Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Lots Of Commercial Junk In The NASCAR On Fox Trunk


It was apparent from the start of the NASCAR on Fox Phoenix broadcast that something was different. The shorter 312 lap race distance was going to result in some changes for the TV viewers.

Those changes wound-up causing this race to be overwhelmed by sponsored elements and extended commercial breaks. On this night, there was lots of sales junk in the NASCAR on Fox trunk.

Chris Myers led Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Hammond through a 45 minute pre-race show that involved a lot of sponsorship involvement and very little NASCAR information. The stark contrast between the RaceDay show on SPEED and the Hollywood Hotel program was amazing.

Fox had a mission in this telecast and it involved getting as much commercial material and sponsor features in the race as possible. 312 laps apparently was not going to allow coverage of the actual racing, but it would allow the network to show Digger cartoons, three minute commercial breaks, endless sponsor billboards and in-program features that the announcers would read.

When it was time for Mike Joy and company to take a break from the Ask.com questions and the Cheese-It whatever, it was Myers and Hammond's turn to offer more sponsor mentions during a Hollywood Hotel race break. The assault on the senses by this paid material was nothing short of brutal.

Some of the top NASCAR TV announcers work for Fox. On this Saturday night, they were barely able to get complete thoughts out of their mouths before the coverage went to commercial or Joy was forced to interrupt with a paid element.

Adding insult to injury, the Fox team added recorded "bumpers" leading into the commercials that extended the time away from the track. Kurt Busch trying to look tough is perhaps not the best use of twenty seconds while the track is under the green flag. Is there a single fan who does not know Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s face?

The meltdown of the Fox production team was evident on the continued attempts to force the infamous four video box coverage of caution flag pitstops into the tight and fast Phoenix pit road. By the third caution, the video boxes had the wrong cars, none of the timing clocks worked and the 50 plus cameras could not even find the race off pit road. The embarrassed announcers quickly went to yet another commercial.

Returning to the track after that extended break officially put the race into the chaos zone. The green flag came out as the network returned and fans watching on TV had absolutely no idea what had happened or who was where. It was eventually explained that Jimmie Johnson's team had trouble on pit road through a replay.

State Farm Safety reports took the place of race recaps from the pit reporters. Fox baseball promos and Digger popping-up took the place of finding and showing actual racing on the track. The best the TV production team could muster was following the leader and trying to offer some forced jokes between commercials.

By the time Dale Earnhardt Jr. led the field to the green flag at lap 172, it was all but hopeless for Fox. The veteran announcers like Joy and Waltrip just scrambled to try and explain who was where and how they got there to the TV viewers. To see these veterans put in this position was tough to watch.

As in the earlier races on Fox this season, there was no type of rundown given of cars not in the top ten. Nothing like the radio-style rundowns was ever offered and the ticker at the top of the Fox screen offered its normal amount of background information. None.

Ultimately, the race played-out with a popular winner. Who was behind him and how they got there was a mystery. The stories of this race were never told. The TV professionals were buried in commercials and "Monster Moments." But, there was also something else fans missed.

In both the pre-race and the race itself, Fox refused to promote the Nationwide Series race next week at Talladega. The Sprint Cup race was promoted, along with tickets for the race and the phone number to order them. The Nationwide race is on ABC and this seems to be an issue for the Fox executives.

The current feud between Fox and ESPN that has resulted in the lack of on-air race promotion for both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series races is disgusting. The decline in TV ratings across the board and the economic struggles of the sport apparently take second place to the Fox egos where actually promoting a race on another TV network is concerned.

No part of this coverage would keep a casual TV viewer interested who channel-surfed over to this event. NASCAR fans with better things to do also left. Many of them added a comment or emailed TDP to make their feelings known about the condition of this sport on TV after two bad race telecasts on the same weekend.

All we can do is ask for your opinion on this telecast and perhaps some suggestions.

TDP welcomes comments from readers. Just click on the comments button below and offer your TV-related opinion. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting.

Thank you for hanging in there this weekend and stopping by The Daly Planet.

109 comments:

Lou said...

JD,
You really said it all. It just was bad. Even in the booth there was confusion with stepping over each other or just dead air. The thing that bothered me most was all the breaks for the racing that we did not see. Even worse I stayed up and watched all this junk.

David said...

What. A. Joke.

Period.

Fox ruined this race for me. I think I was better off spending the $35 and going to the track and watching there instead of watching TV.

Missing green flag passes for the lead by going to commercial, missing wrecks for commercials, commercials for commercials. See a theme here?

Great handling of the post-race but thats all I can say positive for FOX.

Top to bottom mess.

No through the field updates, minimal updates on anyone not driving for HMS or JGR.

No mention of the Roush struggles today, Kenseth and Ragan doing the worst.

No mention of the S&P cars or even the issue in general.

There were tons of stories that could have kept the race interesting even though the on track action was lacking and I have alot higher expectations for "broadcast professionals" and a group that won an EMMY in NASCAR.

Discuss the stories unfolding in the race, such as Regan Smith. SPEED did fantastic at this all weekend then FOX takes over and drops the ball massively. How can a network that shares the same parent, same cast have two distinct personalities from SPEED to FOX?!

SPEED seems to send off the message they are concerned about NASCAR, the fan's network, while FOX is about the commercials and promos and $$$.

The network fued with ESPN and FOX needs to stop and stop now. This is just BS and has NO place in this sport IMO.

David Gilliland gets a new sponosr and you don't talk about him for a single moment. You don't recap pit stops of most of the field, broken pit reports and updates of guys like Jr and Tony all night long...

Jumping to conclusions before someone in the production truck can get an adequate angle of a said incident...

Too many holes to really fill. Genuinely disappointed. Didn't have my SIRIUS tonight so I pretty much flew blind. Gonna bid that thing on EBAY to get a new receiver so this doesn't happen again. Sounded like MRN was their top selves as usual again staying ontop of everything...

Vicky D said...

JD - this broadcast wasn't as bad as yesterday's race, but close. Lou said it correctly that the commercial breaks several times came at the worst point when we could actually see a pass coming up they break for a commercial. And that John Madden piece was a waste of time. Aren't these things supposed to get better as the year goes on . . . .

haus20 said...

Very intersting in ESPN news...they are using the radio pXp as the audio on the highlights...

glenc1 said...

just an instinct, but I put MRN on after about 20 laps. I felt like I was missing something otherwise. And I think I was. I had to keep my eye out for my own driver, who was top 15 but *rarely* mentioned in the broadcast.

a D

Daly Planet Editor said...

haus,

I told you a storm was brewing.

JD

Jojaye said...

I raced thru Tampa to get home since this was the first race I'd get to see the end of "live". I should have driven slower and listened to it on MRN. At least I got race coverage there, not a long commercial w/ a few cars oh by the way. !st thing I got was a commercial for Digger wallpaper. Then more bumpers & commercial talk , and sponsors and hype junk. This was the last 57 laps.

The absolute most espu- ish moment was D-U-R-I-N-G green flag we got a photos thru the years family moment on Mark Martins crew chief Alan G.!Completely covering the screen. For a couple laps.

OK My idea has not changed 1 bit ( go back & check)
1 -show the racing on the screen as it happens
2- reset the field - let us know there are more than the top 4 or 5 & Jr.
3-Show more than 1 car at a time. Please show racing.

I know the COT makes really lousy racing ( every one knows it save NA$CAR) lousy passing & look like cookie cutter cars cuz they are - but do not ignore racing on the track. Cover the field - every driver has fans.

I know FOX team can do waaay better than the junk I saw tonight.

