Thursday, November 19, 2009

Too Much Sunday TV At Homestead


Once late July rolls around, the remaining NASCAR TV partners are just ESPN and SPEED. They co-exist in an environment that often has them sharing TV crew members, facilities and even the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series activities.

On any given weekend, fans are just as likely to see SPEED cover practice and qualifying for the top two series as they are ESPN. Ultimately, NASCAR TV becomes a blur of first names. Larry, Dale, Jeff, and Andy are upstairs while Jamie, Wendy, Hermie and Dave are downstairs.

What fans want is coverage of the activity at the track shown to them in a clear and concise manner. The current NASCAR TV contract has fans spinning the dial like never before, but SPEED and ESPN have worked with NASCAR to avoid overlaps unless they occur when a race runs long.

One of the most interesting changes has been the move of SPEED's big RaceDay program one hour earlier. This avoided conflict with Fox, TNT and now ESPN's own pre-race show called NASCAR Countdown. Two year ago, fans had to choose between Wendy Venturini and Jamie Little as they both interviewed the same drivers on the same live shows within minutes of each other.

RaceDay and NASCAR Countdown went head-to-head in a contest that neither could win. This year, NASCAR Now's morning edition was at 10AM, which left plenty of time for two hours of RaceDay and then the ESPN/ABC pre-race show for yet another hour.

Sunday at Homestead, things are going to get interesting. First, SPEED expanded RaceDay to three hours. They have done this in the past and the results were mixed. This is the Homestead-palooza show that has ten on-air announcers and uses several different sets. Perhaps fans remember "the beach" and several lifeless comedy skits from past years.

In addition to the morning hour of NASCAR Now, ESPN has added a ninety minute special under the SportsCenter banner before the ABC pre-race show. The special will feature Mike Rowe from "Dirty Jobs" offering some glimpses of the dirtiest jobs in NASCAR. Pit reporter Dave Burns is assigned to the #48 team and veteran Marty Smith has the task of following Jimmie Johnson all day long.

Let's try to sum all this pre-pre-race TV programming up. NASCAR Now at 10AM, RaceDay at 11:30, SportsCenter special at 1PM and then another hour of the official pre-race show at 2:30PM. That's over six hours of live TV to basically talk about Mark Martin, Jimmie Johnson and the weather.

The really unfortunate part is that RaceDay and the SportsCenter special overlap, so NASCAR fans have ninety minutes of choosing who to watch as the primary source of information before the race. It was assumed this problem was exactly what NASCAR wanted to avoid when they moved RaceDay to an earlier time.

While the complete NASCAR TV schedule is posted on the right-hand side of TDP's main page, NASCAR fans are going to have to make sure to plan in advance their Sunday TV viewing as the offerings from SPEED and ESPN are a bit different from the usual line-up.

The question for fans is, do you care? Opinions in the past have ranged from strong support for one specific program or network right down to the fact that pre-race shows are background noise for Sunday housecleaning duties. Are you going to take hours before the race and watch, or just join when you hear the engines fire for the race?

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54 comments:

Anonymous said...

In my opinion, you cannot have too much NASCAR television on the last day of the season. Usually I don't partake of the shows, beyond scanning through to see certain driver interviews... but on the last day of the season, I will soak up every single solitary hour of NASCAR-related TV. Hey, there's no more racing until FEBRUARY. That's a long time. I don't care if the only guest on every single show is Chad Knaus and the only question they ask him over and over again is if he has it all sewn up... I will watch every minute until the season is over, because once it's over it won't be available to me.

Spitfire88 said...

Too much TV. PERIOD. Was it really only 4 years ago when Raceday was a manageable 1 hour? I miss the days when we didn't have to deal with the HOURS of excessive prerace that talk about exactly the same thing in 3 different ways.

NASCAR needs to get its TV in order and not make a long sporting event even longer with repetitive TV and pointless features.

PammH said...

Sooo happy for this yr to be over! BSPN just SUCKS the joy out of the last part of the season-not to mention JJ & cheater Chad! I will be watching Mike Rowe for somthing diff, instead of the BS of RD. Can't believe by the schedule u posted that BSPN thinks the race will be over in 3 hrs! Interesting..we will see.

Ryan said...

I'll probably watch the race...maybe. It doesn't matter to me that there's 3+ hours of prerace when they just interview the same 4 drivers they do every week. Phoenix was the only prerace I've watched in the last 2-3 months, and that was because the Vikings were at halftime.

