Tuesday, August 25, 2009

You Tube Millionaire Takes A Pass On NASCAR


It was quite a friendly affair Sunday night on SPEED. Krista Voda hosted the Wind Tunnel program for the vacationing Dave Despain.

Joining her in the studio were SPEED's Bob Varsha and Ken Anderson, one half of the pair daring to start a Charlotte-based American Formula-1 team. Open wheel fans were buzzing because there was also going to be another guest on the program.

Chad Hurley, the co-founder of You Tube, joined the show via satellite from the West Coast. The secret was out. Hurley was joining the USF1 effort as the primary investor in the team. The money-man had been revealed.

He is still actively working for You Tube, but Hurley and his partner sold that company to Google back in 2006 for 1.65 billion dollars. Now, Hurley wants to combine his knowledge of online business with his Silicon Valley contacts to bring a new team dynamic to F-1. That dynamic involves social media interaction with the fans.

Click here for an excellent interview from Autosport.com with Hurley on his plans.

The whooshing sounds heard in both Daytona and Charlotte were the tens and maybe hundreds of millions of Hurley's dollars passing NASCAR by without even waving. While this funding could have produced a new and powerful sponsorship on the Sprint Cup Series level, there is something even more important that could have been accomplished with Hurley's assets and experience.

The power of this huge investment coupled with Hurley's understanding of the evolving world of online media could have finally released NASCAR from their crippling contract with the Turner Sports New Media Group. This is the company that operates NASCAR.com and prohibits any use of online NASCAR content by other providers. Click here for the information on that agreement that runs through 2014.

The Turner Group is the reason SiriusXM NASCAR Channel 128 is not available on your computer or cell phone. They are the reason none of the thousands of hours of footage and TV programs sitting on the NASCAR Media Group's hard drive can be made available for streaming online.

There are no web-based NASCAR TV shows, no live online interviews from the drivers and no classic NASCAR shows available on TV network or program streaming websites. The stranglehold of Turner where online NASCAR content is concerned seems to be total and complete. Well, there is one exception.

Frustrated fans have been going to You Tube for years to find the NASCAR footage that keeps them connected to the sport. They go to watch handicam footage from fans in the stands as well as race highlights edited by amateurs and posted online.

Click here for highlights of the Sharpie 500 on the official You Tube NASCAR Media channel. Once the video begins, you will notice something rather strange. The only race highlights from NASCAR's own channel are still photos. NASCAR can't even use their own race footage online.

Amateurs and fans are the ones posting the hundreds of other videos of the Sharpie 500. They contain everything from the flyover to complete race reviews with voice-overs. You Tube is where NASCAR fans go for video.

Had Mr. Hurley come to NASCAR and bought out the Turner Media contract, it would have put a forward thinking new media veteran at the forefront of a sport desperately in need of an online and social media overhaul from top to bottom. Instead, it will be business as usual when the 2010 season rolls around where NASCAR's fractured online presence is concerned.

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. Thanks for sharing your opinion with others on The Daly Planet.

46 comments:

Vicky D said...

I thought Krista did a nice job on WT but Ken Anderson was a boring guest. Too bad about Chad Hurley at the time I was watching the show, I didn't even think of what he could have brought to Nascar.

Dot said...

I missed WT.

Maybe Chad did go to NASCAR and then saw the egos.

I cannot believe how stupid Turner is in not letting loose with film. How ludicrous that NMG cannot even show their own product.

Too much power for Turner.

Who wrote this contract?

West coast Diane said...

The whole media/technology thing with NASCAR is pretty ridiculous. Even us "older" folks check out You Tube, Twitter, read/post on blogs, use the internet to enhance watching/listening to races, etc.

I think NASCAR lives in a bubble...an antiquated one at that.

Regards to Mr. Hurley. Do we know if he even checked out NASCAR, IRL? He might just want to play with the rich and famous and hobnob in Monte Carlo and other far off places :-)

@Dot...hard to believe, but the egos at F1 are probably 100 times great than NASCAR (as bad as they are). See Bernie Ecclestone & Max Mosley to start with 2. Remember Monotoya's comments

kiteman11 said...

