Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Anyone Seen Elliott Sadler on TV?

If a starting NFL quarterback was suddenly fired, TV crews would be camped-out in front of his house in a matter of hours.

If a Major League Baseball starting pitcher was let go right after signing a multi-year contract extension, the media would want answers from the owner, manager and player.

When ESPN's NASCAR Now Lead Reporter Marty Smith first broke the story of Elliott Sadler suddenly being replaced at GEM by AJ Allmendinger he gave us the facts. Allmendinger was in and Sadler was out even after just signing a contract extension.

Smith added that this was a shock to both the team members and even the sponsors. What he was unable to add was any words with either Sadler himself or team owner George Gillett. Smith's story is located here on the ESPN.com website.

TDP has been scanning ESPN, ESPNEWS and SPEED since this story first broke for any sightings of the principals involved in the story. We have been looking for follow-up or reporters digging for exactly why this situation occurred.

Sadler is a well-known spokesperson and a current SPEED on-air talent. He is a panelist on Trackside during the final seventeen Sprint Cup race weekends of the season. He is a media darling and a well-spoken sponsor representative with a history of successful product endorsements.

Checking the NASCAR sections of the SPEEDtv and ESPN websites, we find no video of Sadler being interviewed and no follow-up on this story. At Jayski, we find two updates with lots of information hinting at possible financial issues for Gillett.

Over at ElliottSadler.com, that website sits in stunned silence. The news stories are about Homestead in 2008 and Sadler's most recent Barn Party for charity. Meanwhile, the NASCAR blogs are buzzing and they all want to know the exact same thing. Why release a proven commodity with a valid contract and a good sponsor? What really happened?

When Petty Enterprises closed its doors, TV viewers could have searched all day long for video or interviews surrounding the end of that franchise. They would have found none. Now, combing the cable channels once again for an interview with or a report about Sadler will result in exactly the same frustration.

The NASCAR TV partners are either in this for the long haul or they are not. ESPN is on-air 24-hours a day with multiple networks, including one dedicated solely to sports news. SPEED chose once again to end all the motorsports news shows during the off-season, despite the fan backlash from last year.

As NASCAR enters perhaps the most critical January in the modern history of the sport, it will be up to the NASCAR TV partners to go above and beyond any efforts of the past to bring fans the news about one of the top professional sports in North America as it struggles to survive.

After being treated like Arena Football or Major Indoor Lacrosse for the last two months, no one can blame the NASCAR teams if they are a little bitter when the first TV reporter comes strolling in asking the same old questions about Daytona.

SPEED will break the ice first with The SPEED Report. There are timeslots allocated on January 4th and 11th for motorsports news at 7PM, but the SPEED website is notorious for the lack of updated information. Perhaps, since the Grand-Am cars are testing the network might turn the lights on in the studio once again. TDP will keep you posted.

It looks like February 2nd at 5PM Eastern Time will be the first edition of NASCAR Now on ESPN2 for the new season. No word yet on any possible changes in the on-air line-up or format.

This is the second year where SPEED and ESPN have dropped the NASCAR TV news ball during the off-season in sensational fashion. Website stories do not make-up for the lack of updated NASCAR news on TV. Especially, after a daily show on ESPN2 and extensive weekend programs on SPEED for ten months.

Things have become quite clear to the NASCAR fan base over the past six weeks where SPEED and ESPN are concerned. Either those two networks just don't get it or they just don't care when it comes to the off-season NASCAR stories that require time and effort to report on TV.

The Daly Planet welcomes comments from readers. Just click on the COMMENTS button below and follow the easy instructions. The rules for posting are located on the right side of the main page. Thanks for taking the time to drop by.


Delenn said...

I am glad it was not just me. Over this year, I have come to appreciate the Sadler brothers contributions to Speed, and therefore have begun to follow Elliott with interest. I was beginning to think I was going round the bend, in not being able to find comment.

I have seen a number of reports about Gillett's financial situation, and wonder why he would release a newly re-signed driver to whom he would have to pay a CoT-full of money to go away.

In addition, there is so much more of the Boston Ventures story that we do not know. Why did this come around so quickly?

This appears to exist in a big ole vacuum at the moment, with no news able to leak out.

Anonymous said...

You are 100% correct. No NASCAR coverage in the off season only compounds the problems heading into 2009.
They need to keep the interest up.
Attendence will continue to be dropping at events.

Fan interest is at an all time low presently. New MLB channel with 24 hour a day coverage bodes well for baseball. They need to wake up and get with the program.

Anonymous said...

And what about the lack of coverage is a surprise? If the Petty/Gillette merger is indeed the end of Petty Enterprises, shouldn't that be newsworthy too? It's obvious that, as far as TV is concerned, unless they are selling ad slots, Nascar doesn't exist. The only concern in Daytona is replacing the 'Official Sponsor' spots...even if teams will fold because they can't find sponsors for their cars. I suspect that, unless the 'news' is shiny and positive, Brian France would just as soon fly under the radar so he can keep selling the party line that all is well and perfect with Nascar.

Anonymous said...

Well JD, a source told me earlier this week that Elliott was gone as soon as Evernham was. As soon as Gillett got rid of Evernham, he would get rid of Elliott. Why, don't know.

But, there isn't NASCAR Offseason TV. And I don't know why, The NFL has built itself to a year-round sensation, much like the MLB and NBA. I mean, how hard can it be for NASCAR to find two months worth of TV before the season starts.

Vicky D said...

We need som,e tv media who are separated from Nascar to get us the information. Heck, here in Houston even when Houstonian, David Starr, won a truck race, it wasn't even reported in the Chronicle although in today's paper I read that Danica got a speeding ticket. I'm very curious for a statement from Elliott or his rep to find out what happened but then again we really won't here the truth.

Anonymous said...

While E-Sad is someone who's known by Nascar fans, during this time of year when it's all football, you're not going to hear about a second tier driver. If there was a story involving the likes of Jimmie Johnson, Dale Jr, Jeff Gordon or even Tony Stewart, you'd probably see more information out there, but E-Sad just isn't considered a big name, nor is GEM.

BTW, Elliott is too busy getting ready for his upcoming wedding in two weeks.

Nan S said...

J.D., there is no reason that general sports media (ESPN) would cover Sadler being fired. He is not Tony Stewart, Jimmie, or Jr.. He is a non-entity mid-pack performer to anyone other than very dedicated NASCAR fans. The fact that he is a media person on Speed is no more reason to cover the story.

If your point is that Nascar programming if on the air during the off season would cover this, I agree. If your point is why don't the general programs (Sportscenter) cover this, I say its not important enough for the reasons I listed above.

Anonymous said...

Well I am sure that EESPN is handling everything just perfectly since EESPN did invent sports broadcasting - just ask them.

Besides the arrogance and ignorance of EESPN & SPEED, I do believe some of the lack of coverage of what is going on in NASCAR is a result of elimination of NASCAR reporters (Margolis, Bonkowski, Mulhern) and what would appear to be a cost-reduction effort by various so-called news orgs.