If I see both the Anthem sung and the checkers drop, I will have surprised myself.

Photojosh said...

Eh. Whatever.

Too much for me, but if they want to run it, that's fine. I'll probably try and catch the Mike Rowe thing, as I like Dirty Jobs. But other than that, I've got NFL to watch before the race.

Richard in N.C. said...

I know I won't have a chance to watch all the prerace shows on Sunday, so the more there is the more I'll have a chance to watch some of. Also I look forward to having some racing show to watch between Sunday morning news shows and the FOX and CBS pregame NFL shows.

Anonymous said...

I will be watching for one thing: Jerry Punch to say something like "See you next year." If he says that, I think I will cry.

I will be celebrating Sunday as the crowning of the 48 as one of the best ever and celebrating the final race of Jerry Punch's career as play-by-play announcer (one can hope, right?)

PammH said...

I'm not sure I'm gonna listen to the race, little on watch..it's just sooooover for me this yr-I can't begin to tell ya. I barely turned in last wk, to be honest. No NN, just had RD on in the bkground. 2 yrs ago I would have told anyone I was a die-hard Nascar fan..not so much now. Ad it makes me very sad to say that.

Dot said...

Funny thing is, they'll show hours of pre pre race, pre race and then the race. Then, only minutes of post race. I haven't checked my guide to see what's scheduled after the race. We usually get infomercials or filler stuff. What's on the guide on the east coast? At least AFV won't be an issue.

I'll be watching SPEED until the pre race on BSPN/ABC.

Anonymous said...

Too much prerace during the reg.season,and I don't even watch all of that.SPEED needs extra time for what,more moronic stuff from Rutlege Wood?

majorshouse said...

I am sure I will be watching the race but that much pre-race is too much hype for me and won't bother. I usually try not to watch too much of the pre-race because one hour is too long and I get really bored with it, and ESPN has really left me high and dry at the later point of the season this year and I am longing for the day when the Speed channel covers it all because of the great work and excitment they do and show.

Gymmie said...

SPEED pwns BSPN one hand tied behind their back any day any time PERIOD!

I haven't decided what I'm going to do yet. Might dial in and work a few hours, might run to the store haven't decided what I'm going to do during the Jimmie show.

At least NRD is fair and remembers there are OTHER drivers out there. And those drivers are happy to talk to the gang and don't cringe at every word that comes out of their mouths.

Anonymous said...

I think that they are trying to get more viewers for the race as possible.It is also too much TV that can bore you out. I will have the TV on but with less attention payed to it until the race.
We all also know that the race is going to be devoted to Jimmie Johnson and maybe Mark Martin. Overall,it is going to be a tough TV to watch on Sunday if your not a number 1 fan of Jimmie Johnson. Nothing against Jimmie though.

Bruce Simmons (NBaP) said...

It's not just Sunday. We have 3 race series concluding their seasons in the biggest way possible.

A fervent fan will watch all three. And on Monday, commit themselves to a Buddhist monastery in search of silence and a joyful absence from television static.

Until then, BRING IT, because this will be a history making or massive fan favorite, most deserving title any single driver could get.

Sophia said...

doubt if I'll catch the race..depends on when dinner is on Sunday & if we have tv on mute. we are doing thanksgiving then, Italian food, Baked Ziti. & some dessert for me birthday.
I might catch the pre-race depending on mood.

Used to be i'd tape a race when gone..no mo.
RaceDay at Two hours is too much. Three hours?..that's alot to expect from the hosts... annoying crowds/wavy signs, noise...Needs to go back to ONE HOUR. NO SIGNS. More substance.

(Wind Tunnel NEEDS TO EXPAND TO TWO HOURS. Let him be sponsored by somebody!)

Wonder what the ratings will be for all these shows.
Think 2 million will watch the race against NFL? After all the pre race saturation?

P.S. I will watch any race stuff Thur & Fri on SPEED. Our cable rates are going up in Dec & we are finally ditching Digital. Will greatly miss the SPEED gang over the winter. ESPN, not one whit. Not the camera work anyway, or the bwins.:)

RobFromToronto said...

I stopped watching pre-race shows a couple years ago..it just got too annoying to have 5-6 hours of pre-race shows all over the place and to be so worn out by race time i fell asleep with a bad headache.
They all say the same thing week in week out..its rare that anything new outside of the script is introduced..so i spend my pre-race time either grillin some burgers or working on my cranky smokey p.o.s 78' vette..lol

Laurie said...