Marc Cote said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
The Track Girl said...

I cannot believe how awful the race broadcast was tonight.
The sheer number of commercials was stupefying.
The coverage was abysmal, there was actual racing on the track while we, as viewers were subjected to countless in-car camera shots, Digger cams, endless coverage of the top five or so cars and of course the "hip" "artistic" "fun" or whatever its supposed to be-segments featuring the drivers in the lead. Thanks. I need a good twenty seconds of Kurt Busch's face doing funny things. I didn't want to watch the race anyhow.

And actually, thanks again for showing Junior and Kyle Busch doing funny things with tons of "hot chicks" when Mark Martin lead most of the race.

Thanks for showing the intricate details of lug nuts when there is actual racing action on the track.
I have an idea.
Show us our race.
Please.
That's all we want. We don't want Digger. Or endless coverage of the first two drivers on the track.
We don't care to be told over and over again that Kyle Busch is a great driver. We know he is.

We want to watch the race. We want to watch the drivers fight for all the places and we want to watch them all cross the finish line.

Tonight was the worst coverage of a race I've seen in a long time. And, like a lot of folks, if I'm not actually there, I watch every race, every weekend.

I'm thinking of just listening to Talladega over the radio. Only over the radio.

I can't think of a way to sign off except to say how disappointed I am in the way in which you treat our sport.

Newracefan said...

I was really looking forward to this race, I seemed to remember last years as a really good one but WOW what a difference a year makes. I felt like I was watching the infomercial channel. I love the Fox guys Mike, Larry, and DW along with the best pit reporters in the business but between massive commercials interruptions both in frequency and length, all the video clips and what ever those other sponsored bits were I never really saw a race. I believe it was during the TNT races where we said forcing things down our throats turns us off, the same can be said with all these sponsorship bits. Trust me it's not making me run out and buy Cheese-its or use ask.com. Fox has several more races to change their presentation back to what made them great. They basically fixed the checkers and now they need to fix the rest. I understand the need for commercials but who ever thought up all these sponsor bits and the need to put 50lbs of commercials in a 10lb race should be tied to a chair and made to watch them over and over until their eyeballs fall out.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Marc,

If you could expand your comments about the NASCAR coverage on Fox it would be great. Thanks.

JD

Anonymous said...

Fox was nothing but a 4 hour advertising block tonight. Thank gosh I had MRN! Fans don't want Digger promos under green. Fans don't want tech/safety report pieces under green. What has been missing is just a focus on the RACE. I don't need commercial bumpers of drivers acting stupid, I don't need graphics that give driver stats to take up half the screen. I don't want a Joey Logano interview about taping a commerical under green. Focus on the battles, give top 20 rundowns...inform the viewers on who got where and how.

The battle between ESPN and Fox all kicked off with ESPN getting locked out of the track in 2001 when Fox took over, and it still continues. It is pathetic.

I had a flashback tonight and made me wonder, was the 2001 tv contract a bad thing for the sport? It opened NASCAR up for more fans, but from 2001 foward the way of presenting a race went from a fun Sunday afternoon from ESPN and CBS to a commercial production with pop up graphics, cut away cars, and digital rodents.

The theme of this long rant is focus on the race, and the less bells and whistles, the better.

RickyBobby said...

Last night I thought I had witnessed the worst broadcast of a race ever... I now know i simply saw the worst Nationwide race ever...The cup race coverage still has me shaking my head some half hour later. As a fan of 15+ years i find myself asking why I bother to watch. The few times that actual racing was shown it was from the track level cameras which varied from foggy to dusty to completly blurred over. If I had a Neilson meter I would purposely not watch. As it is I now it doesn't matter if I watch or not and all I can do is let it out here. Sorry for the length of post but I couldn't take it anymore. Also, no more posting anon for me.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Thanks for stopping by...um...Ricky.

David said...

Thank goodness we are going to Talladega next week. This is where the action will dictate itself, through the field has little to no importance and pit stops will be minimal. If we can get something dramatic to happen like an upset win or some other huge storyline hopefully that will carry us through all-star weekend.

Just an all around let down today from FOX.

Anonymous said...

Without a doubt, this was absolutely the worst race coverage I have ever seen on FOX - and I've been watching for a long, long time.

I used to think FOX was the best and couldn't wait for their TV portion of the season. Tonight, they actually made ESPN look GOOD! Did the award go to their heads? Did they think they could throw junk at the race fans now?

Waaay too many commercials, too much commentary that didn't pertain to what was going on on the track, and for crying out loud, whose bright idea was it to show us LUG NUTS?!!! No self-respecting race fan would ever need to ask what a lug nut is - and we need Jeff to EXPLAIN them to us?! Now that's really getting hard up for a subject...

I'll look forward to a lot of statistics this week - how many minutes the broadcast was, how many minutes were spent on commercials, how many minutes were spent on extra "stuff", and finally and most importantly, how many minutes of actual racing did we get to see. I bet the stats will be very lopsided.

FOX just doesn't seem to get it any more than ESPN did - race fans turn on their TV's to SEE the RACE! Why is that so hard to comprehend? We don't care what Larry, Darrel & Mike have to say unless it actually pertains to something happening on the race track - and tonight, it didn't. They were left sounding like blithering idiots!

Next time some fan starts knocking FOX and cheering for ESPN, I won't be able to defend FOX. They took every good point I could have raised and proved me wrong. How sad that such a huge network could crumble so quickly.

Digger, you dug the hole. Now it's time to bury them - they're decayed beyond resurrection.

See all you folks on MRN! THEY cover a race!

Dot said...

Bad coverage tonight. I have mentioned on prior occasions how when we are seeing something good, they change the camera. Tonight, they went to commls instead.

I still want to know how the TV partners wield so much power. I don't think NASCAR throws those convenient cautions, TV does. No wonder we're compared to the WWE.

The FOX/BSPN rivalry crap has to stop. What happened to the coopetition from last year? Do the networks think that if they mention another network, viewers aren't going to watch theirs anymore? They need to use the Miracle on 34th Street mentality.

Anderson Speedway said...

At first I thought I fell asleep because I was tired...the reality is that Fox may be the best cure since Ambien to help someone catch up on your ZZZZZZZ's.

As someone who saw Mark Martin win in the ASA in the 70's...YEA!

Grover said...

Ive been watching NASCAR coverage 'full time' since 1996 or so. The last 2-3 years have brought this sport to new lows.

Marcus Ambrose is what 20ish in points kept on the lead lap of all the races this year, was running in the top 10 for half the race today, not a single dang word about him all season. When all they could do is kiss the F1 drivers behinds the last two years.

I wont say I am done, but slowly starting not to care anymore.....

The J said...

Grover i agree with you. ive watched since 2001 and lately im just not that into it unless reuti is in the front.

tonights coverage was baaaaaaad. the only thing it was missing was billy mays, then it would have had a true infomercial feel. i really hope any new fans didnt choose this as their first race to watch.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I have read the comparisons between MRN and tv. I always chalked up the difference with radio having to tell the whole story since you can't see anything. Tonight I had what turned out to be the pleasure of listening to MRN for the first half of the race. They tried to reset the field before every restart. I do have to note that they would always start off saying that they would recap the top 10, but as time permitted, they kept going down the running order. There was at least 1 time where they did not get through the whole field, but got to either 20th or 30th. It would have been helpful if the announcers would note where in the running order the lap down cars started. Like if the 25th place car was 1 lap down, mention that the following cars are 1 lap down. (Maybe I missed it.) The whole broadcast team discussed what was going on on the track, not just the top 3 or 4.

