Monday, October 19, 2009

Chase TV At The Tipping Point

It took hours to clear over 500 emails after the Saturday night Sprint Cup Series race. TDP logged over 750 comments on our website's live race blog. Hundreds of fans used Twitter to send us messages. All of them focused on just one thing. ESPN's coverage of NASCAR racing.

Rather than offer another column from my perspective, I'm just going to publish one note from a longtime fan we received. It is written as an open letter to ESPN:

I'm wondering just how much disdain you (ESPN) have for NASCAR and the fans of the sport? Are you now so angry that you bought the sport with this expensive and long (TV) contract that you're just throwing substandard broadcasts at us each week?

Or do you truly not have the expertise and understanding of NASCAR to deviate from "the script" that's been discussed in the days leading up to the race?

There have been pages of solid, specific feedback offered to you via this (TDP) and other websites. There have been emails and letters from fans. There have been comments on the NASCAR Fan Council surveys and plummeting TV ratings.

Yet, in the face of all that, you still determinedly and stubbornly stick to your same (TV) formula and essentially tell us, the fans, that we're wrong. That we are ignorant of what goes into a great race broadcast and that because you are "the professionals" we should just sit down, stop talking, and be grateful we're even getting to see anything on the TV screen.

It doesn't work that way any more, ESPN. We now have other options, choices and alternatives. We can keep up with our sport in new ways. Listening to new (and old!) voices and watching new images. We can Twitter and blog and online chat. We can tune-out your sponsors and DVR the race so we can speed through the bulk of the broadcast without even listening to the on-air talent.

And we're doing exactly that. Making informed choices, turning to sources who respect us and our sport. That means we're tuning you out and may opt to not tune back in to your portion of the season next year.

You are no longer the only game on town for NASCAR fans. We are responding to your substandard work by turning off the TV, cancelling or not beginning subscriptions to the magazine and not rewarding your website with hits. Some of us have already tuned you out, more will do so as the rest of the season plays out.

So, good luck with the balance of the season. You've already messed it up so badly for many fans that they have simply disappeared and won't be back until February. Others will hang on because we're NASCAR fans. We love our sport and can't turn our backs on it for even a week.

Make no mistake. If you offer nothing new next year, if you refuse to accept fan feedback as having value and knowledge, we will punish you across every part of your empire. You are perilously close to a tipping point with us, ESPN.

Well, that got my attention. Maybe it got yours. Hopefully, it will get ESPN's.

We welcome your comments on this topic specifically. To add your opinion of ESPN's performance in this Chase, 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 stop by The Daly Planet.


Anonymous said...

In defense of ESPN,I'm glad that they made Marcos Ambrose their"in car reporter".Little known fact is that ESPN made ME the"at home reporter",and I got ALMOST as much air time as Marcos.Excellent production.Atleast Marcos wasn't asleep at the wheel as I was.
Dave in California.

Richard in N.C. said...

I'm not certain that is entirely fair to ESPN. They do an alomost equally mrdiocre job with most other sports.

HEATHER said...

One thing that really upset me about this weeks broadcast was virturally ZERO coverage of the special pink paint schemes that were on the track. The only one they showed was Kyle Busches, when Elliot Sadler, Bill Elliot, and Michael Waltrip were driving pink cars also.
ESPN has a great opportunity, too bad they don't know what to do with it.

Sophia said...

Great letter to BSPN but they care not one whit. If they DID, they would've done something before now.

But three years we've griped to ESPN.

And the thanks we get? Things get worse.

BUT in all fairness, my stick and ball sports friends hate ESPN, too, but at least they can SEE their games much better than we can see our races.

Wish I had MRN access for all three series. I'd NEVER even GLANCE at ESPN.

Thank you Brian France for selling the soul of the sport to the devil of sports broadcasters. :-(
It's all quite sad really.

Dot said...

@ Heather, good point. It didn't make the script.

Richard in N.C. said...

Obviously my typing is also almost mediocre. Pardon me.

Sophia said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Patrick said...

It's quite sad what ESPN has become. They are arrogant and self-important. We aren't the only sports fans suffering. I remember a baseball game late this past summer where Luis Tiante was a guest in the booth and the game between the Yankees and the Red Sox became an afterthough.It was a nine inning interview.