Excellent point, Dot, about so much 'pre race' and no 'post race' coverage....I will be watching..it's what I do on Sundays during race season and miss on Sundays during the break. I count down the days til Daytona...I love NASCAR and college football...keep up with NFL but our beloved sport is like none other...I'm a frustrated member of a group of loyal fans who'll be there no matter what...I'll continue to voice my opinions and hope 'they' will listen...if we all didn't care so much we wouldn't be so frustrated and taking our time to post our feelings here @ The Daly Planet or to anyone else who will listen....

Ken said...

I'll only watch as much of the raced as I can before I fall asleep.

larry said...

Too much NASCAR? Not if I don't turn on the TV. I will miss all the hype and DVR the race. If I read about anything controversial on TDP, I'll review the race quickly.

Sponsors lose in the terrible TV coverage. I've finally tired of the day-long infomercial.

Perhaps next year NASCAR will present a race instead of a show...or not...

Jim said...

I watch it all...if it isn't produced by ESPN.
Why not some extra hours of pre-race? If not for that, it would be a PINKS marathon.
Does anybody actually watch PINKS? And does anybody think those "races" are legit?

Anonymous said...

I no longer care
wont watch

NASCAR has lost this 35 year fan

Earl said...

I won't watch any of the pre-race. Every time I have this year, I've regretted it. Not being arrogant here, but there is nothing they'll tell me that I don't know already.

I'll listen to Sirius for a bit in the morning and find out anything important. Between that and following Ryan, Fryer, Utter, Marty Smith (and you too, JD) on Twitter, I can get the picture without numbing my brain for eight hours watching commercials.

Summary:

Sirius/Twitter = Good
TV = Bad

GinaV24 said...

I will be skipping all the pre-race hoopla - 4 hours just on SUNDAY - good grief. I suppose if I were a fan of the 48 team, I'd be glued to the set this weekend, but since I'm not, hearing the same things repeated over and over again just by different people doesn't hold any interest for me. I'm not even sure if I'm going to watch the race yet since ESPN's lackluster coverage doesn't make me want to tune in.

Also, since I would bet that Kenny Wallace will continue his lecture to the fans of how "everything is wonderful and we should be thankful that NASCAR brings us this great racing every week" and therefore the fans should "shut up" and quit complaining.

Gee, how silly of me to actually want to see exciting racing presented by a broadcast team that doesn't bore me to tears or force me to use multiple sources to follow the race.

And as others have said here, they will do all that pre-race junk for absolutely hours and then not enough follow up at the end of the race. It is the end of the season, most everyone would like to have a word or two from their favorites to wrap things up after this race.

Andrew S. said...

Neither. I'll be working and getting home just in time to see the green flag at 330-ish.

glenc1 said...

my game's on at 1pm, but I'll probably have the prerace on, although it's probably overkill (I feel the same about football, Superbowl Sunday I don't even turn the thing on til an hour or so before the game.)

But I'll be doing stuff around the house.

MRM4 said...

Will ESPN already start hyping the 2010 Chase? I was watching the basketball game between Gonzaga and Michigan State on Tuesday night. On the crawl at the bottom of the screen, they had bracketology projections for the NCAA tournament in MARCH! Teams have only played a game or two. Talk about overhype and overkill. I'm waiting on ESPN to start hyping next season's Brickyard or Chase, if they can stop fawning over Jimmie Johnson long enough.

The pre-race shows are usually too long. The networks need to take a cue from the NFL. They have one-hour pre-game shows and then get to the games (except for ESPN). That's all that is needed for NASCAR.

Donna in FL said...

My son, the 48 fan, has decided to go to Homestead himself to witness the likely 48 4th.
If I'm going to watch any of them at all (and I may not) if one pre- race show is only paying attention to Jimmie and/or Mark, then my choice is clear. I'll go with the show that is covering all the drivers.
I would also like to say that pre-race programming has gotten to be massive overkill, and it would be great to see it cut back and devote that time to post race analysis.

ri88girl said...

While Sunday morning Nascar TV is background noise for chores and cooking, it is a happy noise that I enjoy listening to. If a particular person or feature is coming up that I want to see I just stop and focus for a few minutes. If I miss something, I don't feel annoyed, because more than likely, someone will run the same feature again before the race. I will miss this Sunday ritual as much as the racing.