I got home the caution before Jr. stayed out, but didn't make it in until sometime around that restart. There seemed to be an effort to report on some other battles, but that usually only meant battles for a position in the top 10. A few times they talked about battles outside the top 10.

The ticker needs to keep the intervals up all the time. Just showing positions when you are not going to talk about everyone is not helpful.

Not resetting the field after the last caution was inexcuseable. The lead lap cars were lined up in front with no lap traffic in their way. Of course that probably didn't mean much to the viewer since it wasn't noted how the cars were performing all night. But if you knew who had a better car on a restart, who was moving though the field, who was falling all night, it would have set up more dramatic racing in the back. I got a baseball promo during the time that the field could have been reset. That was a waste!

I like the split screen for the finish. Show all the cars crossing the line, but follow the winner for the celebration. I would have like to seen Fox stay with Mark Martin as he went around for his cool down lap receiving the congratulations from the other driver instead of seeing his crew celebrate.

I would have liked to see the drivers' interviews sooner instead of listening to the analysis first.

No wonder there was no time for coverage of racing. 22 companies paid for promotion during the race. That means that if each company was mentioned only once, that there was a mention every 14 laps, or about every 7 minutes.

Phew! Didn't think that my comments would get this long.

Dot said...

@ Grover, I agree with you too. I was saying the exact same thing to my roommate earlier today. How did Marcos get lost in that foreign driver flurry (country & series)? Other than Juablo and Speed, where are the other ones?

I did notice that when JR stayed out and Marcos was second, the booth skipped right over Ps 2-5 to talk about Mark in 6th. Like it would have killed them to say Marcos in 2nd, whoever in 3rd, etc. They did mention it after the GF though.

The whole broadcast seemed out of sync. What causes that?

@ The J, Billy Mays. You're killing me. Let's hope they don't get any ideas. You know Billy has a TV show now.

Richard in N.C. said...

I did not get to see the Cup race tonight yet, but sounds like I did not miss much - but I listened to a whale of a race on MRN from Phoenix, and Barney wasn't even there. Now it's time to watch a super crew call F1.

NorCalFan said...

At least the fans at the track got to see a race without interruption. The fans at home were treated to a marathon of commercials interrupted by snippets of racing. If not for PitCommand I wouldn't have known who was where on the track, but for the most part, I didn't know why. No explanations were offered as to why drivers like Bowyer and Kenseth are laps down.

There seems to be so little pit road reporting anymore and it was especially noticeable today when different pit strategies were being used and it jumbled up the restart order after a caution. Are the opportunities for pit reporting during caution laps being replaced by commercials?

And, what exactly happened during that one caution when the viewers didn't get to see the action on pit road but were instead treated to a panoramic view of the track from turn 3 with a bird's eye view of the race off pit road. You've got to be freakin' kidding me.

I hope today's broadcast fiasco was an anomaly and there won't be a repeat performance next week. A 5-minute commercial break at Talladega could amount to missing 30 lead changes, "the big one", and the checkered flag all at once.

Jimbacca said...

Another ??? event.
There seemed to be all kinds of commercials and ... moments with so and so sponsoring it.

The coverage was more of like a practice was going on. The caution flew one time and they didn't mention what it was for.
And I'm sorry for all the Mikey lovers. But he wiped out Gordon and where was the anger from DW or the massive minute by minute of Mikey's feelings and what will happen? If that was reversed it would be all over the place for the broadcast. Instead you get a short minute with Gordon. The bias is there.
Compare to Ned, never showed a bias towards his son except to show joy when he won a title or the daytona 500. He stayed neutral throughout events and didnt take sides. The announcers should review those tapes and take notes. But now they are just ad men promoting a gopher etc. In the grand scheme of it though isnt that what nascar itself has become. Official sponsors get mentioned all over. So they aren't doing anything nascar itself wouldn't do. Not sure why a slightly shorter even would cause such havoc. The truck events are half the length and have none of these problems.

MI Mike said...

What a waste of time! The worst thing is after inviting some non NASCAR friends over to get them into the racing gig I surely made a big mistake on that call.

Does any of the brass even care?
Does Brian France ever watch races and be subjected to the same crap we are.

Blame the falling ratings on the econony but let me tell you after that broadcast the friends I had over will never waste time on another race.

SallyB said...

If Fox isn't embarrassed by this pathetic excuse for 'race coverage', they should be. Parading your inadequacies in front of millions of viewers (that must have faded as the night went on) ought to leave someone with a red face...and a pink slip.

majorshouse said...

I thought that ESPN's coverage was bad and I am so glad that my Fox affiliate was off the air and was forced to l;isten to MRN and their coverage was great as always and they are the standard to look at. It sounds like that this was a worse scripted broadcast than anything we have seen lately from the other four letter network. I have been following NASCAR for over 40 years and I swear the broacasting seems to be getting worse, more on the entertainment side and commercialism than the actual racing itself and we will just have to wait and see what Talladega holds next week where there will be so much action on the track that it is not even funny.

red said...

hey all. i was with you last night but my laptop was being borrowed so couldn't join the live blog. well, actually, i only watched the first 90 minutes or so and then i did what would have been unthinkable even last year: i turned it off and read instead.

i had a bad feeling when the first pit stop was so badly botched across all four (!) screens but was willing to give everyone a pass and just wait it out. but then we had cars listed as out/off with no mention by the booth, the continuing pit stop mistakes, the booth stepping on each others' comments followed by that awkward dead air, bumpers and graphics cluttering the screen and no sense that there were even cars racing in phoenix last night.

by the time it moved from bad to disasterous, i felt as if i had been forced away from our sport and into commercial hell. i understand and accept the need for commercials and i know that this race must always be a challenge from that perspective but it went so far over the top that the flow of the broadcast was destroyed and that wasn't the fault of the booth.

and i just couldn't fathom why we had the madden appreciation during a race broadcast, a sport with which he personally had no connection. i accept that he was a great coach and has been an amazing broadcaster but he has nothing to do with nascar and the attempt to justify it by having dw speak about him was just silly. it felt as if fox desperately wanted to recognize that "their" broadcaster was retiring and had no sport within which to do that except nascar.

and all this on the day when we phillies fans said goodbye to one of the truly great broadcasters ever, harry kalas.

so, i have decided that i will continue to ignore all pre-race (you guys really got "re-diggered"? how sad) and will have the fox images in front of me while i listen to mrn/prn and make full use of my laptop. i don't blame the guys in the booth or the pit road reporters (were they used last night?) they did the best they could.

but fox has driven me away from watching their broadcasts with a thousand tiny cuts over the past two seasons. last night, my ability to withstand poor production, endless hawking of crap, horrible decisions by the director and an all-around mess of a broadcast died a death by exsanguination.

43n62 said...

I followed the race on race trax and only watched Fox for the replays -- which were mostly poor and a waste of time. It is time to get rid of DW, the talking head for Mikey and Toyota.

Callaway said...

This is getting to the point it's simply unwatchable. Less information of any use, massive amounts of corn pone Waltrip/Hammond humor. I don't bother watch any pre race stuff anymore and just wait until the race starts then at least they have to talk auto racing. Apparently they also have gotten the word from Nascar no criticism of this car will be allowed. Watching these three clowns flounder around is just evidence of how good and classy the late Benny Parsons was.

Anonymous said...

I had to leave the TV race around lap 90 to pick my son up at the mall, so I listened on the radio to MRN
the coverage on MRN was awesome

I should have drove around the mall the Whole race

Fox has gone down hill after Daytona 2001

Lesley said...
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TexasRaceLady said...