Wow. I read your post 3-4 times and I totally agree. The stranglehold on the streaming is really hurting our sport. A money infusion coupled with technical/social forethought to create a new refined, even more accessible version of the sport we love would be incredible. I hope he succeeds @ F1. I'll support it. We need an American presence in that league. Would really be cool if one of our premiere drivers went there.....................

Daly Planet Editor said...

kiteman,

One quick spin around the Internet will show what the other major professional sports organizations are doing with new media.

From iPhone apps to online video streaming, NASCAR is light years behind already and the train is leaving the station.

Despite the best wishes of the NASCAR, the agenda of the Turner Media Group is driven by what is profitable for Turner, not what is best for NASCAR.

None of these parties are at fault for anything. This was a good deal originally and only the changing nature of the new media technology landscape makes it very clear that NASCAR's online interests need to come back in-house ASAP.

JD

Jonathan said...

Now I don't know if he was interested in NASCAR or not, but he did state that one of the attractions that F1 offered was a global platform.

YouTube was looking to expand in the European marketplace and F1 is obviously the way to do it. Because of the domination of FootyTube in the soccer world in Europe F1 offered the next best "unclaimed" sport in Europe.

I think it had more to do with YouTube's business leanings and directions than a beef with/dislike of NASCAR.

That being said, I still wish he was bringing that cash to NASCAR and not taking it to F1. But a successful F1 team in Charlotte will have undoubtedly have a trickle-down effect in the NASCAR world.

darbar said...

In a way, you can understand why Hurley chose to go with F1, as it's international in scope. Nascar, despite the desire of B France, is basically a North American sport, and the IRL, with it's 22 cars each week, is slowly dying. Hurley's money would have been welcome in Nascar, but in a good business model, F1 is probably a better decision and bigger bang for the buck.

As for Turner, they and Nascar live in a technological void. For whatever reason, they refuse to see that the internet could be an invaluable asset to expand the sport. Do they not realize that most of the developed world could follow Nascar if the races were streamed on the internet? I know that there is some interest as I've watched Nascar races while sitting in hotel rooms, and cruising on ships, throughout Europe via NASN. If they would embrace technology, their fan base would expand.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Jonathan,

We are not suggesting that this is any kind of NASCAR vs. F-1 issue.

This is just a "what if" scenario.

Hurley had the cash, the cutting edge media experience and the desire to invest in a new business.

He chose a form of motorsport that currently does not race in the US, has been in recent internal turmoil and has all the associated media already controlled by Mr E. and his friends.

It's just a reflection on what could have been for NASCAR. And boy, what could have been is huge...

JD

Karen said...

JD, do you know Ken Anderson's background? Thought he was just a horrible interview on WT. Thankfully, Chad Hurley made up for it. I didn't think of him and NASCAR either at the time. Too bad for NASCAR.

Anonymous said...

There might be some other obscure options that lawyers can untangle but it seems that the only way to change this situation is for someone to place the right amount of money on the table in front of Turner. Doesn't seem likely. In five years NASCAR will be so far behind in the so called new media they might never catch up.

That's a shame for the fans and the sport at large.

Richard in N.C. said...

JD- Are you really sure Turner-TimeWarner has management? Oh, yes, the good news is that the former CEO of TimeWarner is now the Chmn of the Bored of Citicorp.

Dot said...

@ WCD, I know about the European F1 and how snobby they are. I was hoping that the US version would be little more down to earth.

Anonymous said...

NASCAR is sliding down a dangerous slope.Social media is here to stay. I am one of the guys who had the first computers ever made so I have been at this a little while. Kids and younger fans go straight to the internet for information.Older fans usually go to Tv but even now most are catching on to the vast amount of information that is never even seen on TV that is on the internet.Who is in charge of NASCAR media/social media relations? Someone needs to move into the 21'st century and they better do it fast. Trying to limit information such as ESPN,the NFL and even college footbsall will get them nowhere and fast.

Photojosh said...

NASCAR's understanding of what is needed as far as "new media" (which is rapidly becoming just "media") depresses the heck out of me.
And to be honest, it should annoy the heck out of every one of us. It's as if NASCAR itself believes the ignorant sterotype of the NASCAR fan being a backwoods hillbilly moonshiner who never made it past the 4th grade.