I will turn to ESPN/ABC when RaceDay is off and countdown is on. Missing Wendy walking the grid for the last time this season.

Patrick Reynolds said...

I recently wrote a column about a similar subject. How race watching today has slowly evolved over the years. When coverage was nearly non-existant, to what we have today.

http://bump-drafts.com/2009/11/03/a-sunday-on-the-couch-30-years-apart/

RobFromToronto said...

I'd like once again to apologize to everyone for my country..Canada..creating Rutledge Wood..i am ashamed :( please forgive us

Anonymous said...

Let the networks televise as much NASCAR pre/post race as the market wants. No one is forced to watch anything. With DVR's you can customize to ur hearts content. What I would like the networks to do is stick to covering all the racing during the race. The quality of the race coverage has declined which has been well covered in other DP arts. Get the fluf and bs out of the race coverage.

West Coast Diane said...

Don't need to make a choice. DVR both and read TDP for things to watch, if any. Curious about the Mike Rowe piece. Something different.

Kenny, we aren't negative, we like the Trucks on Speed, Wendy, Hermie...most things about FOX, TNT & SPEED.

ESPN & hours of pre race babble...not very much.

I agree with everyone who says too much pre-race, not enough post race.

I too am glad this season is about over. ESPN has taken the joy out of following my favorite sport.

Zieke said...

All that pre-race gooble-de-gook is just nothing but that. Except for Wendy, Race Day is good for napping if the NFL is'nt on. It's even getting harder to stay awake during a race. Too bad the TV folks don't care enough to do a real broadcast.

Anonymous said...

Too much TV? What are you, crazy?

If you don't want it, then don't watch. But the implication with "too much TV" is that maybe they should do less.

On behalf of the fans who love all the pre-shows: Be quiet! Keep it to yourself!

Anonymous said...

Giants at 1. After they beat Atlanta, then I'll worry about NASCAR.

Kevin said...

I am SO looking forward to next year when most of the races will start shortly after 1 PM! As recently as a couple of years ago I excitedly watched every minute of nascar TV that I could, from Friday through Sunday. Now I skip the prerace stuff almost entirely and just watch the race. Like somebody else said, there's very little they will tell us that we don't already know. There's just way too much. Hopefully the earlier start times next year will also cause prerace shows to be shortened. Then they might actually be interesting once again.

KoHoSo said...

The question for fans is, do you care?

No, not really. I might stop by and stay a while on any given pre-race show if something interesting seems to be going on. However, for NASCAR fans in the Pacific Time Zone like me that do not have a DVR or even an old working VCR, this stuff starts at 7:00 AM. For me personally -- assuming that I am actually awake that early on a Sunday -- that conflicts with other programming that I like to watch plus the fact that I don't want to be irritated or nauseated during breakfast by inane questions, silly skits and feature pieces, or overblown hype.

In general, I guess it is the correct thing to do to have so much coverage of this final event. After all, they are just following the model of the Super Bowl where the coverage starts at a similar time yet the game does not begin until many hours later.

However, like many of my other fellow Planeteers, I am just extremely jaded after three years of utter disappointment -- not that one of my favorite drivers has failed to with the Cup but, instead, with how poorly the Cup events are presented both on the part of ESPN and NASCAR itself. After all, why bother to watch much of a pre-race show when we all know that, at least on the television side, the race coverage will be as generally predictable as an old Scooby Doo cartoon?

Anonymous said...

Looks like they are trying to copy the NFL again with their marathon prerace show. Anyone who keeps updated during the week will miss nothing that are presented on these pre race shows.

Its just going to be all Jimmie all the time, especially on ESPN. We have gotten that for 9 races and will have it for a 10th. No need to watch the prerace shows.

Another good reason to move the start times up earlier.

Anonymous said...

Matters not to me how many "pre-game" shows there are. Sunday morning I attend church; take the resident Jeff Gordon fan out for dinner; DVR JUST the race; read the Sunday papers; watch the race recording so I can zip through all the clutter and concentrate only on the inept, incomplete coverage ABC/ESPN offers.

Mr_Goodwrench_VA said...

There's a NA$CAR race this weekend? 4 hours of Pre Race Jimmy Johnson drooling is too much. 1 minute is too much. It's information overload. I used to watch all of the coverage, now I go to NA$CAR.com for the race results and watch the highlight video's on Monday's at work. I'll DVR the E$PN show to watch the dirty jobs segment and watch it Monday night before MNF.

