Friday, September 18, 2009

Versus And NASCAR Announce New TV Series

Here we go with a brand new twist for NASCAR and its TV partners. Versus has now joined the group and here is the official info:

VERSUS today announced a multi-year deal with NASCAR to air a fast-paced, up-close HD look at the 12 drivers competing in NASCAR’s 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup. The weekly, half-hour series titled Quest for the NASCAR Sprint Cup will air on VERSUS on Tuesday nights at 11 p.m. ET, beginning September 22, and will air each week until the conclusion of the 2009 NASCAR playoff season.

Quest for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, an adrenaline-filled show that offers motorsports fans stunning race footage with an intimate behind-the-scenes perspective, is a milestone in HD sports programming and was honored with a Sports Emmy® Award for “Outstanding Live Event Turnaround” in 2008. VERSUS and NASCAR will also partner on additional programming opportunities which will be announced when details become available.

“Just as we’re about to conclude our first year of IndyCar Series coverage, we look forward to the opportunity to extend our racing season through this new partnership with NASCAR,” said Marc Fein, Executive Vice President of Programming, Production and Business Operations for VERSUS. “VERSUS has become a top television destination for motorsports fans with our in-depth and all-encompassing coverage of the IndyCar Series and we are very excited to launch into a multi-year venture with NASCAR to showcase all the action and excitement surrounding their championship run.”

“We are delighted to partner with VERSUS on our Emmy-award winning Quest for the NASCAR Sprint Cup series,” said Jay Abraham, Chief Operating Officer of NASCAR Media Group. “With VERSUS being the fastest growing sports cable network in the country, this is one more way in which NASCAR can reach additional fans with the excitement of our playoffs, the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.”

This is an interesting announcement to make on the verge of the first Chase race in New Hampshire. The NASCAR Media Group is extending a new bridge and the results should be fun to watch. There was no reaction from SPEED or ESPN on this issue.

Some fans may remember this series from an earlier network partnership. NMG enjoys making high-end glossy programs that have the feel of an NFL Films production. While this content will still not be available online, any additional exposure for NASCAR on TV is a positive for the sport.

We will continue to follow this story, but in the meantime perhaps you can give us your reaction on this topic. Just click on the comments button below to add your opinion. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting.

Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.


David said...

great, aired on a network that I don't have...

Sounds like a great project, wish the content were available online though obviously

Yukstin said...

Hmm this is rather convenient for Versus to get this while they are negotiating with DirecTV for a new deal, coincidence? It would be nice to watch, oh wait I have DirecTV.

Anonymous said...

Comcast and Direct TV are having their problems so we will miss this programing. Comcast is charging to much according to DirectTV. So guess we lose.

Eliz, AR

Newracefan said...

one of the few times I'm glad I have Comcast but 11pm good thing I have a DVR too

Richard in N.C. said...

Maybe a precursor to a NASCAR channel, with the largest cable system in the U.S.? Setting up options for the next TV contracts? Civilization needs a competitor for the Evil Empire.

Anonymous said...

Just in time for this ridiculous Comcast / DirecTV stand-off. Yet another program I can't watch since I'm a DirecTV subscriber.

This is total BS that as a multi-sport fan I have no choice but to choose one or the other - I can either have the ability to watch the NFL Ticket, NASCAR Hotpass, and the NCAA B-Ball Tournament package or have the ability to watch the NHL, IRL, and now this extra NASCAR programming, I don't have an option that will let me see them all (legally).

How about someone step up and prevent these squabbling millionaires from screwing the average sports fan with these provider-exclusive packages and channels?

Vicky D said...

Yes, we lost Versus on August 31st I guess we are out in the cold (well here in Houston it would be the humidity!)

Anonymous said...

Yeah this is just great. Pretty soon the NFL will only be on Directv, NASCAR will only be on Comcast, the NBA will only be on Time Warner and the NCAA will only be on Dish Network, and sports TV in this country will die as a result. So sad.

MRM4 said...

A curious move. Versus is only what, 20 million or so homes since DirecTV dropped them? Does this mean Versus got this as part of a negotiating ploy or Versus is going to get into the NASCAR game soon by showing Truck, Nationwide, or even Cup races?

