Saturday, December 27, 2008
Saturday, it was NASCAR Now Lead Reporter Marty Smith breaking the news that Elliott Sadler was out at GEM and AJ Allmendinger was in. Click here for the story.
He told NASCAR fans the details on the ESPN.com website. Where else could he do it? NASCAR Now was long since off the air.
There is so much going on right now in NASCAR and so many questions to be answered that fans are looking to the NASCAR TV partners for answers. They find none.
SPEED discontinued The SPEED Report , Wind Tunnel and This Week In NASCAR for the winter and is exposing TV viewers to marathons of "lifestyle reality" programming like Pinks and Living The Low Life.
ESPN did get Marty Smith to appear on ESPNEWS several times during the off-season, but those sporadic reports cannot make-up for the fact that NASCAR is certainly generating enough news for a weekly version of NASCAR Now.
There are several sports that have regular programs on ESPN when the season is not active in terms of events in progress. NASCAR should be one of them. Especially, when this year is crucial for ESPN in terms of generating enough viewership early in the season to make things pay-off for the network during The Chase for the Championship. The final seventeen Sprint Cup races are on the ESPN/ABC family of networks.
Apparently, one weekly TV show on SPEED of even thirty minutes in length focusing on the NASCAR news is too much to ask of a TV network that just spent millions renovating a building and then moving north of Charlotte to be closer to the NASCAR shops. That irony is not lost.
The question TDP asked during the last off-season still fits. Why do fans need any of these seasonal NASCAR news shows when websites like Jayski and others always provide up-to-date information about the sport all year long?
This is a new era of instant communications and without a year-round commitment of ESPN and SPEED to keep NASCAR news on the air fans might not be inclined to return.
Instead of dumping NASCAR like a hot potato after the banquets, perhaps taking some time to fan the embers of the remaining interest in the sport might have been a better idea.
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