Monday, August 3, 2009
Time To Get Sirius NASCAR Content Online
Every day, SiriusXM channel 128 puts out a steady stream of NASCAR information and interviews. This channel originates right down the street from Lowe's Motor Speedway, NASCAR's Research and Development Center and many major NASCAR team shops.
If you have a SiriusXM receiver in your car, then perhaps you can catch a bit of this content during your daily commute. SiriusXM also makes portable receivers that snap in and out of automobile. Finally, there are handheld receivers that are designed to work indoors. Designed to work being the operative phrase.
While SiriusXM claims to have a total subscriber base of 19 million, things have not been going very well in satellite radio land for a while now. SiriusXM was recently saved from filing for bankruptcy by media mogul John Malone in return for a sizable stake in the company.
While there are some limited NASCAR radio and TV programs during the weekdays, the big fish in the pond is the SiriusXM Channel 128 daily line-up. NASCAR Chairman Brian France called in days ago just to review some topics with afternoon host Dave Moody. Among the scheduled guests Thursday on channel 128 are Greg Biffle, Casey Mears, Steve Addington, Larry Carter, Brendan Gaughan and the list goes on and on.
Today's technology also allows selected Sirius channels to be streamed online. After an initial sign-up, the user can simply turn on a computer or cell phone to get the live signal. Sirius NASCAR Channel 128 is not streamed online and that is the topic of this column.
Back in 2000, Turner Sports acquired all of NASCAR's Interactive rights for a hefty price tag. This included the online video and audio rights. Since 2001, Turner has been the sole producer of the NASCAR.com website. This practice of allowing a third party to run a professional league's website is not unusual. Turner does the same thing for other sports, including the NBA.
The situation we are discussing today is the stalemate between Sirius and Turner. Without a payment to Turner, that company will not allow Sirius to go online with NASCAR audio content. Without a dime in the bank, Sirius has little to offer. Instead of NASCAR being exposed to millions of Internet and cell phone users, SiriusXM Channel 128 continues to broadcast to only a very small slice of hardcore fans.
Today, we find NASCAR trying to wade through the muck of a struggling economy that hit the auto manufacturers very hard. The truck series has been decimated, the Nationwide Series is struggling and this week in Pocono there are only 42 cars. If one team leaves after this week, short fields may begin in NASCAR's top series. So, what NASCAR needs from its own media partners down the stretch is some help.
What would happen if the NASCAR.com website offered SiriusXM channel 128's weekday programming for free through the end of this season? Think about that one. Just go to NASCAR.com, click on the audio player and there it is.
NASCAR.com would get all the website traffic from fans every time they wanted to listen to the SiriusXM channel. No live races would be carried, protecting the existing copyrights of all concerned. Turner's site traffic would go through the roof, Sirius gets the exposure for its product and NASCAR gets the publicity for making its top stars and personalities finally available to fans without charge.
At the end of the season, decisions can be made about what to do for 2010. No one can predict what business dynamic might be in place by then or what lines of discussion this simple act might open for the future.
Let's get the great comments, interviews and questions being offered every day out to the fans right now while the sport is struggling. This one simple act might build a stronger fan base for all of the parties concerned. There is only one way to find out. Ask the fans.
Would you listen online to SiriusXM's NASCAR channel during the week if it was made available for free at NASCAR.com?
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