They just don't seem to get why this is a problem and why they need to be looking at how to fix it. And to be honest, Turner doesn't seem to get it either. After all, why do we get Racebuddy for 6 races but Trackpass wants to sell us herky-jerky cartoons running around a track for the rest of the season? I'm not going to buy the junk when I've seen what you could be selling me.

The IRL is wiping the floor with NASCAR as far a this goes. It's pathetic when we have to resort to pirate internet re-broadcasters just to be fans of our favorite sport.

Anonymous said...

It is interesting how different a perspective you get on the popularity of certain sports when you live overseas. I spent 5 years in Jakarta. The IRL and NASCAR would be on in real time and aired once on TV. There is a 12 hr time difference so most day races were started after midnight. However,F1 and Moto-GP would replay what seemed like every other hour. So, worldwide F1 would give you the most bang for your buck


Frank in Sebring

Anonymous said...

Yeah, YouTube sponsors a race team and Turner will just give up their contract. Give me a break!

Anonymous said...

You make it sound like this is some big fault of NASCAR or that NASCAR blew it or did something wrong.

Hey, the millionaire is a fan of F1 and wanted to do something with an F1 team. Maybe if he was a NASCAR fan he'd be starting a NASCAR team. But he isn't. I guess he could have been a basketball fan and like Mark Cuban bought a basketball team. I guess that would be NASCAR's fault, too.

There is no "missed opportunity" here because it wasn't like the millionaire/billionaire behind all this was shopping around his offer to various motorsports to see where a good deal could be made. He got into F1 because he likes F1.

Give NASCAR a break already.

bevo said...

NASCAR is so far behind in new media that there is a very real chance they will never catch up. The technology and sophistication in F1 is light years ahead of NASCAR. Heck just compare F1's site against NASCAR's - One is simple, elegant and quick to load with a great real-time leaderbord. The other is a cluttered,script-laden,slow to load, cheap looking mess.

If you're not a traditional company there is no way you would want to be associated with a dinosaur like NASCAR. If you're a new technology company you go with F1.

Matt TSB said...

How would this have been an opportunity for Nascar to get out of a contract four or five years early? Does Nascar even want to get out of the contract?

GinaV24 said...

Boy do I ever agree that NASCAR is seriously missing a big opportunity here. It has become so obvious over the past few years that a lot of fans follow the sport via the internet, including on raceday - partly because we can't get what we need from the TV partners. I can understand Hurley choosing F1 because of the international side of things and maybe because things in NASCAR have been on a downward slide he figured that F1 might be on the uptick at this point.

I liked Photojosh's comments about NASCAR believing that their fans are all backward hicks. Funny, they've been trying to distance themselves from that "image" when the fans have already gone way past them on the technology side. Sorry, NASCAR, your fans are ready for the space shuttle and your contract with Turner is keeping us in the stone age. Sad really - by 2014, a lot of us will have moved on from the sport.

dawg said...

NA$CAR entered into said agreements through sheer unadulterated GREED.
The same reason that they seem to have no saw in the way their product is covered on TV.
Brian & Lesa count their money, & the paying fans have to live with the consequences.
Sad isn't it?

saltsburgtrojanfan said...

true

Anonymous said...

People complain about starting times? F1 usually starts at 5:30 a.m. in AZ. I don't get F1. If we complain about follow the leader no passing and the dominance of super teams, watch F1. It is boring. If Hurley wants to be in F1 racing, I guess he can promote You Tube internationally. But he could have owned a NASCAR team with Danica and Allison Force for a fraction of the cash. With his online acumen, sponsors would have beat down the door to leave their money behind. Here's a guy who like Danica appreciates the word 'brand'.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 1:44AM,

Mr. Hurley did not sponsor a team using his old company. The picture is a representation of where his money came from and where it is going.

My Hurley is the primary investor in the team. Big difference.

Anon 1:46AM,

NASCAR has nothing to do with this, other than the fact that before the social media explosion they made an all-inclusive online deal with Turner. At the time, it was a good idea.

There is probably not another person who has more new and social media experience than Hurley. As he said, he was not particularly interested in F-1. Windsor and Anderson just made a presentation and lured him in.

Matt,

If you can find an answer to that question, let me know.

JD

Buschseries61 said...