At the same time I do find it curious that the supposed all-knowing NASCAR press has been able to find out little about what is going on in teams controlled by what I view as relative outsiders to NASCAR (PE-Boston Ventures, GEM, and Ganassi) rather than old-line NASCAR participants. There are a myriad of people involved in what is going on, many outside the teams, but the press does not seem to be able to learn anything.

Daly Planet Editor said...


There are only about 30 Sprint Cup drivers with full sponsors and contracts for 2009.

When one of them is let go with no explanation after just signing a contract extension it is a story IMHO.

Are you saying this is not worth Shannon Spake or David Newton driving to Emporia, VA for a Sadler interview for ESPNEWS?

Nothing personal, but I am not going to take the cavalier attitude of ESPN and SPEED this season at all. Perhaps, they read the paper and have noticed things are not all roses and blue skies.

The same "stuff" they served up last season where NASCAR news was concerned is just not going to cut it.

A bad start to this season may mean a disaster for this sport bigger than anyone can imagine. Let's not let that happen.


Nan S said...

Yeah JD, I think I am saying that its not worth it to send a reporter to track down the story of why a field filler was let go for ESPN news. If RPM tonight or "this week" existed, or if Speed report was on every week, then maybe.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the reason Elliot Sadler, Ray Evernham, Richard Petty, et. al. are not on tv is because they, along with NASCAR, has been determined by the major media to be NOT newsworthy. I believe this speaks volumes for the state of major league auto racing, at present. Racing is seen as entertainment, not competition (like the stick and ball sports). The very few of us who love racing may be interested but the ast majority of the population could care less.

Speaking of NASCAR, I've grown tired of the dull, cookie cutter cars, tracks and drivers. This year I'm rededicating my racing interest to my local short track.

Chuck in Alabama

Anonymous said...

SPEED is one who should be shamed by the motorsports coverage this winter. They should be on every week with the latest motorsports news since they are supposedly a motorsports network. Their lack of news is what really bothers me, not ESPN as much. You never see Baseball Tonight or NBA Live on during the offseason, so I think its unfair to expect a NASCAR Now show every week. And the fact of the matter is, Elliott Sadler is not Jeff Gordon. In the middle of NFL Playoffs, the BCS and the heart of NBA season, Elliott will not get Sportscenter coverage. Fair or not, that's the truth. Elliott is on par with a pitcher on the Pittsburgh Pirates, and get the same amount of coverage as he would. Fair or not, that's sports media today.

Anonymous said...

"Sadler is a well-known spokesperson and a current SPEED on-air talent. He is a panelist on Trackside during the final seventeen Sprint Cup race weekends of the season. He is a media darling and a well-spoken sponsor representative with a history of successful product endorsements."

But when was the last time he won a race? Notice you couldn't mention that. He's never been a contender for a championship or lately, even a Chase spot. I bet most casual fans who know the names of the big four: Johnson, Gordon, Jr, Stewart - couldn't pick Sadler out of a lineup.

Sadler is a mid-pack racer (and getting worse as he ages). The good job he does for his sponsors does not make him newsworthy in the mainstream sports world. He is not a former champion or a recent Chaser, two things that would make his dismissal noteworthy for ESPN.

As for SPEED, well, yes, he should be news on SPEED and be interviewed by them since he works for them and it is supposed to be a motorsports channel. Anywhere else? Not so much.

Anonymous said...

Those who are calling this "not a story" don't follow sports media very often. This is a case of the networks not caring about NASCAR, not about Sadler's name not being "big enough".

Even in the off season, every trade/firing/hiring/speeding-ticket/DUI/etc of any athlete or coach even in the top 1000 of recognized names across MLB/NBA/NFL/NCAA is reported on. You are telling me that one of, what 50 maybe, regular cup drivers getting fired for no apparent reason after signing a big contract isn't news? Just how few people do you think watch NASCAR anyway?

Elliot may not be a Jimmie Johnson. But ESPN reports dozens of stories every day with much less name recognition than Elliot has. Hell, ESPN reports all day long on soccer players nobody in the USA has heard of. Are you really telling me that the possible sale of Jermain Defoe's contract from Portsmouth to Tottenham really has more interest in the USA than a story about Sadler being dumped?


Okay, let's say I'm wrong about soccer and it's huge US audience for news about 2nd tier Premier League teams. What about this story on Chamique Holdsclaw's return to the WNBA after having her contract purchased by the Atlanta Dream from the Los Angeles Sparks?


Is anyone really going to stand here with a straight face and say "Oh yeah, there is more interest out there for a story on a WNBA player who hasn't been on the court for 2 years than for a NASCAR cup driver who has been a series regular, TV personality, and successful sponsor representative"?

Despite its giant dedicated fanbase, the "mainstream" sports media still thinks of NASCAR as some sort of backwoods hillbilly cousin. It's pathetic.

Daly Planet Editor said...

I do think it is important to remember that ESPN ran the Clint Bowyer comment about Michael Waltrip for three days and left the audio on the ESPN.com website.

They also crawled the words Ron Hornaday and steroids across the screen for three days when they set him up this year in the "scandal."

A legit news story like Sadler being fired after a contract extension and no TV network following up is a statement about real news and those stories created and controlled by ESPN where NASCAR is concerned.

Kind of like the Tony and Zippy on the radio story.


Rockin Rich said...

Good morning JD/DPE. Good to see you at the old keyboard so early in the AM.

What do you think we, (the fans of NASCAR racing), can do about this lack of coverage? We have been ranting about this for a long time now.

How do we create an effective vehicle to bring about change? Despite virtually a century of scholars, and business gurus/executives writing about the evils of ivory towers, they apparently continue to exist in the executive offices of BSPN, FOX, Speed, et al.

Granted, there was change by both Speed and BSPN in their program presentations apparently strongly helped along by the critical feedback on this site. But those involved individual existing programs content, and presentation.

Here, we are talking about creating something that doesn't now exist; decent coverage of legitimate sports competition related news coverage.

What do you see as an, again, effective way to bring about change in this sorry situation?

Egos, and arrogance of grossly overpaid executives are very difficult walls to penetrate.

I wish you great success in 2009 with your website endeavor. I have come to rely on it as a primary source of racing information.

Anonymous said...

You miss the point JD is making entirely (oh, and your "sportscenter" underwear is showing)
If ANY MLB pitcher-be he a starter or a reliver-were sumarily released after signing a new contract, ESPN would cover it. Maybe not send a reporter to interview him, but it would be a covered story on Spit-Center.
If you know anything about motorsports, you'll know that Sadler being a "mid-pack" racer is more about the equipment he gets to drive than his talent. If you put ANY cup regular in the 48 car, he'd finish in the top 3 to 5.
You can't defend the indefensible. SPEED channel is run by "Nuckell-Head" and ESPN by - no one.

Anonymous said...

If you don't think TV has called and tried to set something up and been told " I can't say anything right now, it's in the lawyer's hands. I'll talk when it is ironed out" then you are just trying to start a non-story. Kind of like what ESPN did with Hornaday. Sadler will speak when things are final.

majorshouse said...

I think that Speed especially should be ashamed of their lack of racing coverage during the off season. If this had been someone in any other sport, including the IRL , it would have been all of the news like the stuff with Helio Castraneves and his tax evasion story. It is not the fact that Elliott Sadler is a second tier driver, it is total arrogance on the part of ESPN and the The Speed Channel as well as Bryan France and NASCAR.