Yukstin said...

If anyone is going to step in between them it will be the NHL because that is the "crown jewel" for Versus in terms of their sports coverage and let's face it the NHL also needs to be available in as many homes as possible. As a big NHL fan I know this. Problem is one of the biggest NHL supporters and current partial owner of the guessed it Comcast!

It just keeps getting better and better doesnt it?!

I want to side with DirecTV on this one but come October when there is supposed to be hockey on, my patience will be get very short.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Yep, this is certainly some leverage in the overall standoff with Comcast over DirecTV carriage.

Versus (owned by Comcast) is the network that demanded a big increase in the price to continue to be carried on DirecTV.

At the time, DirecTV responded by saying the limited night and weekend sports programming on Versus mixed with infomercials and outdoor shows simply was not worth the price.

And the saga continues...


Vince said...

I have Versus HD on AT&T U-verse, but I guess they haven't updated their online guide for this show yet. I'm showing something called Bloodsport on at the 11pm to 1am time slot on Sept. 22.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Vince, just happened today. Expect the changes within 24 hours.


Andrew S. said...

Versus is free to all subscribers on Dish Network until November 30.. or so it says on the Dish website

hotaru-raganbaby_6 said...

More chase hype, good thing I do not have access to the one tv in the house that gets Versus.

I coined a new phrase this week- Chaseism, or the seeming special treatment of the 12. The media tour, on NN; that's all it's been this week, and this proposed series only adds to it.

Anonymous said...

All this TV stuff confuses me. I get VS and my cable co is COX. How is it that they can show this channel and Comcast won't/can't let Direct TV?

Dot, cheating at new job.

philgoodstory said...

if nascar was super serious about pumping up its online presence, i think this would have been a perfect show to anchor that new online partnership between speed and turner online media. it is nice to see some expansion outside of the current partners, though.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 6:37PM,

It is easy to understand. Versus is the old Outdoor Life Network. The big cable company Comcast bought it when they decided to go into the programming business.

Even though Comcast owns Versus, the network is distributed on various cable systems and home satellite services.

No one is really sure why Versus tried to push DirecTV at this time, when revenue for DirecTV is at an all time low.

Versus is still a very new network with absolutely scattered programming across the board.


wsucougarchick05 said...

@ Andrew S. - Yes, Versus is free/a preview on Dish Network through Nov. 30.

@ Anonymous 6:37 p.m. - Each channel's parent company and each cable/satellite company have negotiated fees in terms of carriage. When those contracts come up for renegotiation and talks break can be without a certain channel for a period of time (i.e. Fisher Broadcasting and Dish Network and their 6 month-long battle over this exact thing...). It screws the consumer most of all.

Chris Allen said...

The DirecTV / Comcast dispute isn't just about money. DirecTV also wants to remove Versus from Choice Xtra and place it on Sports Pack and Premier only. I think that's the major issue here, more so than the cost increase Versus asked for.

That said, I can't really blame Versus here. That's a lot of viewers lost for Versus if DirecTV gets its way. As for the rest of Versus worth an extra $13/month?

Vicky D said...

Hot, and I guess we will not hear or see much about the drivers outside the top 12 from now til the end of the season. Chaseism at it's best! NOT!

Bobby said...

Versus shares television packages with NBC (NHL, PBR), CBS (PBR, partners in Mountain West Network), and Fox (PBR), and ESPN (IRL - also ESPN's international arm airs VS coverage to other countries).

But NASCAR agreeing with Versus on this makes me wonder -- will Versus' Bob Jenkins narrate the Chase documentaries?

This is good for Versus to help them in the fight against DirecTV, which I recently noted would carry the entire gauntlet of MTV's networks but not Versus. This is a big gain for Versus. Add a Danica win or two and it would be impossible for DirecTV to even think about saying no to Versus while saying yes to MTV. (There is a restrictor plate on the channel to block all MTV channels on this Time Warner Cable digital/HD home; part of it relates to the type of values taught by MTV, the other relates to MTV's betrayal of motorsports, as we saw with the World of Outlaws and the ASA; that still haunts the WoO and Knoxville today, and the Robbins family sold the ASA, which collapsed under Steve Dale afterwards.)

