Sunday, August 23, 2009

Bristol: The TV Aftermath

Hundreds of comments. Tons of email. Endless Twitter messages. The two Bristol night races normally make for fantastic television viewing. Apparently, many NASCAR fans did not feel that way after this year's races were done.

Click here to read comments from fans about the Friday night Nationwide Series telecast on ESPN2. Click here to review the comments on the Saturday night Sprint Cup Series race on ESPN.

This is a very strange time to talk about NASCAR TV. It is the time of the season when ESPN is producing both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series events. The summer experience of TNT is over.

Click here to read a recent article from Phil Mushnick of the New York Post. The column is titled "ESPN Destroying Live Game Telecasts." It relates to the larger agenda of ESPN superimposing on live sports the agenda of the network, regardless of the impact on the TV viewers.

Mushnick explained in an email to TDP that he often hears from NASCAR fans in addition to his stick-and-ball regulars. The messages from fans on this TV topic were the same. The enjoyment of the telecast had been muted by a set of circumstances. It most often involved too many voices, too many graphics and too many promos from ESPN. The focus of the telecast was simply not the event.

Wednesday, Mike Joy and Dick Berggren teamed-up to televise a Whelen Modified Series event from Bristol on SPEED. The coverage was simple, effective and exciting. That was followed by a Camping World Truck Series race that was presented in the same manner.

These two races served as an interesting TV comparison once ESPN took to the very same track for the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series events. The difference was night and day.

Saturday night during the Sprint Cup Series race, ESPN shifted into full "Chase for the Championship" mode. Bright colors on the scoring ticker represented who was in, who was out and who could possibly be in the Chase. The "possibly be in" part seemed to be as defined by ESPN's team of mathematicians.

As detailed by the fans in the hundreds of comments, the ESPN telecasts from Bristol self-destructed once the racing began. Scripts are out the window when the green flag falls and this has proven to be the undoing of the TV production team. The battle is between what is actually happening and what the TV network "wants" to happen.

Unfortunately, ESPN is not delivering on their end of the Sprint Cup Series bargain, plain and simple. This portion of the NASCAR TV contract has not been fulfilled. The television coverage is substandard and embarrassing.

What Mushnick said about the Yankees vs. Red Sox game applies to NASCAR. "ESPN destroyed another telecast that viewers were eager to watch." Now, it's NASCAR's turn to admit this problem and fix it. There are two races left before the Chase telecasts begin on the ABC television network.

TDP welcomes your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment.


saltsburgtrojanfan said...

ESPN has not lived up to expectations to NASCAR coverage plain and simple. Why does NASCAR permit this to happen? If it were me I would boycott ESPN because it now is a joke. SportsCenter once had classy anchors like chris Berman, Bob Ley, Dan Patrick and Charley steiner. Nowadays they are filled with pompus windbags. NASCAR nowadays is a joke. The senseless chase crap. I watch old races on ESPN classic and YouTube they are more entertaining.
Oh btw, I haven't heard from Erik in sometime? Hmmmmmmmm Where could he be??????????

wickedj said...

There is one race left before the Chase telecasts begin on the ABC television network.

Atlanta and Richmond both beg to differ :P

Daly Planet Editor said...

The hard part for me is that Bestwick, Manske and Massaro have been working very hard in the NASCAR Now studios.

Ryan McGee, Marty Smith, Ed Hinton and Angelique Chengelis have been working hard on the sport in a variety of roles.

Amazing that the one thing most folks are upset about is what put ESPN on the map, doing live events with the fans in minds.


Daly Planet Editor said...

wicked, sorry about that. One race before the coverage moves to ABC. Two races before the Chase.

Thanks for the follow-up.


glenc1 said...

thanks for the Mushnick link. It was interesting to hear the perspective from baseball, which I don't watch at all. ESPN has become arrogant. They seem to have stopped listening to the fans. They have the poorest football casts as well (though, thank goodness Kornheiser is PTI. Color is just not his thing.) I have to say, there are sports they seem to do well. Tennis comes to mind. Probably some others. But as networks like Versus continue to grow, well...they're gonna have competition. The mod race was awesome. Had to watch Versus on PC but enjoyed the IRL race, but how versatile they are for doing that. ESPN is not; they need to stop taking fans for granted.

Anonymous said...

I thought the Speed coverage was terrible. They missed several restarts and came back at least once and they had been under green for 2 laps.

I agree ESPN's coverage is awful but lets be fair. Speed is just as bad.

Vicky D said...

JD - you summed it up in your comments. They need separate broadcast teams for the Nationwide races and cup races. That might show the NW broadcast will be best because if they keep Marty Reid, Randy LaJoie and Rusty Wallace they'll be the favorites of the weekend. Change the cup booth team in the PXP capacity and that would really be a good start. We're on from there.

Buschseries61 said...

All 3 networks left lasting memories this season.

TNT was here to broadcast 6 Sprint Cup races to dedicated fans & have some fun. Wide shots were wonderful. TNT gave back to the fans with RaceBuddy. TNT is still the only network to experiment with wide open coverage. Kyle Petty reshaped the role of a color commentator in the 21st century.

Fox was here to show nearly a dozen races & collect a penny along the way with Digger. Mike Joy, the best play-by-play announcer in the sport right now, gave us great perspective that the camera sometimes did not show. Larry McReynolds always kept the viewers up to date on pit strategy & all the useful facts. Fox has the best pit reporters in the sport that have the drivers respect & give the viewers relevent and correct information.

ESPN gave us tight shots, bumper cams, bat cams all used excessively at the wrong times. We get no perspective of the race. That is when the play-by-play announcer tries to save the day. Unfortunately, the play-by-play announcer is not capable of generating perspective or excitement. Dr. Jerry Punch quickly fades and gives us the same catch phrases, hometowns, and car numbers each week. There has been no progress since his return in 2007. We are not given the detailed pit strategy/fuel mileage information Larry McReynolds gave us the first 19 races. Andy Petree was clueless about fuel strategy at Watkins Glen, and has fallen into a slump since. The pit reporters (except Dave Burns & Mike Massaro: A+) do not know their facts before the cameras go on, with wrong stats, absurd questions, & lacking the basics (there are no points for winning the pole). They are quick to create trouble by stalking a fustrated Clint Bowyer all the way to the tunnel. They are quick to assume angry words are exchanged and create drama. Maybe their purpose on pit road is just that, drama.

It is evident the fans have one network is innovative & here for racing. One network has production & marketing flaws, but a professtional broadcast team to make up for it. The last network is struggling in all departments of the coverage & stuck in think & heavy mud. It is time for someone to get them out.

MtnVwJay said...