Other on-air personalities have been abysmal as well:
Chris Berman: stale, lame nicknames.
Kenny Mayne: not funny after the first dozen schticks.
Lou Holtz and Lee Corso: unintelligible.

The good: Jesse Palmer, Kirk Herbstreit, Rece Davis and Erin Andrews.

I remember a time before I had cable/satellite, I would ask friends and family who had cable/satellite to tune to the ESPN SportsCenter or ESPNews. No more. I can get my stats, scores and analysis from any number of places other than ESPN. I cannot remember the last time I went to their website for anything other than a Marty Smith column. Sad, just sad.

It's time to wake up ESPN and listen to the criticism as constructive. We do not just call you names, we offer insightful, educated suggestions that are recommended to help your product and our viewing experience. Clean the wax out of your ears, swallow your pride and get on with producing a quality product, no matter the sport.

Anonymous said...

I believe there are only two things you care about;
ratings and advertisers. As ratings dip and advertisers grumble, I suspect you'll make changes in your NASCAR coverage during the they appear to be your ideas.
Meanwhile, could you throw a few bones to those fans who remain watching? Show the final lap. set the field, show more than one car in the pix, etc.


Anonymous said...

I very seldom post on here because i know this is a family oriented site and i have a hard time controlling myself when it comes to ESPN/ABC nascar coverage.

I can count on one hand the televised races i've missed since the late 90's. after this past weekend i'm real close to calling it quits. i don't want to!!! nascar is the only sport i keep up with anymore. there is a LONG list of reason's i've quit watching "stick & ball" sports...


the final laps of the nationwide race was the most confusing thing i've seen in a long time. who's job is it to change camera shots? does he have tv audio coverage in one ear, mrn/prn in the other???

i have finally got to the point i feel sorry for jerry punch. ESPN, jerry was great in the pits, i bet he could teach them girls a few things and bring us race fans alot of good information from pit road.

ALLEN BESTWICK IS A GREAT PxP ANNOUNCER!!! he would really wake the booth up and would allow the other two in the booth to do what they are supose to instead on doing jerry punch's job for him.

i doubt anything will change this season with espn/abc, and i probably won't change either, i'll sit here and take it because i love nascar. but i sure am getting tired. :( hope something changes before next season.

mike in louisiana

Bad Wolf said...

ESPN needs to go to the archives and look at the races they broadcast in the '90s. Go back to that formula and the fans may return.

I fault Fox for paying too much for the rights then dumbing down the "Show" to the lowest common denominator in search for new blood. ESPN evidentally took notice and did the same thing.

Anonymous said...

At Charlotte airport, I ran into some ESPN tv staff who were working the race. (seemed like they couldn't get out of town fast enough.
One of the folks told me and my wife that if they respond to any blogs or news sories on their own, they will be FIRED! FIRED?
Is ESPN that paranoid?

Bill from Charleston

rich said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
MRM4 said...

ESPN can go back and look at their broadcasts from the 90's all they want to. But many people that worked on those broadcasts behind the scenes work for other networks or out of the business.

RobFromToronto said... promised last week..i excercised my only power when it comes to espn..choice..i chose not to watch the race on espn..and..the world didnt end..i followed the race thru other ways offered on the internet such as nascar dot com's free weekend of scanners and raceview..i enjoyed that "new look" for me its new :D
this is one diehard 40 year long nascar fan that will not grace espn with my presence..if they have decided in thier arrogant little world that the fan matters not, then they wont miss my viewership...afterall..they are probably thinking..oh..its just one loser in great loss...well..from what i have been reading..alot of us losers north-america wide are tuning you long till all your left with is yourself as the winner...nice prize huh?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
glenc1 said...

I haven't commented previously because the rest of you have said it all so well. I didn't even *try* on Saturday night. I used ESPN for video and turned on PRN. And if Jimmie stays ahead....I don't usually skip races, even when someone dominates (which is, after all, what they are supposed to try to do...) But with the coverage we have, there is just no other story to hold my interest.

The only other sport I watch on AESPN is an occasional NFL or college football game--and I'd have to say, usually the college games are covered pretty well. They do have some good analysts there. They do occasionally show they can do things right if they want to. I just cannot figure out why they seem so indifferent to the voice of the fan.

Tripp said...

Richard in N.C. said...