Anonymous said...

From what I recall, ESPN did not make a big deal about Chamique Holdsclaw's comeback; there was a website story (with a brief quote that sounded like a PR release) just like there was a website story from Marty about Elliott (with no quote). I believe an ESPN column was also written about her return, but the Holdsclaw news had no TV presence on ESPN networks. But Chamique Holdsclaw is arguably more well known to the media and segments of the public than Elliott Sadler, who has never really won anything.

Holdsclaw won four consecutive state championships in NYC (media capital); led the Tennessee Lady Vols (arguably the most recognizable team in women's basketball history) to three consecutive NCAA championships; and won the Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete - male or female- in the US in 1999. At one point she was called the female Michael Jordan by...Michael Jordan. She was also a #1 pick in the WNBA draft and a two-time Naismith Player of the Year winner. So yes, I think there would be more interest in her (admittedly not a lot, but enough) based on her past accomplishments than for Elliott.

Elliott, bless his heart, has merely made some excellent commercials over the years. Nothing else to say about him. I don't really understand why ESPN TV (not the website, but TV) is obligated to prop him up with detailed news follow-up as a "controversial firing" when all people who are defending him as newsworthy can tout about him is that he's good on TV and sponsor-friendly. Not that he's a great driver or had some great runs in the past few years.

The Loose Wheel said...

This is why I miss RPM2Night. Even Totally NASCAR. Those were two shows without an offseason and these times are needed again.

Even once a week would be acceptable right now. Pathetic that no one has been ontop of things

Anonymous said...

I think the Main Stream Media has decided that NA$CAR is very similar to professional wrestling and treat it that way. Even a casual fan can see that the race outcome is skewed by the actions of race officials. Close finishes are assured by mystery cautions and questionable penalties. Some teams/drivers are favored while others are punished for speaking their mind and the truth.

Anonymous said...

You would think with the connections that BSPN has with Evernham being "part of the family", they could get some kind of interview (on camera or telephone) with him. I find this whole Evernham/Sadler thing very strange.

Anonymous said...

According to Thats Racin, SPEED is too busy building a new studio to actually go on air with news.

And E-Sad....if you're reading this: back in the eighties I was fired from my job two weeks before my wedding too. The marriage turned out to be the best thing I ever did, and I stumbled into a much better job.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what to think about Sadler. He seems to get in more predicaments on the track, making me wonder ,is it lack of equipment that puts him there or his lack of the aggressiveness to pass cars to run with the big boys? I seem to be seeing the same thing with Kane also, which leads me to believe the former. I can't comment on the lack of off season coverage, because I don't watch it anyway.(I need to be spared of the Waltrips as much as possible) Just show the races with good coverage will be fine with me.

Geeze said...

While I think a once a week NASCAR show of some kind during the off season would be nice, I'll play devils advocate for a minute.

The fact that we are here at TDP would indicate that we are fan's of the first order. Hardcore as it were. But how many mainstream fans would actually watch a off season show. My guess is the with the NFL playoff's starting, not to many.

As far as Sadler goes, there may not be any news about him because he doesn't want there to be any right now. I would think if he was willing to talk, someone would report it.

Anonymous said...

It's really sad how people think Elliot is just a mid-pack driver and "field filler" in Cup. It seems like this is the attitude ESPN takes with 13th on back in points! Speed just doesn't seem to care at all.

A drivers struggle in a season is not just because he's "getting worse as he ages", equiptment has a whole lot to do how you perform. It takes 43 cars to race and they all have fans.

"Most casual fans couldn't pick Sadler out of a lineup", I think it has been said many times on here that the "casual fan" does not exist. You either love the sport or hate the sport. Most fans know every driver in the lineup.

SportsCenter could easily manage to fill a 1 minute story about this by cutting some of their endless football and baseball coverage.

Anonymous said...

Daly Planet Editor said...
If a starting NFL quarterback was suddenly fired, TV crews would be camped-out in front of his house in a matter of hours.

If a Major League Baseball starting pitcher was let go right after signing a multi-year contract extension, the media would want answers from the owner, manager and player.

Agreed. One thing I've noticed about NASCAR reporters (including David Poole, who has mentioned this in his blog) is they will call or contact the NASCAR person in the news once or twice and if they decline to talk - oh well! They wait until the person will talk.

Whereas in stick and ball, the person in the news will have their house or stadium surrounded by reporters until they talk, or someone close to them talks. They can't just say "no comment", for the most part. I've always wondered why this is the case in NASCAR and not other sports, that the drivers/owners can so easily get away with "no comment".

But that goes back to ESPN's way of reporting. Either you like the way they do it or you find it too pushy. You can't have it both ways. Sadler isn't talking right now. If ESPN's David Newton showed up at his home to question him and got a hostile reception and ESPN aired it, this site would be the first to admonish Newton for tacky reporting.

NASCAR media has established that they mostly don't work that way. Therefore, a lot of questions fans want answered don't get answered until the drivers are good and ready. Again, good or bad? In the eye of the beholder.

PS. Re: the b-ball player Holdsclaw. I've heard of her. I believe one reason she makes news is that she is one of the few - maybe the only- pro athlete to basically quit her sport because of mental illness/depression. I think she was an All-Star level player when she simply quit in the middle of a season or something. I bet that is why her return is being covered by ESPN even if her sport isn't too popular.

Nan S said...

@Anon 2:19,
I understand JD's point, I just disagree with it.

I have been a fan of and attending various motorsports events for more than 30 years, so I think I am not uninformed.

One of the best things about Nascar is that there is not the disparity that exists with teams in F1. You can win a race with skill and luck and not be an absolute top team. However, you can also be on a top team and not produce (Mears). So I stand by my assessment of Sadler as a mid-packer. Some drivers are just more talented than others.

That being said, its a shame that Speed TV chooses "lifestyle" programming over showing racing. Aussie V-8's was great racing. Next up on my DVR is Dakar on Versus.

Anonymous said...

I am a big Elliott guy and from covering the sport for the last decade I can credit Elliotts passion for really turning me into a HUGE NASCAR fan. That aside I think you have a few things working against the mainstream media right now covering this story.
1) Football
2) Football
3) Football

Football is winning the ratings war and has ALWAYS been what sells. If ESad would have been dumped in the middle of say January then MAYBE it would be a little more played out. PLUS no one is saying ANYTHING!!!

What really blows MY mind is that here is a guy in Sadler that GEM could have dumped in September and no one would have ben suprised. But you gave him an extension? PLUS Sadler could have had time to attempt to find another ride. Now he is pretty much hosed unless Best Buy and Stanley Tools decides to punt on the 19 and join Elliott in the 41 or 77.

Its sad because this is a HUGE story for ME because I AM Such a big Sadler fan. Not getting anything as far as updates or ANY information at all is frustrating. Great note JD, appreciate it as a fan!

Anonymous said...

Nascar Now has ususally been trashed by most in this bog, so I'm surprised all the comments coming in. Most of the time I read folks saying they don't watch it and it should be canned!