How dare FOX interrupt my infomercial/paid promotional show for 2 minutes of racing! The very idea. *sarcasm*

I doubt that I can add to the indignation already expressed here, for it has been done most eloquently.

If it weren't for the saving grace of the radio and my computer, I would have had NO idea of the happenings on the track.

The FOX production team has totally lost sight of the goal --- which I thought was bringing racing to the viewing public. Apparently, the goal is now selling whatever product is willing to put up the dollars.

The broadcast team MUST start looking out the window and calling the race. Quit relying on the monitors, because those are not showing the race.

Coverage of pitstops was abysmal -- and that's about as low as you can go.

I have been a fan since 1979, last night butchered the sport I love.

FOX, you're arrogance is driving me away from the TV. My computer and radio are becoming more valuable than you.

Andrew said...

I'll take ESPN's script over this junk any day. At least ESPN focuses on three or four drivers instead of corporate sponsors and rodents.

Anonymous said...

I have no idea why anyone would have watched this race "coverage." (I finally turned to MRN and RaceView.) There was no way to tell who was where or what was going on.

When your commercial breaks are equally as long as the race content between then, you have a serious problem. (And when I don't have to exaggerate for that to be true, it is even worse!)

From the inappropriate Madden profile that couldn't have been any more maudlin had he died, not retired, to the fact that the crew missed nearly every significant event on the track, either by being in a break, or simply not caring, this broadcast was an abomination.

And who figured this race would need to have pre-produced segments to insert? It is a short race on what everyone calls a short track. There's no time for anything no tape to be shown without missing action, but that's exactly what went on.

And to the sponsors like Cheeze-Its who keep buying these stupid in-race segments: All you're doing is making me angry. That's not going to get me to buy your product.

roadrunner said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
bevo said...

Sounds like I missed one heck of a broadcast :)

I listened to the MRN coverage on Sirius and they covered all of the action as well as great analysis of race strategy near the end.

Hopefully the Fox people will watch the IRL coverage on Versus this afternoon for some pointers on how to televise a race, pretty sad considering this will be only their second race ever. With Castroneves back in his car it ought to be a fun race.

diane said...

I had the live leaderboard running while watching other shows. I switched over to watch the last 20 laps live. Sounds like that was a good choice.

GinaV24 said...

Well, I watched the race until I couldn't stand it any more then went to listening to it on the radio.

I read articles all the time saying in effect, gee we can understand why people may not be spending money to see a race, but why are the ratings down? Some of the people asking that question (Nascar management?) should try watching what the fans have to watch when the race is being broadcast (on any network -- take your pick) -- the answer as to why the ratings are down would be self-evident.

It has become unwatchable. Most of the time I have the TV on mute and follow the race with radio and internet coverage because I just cannot stand the incessant commercials.

Last night, when I'd been diggered to death and confused beyond bearing with the poor production, I just turned the TV off.

Man what a difference from 2001 when showing the race was the primary reason for the broadcast. So sad.

Anonymous said...

Gee, I missed a lot of the BS last night. I fell asleep after the first 30 minutes of boredom, then woke up an hour later. I watched another few minutes then turned it off and went to bed.


And, yeah, I'm a former long-time fan of nascar. I raced jalopies on dirt tracks in the 50s. I've really lost interest in the last 2 years or so.

Ann_Ominous said...

It's like Fox read all our comments on how bad the ESPN coverage was and felt they had to do their best to be worst!!

"He's caught the leader!" is not suppose to be the lead in to a long commercial break! And when they got back, that leader was in third. Maybe this going to commercial was done as a public service to keep some Junior Nation fanatic from doing an Elvis and shooting the tv screen when he lost the lead.

The free DirecTV HotPass is almost useless for seeing any action during commercial breaks. All you get is an in-car camera. Usually it's the one pointed at the driver, in which case you might see a little bit of a car passing if it's to the inside.

The TV coverage is killing NASCAR.

Steve L. said...

Seems like selling more commercial spots is more important than ratings. But JD, how can they sell so many spots when the rating are so low. You'd think it would be the other way around, that they would have a harder time selling so many commercials with ratings so low.

I had a hard time staying awake. Not because I was tired but it was so darn boring. I would try to see where everyone was running with the ticker, but it would get half way through and stop for one reason or another. I don't think it ever went all the way through the 43 cars, if it did I missed it.

And the digger cameras are just horrible! Fuzzy, cloudy, just unusable for television. I've seen web-cams look better than what they're using for national coverage.

Zieke said...

Good Grief, I can't believe that anyone can stand to watch Fox's races. They are the WORST I have ever seen. Waltrip needs a job at Wal-Mart. Maybe he could have a Toyota booth, and sell Mikey garbage out the back side. David is really making MW look like the below ave. driver he really is. Bet Robbie Gordon would second that. And that stupid gopher crap is just right for a 3 yr. old.
You can't imagine how much of the playoff hockey game I saw while the race was on, as I switched over every time a Fox commercial came on.
As I see it, we should patronize the driver and car sponsors, not the Fox TV sponsors. Maybe Fox would get the idea.

Jo from SC said...

Race? There was a race last night? I turned on Fox but all I saw were ads promoting a show about rodents....and a bunch of cars running around in a line with no ability to pass. So I put in the DVD of the 79 Daytona 500. At least that was entertaining.

Anonymous said...

West Coast Diane said:

Totally disgusted and frustrated. I was right with my post yesterday before the race. They don't like us! It seems they read our suggestions and then do the opposite.

I used to be so excited for the races to start. I'm not sure I care anymore.

How can the F1 guys do such a great job from a studio...amazing. And of course the Trucks...just pure enthusiasm and great production. SIMPLE!

I am really curious if DW, Larry Mac or Mike Joy read this blog or if they even know what is happening with the fans...or are they like the "POD" people in the Body Snatchers (original version, please).

Wouldn't you think in a very down economy that more people might be watching TV as the cheap form of entertainment. Are they clueless with the theory of "cause and effect"??? Lousy presentation equals less viewers.

Sorry to ramble, I'm using this as therapy to get myself calmed down! Know it is "only" racing, but something we really enjoy and it is being ruined.

Anonymous said...

Speed's worst moments are far more desirable viewing than Fox' best moments ; which, by the way are quite comparable to those of ESPN that are equally terrible !)

Anonymous said...

and a bunch of cars running around in a line with no ability to pass.

This is Fox's fault also--there was plenty of passing, but they didn't show it.

Anonymous said...

West Coast Diane said:

PS...I had dvr'd JR HotPass just to check it out. (had it when it was PPV). Decided to see what happened with JR and first pit stop, the Mears in race incident and after race. What a disaster! Can't hear the scanner talk over the babbling on FOX. What a waste. Everything has gone to heck!!

Anonymous said...

I didn't watch more than 5% of the television coverage of this race. I was watching shows on another network while listening to my favorite driver via TrackPass Pit Command. The few times I DID switch over to the race to see what was going on, it was a mess.

These t.v. peeps are never going to accept the fact that they have thousands of very unhappy fans out here. They sure as heck aren't going to do anything about it, either. They're getting their big fat paychecks from these sponsors that we are constantly being bombarded with and we all know that is what matter most.