" I'm not certain that is entirely fair to ESPN. They do an almost equally mediocre job with most other sports."

Oh, I feel better now.

Truthfully, I didn't know that ESPN's poor quality extended across their broadcast offerings as I don't watch other sports that they cover. Their attitude towards viewers and fans is simply pathetic.

After no real improvement from them over the last three years perhaps it is time for the fans to take a different approach. As others have suggested, a boycott of ESPN programs, products and advertisers.

I stopped watching NASCAR Now a couple of months ago. Not because I think it's a bad program but because I was no longer willing to add to their ratings total. To be fair, NASCAR Now, especially the Monday show, is terrific. It's a jewel adrift in a cistern of dross.

Now the big decision. Do I stop watch the racing? I think the time has finally come. This weekends' Cup broadcast was such a muddled mess that all I came away from it with was high blood pressure and heartburn. For decades I've watched racing for fun. The fun has stopped, and so will I.

While I'm way to busy with the important things in my life to worry about product boycotts, I am officially done with ESPN. I'll watch the Trucks on Speed. I'll look forward to the last in a season full of excellent F1 telecasts from Speed with Messrs Matchett, Hobbs and Varsha. But that's it.

I might listen to the race on the radio. Or not. After spending the entire Saturday of the NHMS weekend in the infield, a wonderful experience by the way, I'm wondering if the wall of contrived story lines and agendas that ESPN constructs each week has drained my enthusiasm for the sport. I didn't think that could ever happen, but apparently it has.

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

Anonymous said:

"How mature of the writer to threaten to "punish" ESPN. I'm sure they are really frightened."

They should be, newspapers two decades years ago refused to admit there were other choices. Look at them now. There about out of business, and a lot have gone out of business.

ESPN is a discrase, brought on when ABC bought them and ruined them. The arrogance is from ABC.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Daly Planet Editor said...

Looking for your comments on this topic.


bevo said...

I think ESPN has tipped for me. I really don't see myself watching the rest of the races live. I'll Tivo them and fast-forward through the commercials, Brewer and pit reporters if there is anything interesting. I opted in with Tivo many years ago for viewing habits research so yes, I'm one of those "C3" homes for ratings.

Tracy D said...

I'm sure there was some good racing last Saturday night - Casey Mears was putting on a show, I think, but who knows for sure? - but I gave up half-way through on ABC. No more. It's not worth it to get ticked off at the broadcast (could Jerry Punch have sounded more depressed?)and transfer that anger to the sport I love.

This could be an historic time - four straight championships by one team. We should be perched on the edges of our seats at home, biting our nails as we watch the next five races. Me, I'll read the race results elsewhere and count the days until Daytona and ole DW and company. I'm sad at being shut out until then.

Anonymous said...

Wow!!! ESPU doing a bad job with tv coverage. Racing coverage is kind of like that motley crew they've put together for Monday night Football. Unlistenable. There are other options abailable.

Anonymous said...

Seems the editor doesn't like a lot of the comments being left here today. The sanitizing of NASCAR is now extending to our comments. Shame!

West Coast Diane said...

Thanks Red! On point and eloquent to boot.

Two weeks in a row I have used HotPass. There is absolutely no point in watching ABC/ESPN.

The fundamental problems are: the worst production/direction of a sporting event; and 3 good people with no prior experience in PxP or analysis/commentary.

With an experienced PxP person, AP & DJ may have had a chance to grow into their jobs.

I don't watch stick and ball sports anymore. Does the director do a split screen with the left fielder who had the winning hit in last years world series & one with a replay of that hit, when a ball is hit to right field? Doubt it?

ESPN seems to be digging their heels in to prove us wrong. Other than outright arrogance I don't know why you wouldn't want to make your "customer" happy. If I were a sponsor reading this blog I would put my money elsewhere.

I will be shocked if ESPN makes any changes next year. Please ESPN...shock me.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Topics in the deleted comments have ranged from racing collectables to Brian France.

The topic in this column is the ESPN coverage of NASCAR during the Chase.

As long as no profanity, hateful speech or deragatory words are included, all comments that address the topic are posted.

We are in year three of TDP with many millions of pageviews and hundreds of thousands of comments.

If you want yours to post, just follow the easy and simple rules.


darbar said...