As far as Sadler, who cares? He is not an A-list driver. There are no details. None of the principals will return calls.

I think this is a bit of karma for Sadler, I mean he sure has left owners in the lurch before, while looking for greener pastures.

One last thing, there is not a blackout on his news. I read about it on blogs all over the Inernet. So even though it does not apprear on tv, the news is out.

If Jeff, Jimmie, Tony, Jr, had been fired, it would be all over. Or if it was a slow news cycle. Right now there is so much going on, all the college bowls, the wild card games, 5 NFL head coaches fired, etc. Sadler is not even a blip in terms of news.

Tom said...

"I think the Main Stream Media has decided that NA$CAR is very similar to professional wrestling and treat it that way."

This is true. While it is debatable how true the reality of it is, there is that perception, and perception is reality for many. Because there is no regular news show on speed or ESPN, the race fan of ANY series is without a Television outlet for news. Those ESPN guys who spend most of the year roasting NASCAR as a wrestling match certainly are not going to report on news that they see as unimportant, unless it was to make fun of his accent. You are correct JD, that this is a perilous time and what we are seeing may be the first steps towards a "devaluing" of NASCAR by the networks. Are they in for the long haul? My bet is NO.

Inverness, FL

Anonymous said...

"He is a media darling and a well-spoken sponsor representative with a history of successful product endorsements."

...and that's ALL he is, because he's NOT that good a driver!

3 wins in 357 starts and his last win was in 2004, OVER 4 years ago, that's NOT good!!!

From 2005-2008, 4 seasons, his teammate Kahne has 9 Cup wins and Sadler 0 and they use the SAME cars!(Kahne also has 6 Nationwide wins and Sadler 0 from 2005-2008.)

James Crooks said...

I couldn't agree more, JD. I've wondered where the interviews were, and why there seems to be a media blackout on all these changes over the last few weeks. I can't imagine that Sadler simply has nothing to say on the matter.

Anonymous said...

To the inventor of "Spit-Center", kudos - Made my day.

Regardless of what anyone feels about Elliott's ability or whether he had it coming to him, he is well known and it is news that a well-known driver apparently is replaced just months after signing an extension. Reporting the news about the situation at GEM is not for Elliott's benefit, but the fans. I know I heard more news on Spit-Center in December about professional brawling than about NASCAR - except for hearing a replay of Clint B's radio comment about Mike W. 3 or 4 times on either EESPN-TV or EESPN Radio as one of the prime sound bites of 2008.

Anonymous said...

I think you have written about some very valid points. I am a diehard NASCAR fan and I am very interested in this story! As a matter of fact I am interested in the State of NASCAR as a whole but there is nowhere to get any information!

In NASCAR there are 43 spots in every race to fill with race cars! Just like in football, baseball, basketball, etc not all the teams can be the TOP teams. Some teams are better than other - kind of the reason why they go out and compete against each other. In racing it is about 43 cars racing to see who can cross the finish line first. Not all the cars can be from the Hendrick, Gibbs, Childress and Roush camps - some are from other teams who are still trying to compete in the sport. Elliott has done a fairly descent job compared to some other drivers that are on the track week after week. But not every driver can be the TOP drivers - that's life.

To me it is a story to true NASCAR fans when someone (other than Jimmie, Jr, Jeff G) gets released after a team signed him to a two-year extension on his contract. I am a Kasey Kahne fan which means I support all the drivers on that team. I am wondering what the heck is going on with this team and the fact that drivers are being released, original owners are packing their crap, there is talk of mergers, etc. - it is interesting to me and I would like to know what the heck is going on. Some of us NASCAR fans would like to hear about our favorite sport at least once a week just like other sports - even during the OFF season.

JD - thanks for the article! It expresses my feelings to the T!!

Anonymous said...

Wonder if he will be on now. Sadler just filed a form to extend the date to file an actual complaint to Jan. 20. Sadler plans to file a lawsuit saying GEM breached their contract. This should get on ESPN.

Anonymous said...

I have said all along Boston Ventures only used Petty for a tax write off in 2008. The bigger surprise is the Gillette money problems. It will be interesting to see how long Gillette lasts over in Statesville. 4 so-called teams - yet one has not been named nor does it have a sponsor. Surprised Petty went through with it despite Budweiser on Kahne's car. Another thing, did Boston Ventures tick of Wells Fargo, that the sponsor is sticking with Kyle and both with be under a different owner.
I guess somewhere in the purchasing of Petty Enterprises, did Richard loose everything including any say of the name and the #43? If so,that is truly sad. But, once you let a partner buy more than 50 percent you are screwed. The only owner out there who truly found a silent partner is Richard Childress...no drama,no changes.

I honestly hope that Elliot Sadler takes Gillete and Boston Ventures (if they are involved in any shape or form) to the cleaners. And those sponsors who where on the 19 find a way to leave and end up else where.

AJ (short man syndrom) and Elliot are as opposite as night and day. Time will tell.

Anonymous said...

I wonder what is going through Sadler's mind when he is reminded that he dissed AJ after AJ won the Sprint Showdown. Sadler would not use AJ's name and instead referred to him as "Whatever his name is."

Anonymous said...

I you look at sites that mention the Sadler news, there is very little interest. Bloggers are not flocking and speaking their minds about him or his news in particular.

There's more interest in Danica and her ticket.

Anonymous said...

So I'm guessing you don't consider yourself media. You just ride piggyback on the shoulders of the REAL media and complain about it on your blog, right?

It's so easy to sit on the sidelines and lob stones at the media. Tell me what stopped YOU from picking up the phone and making your own calls and doing your own research and filing your own story? Gosh, that might have actually been WORK.

If you've never used it, I suggest nascarmedia.com All the cool media kids use it now. They even have pdf files of the media guides with *gasp* phone numbers of the PR contacts at the race shops.

Maybe if you actually acted like a journalist, you'd better understand what it's like to be one and why the coverage is the way it is.


Be the change you want to see in the world. If you think Elliott Sadler's story needs to be covered, then get busy!

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 3:54PM,

Perhaps you are new to TDP. Our purpose is to document the media during this new multi-billion dollar TV contract that NASCAR put together two years ago.

The TV partners SPEED and ESPN both have news components that involve multi-million dollar investments.

We have watched them grow and change since the contract began. Now, we are trying to document the off-season failures of the TV partners to follow the breaking stories involving NASCAR personalities like Richard Petty and Elliott Sadler.

This is a new experience for all of us and TDP is a community of fans who offer their views on the good and bad of the TV coverage including news.

Please feel free to tell us your opinion of how things have gone this off-season on TV and what NASCAR stories you have followed on ESPN or SPEED.

Thanks for the note,


Anonymous said...

Wow. According to That's Racin.com Elliott is planning on suing AJ: "George Gillett, Gillette Evernham Motorsports, Anthony James Allmendinger and Ray Evernham Enterprises are named as defendants."

Maybe that's why Evernham can't interview Elliott for ESPN?

I like Elliott OK, but suing AJ is pretty darn cold. Drivers replace drivers all the time -- don't bring another driver into your mess when it's just business, E-Sad. I remember Elliott replacing Jeremy Mayfield very quickly, and under not very pleasant circumstances (and E-Sad had supposedly been quietly negotiating with Ray for a long time, despite both their denials).