It finally hit me - when we listen to a sport - any sport - on the radio, we cannot "see" the event so the sportscasters paint a very complete and colorful picture for us. When we watch television we can "see" the event so the sportscasters traditionally don't need to do such a thorough job of describing the events. Unfortunately, ESPN camera people don't understand the concept of showing the "whole" picture and the broadcasters are too light on the details to help us fill in the blanks.

Dot said...

Wow. Just change the baseball reference to racing and Mushnick could be describing NASCAR.

It's somewhat comforting to know that other sports fans are being tortured. Like when you have disease that you think no one else has. You don't feel so alone.

What can we as fans do? We've written to BSPN and have gotten no response. Do we boycott all the sponsors? Do we write to them?

Who's the BSPN counterpart to David Hill? He needs to read a piece of our minds.

Sophia said...

WOW!That NY article sounds just like our gripes ONLY they still have "good camera work".

Add ESPN's camera stuff PLUS add Helmet cams to NFL, MLB, NBA & PGA and it will be EVEN. Make sure 40% of each game is helmet can or tight shots of fore arms hitting golf clubs/throwing balls/hitting baseballs, explaining what threads are used to make the seams of baseballs/footballs/basketballs. Show the innards of a golf ball. EXPLAIN in detail what a golf tee is. EACH WEEK!

In all fairness, FOX, and now SPEED do endless promos too. Note TWIN is mostly promos and now RDay, and VL. the push for BIG BLOCK THURSDAY is NAUSEATING. plus the graphic has often covered 1/3 of the TWIN Panel.

But it's an issue in all of sports. My mother is 89 years old and has been complaining on the modern announcers for YEARS, especially the know it alls in golf. They yap non-stop like some ankle biting terrier. Used to be golf announcers shut UP for the putt. Now they drone endlessly and suck the life out of the game...just like they do for the other sports mention.

As I watched the Open with Tom Watson, my mother called me during commercials about the LOUSY CAMERA work (forget who carried it) and said we CAN'T see the putt. True. the cameras were behind the caddy holding the flag and we missed them. Usually they would switch and show a close up of the ball rolling across the green into the cup with a camera. Guess folks don't know how to focus anymore for a few seconds to do that.

It's a huge issue.

I find most people that do NOT complain about sports are the ones holding parties and or drinking during the events. Not passionate followers of the details like we are basically, show us the race.

Not one or two cars at a time.

ESPN has us all hostage and continue to get by with it. Thus I gave up the sports I love except a few golf tournaments a year and the car races.

p.s. Versus used an OVER ABUNDANCE of car cams today. We were not pleased.:( It's like a bad sports telecast virus.

TexasRaceLady said...

Dot, you read my thoughts, exactly.

Somewhere in the last few years, ESPN has lost the core principle of televising live sports --- show us what is happening.

We're the fan in our recliner, show us what the fan in the stands is seeing.

Last night, for an entire lap, all I saw was an empty track surface from someone's bumper cam.

Now, please tell me that's interesting.

Drop the bells and whistles -- do what you used to do when you were the best.

Sam said...

Speaking of the ESPN pit reporters next race just watch the drivers they interview after the interview is over. They don't smile, say thanks or anything. Watch the same thing on the other networks. You can tell the other pit reporters and drivers have a better relationship. It's like they talk to the ESPN people because they have to, not want to.

ESPN just flat out sucks. They are good at college basketball and that's about it. Main reason is there's only a few camera angles and a small indoor facility (usually). It confines their stupidity somewhat.

ESPN is an arrogant network. It shows in everything they do. Worldwide leader...I don't think so.

Rockin Rich said...

Great article by Tom Sorenson over on I expect Jayski will link it tomorrow as well.

Talks about being in a sports bar in the Charlotte area on Sat. Night. Nine of ten TVs were tuned to the Carolina Panthers exhibition game. The barkeep came around asking if anyone was watching the race. There was so little interest that he/she tuned that one TV to the Washington Redskins exhibition game.

Mind you these are exhibition TV football games, (one of which is now entirely out of town teams), going against the supposedly absolute primo NASCAR Bristol race in NASCAR's home city.

That ought to tell NASCAR all it needs to know about the kind of contract performance the World's Leader of sports broadcasting is providing.

In all fairness, I have to say that the article is more a slam against the COT, and NASCAR in general rather that the quality of the TV broadcast. Nonetheless, it is a telling commentary.

Anonymous said...

NASCAR is stuck in a rock. Even if they wanted to give the ESPN/ABC rights to someone else where would they go? NBC, CBS, and FOX all have football on Sundays in the fall. ABC is the only network with no NFL. I would love to see FOX and ESPN/ABC switch it up. FOX cover the last half of the season and ESPN/ABC cover the first half. I would also like to see the CUP and NATIONWIDE contracts bundled together like it used to be.

APP said...

Where did Versus find this Bob Jenkins guy to do the IRL Races?

Oh wait...

red said...

"bristol: the tv aftermath," indeed.

well, here's the aftermath for me, gang: i'm done. just done. from now on, as long as espn is handling the race broadcast, i'll keep up with the races when it's convenient. i'll no longer put aside time to watch the cup races, no longer ask my family to be tolerant of my passion for our sport, no longer wait all week for the broadcast.

i gave up my espn magazine purchases and stopped clicking the website last season and have continued that into this year as well. i stopped watching ALL programming on all espn channels that are available to me -- all as my own personal protest against what i felt is a completely unprofessional job being foisted upon nascar fans each week. i wrote to the former ombudsman last season and received nothing more than a form email in return.

each week, via tdp, i've given what i felt was detailed and specific feedback to espn, i've attempted to stay away from name-calling and insults, i've thought long and hard about my words and whether what i had to say could help espn understand just how frustrated i am as a fan.

but it's obviously not being read or accepted because the same issues arise each and every broadcast. we all know what they are, we've all complained about them, we've all given our opinions immediately after each race.

but nothing changes.

so, i'll make the one change i've been putting off thru out the closing races of last season and this season: i will no longer watch the races on tv. i would rather have to keep up with the races via radio, twitter and tdp than have my love of our sport continue to be attacked each week. the "death from a thousand cuts" has finally occured and i'm done until next february.

i won't permit espn's disdain of our sport keep me away from tdp and all the planeteers who have become good e-friends. but i just can't take the disappointment i feel each week when i turn off the tv and just wonder "why did i give them all that time yet again?"

i love racing -- all forms of racing -- and i detest espn for producing such a substandard broadcast, week in and week out, that it threatened to diminish that passion. so now, i'll take control of my own emotions and choices and i will keep the tv off during the cup broadcasts for the remainder of the year.

if espn would just show us the race, i believe many of the complaints about how "boring" nascar is now would disappear. i know i certainly heard fewer of those complaints during tnt's time with us.

espn is not just driving fans away from the tv; they are driving fans away from the sport because what they broadcast is not an accurate representation of the sport as it is today. and if that's not an important reality to nascar, then there's nothing i can say or do that will have any impact.

so, i'm done. and that's the aftermath of bristol for me.

