot,

There is no doubt after the debacle in Phoenix at the next-to-last Chase race of the season that topic is on the agenda.

It did not help in the ratings at all to move these races back beyond the traditional 1PM starting times on Sunday. While the night races are not the problem, the Sunday races really were a mess last season.

Hopefully, some earlier Sunday start times will help return the sport to what it used to be.

JD

David said...

JD,

Love this forum today, Maybe an overall Network question. With the whole country going digital in February will we see tne Graphics not take up so much space on the screen and little small squares with live action in them. I am thinking they do this now because of the SD signal they have to transmit. Will this change?? I saw someone talk about ESPN qualifying graphics but this was a more general will we get more screen back when the nation goes HD on all our racing networks??

Anonymous said...

Does NASCAR Media Group own the rights to any and all NASCAR coverage since day one? Do they have almost everything out there?
There were many networks and forms of coverage ie: ABC Wide World of Sports, Car and Track - Back in the Day, TNN, old ESPN, old CBS etc. So they have it all and control it? It's like the NFL Network right?

Daly Planet Editor said...

David,

The graphics guys tell me that trying to deal with HD and SD is a mess for them.

Once the industry goes all HD a lot of the problems will clear-up.

Of course, some of the problems need to be addressed with the producers and could be easily changed for 2009.

JD

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 5:01PM,

The NASCAR Media Group started off as a private company in Charlotte called Sunbelt Video. They produced NASCAR shows for clients like TNN and ESPN.

This was allowed because Bill France Jr. was not going to become involved in TV.

He allowed the tracks to own the rights to their races and companies like Sunbelt to produce weekly TV shows in support of NASCAR using the race footage.

Once the new NASCAR management got all the rights to the races consolidated, they bought Sunbelt and created The NASCAR Media Group.

This was a company just like PGA Tour Productions or NBA Entertainment that produced all the "support shows" for the sport and housed all the footage.

In simple terms, news media outlets have 24 hours or so to use the highlights of sports free of charge. After that, they must call the league's production company and pay a fee to use footage.

All the pro sports do it and it is a norm in the industry. NMG has a huge hard-drive that has tons of footage. They can send it to a producer for a show or use it in a program they are producing for a show on SPEED or CMT or ESPN.

So, NASCAR itself owns all the TV rights and footage rights to anything that rolls on the track once they are in town. They also control who can shoot video at the track during the weekend.

Over on the media side, they control the media credentials and what electronic media types can come in and do stories.

This is just like the NFL or NBA at a game. Hope that helped to answer your question.

JD

Anonymous said...

John:

Not really a Nascar question, but racing all the same.

I used to love the World Rally Championship on Speed Sunday nights. All of a sudden, a few years ago it just disappeared. Have you any information as to the chances of Speed, or some other outlet, picking it up in the US?

Greg

Anonymous said...

JD--

Just a note about HDNet--it will not be carrying any NASCAR races next year. Apparently, Mark Cuban wants to fill that time with more of his new favorite programming, "MMA," or what we used to call Cage Fighting.

It isn't a popular move among the HDNet staff, but Cuban owns the operation outright and can show whatever he happens to like.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Greg,

SPEED said at the time that it came down to cost and interest in the US for the product.

ESPN passed completely as did Discovery and some others.

If you go over to SPEEDtv.com and follow the "boards" links, you can ask in the WRC forum what the status of this series on TV is for 2009.

Thanks for stopping by.

JD

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 5:40PM,

Thanks for the info. That HDNet certainly is a strange little company.

Still waiting for the Camping World 2009 TV confirmations for the regional series.

Probably tape-delayed on SPEED would be a good guess since ESPN is not in that mix.

JD

Kenn Fong said...

J.D.,

Does Dr. Jerry Punch have a clause in his contract specifying his role as the lead play-by-play announcer on ESPN/ABC's NASCAR coverage?

Aside from protecting his ego and the ego of the person who promoted him, is there any other impediment preventing the switch? I love the guy but he's terribly miscast.

West Coast Kenny
Alameda, California

Daly Planet Editor said...

Kenny,

It really does not work like that in the business. On-air talent have agents who negotiate contracts, but the network has the final say in what role the person will work.

Sometimes situations work out well like Nicole Manske coming over from SPEED. Sometimes, situations are a disaster like Erik Kuselias and Doug Banks hosting the first season of NASCAR Now.

Punch is a veteran who has a long loyalty to ESPN and he will be fine from a career perspective regardless of what changes might be coming for 2009.

Still waiting on word about the starting line-up for ESPN.

JD

Richard in N.C. said...

JD, Thank you. Do you have any idea why EESPN does not broadcast more old races on Classic as a means of keeping NASCAR fans hooked to EESPN?

In the current economic situation, do you think EESPN might put more emphasis on improving its Cup coverage? It seems clear to me that EESPN is losing an available part of the NASCAR audience since its ratings seem to always be less than FOX's leading up to the EESPN part of the season.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Richard,

ESPN repeats their own Sprint Cup races on Mondays and then replays a Classic race from their library during the week before their 17 live Cup telecasts.

During the Fox and TNT portions of the Cup season, there is really no desire for ESPN to offer old races.

The almighty dollars is arriving in a big way for ESPN's overall NASCAR coverage right now.

We should see a reduction in Nationwide coverage costs first, in order to protect the Cup coverage. What may change is only speculation at this point, although we should know here shortly what has been decided.

Fox is also looking to cut costs, so do not be surprised if some changes come to the NASCAR on Fox telecasts after Daytona.

Thanks to all for the questions, have a great night.

JD