ESPN has it's commercial time sold, so they're not going to worry----right now. But, if viewership continues to tumble, and if viewers contact sponsors to express their disapproval, perhaps ESPN will have no choice but to listen. The arrogance of ESPN will trump any kind pressure put upon them by those of us who continue to implore for changes in the way Nascar races are broadcast. But I have the feeling ESPN will not be able to demand the kind of money sponsors are paying for their current broadcasts. I mean, how can Extenze continue to pay the per minute charges they are now, with ratings falling in the double digits for every race?

But in the end, ESPN, being the end all be all of sports programming (yeah, like domino and poker tournaments are sports), will dig in their heels and continue to think they know what's good for their viewers and will maintain their totally subpar broadcasts of Nascar races.

Daly Planet Editor said...

From our friends at

ABC’s broadcast of Saturday night’s NASCAR Banking 500 Sprint Cup race at Lowe’s Motor Speedway earned a 3.0 overnight rating from Nielsen Media Research, Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily reports.

The rating from the nation’s largest television markets is 14.3 percent lower than the 3.5 ABC earned for 2008 fall race in Charlotte, which was run a week earlier than this year.


Anonymous said...

Instead of repeating everything that was said before, I will just say I agree 100%. Another double digit loss. You would think since there were so many empty seats, more people would be watching on TV. Instead ESPN is driving millions of people away from the tv and sport.

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

I would have to disagree with some of the comments about ESPN's coverage of other sports.

I think their coverage of the games is generally solid. About the same as the other networks.

The fundamental difference between the "stick-and-ball" and NASCAR is that the people at ESPN have some knowledge of the other sports, so they have a clue how to set up a broadcast. They don't have enough people involved that know anything about NASCAR to make good decisions about the broadcast.

I just think this is more of a ESPN NASCAR problem, and not a "All of ESPN stinks" deal.

GinaV24 said...

Well, that comment that you opened the blog with says it all and probably better than I can.

I've got a ticket for Martinsville for this coming weekend, but as much as I enjoy short track racing, I'm not sure I'm going to go. A lot will depend on the weather forecast. I sat through that cold miserable night at Lowe's to watch the inevitable happen AND I had to put up with PRN in my ear, instead of MRN.

We had tried watching the Nationwide race on TV on Friday night, but the broadcast was so bad that we turned it off before the end to get some sleep instead.

If I don't go to Martinsville, I probably won't watch the race on ESPN either. The product on the track AND what is being presented on TV simply isn't worth my Sunday.

Anonymous said...

As the poster says so elequently,

I DON'T NEED ESPN to follow my beloved sport. Nothing could drive me from NASCAR, but it doesn't mean I have to WATCH it on TV.

I will watch Quals and practice when they are with trusted voices on SPEED. Watch RACEDAY on SPEED to set the stage for the race; and then I will listen to my driver via my supscription to trackpass, follow TDP and other sites for insight and info and listen to PXP on the radio via the web.

See ESPN? I will enjoy my race and not feel frustrated and unfullfilled at the end of it. I will miss the joy of SEEING THE RACE, but not racing. February and FOX are only four months a way.

Sorry for yelling but I'm up to - here with ESPN

Sophia said...


good points. I love the SPEED guys and they are like comfort food. Would rather watch quals & practice on SPEED than that junk on ESPN 'race broadcasts'.

I too while I still have SPEED will stick with pre race and SPEED report..and maybe VL for race highlights.

Why in the world put up with BSPN or even PRN.

Since ESPN LOOKS like practice with tight shot of ONE or two cars AND we NEVER GET TO SEE THE CARS CROSS FINISH line, I think support SPEEDs NASCAR shows is an excellent back up plan.

I don't need no stinkin ESPN and yes both broadcasts last week stunk...tried both, no thanks.

Oh and how those ratings workin for you ESPN? Will watch some NFL which I NEVER did before..but hey, you chased me off. NOT my love of NASCAR

Anonymous said...

@ JD,

How did Suzy, Brent, Erik et al, get booted from BSPN's race coverage? Who had the momentary flash of brilliance that it wasn't working out? Did they get the boot, too?

Whether it's ABC's or BSPN's arrogance, they're one in the same in the viewers' eyes.

Dot @ work

Daly Planet Editor said...

ESPN has quietly made their changes during the off-season without any announcements in the media.