Maybe he's hoping the threat of suing will get a settlement. Either way, I would say this is news, but I don't remember the lawsuits of Nemechek and Sterling Martin against Ginn getting much, if any, TV coverage. Or the GEM suit against Robby Gordon. Most of the extensive coverage was on scenedaily.com. TV just doesn't talk about this stuff (ESPN because they don't care and SPEED because they want to present everything as shiny and happy and don't want to ask drivers about tough issues.)

Anonymous said...

I am a huge fan of Elliott and we are all awaiting news from his camp .. the Charlotte observer ran n article today about he filed a brech of contract naming GEM, aj allmendinger, Ray Evernham , and George Gilette himself.... Elliott was Rays boy.. maybe they should just do what right and let him race his CAR!!!

Anonymous said...

Something interesting to note with all the talk of Sadler's strong marketing appeal making him important to the media and fans.

He didn't make the list of the top 10 most popular drivers in 2008, after making the list in both 2006 and 2007.

Sadler was one of two drivers who dropped off the list in 2008. The other was Dale Jarrett, and I'm not sure Dale was eligible since he didn't drive the whole year. Carl Edwards and Bobby Labonte replaced Sadler and Jarrett in the top 10 for 2008.

So maybe Sadler's popularity isn't as big as people think, or it's declining.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe that just because ESPN, Fox, ABC, etc, has a contract to telecast races, that makes it an obligation to follow every little thing that goes on in that sport. I mean tv stations have contracts to show NFL,MLB,NBA, tennis, golf, etc.

The newsrooms still have the right to decide what is newsworthy and of interest to the public they serve. Just because ESPN or Fox don't wish to devote time on a D-list driver, does not mean they have failed in their role in reporting the news.

Anonymous said...

It's so easy to sit on the sidelines and lob stones at the media.

No, see, you don't seem to get it. This is a media analysis and criticism site.

Saying JD should cover the Sadler story is like saying Roger Ebert should go make a movie if he gives one a bad review.

Anonymous said...

I you look at sites that mention the Sadler news, there is very little interest. Bloggers are not flocking and speaking their minds about him or his news in particular.

Thewre may be more now that he's filed a notice of intent to sue GEM for breach of contract.

kbaskins said...

thatsracin.com has an article reporting that Sadler is suing Gillett, GEM, Allmendinger and Evernham. According to his lawyer, Sadler didn't know GEM was in negotiations with AJ until he got calls from the media on Tuesday. The article is here: http://www.thatsracin.com/news/story/21643.html

I've given up trying to get NASCAR information on TV. I now rely on RSS feeds to keep up with the latest news. All the websites like speedtv.com, nascar.com, espn.com, thatsracin.com, scenedaily.com, si.com and even TDP have RSS feeds. I have nearly 30 feeds of dedicated NASCAR content. It's wonderful to never have to navigate the crap at espn.com or nascar.com or speedtv.com to look at articles. The articles are downloaded into your feed reader, and you can view headlines and articles without ever going to a website.

This form of information gathering becomes even more important to me in the off-season. It's the only place to get my NASCAR fix. What a sad state of affairs...


Anonymous said...

I was dismayed to read this when the story broke. I'm not *surprised* it wasn't covered more (had it happened before the end of the season, it would obviously be different.) But NASCAR doesn't seem to be 'big' enough to get coverage of this and ALL the other stories in the offseason. It should at least have been in the general news on ESPN. And I'm so tired of people dismissing a driver as 'untalented' just because he's not been in the top ten. Remember Jeff & Junior missing the Chase? They didn't suddenly get stupid. They had off years. Elliott's been in substandard cars for a long time. Perhaps his choice, but nevertheless, it's not like his various teammates were burning up the track either, smaller teams, less money, poorer performance--it's not just about talent. And the point is, once again the guys on the big teams survive, and that's part of the bigger story. I find it a little scary to think of nothing but HMS and RFR winning races (and I'm a fan of several of their drivers). They've done nothing *wrong*, mind you, but just that things are tough enough now that no one else can attract sponsors/money is so sad (and I'm guessing that's what this is really all about.) And a good sports reporter ought to be telling that story, especially as it reflects on the economy in general.

As JD said, "A bad start to this season may mean a disaster for this sport bigger than anyone can imagine." I don't even want to think about it.

Anonymous said...

So maybe Sadler's popularity isn't as big as people think, or it's declining.

Even if he was #20 on a list of most popular drivers, that's still far higher than many MANY of the subjects of ESPN stories on the web and TV.

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe the dead silence regarding NASCAR racing news during the off season. How in the world would they expect to keep fans or entice new fans by all this silence. Why are they not running reruns of races on SPEED or ESPN? i'm glad I taped a bunch so I can now watch them. By the way these networks might watch some old races and see how good the coverage was without "draft tracker" or "gopher cam". Bennie, Buddy and some of those guys were great. We only want racing stuff, some of this other junk is stupid. The spped shots don't really let you follow the race, it only shows how fast the cars go by a camera. Most times you can't even tell which car it is.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, there are very few in the media that believe they serve the public interest - might be one reason that sadly newspapers are dying right in front of our eyes. I am a big NFL fan and I know I can get more NFL news in July on EESPN than the news I get on NASCAR from EESPN in December. Unfortunately I fear that part of the media's lack of coverage of NASCAR is because they view NASCAR fans as so intense in their interest that we will always come back no matter what - in other words, we're taken for granted.

Anonymous said...

Although I've seen articles on Elliott's situation on many websites and there has been quite a bit of discussion on it on Sirius and various fan forums, maybe the reason there hasn't been more media attention given to this story because Elliott and his representatives have thus far declined to be interviewed. There may also be limits on what others can say publically - Ray Evernham said as much on Sirius when he was interviewed about all of this earlier in the week. So how do you give extensive coverage to a story beyond reporting the basics when it's difficult to get anyone to speak on record in detail about it?

As much as this is a big story to NASCAR fans, it's not a big story to a national sports audience and I wouldn't expect ESPN or other national sports media outlets to cover it.

Anonymous said...

no- Eliott Sadler was too busy sueing GEM and AJ Allmendinger for his breach of contract... SO Eliott can weasel out of 2 contracts with Yates and the Woods, but they can't kick him to the curb? Sorry Elliott, you just aren't that good! Especailly to litigate...

I agree on the NASCAR NEWS getting dropped... that's bs, we def need a NASCAR only station on TV, Speed TV should be on this like flies on well you know...

I'd be glad to host such a show!

Back to Sadler... Sueing another driver is seriously bunk and classless... Can't wait til Trackside live makes a trip to my home track so I can make a sign asking Elliott how AJ's jock tastes...

horrible, just horrible-

Anonymous said...

@anon 5:10 01.02--what does he think that AJA did? My goodness. GEM made the decision to let him go and AJA was available to take the spot.

Anonymous said...