"NASCAR can't even use their own race footage online."

That is a sad statement. There are so many flaws in tv coverage & online coverage. NASCAR has to step in. There should be no excuse for Sirius not to broadcast NASCAR 128 online. There should be no reason NASCAR can't use their own footage on the sport's official website. That is just absurd.

Smiff_99 said...

Imagine, fellow planeteers, a channel.....maybe even a pay per view channel.

A place where any NASCAR event (from SC, NW, or CWTS) from the last 30-40 years can be watched for the same price as a movie
rental.

JD, would such a thing be a possibility if Turner's stranglehold was lifted?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Smiff,

The Turner issue we are discussing involved online content like websites, social media and online streaming.

NASCAR is free to originate any kind of TV channel but in today's world a project of this type without an online presence would never fly.

NASCAR freeing themselves from the existing Turner online contract would open more doors than anyone can ever imagine.

Well, maybe Chad Hurley could see it...

JD

Anonymous said...

I can watch all the SPEED shows and highlights with Sprint Cup Mobile on my Sprint phone.

DL said...

JMO but I do believe NASCAR is looking to bring everything in house in the next 2 years, which means getting out of or altering the Turner contract. I believe "The NASCAR Channel" is coming (bad news for SPEED). The facility to house that is being built next to the HoF in NC is mighty impressive, and I have no reason to believe that it won't also serve as production, development and implementation of online media as well.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 11:15AM,

I am missing your point. SPEED has no Sprint Cup Series or Nationwide races except the All Star race. They originate no weekday NASCAR programming except one hour of TWIN.

There are no other online media offerings except NASCAR.com, which is available on any cell phone.

JD

Daly Planet Editor said...

DL,

The NMG facility in Charlotte is for production and storage. They have TV studio facilities and also a radio studio in addition to what may be one of the world's biggest video storage systems.

At the present time, other than the SPEED Stage shows, NMG is doing almost no NASCAR TV production. The Monday TWIN show is done from SPEED's studios in North Charlotte.

In other words, there is nothing to bring in house except pre-production for the weekend SPEED shows and special project work.

ESPN has already stripped all the long-form NMG programs from that family of networks and SPEED continues to invest millions in lifestyle programs like Wrecked so they can own the content outright when the show is over.

Nothing is in the works right now for NASCAR to buy an ESPN Classic or Family Channel type cable network. One that is struggling but already has distribution.

You guess is as good as mine on what will happen after 2014 when the Turner contract is up, but that seems like a very long time.

JD

dyannah said...

Anyone know what happened to last night's (August 25th) episode of NASCAR Now? It was apparent that it was pre-empted with little or now notification to the viewers. I also finding it puzzling that the ESPN2 schedule indicates that for most if not of all of next week NASCAR Now will only be broadcast during what is considered late, late night tv viewing time. Obviously, ESPN doesn't think NASCAR fans are that important to their viewship.

Daly Planet Editor said...

dy,

NASCAR Now got bumped to 5AM Weds. after a Little League World Series baseball game ran long. This is a situation the program has encountered before, but back then no one watched it!

As we can relate to this story, since Turner owns all the online rights to NASCAR content, ESPN is unable to offer a "bumped" edition of the program streamed online.

ESPN did run a crawl on the bottom of the ESPN2 screen for a while saying that the program had been moved, but that didn't help those who already had their recording devices set for 5PM.

I certainly would have hoped that the powers that be would have moved this program to ESPNEWS network or ESPN Classic, but that just did not happen.

JD

Richard in N.C. said...

Dot, snobby is one of the nicest things I've seen written about the F1 powers. Even so, at least last year, you could send F1 a comment on the official F1 site and receive an acknowledgement that your comment had been received.

JD, if the word verification is "blymi," could it mean that the White Rat, Bernie E., might be eavsdropping on TDP?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dyannah said...

JD, thanks for the reply to what happened to NASCAR Now last night. Once again I've registered my "concern" with ESPN with their pre-empting and delaying the only program besides the races I watch on the ESPN Family of Stations.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Richard,

I had the pleasure of doing Formula One at ESPN for many years. The announcers were on an audio circuit while we took in the world feed of the video and inserted ESPN graphics live.

It was a wild time, long before digital video and high def. David Hobbs is just the best ever.