Kolber, Musburger and Kuselias all left after the season ended. The same was done for Rusty Wallace, who was replaced in the broadcast booth by Dale Jarrett.

One of the reasons we are trying to make sure and keep this issue alive with reference to ESPN's Chase failure is to encourage additional changes during this off-season.

Thanks for the question.


Anonymous said...

I had the tv on, but hubby was watching that while i chatted with other MWR fans and listened to Michael on the scanner, I went back and watched the VHS tape and heard no mention of Michael's pit road problems. I'm glad Marcos was their in race reporter, but did they talk to him more than once???

Tom said...

I'm really curious about one major element we've been missing from the ESPN broadcasts over the last three years. They don't sound like they're having ANY fun at all.
Fox? Almost too loosey-goosey at times. TNT? Guys sitting in the living room eating your chips and yapping about the race.

That's the impression I get.

Anonymous said...

Tom:agree, agree.

Punch is such a downer that I want the race to be over as much as he seems to.


Anonymous said...

espn needs to put jerry punch in the pits and replace him with allen bestwick. allen is an awsome play by play man and jerry use to be good in the pits.

they also need to use ed hinton more. jenna fryer too. i disagree with both of them half the time but they bring the truth and say what they truly believe instead of following a script.

Anonymous said...

After three years of PLEADING to put AB in the booth as PxP the only conclusion I can draw is that HE doesn't want the job. If it was an ESPN thing with him, wouldn't we know it by now?

Daly Planet Editor said...


Just remember, the passengers do not drive the bus.


Anonymous said...

I know JD, but c'mon he can't have weeweed in THAT many people's cereal at ESPN to make something so obviouse so semingly impossible. I'm just sayin'...

The Loose Wheel said...

ri, the question was who cereal did he pee in at NBC/TNT. A problem THEY created by moving AB out of the booth and onto pit road, ESPN continued. Either ESPN really feels that indebted to JP for staying put for 6 long years, or they really have no clue what talent they are squandering in the infield studio.

I can't say much more than I have all year long already. Im not even pushing as much for AB in the booth as just SOMEONE, ANYONE replacing JP as the play by play commentator! This HAS to change. There is no excuse why at California Denny Hamlin could spin, HIT the wall, and get behind the wall before your lead guy says a single word. There is no excuse for him not to have the lead of this show and call upon his truck to FIND what it needs to find. Its like watching a horrible puppet show. Marty Reid finds action during the NW races, calls attention to it, and we see it. Jerry just tows the company line and talks about what is on the screen if he is still conscious at that point...

Its beyond frustrating. The blind leading the even blinder in my opinion.

Some great talent is just being completely wasted on a sinking ship.

Adam said...

ESPN = one of the reasons why I don't follow NASCAR as much.

Richard in N.C. said...

I have come to the conclusion that in the hollowed halls of EESPN the star is EESPN & the sport being broadcast is just the featured act - thus, like Ed Sullivan, the host is more important than the PXP person and (in EESPN-ese) it might be viewed as a demotion for Alan B to step down to PXP.

Anonymous said...

A 3 rating?!!!!
A three rating???
about 2.7 million viewers........pathetic, reflecting coverage of the same ilk

espn will probably claim a vast conspiracy/

Anonymous said...

Wow! Now that's a letter. Well done!

With the exception of about ten minutes of the same old stuff Saturday night, I didn't watch any racing this weekend. College football and the MLB baseball championship series are what's getting my attention these days.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:40pm said...

They don't have enough people involved that know anything about NASCAR to make good decisions about the broadcast.

I will remind you that the producer of Nascar on ESPN was the same producer of the ESPN 1990's version. He dictates the flow of the broadcast and tells the announcers what to talk about. He worked side by side with your beloved Mike Wells for years. I think he has a pretty good idea about the sport.

Be careful of what you say and how you say it without general knowledge of the subject.

Bill from Charleston:
If you were to rebel against the practices of the company you work for or publicly chastise their work ethic, would you have your job the next day? Just askin'?

The Loose Wheel said...

Obviously no one here is condoning that ESPN employees actively rebel on camera or anything of that nature, but to think that no one is speaking up about clear issues is a bit confusing. They have meetings and conference calls, someone has to be a voice and lead this group because the current direction and "vision" is crap in my opinion.