Ken said...

I have to say, I thought the race wasn't exactly horrible on ESPN. But it wasn't great either. Jerry Punch seems like a nice guy, but he keeps making mistakes and something about his voice grinds on me like nails on a chalkboard. I found Marty Reid much better on the few Nationwide races I have seen. Especially when he is matched with Randy LaJoie, whom I don't enjoy when he fills in on Sirius NASCAR Radio. Randy and Marty should be THE team for Nationwide. Andy Petree works great with any team. For the Cup races, I would bring in Reid.

A few opinions I have read that I don't agree with: Please do NOT move Alan Bestwick to play-by-play. I like him as the overall face of NASCAR on ESPN and moving him would do him a personal disservice. Some people don't like Jamie Little's aggressive attitude, I do. A pit "reporter" should push for answers, maybe some coaching on when to back down would fix her situation.

Here is a breakdown of the other things I see: Rusty Wallace is hit or miss for me. I enjoy him much better with Alan and Brad than when he is in the booth. While I despised Brad Daugherty when he first came on, he has really grown on me and seems like the only person (besides Alan) that really loves his job and wants to be there. His enthusiasm and willingness to ask questions (and make mistakes) speaks volumes and he really feels like a fan living the dream. Ray Evernham just doesn't have the presence of Andy Petree, I know that might annoy people, but it is how I feel so please keep him for the NASCAR Now round tables.

Fox just lost me with the constant Digger push and ESPN just can't seem to get it's act together. I loved the two or three TNT broadcasts I was able to see. I enjoy listening to the races much more on MRN and PRN than on ESPN and FOX. I actually I am glad I switched to Sprint (not because of NASCAR, work did it) because I can listen to the races indoors with a good signal.

I wish Sirius would start broadcasting 128 on the net, I would then pay for their Internet access and stream all of the races (except those on TNT). MRN and PRN do a much better job. And to be honest, Sirius delivers the best news anywhere on NASCAR.

I can't believe I am going to say this but I wish NASCAR would intervene and fix all of this.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Bob Pockrass is nosing around a little bit on the TV issue.

Maybe the hard card guys will stand up and actually talk about something real for a change.


Ken said...

One other thing I just thought of. The Car of Tomorrow. I don't mind it on short tracks where speed isn't an issue. But when you get to 1.5 mile tracks the lead car always runs away. I actually wait for it to happen in each race to see a track where that doesn't happen. It even felt like it happened at Bristol last night, which is too bad. While I generally don't agree with or enjoy anything Dale Earnhardt Jr, I have to say a majority of his comments are correct. Correcting the issues with the COT might make the broadcast team's jobs a little better because there would be more than 2 or 3 passes for the lead under green.

I am not surprised NASCAR took a swipe at Earnhardt because of his points standing because it gives them an out. Now if guys like Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson came out with some of these complaints, then maybe a change would be made. I have a feeling that a guy like Jeff Gordon would be dismissed as easily as Jr because of his back issues. Don't get me wrong, I like the CoT, and I think it's safety improvements are really worth the effort. But something has to be done.

If you can fix the racing, you might fix the issues people have with the broadcasts. The double-file restarts are something people have wanted forever and they help. They aren't the only solution.

Sophia said...

problem is the double file restarts are not being SEEN due to bloated excess of in car/roof cam/bumper cam...we don't see the DFR for more than a few seconds.

I stand by my statement of all year.

The horrible camera direction is killing the sport.

Try getting by with this camera work in other sports as I mentioned earlier.

would not fly.

Folks at races still LOVE them but I do agree COT needs tweaking for looks & HANDLING & the high center of gravity issue.
(wider tires? and do something with that splitter!)

But as far as broadcast ruin, it rests on the camera work imho. The tv could be "used as radio" even with &^%&#& current pictures but they are out of the loop and the booth as a whole ain't workin.

I remember when JD gave us a heads up a couple years ago TNT was making improvments and I was skeptical.

HOW WRONG I WAS! I LOVED the improved TNT. They prove they cared. Race Buddy? Fabulous! Booth guys, fun and informative. Mike Wells camera work? BLAST from the PAST in the era where "it was just about the racin."

ESPN..well we all know how they feel about their fans. The link JD provided about the baseball game was just one example.

David said...

I was at work tonight talking to someone and this topic came up while discussing the NFL. ESPN's reporting and how it has become unreliable and just downright disturbing at times. We all agreed that they like to create or stir controversy and the idea that there is a script is becoming ever so present. I thought it was a joke for awhile, not anymore. There HAS to be a script!

Im in total agreement with saltsburn. Something horrible happened at ESPN and SC and the network as a whole. There are still glimmers and flashes but whoever is pulling the strings has clearly got a screw loose or some agenda...

Anonymous said...

Some people don't like Jamie Little's aggressive attitude, I do. A pit "reporter" should push for answers, maybe some coaching on when to back down would fix her situation.

Some help on what questions are useful vs. dumb (which she clearly doesn't know now), would be good, too.

Anonymous said...

Correcting the issues with the COT might make the broadcast team's jobs a little better because there would be more than 2 or 3 passes for the lead under green.

But, see, there ARE more passes.

TV, particularly ESPN, just doesn't show them.

In person, you see a lot better race.

kbaskins said...

I would like the reporters who attend races every week to do one thing: Record the race at home. Sometime during the week, watch the race in its entirety. No fast-forwarding through commercials or the boring bits; watch the broadcast as if you were watching it live, like we do. Then tell us, the fans, how what you saw at the track compared to what you saw on TV. I can guess what the result would be, but I'd really like to hear from the reporters on this.

The Bristol night race is my favourite. I have no proof since I was not at the track, but I suspect the shambles we were presented during the broadcast was a very different race from being there in person. @NASCARSays (NASCAR’s ONLY official home on Twitter) posted a tweet at the end of the race that I found interesting:

Passing numbers with old car (stats start in 05) - 831, 920, 1084, 812, 991. Passes with new car - 2147, 1299, 1141, 1410, 2622

2622 passes! My god, it sounds like there was actually a race going on! Too bad we had so many in-car shots that we missed all but a small fraction of that racing. Too bad we had so many commercials inserted at inappropriate moments. Too bad we had to have yet another condescending tech segment. Too bad we had a play-by-play announcer who couldn't see any of those passes. Too bad for us.

Why? What does ESPN gain by marginalizing and alienating fans of any sport? Does being a cable broadcaster, with their guaranteed income from subscriptions, give them the attitude that they can disregard the viewers because they don't rely entirely on advertising income? Or are they just sadistic jerks?