Anonymous said...

nas4car has turned into a bodiless creature with no presence. It lives in it's own personal hell because it sold it's soul to the networks a long time ago. As far as fox (in small case) is concerned, we, the fans are theirs to try and fleece. As soon as the fox pre-race program goes, as soon as it came on I changed the channel. Watched baseball. Then the race started. Yes JD. I noticed the large amount of ads. What a joke. To be honest with you, the racing with this car of crap is also a joke. Once a car gets the lead it pretty much means that they run off and leave the rest of the pack. Long green flag runs means a lot of decent cars go a lap down. You want to know how much this excited me. I turned it off and went to bed long before it ended. I found out who wond it this morning. If that doesn't get nas$car's attendion nothing will. And even then I'm dreaming. Thanks for listening JD.

Jimbacca said...

Add to my comments above.

Just a comparison. Watching the ARCA race on Speed.

Solid like the trucks. So is it the producers or ??

2 Pit reporters 3 announcers (Harvick not praising his manufacturer or team the whole time) and good information. No field center, tech center.

Instead of Fox and Espn copying each others bad ideas. They should look at speed for decent ideas. If they did that they would save some production cost which was a target this year.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it was a very jumbled broadcast.

But I forgive FOX for the blatant sponsor plugs. In this down economy, I bet every single sponsor is second guessing their marketing and advertising budgets. NASCAR is cleraly showing these sponsors that they get more bang for the buck when they spend their money on NASCAR vs. NFL or MLB.

Last week the 8 car shut down because of no sponsorship. If I am a sponsor and I think that getting me on the 8 car will also get a few mentions from the booth and maybe even a pre-taped segment with my driver at my factory, then it may tip the difference between being a sponsor and not being a sponsor. I personally would rather have the 8 car on the track and have Larry McReynolds plug the sponsor than have fewer plugs and no 8-car.

In this economy, I hope fans are more forgiving what NASCAR needs to do to keep the show running.

The J said...

watching this arca race on speed is very refreshing. they know how to broadcast a race the right way

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 1:51PM,

The current NASCAR TV contract is valued at 2.4 billion dollars and runs from 2007 through 2014.

This multi-billion dollar deal has no connection with the cars on the track in any way.

Both Fox and ESPN are in for over 200 million dollars per season. This is one of their most valued sports properties.

Without a shot clock, four downs, or nine innings, NASCAR TV allows the host network to leave anytime for sponsor commercials and features.

The Phoenix race was run from 8:46PM to 11:30PM ET. This shorter race resulted in Fox inserting the normal commercial load that viewers would see in a four hour race.

The result was nothing short of a disaster for the sport, the network and the viewers.

If the network had recapped the field after cautions and jumped around to show racing, the teams would have gotten much more exposure than the sales-oriented telecast offered.

JD

Anonymous said...

Just a word from someone who works in a different type of media..radio. My company has cut everyone they can and still stay in business. We are accepting ads and promotions that smell terrible, but we need to stay on the air somehow. And if you want to keep your job, you just say "yes sir" when told to do something you may have objected to in the past.
I'm not saying Fox is in such dire straits as some other businesses, but these days the lines of demarcation as to what's acceptable are blurrier.
Times are very tough, and if someone walks in with some dollars, they can pretty much dictate terms.

Gnaahh said...

I was yet again disappointed with Fox's coverage. There was too much talk about cars and stuff. When are they gonna wise up and give the fans what they want? I don't need my Digger cartoons interrupted every few minutes with commercials and car racing.

stricklinfan82 said...

The Fox broadcasts have suffered greatly all year from an overkill of in-race sponsored content and very questionable production truck stylistic approaches. When you add in the elements of a very quick race, a crazy amount of varying pit strategies and pit road mishaps, and new elements like the race sponsor buying into the broadcast, the start of Fox's baseball season, and John Madden's retirement the results were disastrous, in my opinion.

Fox's ignoring of the on-track racing for an endless amount of sponsored segments has been very frustrating to watch. The weekly profile of Home Depot's 30th place driver, all the Ask.com questions without any answers, the 'Bite of the Race', the Sprint Monster Moment, the at&t Race Breaks, the Safety Feature, the Amp Up thing, all of Fox's money-making cartoon inserts and advertisements, etc. that almost always occur under green have been very very tough to deal with.

Things were made just that much worse when they had to squeeze all that in under a much smaller time frame than normal. Additional decisions like using part of the pre-race show to celebrate the race sponsor's products, choosing to recycle a re-run of an old Fox cartoon, adding the Fox basbeball video packages, and adding in the lengthy John Madden video package made it even worse yet. It was nice to give a shout-out to a football legend, but in my opinion it was the wrong forum to do so and was certainly done in the wrong time and manner (doing it during the race instead of before or after it, and doing it in a lengthy manner under a yellow flag period during which a lengthy commercial break could have been used up to preserve green flag racing for the viewers later in the day instead).

And the on-going theme of the production truck making a mess of yellow flag pit stop coverage and the finish line camera work in every race but Bristol and Martinsville were exposed to a great extent on Saturday night, in my opinion. Having no overall perspective of pit road because of the 4-box made it impossible to keep up with all the 2-tire and 4-tire changes, lug nut issues, pit road collisions, and pit road penalties that occured. To compound matters, resets after those eventful rounds pit stops were non-existent because of all the in-race sponsored content, promos, and commercial overload.

And in my opinion the unique Fox approach to finish line camera work still leaves much to be desired. Using the limited view flagstand cam that makes the cars nothing but blurs that are somewhat obstructed by the flagman and the still photographer, and now shrinking that shot into a very small box split-screened with the bigger "winner doing absolutely nothing on the backstretch box" just doesn't make sense to me when you compare it to the ESPN A-Team, ESPN B-Team, TNT Cup, Speed ARCA, and Speed Truck Series production trucks' universal approach of using a wide, full-screen shot of the finish line with some form of real-time finishing results display on the screen (though ESPN's horizontal display still leaves much to be desired, in my opinion).

I have no idea why the overkill of in-race sponsored content occurs. If Fox is losing money because of the handcuffs of being an over-the-air network (as I've heard some suggest), maybe it's time to move the Fox races to a cable network. And if it's just done to raise their profits, perhaps it's time to throttle back a little bit for the sake of improving the on-air product.

As for how to fix the production truck issues, I would suggest rewinding the clock back to Bristol and Martinsville and going back to what worked so effectively there (no cartoons, 3-box for pit stops, wide finish line shot, etc.). I'm still completely puzzled why those two races had such positive changes, and then all of a sudden everything was undone and returned back to 'normal' at Texas the next week.

Anonymous said...

When is someone at FOX and ESPN going to realize that we tune in to see a race, not a variety show!!

Sophia said...

STFAN

I second your manifesto! On target. :)

IIRC, wasn't the director normally used by Fox GONE for a couple of weeks? The FILL IN did MUCH BETTER WORK.

But now that the know- it -all and 'MY RIGHT TO DIRECT SUPERSEDES YOUR RIGHT TO ENJOY THE RACE' director is back, we are screwed until TNT.:(
Mike Wells hopefully will be as good as last year.

ryan said...

everyone is on the same page of how bad it was but , no one not even FOX mentioned that John Madden spent years on ABC and doing the monday night football. oh wait that is not fox related. does Madden even know who DW is? for all the lousy coverage at least i think the best part was Robby sying he couldnt wait for a new driver in the 55 car next year. you could almost hear a gasp of shock comming from all the fox crew.do u think Fox will mention the 4 car if they make the race next week. they want to talk about who is not there( 8, 28) how about a comeback story?

Newracefan said...