Vince said...

I agree 100% with the comments of the email you quoted in your post JD. ESPN has killed watching the races for me. It used to be something I looked forward to, but now the broadcasts just give me high blood pressure and heartburn. If they honestly believe that they are putting out a good product for us viewers, something is seriously wrong with the management at ESPN/ABC/Disney.

JD a little bit off topic here. I don't know much about how tv contracts are done in regards to the "talent". Is it even possible to switch out Dr. Punch with AB or are their contracts preventing this? How long are the contracts of the "talent"? Do they extend as long as the ESPN broadcast of NASCAR or are they redone yearly? Just curious if this whole switching PxP is a contract issue.

Daly Planet Editor said...


At this level anything can be done in a crisis. As I mentioned, ESPN has quietly made fans suffer through the season and then made changes during the off-season.

One issue that another poster addressed is exactly what we are talking about. How can an experienced NASCAR producer and director churn out this garbage?

Who is telling them to focus on the Chase cars only. To playback soundbites under green. To mix music over cars at speed into commercial. To play stupid bumpers of drivers who we have been watching for ten months.

The producer is on record as saying they show tight shots all the time during the race because it looks better for HD viewers.

Punch is on record as saying his boss told him to hold back on his excitement level.

If you missed that, it's at on Phil A's TV column.

How can experienced professionals be so screwed up that they show full screen green flag pitstops and miss the action on the track.

Nothing made ESPN look more foolish then not mentioning the injury to the 55 crewman that knocked him down, got medical called to the pits, got him admitted to the infield care center and then transported to the local hospital by ambulance.

Somehow, the professional pit reporter assigned to that pit never got on the air for a moment to mention it.

This is a total and complete failure of a group of people to gel, just like a NASCAR team. Time to make some changes and shake things up while there is still an audience left for the product.

The final five races should be fascinating to watch.


red said...

anon@9:25PM: your post implies that you are someone who is intimately familiar with what's going on inside the espn/nascar broadcast team. if that assumption is incorrect, i apologize. but . . .

let's assume i'm correct, 'k? here's the exact attitude that you expressed and that i condemn from espn:

"Be careful of what you say and how you say it without general knowledge of the subject."

the assumption is that, b/c the original poster doesn't know the exact details of who is doing what on the broadcast, then he/she has no right to comment about the quality of the broadcast.

to be clear, anon: i can and will speak to the consistently poor quality of the broadcasts because i am the consumer of this product. frankly, who is doing what in the truck is NOT something i personally choose to focus upon. these men and women may have been among the original broadcast team who brought us nascar "back in the day." but it just doesn't matter to me.

and the reason that it doesn't is because what they are broadcasting NOW, this season, these last 10 races, is substandard, inconsistent, uninformative, and flatly unacceptable. the producer is not putting a quality product out and his experience with mike wells or anyone else and how long he's been at it don't excuse that.

in fact, that brings me back to my original post: given, as you state, the producer does know nascar and understand our sport, then i am at a loss to explain why we aren't seeing a much stronger broadcast each week.

so, accepting your information as fact, then i am left with "disdain for the fans." is that really what you would have us believe -- and accept?

Ohio Eric said...

Well Saturday night I set my DVR for the race and kicked back in my chair and watched not the NFL, but my Pittsburgh Penguins defeat the Lightning. This has been my routine for the past few weeks as ABC-BSPN has taken over the Na$car broadcasting. I did listen to the race on the radio, and then watched it later Saturday night in about 1 1/2 hours, cutting out the commercials, and the terrible race annalysis by Punch and Co. Well King Brian, the NHL also has my priority over Na$car now that the Chase has started. Daytona can't get here fast enough.

Matt said...

What I don't get is how the Nationwide races can be half-way decent and the Cup races so awful. Is there a different crew doing the races? Does Marty Reid make THAT big of a difference? It's really puzzling.

West Coast Diane said...

@Tom 5:35PM...BINGO!

Anonymous said...

Like many veteran fans, I looked forward to ESPN's return to NASCAR coverage. I enjoyed the old race broadcasts and was a faithful viewer of RPM Tonite. After almost three seasons of the new ESPN, I am reminded of the old saying "Be careful what you wish for."