Many short-track racing fans still have a chip against MTV for the anti-racing rant, even though NASCAR has "buried the hatchet" with MTV, with their CMT producing "Dale" and the Drive for Diversity series on the quasi-MTV network BET.

DirecTV thinks they have the upper hand in saying Versus is 61st of 74 English-language commercial networks on their system. Versus has just raised the gauntlet with Mountain West teams having huge home games against BCS teams airing on Versus, and a Top 10 team in Brigham Young University. Add this NASCAR package, and the wick is turned up.

Anonymous said...

Because Comcast owns Versus, it can charge whatever it wants because whatever fee it charges goes out of one Comcast account and into another one.

By charging an outrageously high fee, they can gouge competitors. If the competitors pay, the joke's on them. If the competitors choose not to submit to the extortion, and drop Versus, that's a marketing coup for Comcast, which can go after the DirecTV customers who want the IRL and/or NHL.

SonicAD said...

Pretty sure this show was on one of the VOOM channels last year and is just being moved elsewhere. Quite happy to see that, as I didn't get any of those channels, so I can actually see this now.

Ken said...

Vs is channel 151 in Dish and is available in HD. I guess I'll have to wait to set my DVR since it is not listed yet.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like great news to me. The more networks and filmmakers that want to make NASCAR-related features is great from where I sit.

And I like that it's on VS, even though I don't get it. No offense to SPEED... but if they announced they were doing a special on the 12 drivers... well, you could pretty much close your eyes and imagine the whole thing. They are a bit predicatble. Maybe VS will bring new blood and new perspective.

Oh, and one more thing: This is just another reason why making the Chase is so important. ANd I like it.

Dot said...

@ JD, & wsucougar, thanks for the info. This reminds me of what BSPN was doing a few ago with the cable companies. Somehow we ended up not having to pay more and kept it in on the lower end of the tier. Or something like that.

hotaru-raganbaby_6 said...

Y'know what I just realized... the name makes me think of Arthurian legends.

We quest for the Cup on morrow yonder! :)

Sophia said...

SPEED is not worth the price either as we must pay $22 more a month for digital cable. IT's ludicrous considering the RUBBISH shows now on SPEED Mon-Thursday (except for TWIN)

Vs is on the digital tier as well and we are going to drop digital and lose BOTH. INDY races we will watch online or hooked up to the new digital tv.

Sadly, SPEED is not worth the expense and we don't understand why such a crap station (like Vs that HAPPENS to have a little racing) isn't on basic cable.

So I won't be watching the NASCAR stuff on Vs because I have lost interest and don't want to give more ratings to a station that DROPPED IRL. Just my thing.

Richard in N.C. said...

When Time Wormer added digital here I was told by an informed source that SPEED was put on digital to attract users to digital- and it is still on digital.

I'm not sure who actually produced it, but I really enjoyed Versus coverage of Dakar this year.

Anonymous said...

I have DirecTv and can't watch this. Am I going to change from DTv to get the IRL races - no. Do I wish I could watch the race tonight - yes. All and all, a loss for the IRL and Versus/Comcast. Next time Comcast, pick a fight worth winning. Jerks. But you also have to admit that the IRL is in a tough spot being on Versus and not ESPN or ABC or another more available channel.

Anonymous said...

versus is a top destination for motorsports fans?????

Um, news flash for Mr Fein (sure your first name isnt Larry-as in the 3 stooges?)

Motorsports destination, you ain't

it takes ore than a Nascar media series to earn your stripes

maybe you should focus on getting back on DirecTV

darbar said...

Since when is Versus the fastest growing sports network? Seeing how they just lost millions of homes with their cancellation of Direct TV, that statement cannot be true.

One would hope that someone wakes up, stops playing chicken and settles the dispute so that Versus comes back to DTV

Anonymous said...

My husband just checked the Versus website. They don't have this program listed yet either. How funny is that?

Daly Planet Editor said...

It's almost like Versus is in the same situation that SPEED was a while back.

All the pieces just don't seem to fit together. TV, website, news stories and publicity.

I still think it is a tough challenge to run a national TV network from Philly. Glad that is the home of Comcast, but NYC or even Atlanta would have better served this cause.