JD I was thinking as I did heavy duty yard work trying to deal with my frustration from last night. Perhaps these sponsored segments are a way to combat the FF people have started doing to to totally avoid the commercials (this is what I am doing right now for the Arca race). While I understand how about a more subtle sponsorship, sponsor the ticker as much as I do not want to say the put something little on the bottom (preferably instead of Digger). DO NOT interrupt or interfere with the race coverage. The other thing those that buy sponsor air time need to understand people tend to watch races live therefore they do not FF through the commercials but they do get annoyed when their race gets messed with especially by repeat offenders.

Daly Planet Editor said...

TV is in the same situation as newspapers and local radio. The fundamental technology used to deliver the message is old.

Fans want NASCAR cameras and multiple audio streams available online and they do not care about HD.

What has changed in the last couple of years is we (Internet users) do not like other people (TV directors) making the single choice of what we can see.

Fans now multi-task with MRN radio broadcasts, scoring technology from Internet sites and they will soon add the Racebuddy application when TNT takes over the coverage.

Fox and ESPN are choosing not who to include in the races, but who to exclude. That is the fundamental frustration pouring into my email box every single day.

To then cover that single video feed with commercials and sponsorship elements while the radio and the online scoring sites are confirming a good race in progress really drives fans crazy.

If Talladega becomes another bad TV weekend, I really don't know what kind of crowd Fox is going to be passing off to TNT for the traditionally semi-boring summer races.

Thanks for all the good comments on these topics, please keep them coming.

JD

Anonymous said...

It's hard to blame FOX for the commercial overload. It is NASCAR and/or PIR's fault for creating such a short race.

As a fan, it is very disappointing for the highlight of my week (the Cup race) to only be around three hours in length instead of 4+ hours.

Anonymous said...

JD,
I care about HD. I find myself watching sporting events just because they are in HD, rather than something else that is in SD. I didn't watch anything on SPEED until my provider started carrying their HD channel. I don't bother watching any SD channels anymore.

The TV network is still the only place where you can get live video. MRN and any scoring system out there just doesn't quite cut it. Racebuddy is a nice companion, but I don't consider it a replacement.

Though, with that being said, Fox is horrible. They are by far the worst in the industry.

glenc1 said...

stricklinfan said it all. Watching the ARCA race reminds me of how it could be.

NRF--interesting thought on FFing. You're right about ads having a bigger effect during a live event. I just read an article about how much Fox makes from commercials during American Idol. So someone is still willing to pay top dollar even knowing not everyone is going to watch--I do know people who DVR it.

MRN was just soooooooooo much better. When I mute the TV, the closed caption comes on so I can turn it on if something catches my eye. I think I flicked it once.

SallyB said...

I realize that lots of people..many of them that post here, use their computers to try to keep up with what's happening on the track during races. When I watch a race, I don't want to have to jump back and forth between the TV, the computer, the radio, etc. I thought the point of televising the race was to present what is happening on the track, thus eliminating the need for viewers to abandon the broadcast for other mediums to keep up with the action. If the television were giving good information, and covering the action adequately, would all of you still feel you had to resort to skipping around to other sources? Does anyone responsible for the inadequate, frustrating presentations realize that they are actually driving their potentiol viewers away from their TV sets, and their ratings down the tubes? Just asking.

Anonymous said...

Maybe fans have complained so much about the quality of racing that the networks are actually afraid to just show racing without all the gimicks.

Maybe they're afraid we can't or won't actually sit down and watch a race without the hyperactive camera bits and over the top "drama."

I hate the way TV is going. I notice that with almost every TV show, the producers seem to have the attitude that adults have the attention span of a flea. They show super super closeups so you can't actually figure out what they're showing and the fear of staying on anything more than a nanosecond is rampant. I'm not sure what they're trying to mimic...reality? But if I'm in a room with someone, I don't stand an inch from their face and continually move around like a hyper child.

I hate it!

Anonymous said...

After hearing DW say he always tried to emulate John Madden, I choked on my beef jerky and had to go to the emergency room....

Ken-Michigan said...

JD :

Fans don't care about HD ?? you're kidding. I respectfully disagree on that statement.

My local drinking establishment wonders why I dont come in there to watch the races....cause they do not have HD.

I also would prefer to have the TV coverage give me the information that I need during the race, but as most of us agree....they dont even come close to providing proper coverage of this popular sport.

It seems that the production team(s) dont do a lot of producing "on the fly" & that is pretty sad. They go with their original production meeting script and refuse to steer off that path.

How can nearly all of us on here be so disappointed with FOX coverage and never see anything changed? Does the France family really prefer their sport to be televised in this fashion?

Can someone, somewhere step up and tell us they LIKE the FOX coverage ?

NASCAR and the teams sponsors on these cars can change it...the fans deserve better coverage.

David said...

I got the SIRIUS on a headset, the computer and tv in the same corner of the room therefore I'd be multi-tasking either way lol.

At least following the radio and the tv at the same time since I mainly use radio for the scanner audio rather than the race broadcast. I just happen to hear trickles of information that I know are important that either tv is behind on, or miss entirely.

I don't have an issue with HD (since i dont have it) or the need to have 5 different ways to watch the same action, I just want the best possible information about what is going on on the track at that given time. Take the fluff, and senseless clutter out. Run the ticker, maybe every 50 laps run a ticker with updated top 35-40 in points as they run but dont SAY it on the broadcast. Use the visual element to your advantage and talk about what is going on. Let the graphic do its job. This was a major plus the pre-2006 ESPN had that all 3 lack now.

Tell me what is going on with the teams if the action gets stagnant. Highlight before the race who NEEDS a good run or who has been on a role and update them during the race. If they become a non-factor then address that they aren't, follow up why that may be, then move on. That way fans of said drivers know what their situation is and dont feel as if their driver fell into a bottomless pit running 35th all race...

Commercials are a necessary evil, I get it. But there are better ways to package them then using Tony Stewart running Dale Jr down to segway into one.

Like I've stated before, I cant believe the difference between SPEED and FOX even though most of the personalities are the same and I would imagine much of the crew is the same.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Let me help you out with the HD issue. Fans are leaving TV in droves and moving to sites like Hulu and Fancast for one reason alone. Control.

The generation brought up on electronic machines is used to control and having things done on demand.

TV cannot fit that bill no matter how hard it tries. The Racebuddy application is a great example of a network with a clue (TNT) trying to keep folks tuned into the main feed by offering some additional cameras and audio streams for free.

When you cannot see or hear about your favorite driver, when you miss the racing action on the track and when you are so frustrated with the live event you just record it, HD makes no difference.

NASCAR's biggest downfall is no online video access to Sprint Cup races and no online access to Sirius Channel 128.

Adding the online users now gone to other sports because of the availability of events and interaction would return NASCAR to a top flight media product IMHO.

JD

David Evertsen said...

I figured out the Race was going to be commercial filled when Strahan was in the Hollywood Hotel and they all had Subway Subs in front of them. Game over... I have had enough, they are killing us..

Anonymous said...

To be honest with you, the racing with this car of crap is also a joke. Once a car gets the lead it pretty much means that they run off and leave the rest of the pack. Long green flag runs means a lot of decent cars go a lap down. You want to know how much this excited me.

Back in the "good old days," the ones everyone seems to want back, winners in Cup races won by three or four LAPS, not three or four seconds.

Remember that?

I guess not, because no one ever talks about how drivers in front ran off and finished with lots of good cars three laps down in the Good Old Days.

The new car is not the problem.

The J said...

anon 6:32,

sure way back in the day cars would win by a few laps, but the racing in the late 90's and early 2000's set the bar very high. compared to then, this new car isnt producing exciting racing.

Sophia said...

I don't care how far ahead a car wins.

I don't dont' care about HD.

I don't care about MULTIPLE cameras.