Their first season started out horribly, but I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and hope for improvement after a short shakedown period. That shakedown turned into a full season that soon tested my tolerance. After almost three full seasons, the only show that I look forward to is the Monday version of NASCAR Now.

The race coverage was so bad that I found myself shouting at the TV in frustration, something I had never done before. I finally couldn't take it anymore. Instead of setting aside 3 or 4 hours for watching a race, I made other plans for my time. I check in with the ESPN coverage for a few minutes about every half hour or 45 minutes and then again for the checkered flag. Another commenter recently mentioned ridiculing the coverage while watching the race. I use that technique during the brief times I tune in to ESPN. I find it more satisfying that screaming at the TV.

After almost three seasons, there are no longer any excuses. The performance of some of the on-air personalities is appalling. Some of them should be ashamed of their ignorance of a sport they have been covering this long. The behind the camera decision makers are equally bad.

I no longer concern myself with the race presentation itself, except to ridicule it during the brief periods when I actually watch. ESPN has lost the respect of the fans, and it appears they have lost the respect of the participants of the sport as well. This is not a high school media class or a local cable access production. ESPN is presenting this diaster coverage for a major sport to a national audience.

I have stopped wondering about the details of what makes up the terrible race coverage. The great question to me is what kind of corporate culture at ESPN created this coverage and allows it to continue. They have lost the respect of the sport's participants and alienated the fans, and ratings are falling. Is anyone at the worldwide leader in sports paying attention, or are they going to drive this bus off the cliff?

Anonymous said...

Hey, anon @ 9:25 pm
you wrote "If you were to rebel against the practices of the company you work for or publicly chastise their work ethic, would you have your job the next day? Just askin'?"

I wrote nothing about ESPN employees 'rebelling' or otherwise criticising their rmployer. I wrote that they can't blog on the subject....PERIOD!

And if your point about the producer being the same man or woman who worked ESPN in the 90's is intended as a "gotcha" moment against those who criticize the current coverege, maybe the real problem is the fact that the producer wasn't any good back then either, and he or she benefitted from a great production team.
As proof, I submit to you the far superior presentation of the IRL on johnny-come-lately VERSUS. I understand that the IRL has some of the ESPN NASCAR crew from the 80's and 90's.
You're argument is specious

GinaV24 said...

Ugh, JD, how can you say the last 5 races will be interesting? I'm too tired of this trainwreck of a broadcast that ESPN is inflicting on the fans to find it interesting in any way.

LOL -- but then interesting could be a "code" word, too!

Anonymous said...


I was an early adopter of HD, I'm what some would call an HD snob.

I remember the comment from the producer who said the tight shots look better to the HD viewer.

I said it then and I'll repeat it now, that's a pant load!!!

There's nothing better than seeing a pack of cars screaming out of the turn three wide jockeying for postion, there's nothing better than seeing an aerial shot of the entire track under green, a shot from the flag stand of the cars flying over the start finish line, a pass for position coming out the backstretch into turn 3.

In cars and tight shots have a place, A good example of something ESPN did right was the in car of JPM struggling with his car coming out of turn 4 saturday night after the re-start mishap.


The leader out front by 7 seconds and showing the rear bumper cam for an entire lap was not.

A 4 car wide infield shot on the dog leg was interesting.

The speed shot on the front stretch is great!

A tight shot of the red quarter panel on JPM's blue car was not.

HD is all about the WHOLE picture.

Not counting the number of bugs on a grill (which can be done but why?) or looking at a hot dog wrapper.

My better half doesn't pay much attention to the TV production of any sports event. NASCAR is really the only one she'll watch. Even she's starting to yell at the TV.

I haven't commented on EPSN's coverage (cough, cough) too much because I feel like I'm speaking to the proverbial stone wall.

But at least the stone wall cracks once in while.

Dave in Milwaukee.

Richard in N.C. said...

I enjoy Mike & Mike and watch some virtually every morning. However, I believe a current ESPN Radio commercial by Greenberg offers a window into the warped EESPN psyche - where, in referring to the Limbaugh-NFL controversy, Greenie says that what Limbaugh said and whether or not he is a racist (i.e., the facts) are irrelevant, "it's all about business." For EESPN now it is not what the facts are or what is really happening on the field of play, it is what EESPN thinks will sell - it's no longer sports, it's just entertainment at EESPN.

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