Friday, July 10, 2009
CNBC's NASCAR Snapshot (Updated)
Updated: Darren Rovell from CNBC has been nice enough to join us in the comments section. If you have reactions or questions about this program, this is a good time to offer them directly to the person who hosted the show.
"Given the economy, NASCAR is holding up pretty well," said veteran NASCAR reporter Monte Dutton. This one simple sentence essentially summed-up the Thursday night one hour CNBC special on NASCAR.
It was CNBC's Sports Business Reporter Darren Rovell who led TV viewers through a rather elemental review of NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series. Rovell has the enthusiasm of a new fan and chose to offer this program from a very fundamental perspective on racing.
Punctuated by interviews with NASCAR personalities from Brian France to Tony Stewart, Rovell walked through the sport telling brief stories that were loosely connected by the current eoncomic issues.
Often naive and sometimes unintentionally humorous, Rovell intended this program for TV viewers who were not very familiar with the sport. He often took the time to re-state the most fundamental facts about NASCAR. That included asking Brian France some general questions about the state of the sport.
In this program, France came away as an aggressive and well-spoken executive who was clear in his message that NASCAR had worked hard to reach the level of national popularity it now enjoys. His answers made sense and ran the gamut from attendance to TV ratings. It was perhaps his best TV appearance in quite some time.
Rovell focused on the broader economic concepts of team sponsorship, including overall media exposure and brand loyalty. His interviews with marketing and team executives reinforced the messages that NASCAR fans know all too well. They are the most loyal in professional sports and support the brands that participate.
Tony Stewart was featured as a driver-turned-businessman who had to overcome the high cost of fielding a Sprint Cup team in his new venture. Stewart was interviewed and proved to be a good representative of racing in general. He presented a snapshot of an ordinary American chasing his personal dreams in the motorsports world.
In this program, there were the normal video clips of busty female NASCAR fans whooping and hollering at the track. There was a profile of a family who collects NASCAR merchandise perhaps beyond the boundaries of good taste. Kevin Costner was interviewed as someone who actually can speak about the sport with credibility.
Rovell used the All-Star race at Lowe's Motor Speedway as his backdrop. This led him to speak with Marcus Smith, to ride along in the burn-out contest and to tape his on-camera segments on the start-finish line. The editing of those at-the-track segments with Rovell on-camera was rather unique.
This primetime special accurately reviewed some of the issues and stories associated with NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series in 2009, but as Rovell suggested to TDP before the program aired, it was not meant for hardcore fans.
Perhaps, a touch of irony was that Rovell's own polo shirt may have been the only one in this program without logos. Clicking here would have taken Rovell to a beautiful polo from his parent company NBC and their sports division. Perfect for the racetrack.
Amazingly, this $29 dollar shirt is on sale for only $15. It seems NASCAR is not the only company working hard to deal with a struggling economy.
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