IF NASCAR was broadcast the way it USED TO BE. When I watched old races on ESPNCLASSiC, many MANY WIDE shots, multiple cars in a picture.

LONGER hold times of cameras on a bunch of cars at one time. Not treating the tv viewers like they have ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER.

I get EXHAUSTED multiple tasking to get info honestly. This old gray mare would LOVE to sit and WATCH the tele and feel INFORMED and nice pictures.

I do not call multiple BUMPER CAMS, in car cams WORTH WHILE viewing (Caps for emphasis not shouting)

Nor the other rubbish.


If the guys PRODUCING and DIRECTING had a clue and gave us old fashione camera work with longer glimpses of the cars on the track THUS a sense of PERSPECTIVE (RUINED by tight shots, bumper cams etc) I'd never be online and would read here after the race.

Also I PREFER MRN LISTENING but PRN is not great (announcers try to Be the show instead of bringing us the race like FANTASTIC MRN crew)

Why in the hello NASCAR's POWERS THAT BE allow these trainwreck broadcasts to repeat themselves across ALL THE NETWORKS, is mind boggling to say the least.

Anonymous said...

I just wish that Ned and Benny were still at the top of their game. Someone should try to recreate something like that. It's what made NASCAR popular in the first place.

Sophia said...

p.s. I know it's safer but I STILL HATE THE C.O.T.

Makes it impossible to pass and for the CREWS TO MAKE SENSIBLE adjustments.

Has to be so frustrating for drivers/cc/pitcrews!!!!!!

Richard in N.C. said...

MRN was super last night, but still just the B team since Barney Hall did not make the trip to AZ.

I do believe the FOX on-air crew has demonstrated in the past that they can do a good job. Therefore, ir seems clear to me that the fault for last night's broadcast was clearly management's.

I wonder how much of last night's problems is the result of EESPN's apparent unwillingness to try to work something out with FOX to reduce costs for both networks?

Anonymous said...

Daly Planet Editor wrote:
>Fans want NASCAR cameras and
>multiple audio streams available
>online and they do not care about
>HD.

I think you should speak only for yourself and not for "fans" because this fan doesn't care about multiple audio streams online - I WANT HD!

Sophia said...

forgot to mentionI DID MISS BARNEY HALL's voice. Can't wait for him to return. sweet guy and great voice.

Still better than the PRN crew!

:)

Yes it was obvious the :suits: were running the show. at one point Mike and Darrel started to talk over each other...DW said go ahead, and instead...long silence..and finally Larry Mac jumped in..as if they were being DIRECTED from 'being themselves'?? or too many voices in their ears. :(

I love those guys but wish we knew why the entire broadcast stunk to high heavens. they love racing and can't be happy what they are forced to do to keep their jobs, but there has to be a happy medium.

Anonymous said...

Makes it impossible to pass and for the CREWS TO MAKE SENSIBLE adjustments.

It must be what TV shows, but, again, when I go to races, I see lots of passing.

Dot said...

I don't have HD. Would watching a race like last night's make viewing any better? How did those commls look in HD? I think that's the point JD was making.

darbar said...

JD and everyone else. When you hear the announcers and even guys like Marty Smith say that the COT racing is great racing, do you think they honestly believe that or are they just spouting the corporate line? If a vast majority of fans keep saying the racing is boring, is there something we're all missing? Maybe the Fox guys need to educate us during the broadcasts and tell us exactly what's so great about racing the COT, aka IROC cars.

Sophia said...

Blogger Dot said...

I don't have HD. Would watching a race like last night's make viewing any better? How did those commls look in HD? I think that's the point JD was making.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

All my complaints earlier? One tv in LR is HD. Did not help my situation or frustration. ;)

MRN saved my sanity and i thought of the "FOX Broadcast" as a slide show with few pics, amidst the adds/productplacments/lousy cams.

Slide show was in HD but. . .

Dot said...

@ darbar, I think they're all drinking the Kool Aid. They think if they say it enough, we'll believe it.

I have read elsewhere that things could be done to the COT w/o compromising safety. Something about pivot points and wheels/tires. Why someone (BF?) isn't allowing this is beyond my imagination. If the info is shared among the teams, they couldn't outspend each other.

I have a question for all of you. Have you noticed that more passing is happening in the pits? That's where the racing is. If you're not out first, good luck on the track.

Sophia said...

@Dot

Yes I have noticed more passing in the pits and it's the PITS!

**FYI, Schrader on with DD on Wind Tunnel. FUN SHOW with Reutimann interviewed and later Helio. Repeated 9AM tomorrow morning EST

Now back to your regular blog programming.

Vicky D said...

Great interview with Reut on WT, DD and Ken Schrader. Reut is a funny funny guy.

Anonymous said...

If a vast majority of fans keep saying the racing is boring, is there something we're all missing?

You are missing the ability to watch all the cars, not just the one TV wants to show you.

I'm tellin' ya, go to the track (like Marty Smith and the other guys) where you can see the whole field and you will see passing.TV is failing to show you the good racing in favor of following their chosen guys.

Daly Planet Editor said...

I think it is important to keep in mind when Marty and Allen and other say the COT still allows racing, their perspective is being at the track and watching the race.

Most of us are slaved to one TV network that has consistently chosen this season to follow the leader and focus on the high profile teams.

The bottom line is, unless we have other video access to the track we have no clue how the race really went other than listening to the radio.

Let's end the HD tangent, you missed my point. Many fans here over the last three seasons have consistently said they want access to more video sources even if they are not in HD.

That was the point, not bashing technology or the HD main program feed at all.

JD

Richard in N.C. said...

JD- It seems to me there is a presentation problem if the race seen from the stands at the track comes across different (better?) than what comes across on TV.

Presentation, framing the picture, would still seem to be a most important skill regardless of how many bells and whistles have been added since the demise of DuMont.

Terry said...

Bad doesn't even begin to describe the broadcast. 10 million commercials, endless digger cartoons/popups, not using the pit reporters enough, and forcing Mike Joy, who I love, to constantly promote some stupidity or another. What really sucks is that I don't get MRN where I live, and don't have the money for Trackpass or the like, and I'm forced to endure the telecast.
Congrats to Mark Martin on his win. That was the best part of the night.

RR said...

Stricklinfan, I think you hit the nail on the head, describing not only the situation in NASCAR, but in other sports as well. Remember, this is the same network that brought "Scooter" the talking baseball, and who endlessly promoted the Charlie's Angels movie during the World Series a few years back.

One point you did make was that Fox should just put more programming on cable. First, there has never been a profit in the history of Fox Sports. In 1994, they overbid for the NFC Package in order to legitimize the network. However, that led to CBS, ABC, and NBC being forced to overbid to retain their properties.

One would ask, "Why should the networks even bother?" That's what NBC said, as they let go of the NFL, NBA, and MLB. At that point, they were the number 1 network. Now, they're #4, and are so desperate that they are giving Jay Leno 5 nights of primetime television. Now, I know that part of NBC's downfall was the result of other issues (aging of their solid shows, and the lack of development for new ones), but the lack of the sports lead-in certainly contributed, IMO.

If you'll notice, over the past few years, more sporting events are being moved to cable. An MLB League Championship Series is now on TBS. In fact, Fox passed up thr BCS, and ESPN snatched up the offer. They will pay $125 million for FOUR GAMES! Since the sharp increase of these contracts, the question that has been constantly raised is "When will the Super Bowl, Daytona 500, etc. eventually wind up on PPV?" Could there be an audience for commercial free coverage of individual races for a fee? I don't know, but I don't think that the networks can afford to continue these bidding wars.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Richard,

That is exactly what keeps freaking out the fans who listen on the radio.