I think even the hardcore Nascar fan needs a break from all the news!! For that matter so do the Drivers..Its not like we dont get enough of It during the season!!Heres an example!I bet the average driver wakes up at least once a week in the middle of the night screaming the National Anthem...My god they say, NOT ANOTHER VERSION OF THIS SONG,,PLEASE!!!!!!!!!! LW

Anonymous said...

Have you checked Fox Sport's website? How about TNT? You always seem to be willing to hammer ESPN, but give Fox a pass.

Anonymous said...

As much as this is a big story to NASCAR fans, it's not a big story to a national sports audience and I wouldn't expect ESPN or other national sports media outlets to cover it.

That is exactly my point with my previous rant. ESPN covers all sorts of stuff with a smaller audience than NASCAR.

WNBA is a perfect example. Go to alexa.com and look at the web traffic to wnba.com and nascar.com. Check the TV ratings.

For that matter, how's the NHL doing these days? 2008 stanley cup finals averaged a 3.2 rating (highest in 5 years) the '08 chase for the cup averaged a 3.7 rating.

The idea that espn ignores nascar because it isn't as popular as other sports is wrong. ESPN ignores nascar because it chooses to.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 10:22PM,

Not quite sure what you are talking about there my friend.

Most of the NASCAR websites are the only way fans have been able to keep in touch with what has been going-on during the off-season.

What we are trying to do is expose SPEED (reality shows) and ESPN (stick-and-ball and Brett Farve) as networks that dumped NASCAR and ran when the season ended where TV news coverage was concerned.

IMHO the sport is now too big to take a six or eight week break from TV other than spotty reports on ESPNEWS when some story breaks.

NASCAR is now like the other big pro sports and needs consistent coverage of news all year long.

Thanks again for the comment.


Anonymous said...

Deborah said..."So how do you give extensive coverage to a story beyond reporting the basics when it's difficult to get anyone to speak on record in detail about it?"

Well it does happen all the time with "anon sources". There are enough people in the media that have sources to call and can report from there.

Anonymous said...

As I recall, the Nemecheck and Sterling Marlin lawsuits mentioned above were different from Elliott's in that they had reached a settlement with Ginn for being terminated and were suing because they asserted Ginn had failed to make the agreed payments on time.

Unknown said...

Photojosh is right. If ESPN can cover Poker and Ping Pong they could dedicate a two minute segment on ESPN News to all the craziness going on in the off-season with NASCAR. If they can report on minor league baseball players getting fired over DUIs in the off-season surely they could report on NASCAR teams folding and popular drivers getting fired for no good reason. As for SPEED it's inexcusable that they have no Racing news in the winter. But I think their silence on Sadler is probably because he's a FOX Sports employee. Elliott's getting a raw deal,plain and simple. GEM ,or whatever they will be called, obviously decided to hire Dinger because he'll work cheaper than Sadler. I think Evernham's departure has marked the team's inevitable demise. They have seriously underestimated Sadler's popularity,especially with female fans. Great job on reporting this story,Daly Planet!

Anonymous said...

Elliot has had the good stuff..Give It to Mark Martin at 50and he will do better!You have to want It For the long run!Go hunting with Ward Burton,Elliot!Thats your passion!

Anonymous said...

Could everyone who really believes that ESPN and Speed are deliberately ignoring stories that would draw higher and more desirable ratings, which would then allow them to charge more for advertising, resulting in higher profits, please raise their hands? Does that really make any sense to anyone? A sport doesn't decide when it is big time, the marketplace does.

Doesn't Fox have an all sports channel? If there was this vast untapped audience that ESPN and Speed are getting criticised for ignoring wouldn't they run at least a weekly half hour show in the offseason? I don't really look at Nascar as "wrestling on wheels" but I actually spend a fair amount of time reading about both online. One thing they definately have in common is a vocal group of fans complaining about how everything used to be better and nobody respects their entertainment choices, rather than just enjoying what they like.

Is there some reason I missed that Fox seems to get a pass on not having more offseason news? If they do have any I assume it would have been mentioned.

Daly Planet Editor said...


The three Sprint Cup TV Networks of ABC, TNT and Fox do not have additional NASCAR or general sports news programming outside of their telecasts.

The NASCAR TV contract includes two cable TV Networks specifically targeted as having a role in the NASCAR news.

Those two networks are ESPN and SPEED. As you may know, Fox Cable Networks is the parent company of SPEED.

ESPN originates the "NASCAR Now" daily show during the racing season and SPEED originates weekend programming and also "This Week in NASCAR" on Mondays.

Unfortunately, since the new NASCAR TV contract begain in 2007, both SPEED and ESPN have dropped the ball in terms of keeping up with the sport once Homestead is done.

While ESPN has been responsive enough to change the two original hosts of NASCAR Now into the outstanding line-up they have today, the network has been slow to figure out how to cover NASCAR during the off-season.

ESPN will hang on every word of anyone involved in stick-and-ball sports, but somehow allows NASCAR to drop off the planet.

SPEED just simply ends all the NASCAR related programming in November and airs absolutely nothing.

Keeping one show like "The SPEED Report" or "Wind Tunnel" on during the November, December and January months would have allowed fans to stay abreast of the happenings in the sport.

I hope that answers your question about the role of the NASCAR TV partners and why we are pushing them to stay with the sport during the off-season.



Anonymous said...

I would guess that due to the legal issues involved, Sadler doesn't want to comment too much on this situation for fear of saying something he shouldn't say. You know how lawyers are.

Anonymous said...

I am watching ESPN for the talk about the football games, preferrably college. I just saw an add for Baseball Tonight's Hot Stove in which they are going to be covering 30 teams in 30 days. They are doing this to get everyone caught up on what has gone on in the off season and what is going to happen in 2009. If I remember correctly, baseball season starts after the Nascar season. They are doing this in Sportscenter and they are giving baseball at least 2 minutes. The announcer said that that Baseball Tonight's Hot Stove is your home for baseball all year long.

Just thought that I would throw this out to all here. Baseball's season lasts almost as long as the Nascar season.

I agree that it would be nice if at least ESPN would give us some Nascar news at least once a week. I don't watch SPEED during the off season unless I read about something here. I tune in to SPEED only for Nascar coverage and other racing if they show it.

Just my humble and random thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I can understand wanting more coverage. I can't understand thinking that more coverage would equal more profits for ESPN, Speed, FSN, or any other television channel.

As in many cases, I think the simplest explaination is the correct one-the last race is in week 11 of 17 week NFL regular season, right as playoff spots start getting decided. The Bud Shootout follows the Superbowl by six days!

The Nascar "offseason" is only a ten week break, in which you have the NFL playoffs, NCAA Bowls, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and several other holidays. Most of the driver moves are now decided before the end of the prior season, unlike the free agent periods in the "stick and ball" sports.

I like Sadler, seems like a good guy and Emporia is just about an hour away, so I have someone quasi-local to route for. I think it is too bad that people have to finally accept that the Pettys are truly and finally done as major players in the sport.

Do I really think these are major stories that demand coverage on general sports shows? Not really. Josh Bard getting signed by the Red Sox isn't going to get much media play outside of Boston, and Elliot Sadlert isn't getting much coverage here in Norfolk. Why? Because most of the country doesn't care about who the Sox second catcher is right now, and because far fewer people care about a three time race winner than Virginia Tech just playing in and winning a BCS game.