Spaw said...

I would think that ESPN/ABC has had so much experience with auto racing, this ought to be a piece of cake, yet this is sadly not the case. I'm not sure where or how they lost "it" but it truly is gone.

Back in the '60's they took a couple of guys who knew diddly about racing but a lot about broadcasting then paired them with folks who knew both. Fleming and McKay became famous for their abilities as broadcasters and with the help of journalist/enthusiasts like Economaki and others we were treated to some pretty decent coverage of racing. Granted that back then NASCAR took the back seat but though Indycar got far more, NASCAR benefitted as well from these professional journalists.

Soon they learned that hiring a former driver was not always a great idea as they went through quite a few. When they eventually seemed to have given up and settled for Sam Posey it was because he was a communicator at least, if not much of a driver......of course Sam thought otherwise. But there are a few people who successfully raced who can put you right into the cockpit and ABC found just the one in Bobby Unser. His continual disagreements with Sam made each broadcast fun and also enlightening. You stayed up with the action via the talents of an Indy journalist, Paul Page.

ESPN took a stab at auto racing by showing a very regional form of the sport which hooked into a surprisingly huge audience in a very short period of time. And how did that happen? They took the ABC model and used adept journalists like Jenkins and Despain and another with a flair for PxP, Gary Lee (where is he btw?). They found a driver with the skill to put you in the cockpit in Larry Rice who had chemistry with Lee and the others and the USAC Thunder and Lightning Division had thunder and lightning in their coverage.

Now I may be an ignoramus, but I know what works and I am never too proud to go back to basics when things go wrong. TNT did a fine job but even they could improve. In the case of ESPN and ABC, they need to let history repeat itself and see if what once worked so well could still work today.

I'd bet it could.....


David said...

Karen, if those stats are correct, the last "old car" stat is actually the first COT race but on the old Bristol configuration. As you can see, the passes are still more than the "average" Bristol race with the old car on the old surface.

Speaks volumes to what the new configuration has done and how the "car" is really not the problem. At least not on the small tracks.

Anonymous said...

The funniest part of ESPN's coverage is on Monday night's NASCAR Now. Every week when they kick off the show, they show a quick clip of the previous race before the opening credits. EVERY TIME they use audio from MRN radio because it sounds exciting. Their very own ESPN play-by-play man, Jerry Punch, never has a call used by ESPN. It is so sad.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Daly
If, in fact anyone from NASCAR reads TDP, he or she should TAKE PARTICULAR NOTE of the post written by RED.
A long, long, long time fan and viewer HAS GIVEN UP ON ESPN and NASCAR telecasts!
A fan who take the time to write the network and NASCAR with feedback and suggestions, only to be ignored?
A "dyed in the wool" fan- the EASIEST sale there is for sponsors. A walking, talking ambassador of the sport, who is now so frustrated that he's gone!

Paradigm shift in action, and ESPN is sleeping right througt it.


Anonymous said...

Re Mushnick article

did anyone else see the first 5 mins of ESPN "coverage" of Yankees Red Sox?
First pitch-Home Run. Then, while John Miller is talking, some shrill female voice on an open microphone screams out some statistical info about the home run. Then, Joe Morgan tries to analayze the home run, and his microphone is dead!
Man oh man

Michael said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bobby said...

ESPN's arrogance is there everywhere. Mitchell (a blogmate) wrote about it a few years ago and afterwards I was asked to provide some thoughts on his blog.

I predict ESPN will make the BCS Championship Game a pay-per-view effort because of the arrogance and revenue that could easily pay for ESPN.

They told an SEC market that the SEC Basketball Tournament (which moves to ESPN Broadcast Network this season) that the Semifinals and Finals won't air; the ESPN affiliate will air a syndicated ACC Basketball package that they own. The channel that has the Disney Television Distribution SEC syndicated package cannot air the games because it's a Broadcast Network game, and their affiliate has refused. (This is the same ABC affiliate that wouldn't air NASCAR races when they went up against the ACC in the past.)

Last year, I questioned the motives of ESPN protecting Desperate Housewives by hurting NASCAR fans. And of course, the disasterous 2005 Indy 500.

ESPN is arrogant that they are willing to pay gobs more cash to move network television staples (New Year's Day bowl games, The Open Championship) exclusively to cable, then raise the per-subscriber rate, and drop the quality of coverage.

This sounds like the "monopoly" principle - raise prices, reduce quality.

ESPN2 got the NHRA in 2001 after TNN imploded under MTV's arrogance. And as I've said in the past, MTV was the catalyst behind the demise of the old ASA and troubles in winged sprint car racing by killing CBS-signed television deals in imploding TNN to create Spike. (The 2000 Busch Series Albertson's 300 and 2001 Knoxville Nationals are the most famous examples; after MTV cut ties with the WoO, owners weren't too happy after they got a few tape-delay deals; the ensuing split in 2006 left the Knoxville Nationals unsanctioned, to which it is today.)

This is what Michell discussed:

GinaV24 said...

ESPN is the worst of the TV partners broadcasting NASCAR. My brother called me Sunday and asked me "did you think that was an awful race broadcast?" Yes, I did!

He apparently fell asleep during the race because he couldn't tell what was going on -- it may not be the "new" Bristol that is boring race fans, it's probably the broadcast team.

I watched the Whelen modified race and boy was that great. Mike Joy and Dick B calling the race -- I know very little about the modifieds and the style of racing, but with those 2 in the booth and dillner on pit road, I understood enough and was able to really enjoy it. No agenda, just a clear PXP and camera work.

The other question my brother asked was "how long does ESPN do the races". He was really unhappy when he heard it was until the end of the season. I know it will be on ABC, but it will still be ESPN!

I'm tired of the whole chase deal taking away from the race I'm trying to watch and enjoy. Don't give me some prescripted nonsense -- tell me AND better yet, SHOW me, what's happening on the track AS it's happening.

NASCAR needs to take some action soon. I said I'd give ESPN a chance again this season, but I'm going to go to the radio and computer coverage the rest of the way, if this is all I can expect and I have no reason to see why they will change unless NASCAR forces the issue. I'd rather see the races produced and shown on Speed than this mess.

alex said...

I've said it before and I will again, ESPN is so bad that they are only helping the race tracks. I'll be buying tickets for all of the remaining races that I can, if it means I don't have watch those races on TV.

Like JD said, many on the ESPN Nascar staff are great at what they do It's too bad a looney director and camera guys with their trigger finger on the zoom ruin it for everyone.

KoHoSo said...