The current F-1 TV package is one of the most technologically advanced in the world. They travel all the equipment globally in big containers, it is simply amazing.

As one emailer put it, Mr. Hurley may be just the lastest well meaning investor lured into the racing world because of what he has in his pocket.

Those of us in NASCAR remember nice companies like Fingerhut, Tide and even Folgers Coffee who came and went.

My point in putting this column together was to suggest that both Hurley's financial power and his new media expertise may have been put to better use here in the US if someone had introduced him to NASCAR.

Oh well...

JD

Daly Planet Editor said...

No problem Dy, we live to serve!

Jimbacca said...

There is no telling how the youtube investment will turn out. On the cynical side, has US f1 produced any tangible items to showcase? Bang! Racing.

From a global look, it’s probably one of the cheapest ways for youtube to get wider coverage throughout the world. Having US in the name will give it some great press, if it is a competent team. If they made the old TWR team look like Ferrari then it will not be a benefit.

As far as new media or contracts in general. There has been a lot of short sited contracts that were done for the benefit of the $. Why are people still surprised about it? What is sad is that NASCAR.com is not where people go to first for breaking news. That should be a red flag to an organization if for current news about your organization people go somewhere else. Nascar media group isn’t turner. So any on screen shows or lack thereof fall squarely on Nascar. Turner knows how to do online content live. Look at racebuddy as proof. I’m sure there are many contractual items that tie people’s hands.

At the end of the day. Nascar currently is a shrinking violet in the global sport scheme compared to F1 even with the controversy it’s still all over the place.

Richard in N.C. said...

JD, I have very, very fond memories of F1 on ESPN. My then 3 year old granddaughter and I had an understanding on race Sundays - no Barney until after the F1 race - and you haven't lived until you've had a 3 year pronounce Mika Hakkinen, which I've mispelled.

Ryan McGee and Marty Smith are my favorite NASCAR writers and about the only reason I ever go to EESPN's website. As a source of news and discussion of a subject in over 700 words, this year I have found NASCAR.com far superior to EESPN, except for Ryan and Marty.

Anonymous said...

I think he went F1 also because of its global appeal. NASCAR is sitll mostly N America based - even if it went outside this continent, it won't find much appeal cept for Australia.

Anonymous said...

However, two thumbs up for TNT's RaceBuddy. Now that is awesome!!!

Anonymous said...

Also, DP you could mention Ask.com entering NASCAR. It's done a lot w/ its sposnorship despite being stuck with Yates. If they took Bobby and his talents to another better outfit, they'd be making a bigger impact.

Patrick said...

My 2¢, Hurley chose USF1 because of the opportunity to be in at the ground floor. With knowledgeable stalwarts like Ken Anderson and Peter Windsor make that more likely to succeed. Chad found the pitch appealing maybe because he sees similarities in his own past success. This USF1 team will be a new approach with a 'skunkwerks' style. It seems that there aren't any NEW teams in NASCAR that would be capable of selling their concepts in this manner. Would you take a gamble on a 2nd or even 3rd tier team where they might not make the races?

Regarding new media, I remember when this contract was awarded and I believe the consensus was positive. Turner Interactive was doing a commendable job running NASCAR.com five years ago. The ten year deal seemed good for both parties. "Exclusivity" has its added value, but now how proven to be a myopic hindrance. Today's NASCAR.com has become a cluttered, script-filled mess that is NOT easily navigated. Turner should relaunch in a manner that addresses new media and re-image itself in a manner that can compete with IndyCar.com and Formula1.com. The NHRA suffers from the same clutter.

Michael K Pate said...

The key company in the success of USF1 is going to be connecting with fans. Chances are, it is going to take some time (several years) to develop both the drivers and the technology to really company. In the meantime, they have to make people care about them and what they are doing, even if they aren't getting a lot of results on the track.

That is where Chad Hurley can really make a difference. Having someone who really understands what works in new media and how to use it successfully can really make this work.

Lesley said...

Loved Krista! Ken Anderson had the personality of a freeway cone!Dave
should have left the show to Varsha!With that said.. Krista did a nice job! Trying to gett better with that theyr grammer of mine..Ya no!!( Anon! Who ever the heck you were!!)