Can I explain why people around here care so much about a football team from a campus on the other side of the state, that many of them have probably never set foot on? Heck no. Big time college sports makes absolutely no sense to me, but I can deny or ignore that a whole lot of people care very deeply about it, and spend crazy money on it. The demand is there, so it get's the coverage. If the demand was there, this and other minor Nascar stories would get more coverage.

If one of the channels could turn a larger profit on producing and airing an offseason Nascar show instead of their current programming what reason would they have not too? A lot of what they show may be garbage, but it is CHEAP garbage.

Hang on another four weeks, and there will be plenty of programming.

Anonymous said...

I think ESPN, Speed, etc. are trying to appeal to the largest audience and keep as many viewers as possible. NA$CAR has a very loyal but limited audience. Many other people don't just have a lack of interest in the sport but they HATE it and anything to do with it. I think the stations/networks feel the viewers will change the station if NA$CAR is reported on for any length of time. With hundreds of channels to choose from and a dislike of something, the viewer quickly goes to something they feel is more interesting.

I hate the progams on Speed such as Pinks but I know people who love it and watch it constantly. I think we tend to have tunnel vision at times and don't see things the same way as programmers and other people do.

Daly Planet Editor said...


That might have been true ten years ago, but nothing could be further from the truth in the Internet society.

Somehow believing that a major professional sport like NASCAR can simply have the media throw an OFF switch because of stick-and-ball sports is ridiculous.

Jayski and many other NASCAR websites thrive in the off-season because the NASCAR news does not stop.

The question is why ESPN and SPEED are different and can ignore the very same stories making headlines on major websites, including their own?

We are using Sadler and Petty as two examples, but if you follow the NASCAR news online you certainly know that this off-season has been historic for the amount of news and the seriousness of the stories involved.

If this off-season is not the most critical in the modern history of the sport, what do you need to make it so? The ball has been dropped and the networks need to step-up and admit it IMHO.


Anonymous said...

NA$CAR has a very loyal but limited audience.

This is a common, but I believe incorrect, statement.

As I said previously, everyone should go take a look at the average TV ratings for WNBA, NHL, MSL and all the other stuff that makes sportscenter and ESPN.com. Then compare that to the Nascar ratings and tell me which sports have the "limited" audience.

Flip through the ESPN daily schedule for the next week or so. Even in the middle of college basketball, NFL playoffs, and bowl games there is plenty of time to fit in a few episodes of Nascar Now on one of the 4 major ESPN channels (one of which is all news all the time).

Check out what shows up on Sportscenter every day (any one of the 5 different broadcasts) and tell me that there isn't any time to shoehorn a few motor sports stories.

NASCAR is a major legitimate sport. It has millions of fans, a giant TV package across multiple networks, and ratings that beat many other sports that ESPN drools over. The fact that the NASCAR offseason is ignored is absolutely stupid.

Anonymous said...

Matt, you make very good points and they are well written.

I am surprised how many folks here have said they NEVER watch ESPN. My question is, if you don't watch ESPN, how do you know they have not mentioned NASCAR? And if you hate ESPN, why would you care what they talk about?

Harris has an interactive poll every year (since 1985), and folks who follow more than one sport (typical ESPN viewer), put NASCAR as their 4th choice. AND THAT IS IN THE SOUTH!! Sports fans in the south prefer college football at a higher percentage than NASCAR.

If you don't follow college sports, let me tell you, it's been like a gift for colleges in the south. Tons have been playing in bowls this holiday!

In the poll for 2008, pro football 30%, baseball 15%, college football 12%, and auto racing (which includes all racing, not just NASCAR) 10%. So during this time, football has 42% to auto racing's 10%.

In the world of sports fans, Elliott Sadler is not even a blimp, IMHO.

Newracefan said...

While I can understand why ES's only answer would be I can't talk about it He's got people and we never even heard from them. I'm not looking for the media to camp outside he house like they did when TO was benched a few years back but when there is apparently no where to put it (NN asnd SR are in hibernation)so we get nothing, thank goodness for the internet or I would be lost by the time Daytona rolls around.

3bud said...

Again the respect of ESPN or the lack there of for NASCAR comes through. Remember all the "stories" ran this past season or the other BS pulled on drivers.There was plenty of time for that. Yes it is the off season,but had Elliott committed some crime or been accused of drugs I dare say ESPN would be all over him.I like Elliott Sadler,and he is a star in the sport as well as TV on SPEED. He may not be a household name but a worthy story to the sport for sure. With the economy ratings and track attendance as it is you would think NASCAR would want their TV partners a little more involved in keeping up with things.

Anonymous said...

Allegedly EESPN's Spit-Center is supposed to be a news show. IF 10% of sports fans are interested in racing, that is a very sizeable portion of the population and, thus, would seem to deserve some coverage of what is going on.

In any event, there is no reasonable basis for SPEED's not having some continuing, regular news coverage of NASCAR and other racing during the so-called off-season - except that it clearly feels it can take racing fans for granted.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Daly-
IN your last response you raise two VERY different questions/points:

1."Somehow believing that a major professional sport like NASCAR can simply have the media throw an OFF switch because of stick-and-ball sports is ridiculous."

2. "The question is why ESPN and SPEED are different and can ignore the very same stories making headlines on major websites, including their own?"

I'll address the second one first. ESPN, SPEED, and the other television channels are different from Jayski (isn't that site owned by ESPN?) and can ignore stories covered on websites is simple-they are generating sufficient ratings, profits and rates of return on investments to satisfy the requirements of their advertisers and owners.

The websites exist to cover a specific sport for a specific audience. If they didn't, they would have nothing to do and would close. It is the same reason that Sports Center or Entertainment Tonight (choose your own analogy) doesn't cover any of the stories that Dave Meltzer puts so much effort into with the Wrestling Observer Newsletter or website, unless something like the Chris Benoit incident happens. Different media operating with different objectives and different budgets to serve different audiences.

As to #1, I don't want to rehash the whole "Should Nascar have it's own channel thread" (I think that Bray Koter in comment #2 and anon at 1:03 am on 12/31 make some good points) but I will say that when the mainstream media choses to ignore your sport for two and a half months, and it doesn't cost them anything, it might be worth rethinking either your marketing strategy or just how major you really are. While I disagree that there is anything wrong with current coverage levels from the point of view of the television channels, I would strongly agree that it indicates a problem from the point of view of Nascar itself.

I firmly believe that if there were a vast unmet need for Nascar information ON TELEVISION in this time period, someone would step up and fill it. Fox could produce a show and put it on their regional networks, ESPN could put it somewhere, Speed could do it, Versus could generate some viewers for something other than hockey, the Comcast group of sports channels could put something on, heck even HDNET shows some sports and produces some original programming as well as reruns of NASCAR races and could be an outlet for an offseason show.

I suppose ALL of the programming people at ALL of those channels, whose jobs depend on the profitability of their channels, which depends on selling advertising for the most money possible balanced with the cost of producing/accquiring programming that people want to watch, are getting it wrong by not investing the resources to produce a show in the offseaon, but it doesn't seem likely.