At this point I just don't know what else to write about ESPN's NASCAR coverage. Besides picking at specific little incidents, how many more ways can we all find to say that Bestwick needs to be doing the PxP, that we need more wide-angle shots, the sticking to a pre-set storyline needs to cease, and that the pit reporters need to stop asking loaded and inane questions?

I know that we all do it out of frustration and I by no means want everybody to stop (especially Mr. Daly), but it is getting to be like a broken record. ESPN's transgressions against NASCAR fans and every rule of broadcasting taught in our colleges and universities for the past 40 years are so predictable that I bet if you removed the name of the track that JD could just copy and paste any comments from one race to another one and 99% of them would apply and not seem out of place.

NASCAR still has a good product even though I have my partially off-topic quarrels with things like The Chase and the "Car of Templates." It's a shame that the sport's excitement can now hardly ever break through during the majority of the season thanks to the forced monotony of ESPN and, in the direct opposite, the forced hype of Fox as we try to watch races behind dancing cartoons.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I'm able to get info from radio and internet to go along with the picture. I think back to how I used to watch races, just the TV seems kind of boring... now that I'm busy monitoring radio, computer and video screens to keep up with the action, makes me feel like a pit crew member and I like that!
I'm not going to let stupid TV coverage ruin my enjoyment of NASCAR races.

Tom said...

The first of these posts from saltsburgtrojan fan got me to thinking about some of the old, classy ESPN anchors and what they're up to these days.
The list of these gigs is pretty impressive and, I'll bet, probably a lot happier than what ESPN is now.

-Jack Edwards: TV voice for the Boston Bruins on NESN.
-Charley Steiner: Radio/TV voice of the L.A. Dodgers. Was with the Yankees, but probably got sick of dealing with John Sterling.
Of course, I could be wrong. Just a guess.
-George Grande: TV voice of the Cincinnati Reds on Comcast Sports Net Ohio.
-Keith Olbermann: Everyone's favorite Edward R. Murrow clone on MSNBC. I kid, but he's very good on that forum.
-Dan Patrick: Has started a new show somewhere, but I don't know off the top of my head.

Those are some classic Sports Center names, but some of the current guys that show up on ESPN every so often have some good gigs
-Dave O'Brien: Radio voice of the Red Sox. Does some baseball on ESPN, but it's not often.
-Dave Barnett: Now on radio with the Texas Rangers. Very cool.
-Dave Pasche: Radio voice of the Arizona Cardinals. Very cool to hear him call Fitzgerald's go-ahead touchdown in TRULY Super Bowl XLIII.

Bob Ley is still on the Sunday morning Sports Center and Outside the Lines. Chris Berman, well, he's still Chris Berman.

What happened to Craig Kilborn? I miss the guy because he was genuinely funny.

How do I know this? It pays to have satellite radio, but then again, I have no!

Daly Planet Editor said...

Tom, thanks for the update. I was one of the first one hundred employees hired by ESPN. Now, after thirty years, there are ESPN alumni scattered all around the world.

There are several Internet sites and Facebook clubs that hook these folks up. ESPN now has over 3 thousand employees and is once again going through a period of transition with new technology.

The failure of the ESPN cell phone service, the dismantling of ESPN Classic, the expensive end of ESPN Original Entertainment and the current problems with ESPN the Magazine all point to how tough it is to manage a large and unique media company in today's world.

By the way, ESPN is currently under a hiring freeze.

Now, back to NASCAR folks.


David said...

People move on, its just a shame ESPN replaced some great guys with lesser talented ones.

Red, your comment still makes me sad but it is oh so very true.

Bobby, gotta love the direction Viacom has gone in...

David said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tom said...

Isn't the World Series of Poker an ESPN Original Entertainment production? I could swear I used to see the logo at the start of those broadcasts.


John said...

Where was the rotor cam? They shold have had that like they did in the past to show just how hot things get there, and why certain cars had the rotors come apart. Fire Punch and put Alan in the booth. I find it insulting that he used to be a play-by-play, then was demoted by the idiots at NBC for Weber, now he is a 'host'. What happened to the old days when the NASCAR coverage was Jenkins, Parsons, and Jarret in the booth, Punch and Kernan on pit road, 5-6 people tops! None of these "Hotels", etc. Save the money they waste there and put it into the coverage of the event. Seems like everything has tohave 'fluff' to it now.

David said...

I agree with John. Been feeling that way for an awful long time.

Daly Planet Editor said...


Either you may be watching the older shows or that copyright agreement may still be in effect.

The EOE was shuttered a while ago, which is why you have not seen any original drama series or movies.


Kevin said...

I thought the broadcast from Bristol was outstanding. The announcers were excited and kept things interesting and lively throughout the entire race, especially getting excited about the Martin-Busch battle in the closing laps!

I listened to the race on PRN. It's amazing how different the perspective of the same race is based on where you watch/listen to it. I have the most basic cable package which does not include ESPN. Actually, ESPN is right where my channels cut off, so I still get a pretty good picture to watch while listening to the radio--it's been the best of both worlds. I have not yet decided what I will do when it switches to ABC.

As a side note (and this is even coming from someone with a very mathematical brain), I think ESPN and other networks need to be a little more realistic and a little less mathematical with regards to things such as the chase. Maybe Casey Mears is still mathematically eligible to get in, but we all know he along with everybody below Reutimann won't make it. And let's not get all excited when Stewart clinched a spot last week. We've all known for two months or more that he would easily get in.

David said...

Wow Kevin you almost scared me there saying it was a great broadcast. Having caught the radio replay yesterday on SIRIUS, I was VERY shocked how PRN stayed right ontop of Tony Stewart, the points leader, while ESPN totally ignored the issue except for a blurb. The blurb thing is becoming a theme with ESPN.

Sophia said...

After reading more comments oN ESPN's power/ego, it's dawned on me <---finally.... ESPN is like what CLEAR CHANNEL (& other corporate suits) has/have done to radio. I know they have ruined FM stations for years, and I've listened to talk radio for 25 years. Used to be, talk radio was just that. Talk, about many various topics from fun and serious interviews, to minutia and local people the host would interact with.

Now it's all syndicated junk with angry people screaming their political stuff or angry sounding sports guys...though we would make a good angry bunch calling in at this point. We have a local station that STILL has local hosts for the most part, but sadly it's political in nature "most" of the time but still a local station that talks about things in our backyard a lot of the time as well.

ESPN has always had that "generic" feel to it to me unless I watched an old NASCAR race on CLASSIC. There was no script, no graphics, no ticker that annoyed, wide shots, VERY RARE IN CAR CAMS, and the guys sometimes had moments where they were not yapping non-stop but we didn't have crickets either from what I have heard.

But just to be fair, Fox Sports has become similar with sports broadcasts--as have otherss. Except last I heard their cameras and others, still focus on stick and ball sports on the field/or gym floor.