As for the race, I'll be watching the roots of the sport, like National Champion Phillip Morris, former Cup driver Scott Riggs, Chad McCumbee (Nascar Craftsman Truck Series Competitor), Coleman Pressley (Son of Robert Pressley of Nascar fame), Frank Dieny (multiple MB 400 winner), Sam Yarborough (past MB400 winner and former MBS track champion), Rick Smith (former MBS track champion), Jake "The Snake" Crum, Brandon McReynolds (Son of Fox announcer Larry McReynolds), Matt McCall, and defending Myrtle Beach 250 Winner, Jaime Caudill mixing it up on the famed .538 mile Myrtle Beach Speedway !!! Come out on Saturday AND Sunday to watch some REAL Racing!!!

jim said...

I will never watch espn live as long as Rusty,Jerry,and Jamie are there

Ziggy said...

Well, here in S Fla our Dolphins would have already played (Thursday) so no NFL game conflict. Wondering now if that was planned so that Homestead was the only game in town ?

Anyway, I've decided not to go down to the track & drink the NASCAR cool aid. (it's only 13 miles from the house). Will skip all the pre-race TV. (Burned out on the JJ & 50Yr old Mark Martin stories).

I'll pop a cold one at the start of the race & probably snooze thru the whole thing. Check that, turn down the volume & go on-line for MRN.

IF I miss anything I'll tune in to TWIN/NN on Monday to catch up.

See you all in Feb 2010

Burned Out Ziggy

Anonymous said...

I know the stories, I know the bylines, as I am quite sure most avid NASCAR fans do. So, what I want out of NASCAR TV programming is the National Anthem, the command to start engines, the cars doing the parade laps and then the
RACE itself. After that, then interviews with the top 5 in the race. That's all I need with my NASCAR raceday TV coverage. Well I actually could bitch some that I also prefer more green flag racing and green flag pitstops during the races and less(okay I mean no) debris cautions, but that's another topic. Less is more when it comes to NASCAR TV. I get the more later, in ways that I choose to get it. Jeff

Chris from NY said...

I rarely ever watch Speed on Sunday morning.

Too much hype and insanity.

This is one why I never go to a track TOO early and never stay TOO late, the one time a year I do go. The other being, the nuts that go to these shows are probably the same ones that incite a symphony of horns on the main streets outside the track.

larry said...

I won't watch. I don't really blame it on the TV coverage. NASCAR has taken all the sport out of the show. The drivers have become automatons for the sponsors and very few have had an unscripted word in the interviews.

The drivers have such a mantra about their sponsor/sponsor/sponsor ford/chevy/toyota, that they can't have an original thought any more. When they do have an original thought, they're called into the NASCAR hauler.

red said...

no pre-race for me. i'm thinking the mike rowe piece will make its way to the internet & i'm not inclined to wade thru all the "stuff" that is pre-race to get to it.

last weekend is always bittersweet for me & this is no different. my sights are already turned to daytona but i have decided that the 48 team going for a 4th straight is just too much a nascar history moment for me to miss. and if, thru some meltdown, the 48 teams implodes on sunday, that would be historic as well.

so i will probably watch -- albeit relunctantly.

just wish we could have ended the season with tnt instead of espn/abc . . .

Anonymous said...

who cares one way or another anymore? it will be 6 hrs of JJ and how Martin missed another one. I hope one day Nascar wakes up and reads this blog.

Anonymous said...

Same questions, same drivers, different week. Same answers, same drivers, different week. Can't these people come up with an original question? ESPN broadcast is so scripted and predictable they could do it without anyone in the broadcast truck. The only thing more depressing than the season ending is the moronic Pinks marathon SPEED will run till February.

Anonymous said...

Years ago, ESPN put on a really good show for NASCAR. For some reason, probably with NASCAR's help, ESPN now thinks they are the show. But with the COT, start times all over the place, what seems to be only 4 or 5 drivers worthy of TV time, I've lost almost all interest in it. It seems like NASCAR believes that if you cannn't improve the product, then improve the packaging...yeah, thats it...they'll buy it....

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6p010535e43b89970c said...

I think there might be some Skate Canada coverage on tv on Sunday ... I'll watch that instead of the Jimmie Love Fest ...

Four years in a row is just way beyond overkill ...


As it is ... The opening day of ladies figure skating competition at the Olympics is looking a LOT better than the Daytona 500 ... esp since we know it'll be "Can Jimmie win 5-in-a-row championships?" all season long ...