It seems they are at a different track and hearing a very different race.

As we have said here many times, when what the fans in the stands are watching is not being shown to the TV audience, the sport gets cheated.

JD

red said...

JD said (in part):
"As we have said here many times, when what the fans in the stands are watching is not being shown to the TV audience, the sport gets cheated."

and that is the crux of the issue right there, in clear, concise language. when i go to a race, even at a track i don't much like, i see racing all around the track (well, except for that weird part from turn two across the backstretch and coming into turn three/four that is invisible at said track from the stands.) point is: even with the cot, even with a less-than-stellar track setting, i can watch racing.

when i returned home from a dover race a while back, surprised at how good the cot racing actually was and i logged on to read the race comments, it was clear that i had seen a far better race than TDP bloggers had watched from home.

that disparity is a great starting point for any of the networks who might be interested in improving their broadcasts.

another thought: when reporters like marty smith continue to say to the fans that the racing was good -- maybe not great, but good -- and that perception doesn't at all match what most fans are seeing at home, what is the impact on marty's reputation, believeability, accuracy in those fans' minds? right or wrong, they suspect him of being a "nascar shill" b/c he's saying the racing is good and they aren't seeing anything like that. please understand: i am not picking on marty here but just using his name to continue the comments above. the issue remains the same, regardless of the individual.

the damage done by consistently weak race broadcasts reaches far beyond the clicking off of tv sets: it impacts how fans view all aspects of nascar, including the professional work done by most of the nascar reporters.

Anonymous said...

Hey
FOX decided to sell some commercials......and a RACE broke out! Too bad no one saw it.
NASCAR!! ARE YOU WATCHING? ARE YOU READING RACE BLOGS? ARE YOU REVIEWING NIELSEN RATINGS?

FOX is NOT your "partner", nor are they friends of your waning fan base.

fistmagnet said...

Phoenix is one of my favorite tracks. A few years ago, I never would have missed watching this race, but this year I went to the local track instead and didn't even bother recording it. Looks like I made the right decision.

chase said...

John - you told it like it was - I was too hot to even comment yesterday. I totally gave up not even halfway through the race and resorted to radio. I cannot comprehend why FOX continues with something that simply DOES NOT WORK. FOX seems totally oblivious to the viewers wants and needs and continues to give us exactly everything we DON'T WANT. I actually watched part of a basketball game and was amazed that the announcers and the cameras gave the fans exactly what they wanted - no idiotic cartoon characters, no babbling by a Chris Myers' type, just the action. Of course I realize a basketball court is not as vast as a racetrack but there was just the coverage and nothing else. Funny that other sports seem to be able to just cover the event in a professional manner. It does make one wonder how long Mike Joy can align himself with such a worthless network and colleagues who cannot cover the race at hand. It will be interesting to see what they do with 'dega -- undoubtedly ruin that one as well. Seems like TNT may be our only hope for real coverage yet again this season!

Anonymous said...

As a rule, I NEVER, EVER watch the pre-race waste of time. It's an hour of my life I have a million better uses for. Honestly, FOX, there comes a time when you need to think of the viewers. You wonder why NASCAR ratings are down? It's because we have to sit through crap like Digger cartoons. And eeeeeeeeeeeverything is sponsored. Give me a f'ing break. I wonder when we'll have shirtless Chris Myers and DW with giant temporary tatoos on their chests.

KoHoSo said...

I'm late to this commenting party but I still want to add my "vote" that this was the most abysmal, pathetic, weak, feeble, and absolutely atrocious Fox NASCAR effort that I have ever had the displeasure of watching.

That being said, everybody can have a bad day. We've all had one at work, and nobody is excepted from that rule. Let's hope that Fox realizes the particular mistakes of this telecast (besides this year's overall criticisms such as Digger, front-runners, etc.) and gives us the kind of high-quality show they are more than capable of producing for Talladega.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more with Anonymous at 4:27!

I've had HD for 7 years now and I'm delighted that all the races are now in HD. Of course, I probably would give that away to get the kind of focused coverage we used to get by ESPN prior to 2001. Fox may think they've enhanced race coverage, but IMHO, they've done nothing but turn it into a joke in the last 8 years!

Kevin said...

I wouldn't say this was a "terrible" telecast. I think a lot of people are jumping on the "let's criticize FOX" bandwagon. That said, I do think the pre-race show was truly awful. My friends still give me a hard time for DVRing the races and watching them an hour or more late. The race in Phoenix was a perfect example of why having a DVR is a MUST. Maybe that's why I didn't think the telecast was bad.. I didn't watch half of it!

FOX is getting smart, though. They're inserting quick half-commercials in the middle of the on-track action. This kills DVR viewers. It's tough to avoid those 15-20 second Subway ads. I hope they don't continue to use these.

Newracefan said...

I believe Marty Smith I saw passing of course it's the little circles on Pit Command. I think that is part of the reason we get so frustrated by the TV coverage we know there is a better race going on and we can't see it.

Richard in N.C. said...

JD- Do you think it would be fair to say that the economy has eaten into the resources FOX & ESPN have available to cover the races? For instance, EESPN did not have any really complete pictures of Joe Nemecheck's wreck at Nashville.

stricklinfan82 said...

Wow, Jayski says Fox received a record-low rating for the Phoenix Cup telecast. I guess the Fox cartoon at the beginning of the year (that was subsequently re-aired this past week) proved quite prophetic huh? "Ratings are down among humans since you showed up Digger... but they've skyrocketed among gophers so you're hired!"

As for the record-low numbers for the drop of the green flag, I guess the pre-race show that focused solely on the Subway advertisement, the Cheerios advertisement, the Shell advertisement, and (ironically) the 'recycling' of an old Fox cartoon didn't do much to build excitement and keep viewers tuned in for the start of the race huh?

Here's hoping that the folks at Fox will combine our constructive criticisms with the sting of the terrible ratings at Phoenix to re-focus the pre-race show to the racing and away from the sponsored junk and the nonsense like "let's see how much our production assistant sitting in the stands has eaten to this point in the show."

Coming off the heels of a strong pre-race show, let's hope that carries over to the production of the race itself. Talladega would seem to be the perfect place for Fox to have a major rebound. On paper you should have the easiest race to broadcast in the whole season. All 41 or so non start-and-park cars will run together in one small pack all day long, there will be tons of lead changes to keep the excitement high, literally any non S&P driver could win (see Regan Smith before NASCAR botched the call there last fall), and every non-S&P team, driver, and sponsor in the field will be able to get extensive exposure simultaneously through the constant non-stop use of wide shots of the entire pack.

Let's hope Fox takes advantage of this break in scheduling and produces a solid broadcast, which they failed to do at this time a year ago as you may recall.

AndyPandy said...

As bad as this broadcast was, I think it's a case of some folks recalling that they had the flu last year, but not remembering just how lousy they felt.

Just wait until it's ESPN's turn and the return of the fever, body ache and nausea. You'll miss the Fox hype machine.

jim said...

Just found this site, I love it! I've read all over your comments and find an awful lot to agree with. I have a Northeast Mod background starting at Waterford in 1959 and have been to dozens of tracks and love all racing but both fans and drivers have to grow from somewhere. Long time fans remember when TV and newspapers ignored most racing, now we worry that competing networks will harm it. Which is worse? I'll have more later.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Jim,

Welcome aboard and thanks for the kind words.

JD

CAM said...

DUMP DIGGER