If there is a gym shoe cam for the NBA I have not heard of it.

Thus since ESPN is so powerful, much like Clear Channel there is not hope for sports viewing, especially NASCAR's camera work

3KillerBs said...

Remember when Nascar fans couldn't wait for ESPN to take over from NBC and do race broadcasts "right"?

At the time I told other fans to watch some ESPN Sunday Night Football games then to be careful what they asked for. Unfortunately, I was right.

And they have us over a barrel because our only options are to not watch our beloved sports at all.

Its time to stop giving exclusives and get some free market competition into the mix so fans can CHOOSE who covers their events.

3KillerBs said...

In re: "The hard card guys," ...

To be fair, they're mainly AT the race so they get to see all the good stuff that ESPN misses.

It would be interesting to have some of the top reporters (is it possible to miss David Poole more short of being a personal friend?), stay home and watch the broadcast for a couple weeks to see what they thought of it.

Lee Spencer isn't my favorite read, but she'd do it right. Marty Smith could have, before ESPN hired him. Not sure who else I'd trust on the project.

Erik said...

I've about had it.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
West Coast Diane said...

Behind reading race posts...just leaving Sears Point...after a very boring IRL race.

Ditto to all the comments made about all the things we mention every week.

A thought on bumper cams. Is ESPN getting paid by the sponsors every time they show a bumper cam with their company name/product/logo??? Do they buy them like they buy time for regular ads?

Sure seems like it.

I'm just saying.

@red...glad you are feeling better, great post...why ESPN would want to lose fans like yourself is beyond me. Unless, like I posted a few races ago...maybe they are trying to get out of the contract! Wishful thinking. Oh...another poster commented on your post and referred to you as a "he"...:-)

Anonymous said...

I know that 2+2=14,but need the ESPN mathematitions to explain it to me.

darbar said...

I see numerous problems with Nascar broadcasts. One, poor direction by the broadcast team. After attending the race at Michigan, there was some great racing going on, but mid-pack. After coming home and watching the race I had Tivo'd, I saw none of this on the broadcast. The director is in love with the top five to ten spots, and because of the crappy COT, there isn't a lot of racing up front as one guy is usually running away with the race.

Second, ESPN is in love with it's technology. They overuse their bumper cams, their in car cams and their tech center. We don't need this fancy stuff. Just show the race and let that action speak for itself.

Third, to be honest, there's not a lot of really great racing going on. Drivers admit they're points racing and don't want to screw up their chances for making the Chase. Despite all the rantings of Larry McReynolds, Jeff Hammond and even the likes of Marty Smith, points racing IS going on a lot in Nascar, and this does not provide great, door to door, bumping and grinding racing. It seems the ONLY driver who wants to race hard every weekend is Kyle Busch, and that's a shame.

Fourth, when a network is locked into showing any sport for the long term, that has provides problems from the start. Just like a professional athlete who signs a guaranteed long term contract, and he doesn't feel the need to hustle and work hard for his money until the last year of his contract, ESPN is locked into their contract and doesn't feel the need to produce a quality product.

I guess when you think about it, there's only so much you can do as a broadcaster when you have a questionable product to start with. This Nascar isn't your daddy's Nascar, and that's to the detriment of the sport. I just wish the persons who produce these Nascar races would take a look at the "old time" productions and see how it was done back then. No fancy bells and whistles, no multiple talking heads and all the rest. They knew that the cars, drivers and action on the track was the most important product---not the fancy cameras, not the in race driver/reporter, and certainly not their gimmicks we have to endure now.

Marti said...

ESPN's credibility went out the window Saturday Night by coloring Dale Jr as on the bubble...Really? Do we look that stupid?

Sophia said...

The economy has hit the fan.

This house is cancelling Digital cable as IRL & F1 wraps up in October. There is a huge re-arrangement of stations tomorrow and if we lose SPEED & Vs, the change will be more IMMEDIATE. Otherwise after F1 & IRL ends (Unless somebody can email me a reliable WORKING secret link to watch the shows, and we may bail sooner!)

SPEED CHANNEL & NASCAR is no longer worth it but I SHALL miss S Report,TWIN & RDay & the trucks. And most of all, Wind Tunnel. TWIN & RDay (& noisy TRACKSIDE!) ain't what it used to be but I love the guys on ALL the shows.

But as of this morning, I have to make cutbacks and we are going back to basic and SPEED thinks they are 'too good' for that with their 'lifestyle rubbish' and are for now still on the second digital tier.

I have also raised cain with certain issues and did not pay for digital this past month, so 6 weeks to go.

That also means losing the extra channels where NASCAR gets tossed in ESPN's channel roulette due to excess programming.

Part of me is sad to make this decision..then I read the same gripes each week and realize, it's time to let go.

Anonymous said...

Talking about what ESPN needs to change at this point is like talking about how nice it will be when my kids finally move out permanently.

It's never going to happen.

Even the wife who is a casual NASCAR fan has had enough of the bumper and cam in can shots.

So I've quit hoping.

I surrender. I get it.

ESPN you win! We're all lemmings and we'll follow our sport no matter what you do to it.

I've already given up the Monday night with your favorite celebrity talk show.

Can't wait for the Favre fest I know you're planning for 10/5.

Can't wait for the Jim Belushi show on 12/28.

glenc1 said...

Sophia, the IRL races are on for free. I have low-speed DSL and it was kinda choppy for me, but the sound was fine. For the record, I'm sure SPEED would love to be on the standard tier, as it is in many places....that's the cable people to blame, same argument as the NFL network has and why there's still negotiations going on (they know more fans will watch the lower the tier they're on.)

Anonymous said...

Forgot to put my Signature in the above

Dave in Milwaukee.

glenc1 said...

someone on (I think) ESPN referred to their coverage this summer as 'Favreapolooza'. if someone has a gun to their head to make them sit on his front lawn.

Anonymous said...

WOW. The Modified race was great. Now, why would one coverage be that much better than the coverage of the Sprint race?

Maybe it was not the coverage but the actual race?

Anonymous said...

When is this contract with ESPN up? It won't be soon enough but something tells me it's not for several years yet. Scary.

If my favorite driver weren't still racing, I probably would stop watching everything but the trucks and various dirt track races on Speed.

Anonymous said...

Oops! I guess I could add that I watched ten laps of the Nationwide race and 50 laps of the Cup race.

I kept seeing the same four or five cars during the Nationwide race which is why I didn't watch it.

Tom said...

Just rolled by ESPN's web site, and they have a new ombudsman. In the mother of all surprises, it's none other than a bonafide TV guy, director Don Ohlmeyer.