Sophia said...


here in SW Ohio TW has SPEED as part of SPORTS package OR what we have the "variety tier". But we are cutting back on things and digital is going. Just not worth it for a few hours of viewing a week. So, it's going.

SPEED is such a joke, as is Versus they should BOTH be on basic extended for everybody. SPEED on the weekend is great! SPEED primetime and during the week, well, useless in recent years.

I am not interested in the outdoor gun stuff/animal killing on Vs. Some may like it but we do not.

We like some racing, a little golf, and maybe a football. HUGE difference than the junk on the former Outdoor Living Network. a world when apparently cheap "fake reality shows" are all over tv and SOMEBODY watches ...this is what happens to the IRL.:(

Bobby said...

There's one more factor Comcast can bully into getting Versus into more homes.

Comcast owns The Golf Channel, which is the home of first and second rounds of all FedEx Cup events, all rounds of selected other events on that tour, plus all Quest for the Card, Nationwide Tour, selected Charles Schwab Cup, LPGA, Race to Dubai, and tournaments in both Australia and Asia. Golf fans are willing to watch this channel, so Comcast has another weapon to help Versus.

Comcast could simply tell cable systems if you want to carry Golf Channel, you have to carry Versus.

And don't forget this isn't Comcast's first go-around with NASCAR-themed events. In 2005, Golf's The Big Break featured a series of celebrity one-day showdowns, called All-Star Challenge, and Cup drivers were featured in such an episode. In 2007, Versus aired the Dale Earnhardt Jr Clash event at Time Warner Cable Arena. That event was sponsored by Earnhardt and part of the PBR Built Ford Tough Series.

Anonymous said...

why is this a "issue"
what reaction would you expect from speed
what reaction would you expect from espn

and what - no screaming from you on VS being the "fastest growing network"

did they not just loose 14 million homes

once again you expose your bias and lack of perspective - hopefully you are considering dropping this board - perhaps it will help all your followers understand the dead end road you have taken them down

red said...

"I still think it is a tough challenge to run a national TV network from Philly. Glad that is the home of Comcast, but NYC or even Atlanta would have better served this cause. "

ok, freely admitting my pro-philly bias here up front but what's the backstory on your opinion here, jd?

(and the magic number for the phillies is down to 8!)

and for those with versus/irl coverage, the online option is definitely a great choice! i watched the race on both tv and online last night/this morning and was astounded by how well the online option presented!

saltsburgtrojanfan said...

I do not have versus b/c i have DirecTV but have lost interest in today's cup racing and in addition to being a NASCAR fan i am also a huge hockey fan and now if my local team is to be shown on versus I will have to go to radio. Versus btw is not even seen in half the country. Way to go NASCAR, you are losing fans one by one. Oh Erik, come out come out wherever you are

Daly Planet Editor said...


There is a talent, equipment and networking resource pool that exists in cities with existing multi-network facilities.

LA, NYC and Atlanta come to mind. Since Comcast is an East Coast group, we thought they might use an area NYC facility for access to athletes, production resources and staffing.


Anonymous said...

anon @ 945am wrote
once again you expose your bias and lack of perspective - hopefully you are considering dropping this board - perhaps it will help all your followers understand the dead end road you have taken them down"

once again YOU show your ESPN bias, defending the indefensible.
If this blog bothers you so much, why don't you stay with and drink their kool-aid

West Coast Diane said...


Once again, thanks for this blog. I really didn't understand the whole VS vs Directv thing. Just knew I couldn't watch the IRL race.

I am irritated that I won't be able to see the NASCAR program on Versus. However, I will not pay extra money for one channel. We already pay extra to get Speed.

Wish there was an ala carte option.

Side note...I sent myself a reminder to watch IRL race on laptop last night. Time came and had no desire to deal with it. To use to DVR and ability to manage/control my TV watching time.

This last comment comes from someone who drives 5000 miles round trip every May to watch the INDY 500. Unfortunately the IRL loses.

Daly Planet Editor said...

I had to leave that up, it's classic. Imagine putting all that effort in to try and do everything but add your own personal views on these topics.

Tough way to live...


TerryG said...

Add me to the list of people who have DirecTV and won't be able to watch it.