I am not arguing that there is no audience for such a show. I am arguing that the people whose jobs depend on it have looked at the numbers and made a rational decision that there would not be sufficient return on investment in greenlighting such a show, either in immediate advertising dollars or in increased viewership if/when their portion of the Sprint Cup Season comes around, and that there shouldn't be a big mystery about it.

Daly Planet Editor said...


I appreciate your response. How and why the profit issue continues to be brought up is a bit of a mystery.

ESPNEWS is a 24 hour sports news channel and ESPN SportsCenter is on the air reporting all sports news multiple hours each day in several different versions.

Normally, events themselves like races or location shows like RaceDay would be associated with the profit issue. News stories come from everywhere, including college and pro sports like NASCAR.

Your website analogy makes sense when talking about the Internet but does not really relate to what is a big on-going issue being actively discussed by the NASCAR TV partners.

Perhaps, you are a little bit new to this issue as last off-season was the first for the new NASCAR TV partners, including ESPN.

We are not talking about creating a show, but rather two very different solutions for two very different TV networks.

ESPN has the option of updating NASCAR news at anytime on either ESPNEWS or "SportsCenter." This year, there is also little doubt that the amount of off-season turmoil could easily have supported a weekly version of "NASCAR Now."

Over at SPEED, they once again stopped the NASCAR on TV flow of information and it has bit them big time this year.

SPEED is literally moving right down the street from the Lowe's Motor Speedway and was originally intended to be a full-time NASCAR TV network.

Once the Homestead review shows were done, the NASCAR TV news ceased on SPEED. No "Wind Tunnel," no "SPEED Report" and no studio shows.

Rather than try to offer the notion that somehow there is a supreme being that knows all and sees all at these networks, I would suggest you consider that it is a bunch of folks just like us sitting around and talking about what to do.

There has never been a bigger information hole on TV in NASCAR history than the time between Homestead of 2008 and right now.

Even when "The SPEED Report" cranks up next Saturday (hopefully) and "NASCAR Now" cranks up in early February, the damage is done.

Fans were forced to get news from the Internet and Sirius radio during the off-season and the reason was SPEED was closed and ESPN had pushed the IGNORE button on NASCAR.

Without a consistent presence the credibility on TV of both these networks is once again starting at a low point.

Bottom line is they are two key NASCAR TV partners and they dropped the ball. The best part is, they both know it.

Should be fun to see what they say to start things off.


Anonymous said...

Why in the world does speed keep throwing that saw dust filling show Pinks at us?First It was the biker guys yelling at each other,now this!!Does speed have a (Low as we can go Department)??

Anonymous said...

As to EESPN it seems to me that there is a logical inconsistency in deciding that there is enough of an audience for NASCAR to pay over $200,000,000 annually for the right to carry the races, but not enough interest to have continuing news reporting. If the lack of news coverage is the result of some quasi-rational decision, rather than northeast insularity, I believe it is taking NASCAR fans for granted. I don't believe a quality news organization decides to skip a valid story because some other outlet is covering the story.

Anonymous said...

I don't think you can say ESPN "dropped the ball" when they never picked it up to begin with. This is NASCAR, not the NFL. It just isn't big enough in the overall sports landscape to warrant an offseason daily or weekly show. I don't see an MLS studio show.

ESPN is just an outlet for NASCAR content. They are what UPS is to Amazon, just hired gun to deliver content. They aren't married to NASCAR. And, its not their job to build the sport. That is Brian France's job.

They cover what is hot and in-season. Its up to the specialty networks (read SPEED) to pick up the slack in the off-season.

Yes, if an NFL QB or an MLB starting pitcher was cut just after signing a contract in the off-season, it may make sportscenter, but that is the NFL and MLB, a top tier sport. Like it or not, NASCAR just hasn't acheived that status. Its NASCAR's responsibility, and NASCAR's alone to raise it up. They still haven't figured out how to compete effectively with the NFL.

Anonymous said...

As someone earlier stated, the 'media' views NASCAR in the same light as they do the professioanl wrestling and the WWE. This is not the fault of ESPN or Speed TV, the blame soley rests with NASCAR.

Fabricated 'endings' are not tolerated in other professional sports. The NFL doesn't thow 'competition' yellow flags, MLB doesn't dock teams earned runs for errors (I'm not sure about the NBA :^O ). If and when NASCAR wants to be treated like a major league sport they will police their own actions regarding competition. There is a difference between sports and entertainment.

Anonymous said...

I agree with anon 1-4-09@ 6:58pm

ESPN did not drop the ball. Their contract with NASCAR is to deliver content. Aside from that, ESPN knows their customer base.

There might be a story on college football, and they might get 50,000 blog responses. And that's just for one article. The next article might have 30 or 40,000 responses. Then you have a NASCAR article. Fist it only shows up for the first day, than it drops of the first page. How many respond? It differs, sometimes 30 or 40. I don't mean thousands. I mean just 30 individual blogs.

Today there was an aricle about the Boston College coach interviewing for the Jet's job. Within an hour there were something over 800 blogs. Within in a few days this story might have 20,000 or more responses (just guessing).

The story on Sadler has been out about a week, and in this site and all over, you pobably don't even have 2 or 300 comments. And that's after a week!

ESPN or others should not invent news. There is no specic news on Sadler, Petty, etc. Their lawyers have probably told then to keep their mouths shut, or they lose.

Daly Planet Editor said...

So, let me get this straight. Your contention is that some mythical imaginary NASCAR angel has to deliver "content" to ESPN and then they report it?

What do you think ESPN is paying a TON of folks to do? From Ryan McGee through Marty Smith, Ed Hinton to Angelique Chengelis the function of this group is to report news.

You have confused the responsibility of producing programming with fleshing-out news in one of the most popular sports in the US.

The fact that you like stick-and-ball stuff is great. That has nothing to do with the fact that ESPN chose to drop NASCAR news this off-season in exactly the same manner than they chose to drop NASCAR news when they did not have the TV contract.


Anonymous said...

from anon@1:19 an avid sports fan including NASCAR

I would assume that the contracts with ESPN reporters is very defined. They are not paid to appear on SportCenter or other news programs in ESPN during the off season.

If there was interest in what is going on right now, ESPN would have them come on. When I say interest, I mean interest to the core ESPN viewers.

I see that ESPN.com has changed their site. Right now there is not even a direct link to get to NASCAR, you have to click on "all sports", and then you get a list of all the other sports. I think that lets all know that there is not that much traffic for NASCAR information.

At first I thought maybe they only listed the sports in seasons, but they list MLB, of course that follows USA Today that only has "Motor Sports" and not NASCAR.

ESPN has a link if you want to customize your links, so they will probaly monotor is to see if NASCAR get much traffic. My bet is that NASCAR will not compete with NFL, MLB, NBA, and college sports.

Anonymous said...

Interesing...what next.

Anonymous said...

When I just went to ESPN.go.com I had to click on ALL SPORTS to get to any sports, not just NASCAR.

Anonymous said...

I am the bigist Elliott Sadler fan in the world and I think if they let hem go it will be vary stuped

Anonymous said...

elliot Sadler is THE driver of the19 car not anather car !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!