Fascinating stuff to chew on from his introductory column:

In my early years in the business I was fortunate to have Roone Arledge as a mentor. He changed two elements of the media for the better: network news and sports. Roone was a brilliant man who shared with me his insights on production and programming. Over the years, these teachings evolved into a mantra I've carried with me throughout my career:

-Respect the audience: As the aphorism goes, "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public" … and I couldn't disagree more. The audience is much more intelligent than most in the media presume. In a three-channel television universe, mediocre programs survived. In a 500-channel world, the junk is quickly discarded by the masses. Networks have sometimes hurt themselves thinking they can fool the audience because they're smarter and more sophisticated than the "rubes." Wrong. The consumer always has the final say.

-Serve the audience: Giving viewers what they want is not pandering. After all, that's why they came in the first place. The media are not in the business of "feeding vegetables." Media work best when responsibly serving the audience what its hungry for. That said, like a doctor, the prime directive should be "First, do no harm."

-Listen to the audience: There are ratings, research, instinct and good old-fashioned feedback. It doesn't matter whether it comes from inside the company, from outside critics (including today's blogosphere) or from the best source of all: the viewers. All feedback is good feedback.

By successfully engaging its audience, ESPN has become gigantic. It gives sports fans myriad choices: cable networks, Web sites, radio stations, a magazine. For nearly 30 years, ESPN has provided information that has upgraded fans' IQs.

And finally, here's the supreme caveat:

The more intelligent ESPN makes fans, the more fans demand the "smart" and reject the "stupid."

Exactly what this blog is doing.

Here's the link to Ohlmeyer's column:

I'd love to hear the comments.

Thanks, JD,


Jon said...

Don't discard NASCAR's role in bad camera work! If they showed more wide shots including more cars, you would see lots of empty seats at virtually every race. I bet Brian (the crappy) made sure that the networks show few shots that show empty grandstands. You only get quick shots of full sections of fans. Brian the idiot likely is dictating to ESPN what they want. Again.

Richard in N.C. said...

Personally I believe Ed Hinton's best contribution to the sport is to maintain as low a profile as possible.

David said...

Jon i posed that question to JD the other day and he told me NASCAR doesn't direct that type of shot. Like you, I wonder if there is some backseat instructions from the powers that be, but I have no proof =\

Anonymous said...

Liar liar pants on fire! You bashed ESPN non-stop during the race for the number of commercials shown. Well, the Cars-n-Jaws report came out.

Guess what?!? ESPN had much FEWER commercials than Fox had for the Spring Bristol race. 166 broadcast minutes to 51 minutes of commercials for ESPN compared to 137 race 53 commercials for Fox.

ESPN provided a whopping 29 more minutes of the race broadcast with 2 fewer commercial minutes.

I feel you should write a full retraction for your next post.

Anonymous said...

Better broadcating when it moves to ABC? Double check me..last I knew ABC OWNED ESPN. What's to get better?

David said...

Annon, the issue was at the END of the race where non-stop commercials happened. It was more noticeable on Friday when they had 3 commercials breaks in the final 70 laps of the Nationwide race.

We've NEVER denied FOX has wayyyyy too many commercials either. They are a complete mess all around vs. FOX. FOX and ESPN both have some work to do in the offseason, but since ESPN is on now, they probably should get to doing some homework.

Commercials wouldn't bother me so bad if the coverage was worth a darn.

David said...

-sigh- just caught the last 15 of TWIN. Mikey throws Denny under the bus and sees a clip that proves him wrong...

Wish he would do a bit better homework before speaking at times

David said...

Mikey does come here....

He remarked on punching Lake Speed...

Chad threw him on the barbs for fuel additives

Daly Planet Editor said...

Let's sort this out a little bit:

David, switch to decaf immediately or start your own blog.

Anon 8:22PM, first of all it is I think Cheryl would appreciate you getting it right.

The Bristol race had poorly placed commercial breaks in action from start to finish.

Fox had the same struggle because this track is no longer one big caution flag with brief periods of green.

There is no better example of why NASCAR and the TV networks need to embrace side-by-side commercials next season than the new Bristol.

Aside from several cut tires that cause accidents, this race may have run almost completely under green.

Finally, there is a new post up about the Monday TWIN with Michael Waltrip, Chad Knaus and Steve Byrnes.


David said...

I hate coffee...


debating doing the 2nd option though.

RobFromCanada said...

This may seem extreme..but to me of late..ESPN looks as if it wants to be the FoxNews of live sports..its not about the sport itself or integrity..but how one can manipulate things to a certain agenda that suits the..umm..suits :P
Irs like an Orwellian sports will conform to this style and enjoy have no choice as we dont listen to you..ok..thats really point is..espn dosnt seem to care about the fans/viewers..or the sport just wants torecreate things in its predetermined image and wont budge..Nascar..if they wish to attract fans back..needs to speak up and say..yo..bubba..fix it or hit the road..just my two (paranoid) cents :)

Daly Planet Editor said...

There are a couple other issues that need to be addressed this week, but I hope to be able to get more into how this shift happened at ESPN.

It is all about the current management and how the studio-based production guys came to be in charge of the TV events in the field.

Once I get the rest of the info I need you will see something come out that will expand on the comment you made.

Not too far off the mark...


Daly Planet Editor said...

David, many people who comment here also have their own blogs so they can be more free form and expand on the issues they feel strongly about.

This blog is set up to address one topic at a time and that is hard to do, especially when I get to pick it!

The Google blogs are free and the set-up is easy. It also brings all the bells and whistles that Google offers along the way.

Let me know what happens.


West Coast Diane said...

@ Tom

Thank you for that link. Wow, blown away.

One of my favorite paragraphs...

"Production people make more decisions in a control truck in three hours than they'll make outside of it the rest of the year (which explains why no telecast is ever perfect). When it's over, everyone is drained mentally and emotionally. But there's no feeling in the industry more thrilling than walking out of the control room after a Super Bowl, knowing it was a good telecast. Knowing that for three and a half hours, what was presented had a cathartic impact on some portion of 100 million people. Knowing that for a brief time, anyway, some viewers forgot about their troubles and got lost in a vicarious world that -- as the event unfolded -- the production team helped create."

ESPN should make giant posters of that statement and place them in the control rooms for all their sports broadcasts, no matter how big or small the sport.

With that said, hope that because NASCAR isn't in the "100 million" range like Olympics, NFL, World Series, etc, our sport gets some attention from him.

Anonymous said...
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David said...

Thanks for the info DJ. I'm still on the fence about it for now. Will let you know if/when I put something together, we shall see.

Anonymous said...

ESPN's ratings have increased yet again over last year. The Nationwide ratings were up as well. This shows that the vast majority of the public loves what its seeing in ESPN's broadcasts. Its only a very small minority of fans that come on to this blog to complain about minor details.

ESPN is doing things right. The ratings prove it.

KoHoSo said...

Anon 11:27...

In fairness for these comparisons, we need to throw out Pocono and Watkins Glen because they ran this year on a Monday. Then, throw out Michigan because it ran on a Tuesday in 2007. A two-race sample is pretty small, but the numbers for them do show that Indy and Bristol are still a combined ~500,000 behind their 2007 levels.

Yes, ratings are up from 2008 for the second consecutive race but Indy also dropped by ~200,000 from the previous year.

Spin is an interesting thing, isn't it? The great thing is that everybody can go to Jayski's, look at the numbers going back to 2001, and decide for themselves if drops occurred due to rain delays, the differences between being on cable or a regular broadcast outlet, or whatever.

I personally believe that the fall in ratings is due to multiple factors and not simply our general critiques of the television coverage. However, I also want to point out something that I always like to say...just because McDonald's sells the most hamburgers doesn't mean they are good hamburgers.

Anonymous said...

Well JD, scenedaily reported that both Bristol race Tv ratings are up. Now what does this mean in terms of the tv coverage.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Means that Junior fans are returning. Period.

Anonymous said...

They still have to improve their overall coverage despite the Tv ratings being up.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:27AM,

That is perhaps the most hilarious thing I have ever heard during the three years of running this blog.

Junior gets his name back in the media so the TV ratings rise a tick and now ESPN is off the hook for the worst television coverage of NASCAR in the history of the sport?

Did you see the final Ambrose pit stop at the Glen? We didn't.

Did you see the story of anyone outside of the top five cars at MIS? We didn't.

Did you read the endless comments from fans around the nation about the TV disaster that was the two night races at Bristol? I did.

What do you think, that I have a little pack of whiners that follows me around?

What I have is the only place on the Internet with enough balls to talk about the NASCAR TV coverage in public.

The hard card media run like roaches when this topic comes around and that is a big problem.

They will update 500 stories when Junior sneezes, but nothing when the sport is butchered for the 99% of the fans who consume all their NASCAR content through TV.

If ESPN tanks in Atlanta, there is going to be an uprising that will not be quieted and I will be leading it.


David said...

I. Miss. David. Poole.

JD, you won't be alone that is for sure.

Just because people watch, doesn't make the coverage good. That logic could apply to the MLB and NFL on ESPN as well. Just because a bunch of people watch, does not mean you have a great product. It means your exclusive and as such people who love their sport watch despite it.

That's the case with why I watch NASCAR right now. I love motorsports and have not gone out of my way to avoid a race on TV since 1997. I am hanging tough even when ESPN makes it hard to stand, if ratings reflected the quality of a product then you could take the Super Bowl and make it a garbage broadcast and show the field for 4 hours, a blade of grass filled with commercials and irrelevant play by play yet because its the Super Bowl, people would tune in. Would they stay? Probably not. Same could be said about ESPN. Im with JD, 2 races of legit sampling makes not a fair comparison just yet.

Anonymous said...

Rest assured, the Atlanta broadcast would be very much inline with the previous ones. You will throw your hissy fit. Your "little pack of whiners" will post a bunch of comments negative about the broadcast. The sun will rise the next day, and everything will remain as normal.

There is no outrage by the masses. The vast majority of people are indifferent about the broadcasts. They are too busy watching the race.

They don't get bent out of shape when the 41st place no-name driver doesn't get 10 minutes of dedicated air time.

And as ESPN has been able to increase ratings year over year, the public is voting with their viewership. They can't get enough of NASCAR on ESPN.

glenc1 said...

David, I see that as the most valid argument...nearly *every* sport has a website or running forum discussion on bad tv coverage, yet they still watch because there's no other choice. If my NFL team is on ESPN, I'm going to watch but I'm still going to gripe. Some people just aren't bothered by 'bad' because they haven't bothered to think about what's 'good'. From figure skating to golf to the Olympics, and everything in between, there has been a lot of both...

I was in the middle of something a few weeks ago and didn't change the channel when ladies' golf (ESPN2) came on. I thought Terry Gannon and his coworkers did a good job, and I'm not even a big golf fan. All it takes is a real effort and the right people in the right spots, and that's what the NASCAR broadcasts lack. It's hard to 'jazz up' golf with tickers and telemetry, so they are forced to rely on old fashioned analysis.

I suppose the X Games audience would be bored...

I look forward to hearing more from Ohlmeyer...interesting.

Richard in N.C. said...

Having only watched EESPN since the Australian rules football days, it seems to me that its motto has become "Quality is job None."

Its decline in quality seems to me to be the result of:
1. Arrogance,
2. Very limited competition, and
3. The mainstream media's bias or fear of writing anything critical of EESPN.

More and more EESPN reminds me of CNN a decade or so ago.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 6:20PM,

You are seriously saying that the people on this blog and the NASCAR fans on all kind of Internet sites are throwing a hissy fit?

Why aren't we praising ESPN for their innovation and experience?

Why aren't we setting the standard for NASCAR TV?

Did you watch the TNT broadcasts?

The problems ESPN is experiencing are across the board. I would expect a change in senior management very soon.

Then, the hardcore sports fan will once again be allowed to enjoy top TV coverage from the talented ESPN producers and directors without the forced hype and over-production of almost every major professional sport on the ESPN family of networks.


goat said...

I propose:

Fox gets the first half of the season (through New Hampshire), and TNT/NBC the second half (starting with second Daytona race), using the TNT broadcast team and technical resources (no NBC toilet seats).

Keep the fall races early enough and there shouldn't be a conflict.

AndyPandy said...

In my opinion, when comparing the excitement or lack of it in today's racing to that of the past, using the number of passes as a stat is no longer relevant. The introduction of double file restarts - shootout style (heehee) has bunched up the field, putting cars on the same lap closer together and creating the opportunity and conditions for an increase in passes.

We now have oranges instead of apples. I like oranges better, anyway.

David said...

number of passes in the spring is still a fair comparison though since it was single file restarts

Delenn said...

Anon 6:20PM,
There is no outrage by the masses. The vast majority of people are indifferent about the broadcasts. They are too busy watching the race.
Really. Where are they doing that then? Last time I saw, I couldn't watch the race anywhere - just a telecast emanating from a racetrack.

Anonymous said...

I'm a little late to this party, so I don't know if anyone will read this... but today the New York Times printed an article, and the NASCAR Bristol race was the 2nd highest rated show on basic cable for the entire week:

Tom said...

Please check yourself, Anon 4:17.
I looked at the link you provided, and the article says the MICHIGAN race (NOT Bristol) was the THIRD-highest program on basic cable.

Sure you're not trying to pull a Jamie Little on us?

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