Thursday, January 14, 2010

NASCAR Media Notes: Updated DirecTV Information


There are several stories that unfolded Wednesday. They involved the new Showtime TV series, SPEED's former This Week in NASCAR program, changes in the Fox management structure and ESPN moving races between networks.

Thursday update: A break may be happening in the DirectTV stand-off with the VERSUS cable network, which is owned by Comcast. Sports Illustrated reporter Josh Gross said an agreement between the two parties is expected in March. This would protect several of VERSUS sports properties and restore this 24 hour channel to DirecTV.

Radio update: Jayski will be on Sirius NASCAR channel 128 Thursday night at 8:30PM talking NASCAR with Claire B Lang on Dialed-In.

John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal reported the new line-up for the Inside NASCAR series that will debut on Showtime in February. Fox's Chris Myers will host. On the panel are TNT's Kyle Petty, SPEED's Randy Pemberton and ESPN's Brad Daugherty. Those seem to be rather political choices for this new series that is being produced by NASCAR's own in-house TV group.

Petty and Pemberton are NASCAR TV veterans who have extensive family backgrounds in the sport. Myers departs the NASCAR scene after the Fox races and moves to other assignments. Daugherty is an active Sprint Cup Series owner and has fought that issue in his day job with ESPN.

Inside NASCAR debuts on Showtime February 10 and will run for 38 weeks. It will be bundled with Showtimes's Inside the NFL as a sports TV block.

Press information sent to the media recently lists Michael Waltrip's TV background. Two sentences leapt off the page for us:

“In addition to his role as co-owner, Waltrip has been a popular television personality on SPEED since 1996. He’s an analyst for its NASCAR Camping World Truck Series broadcasts and was an original member of one of the longest running shows on the cable network, “This Week in NASCAR” 1996-2009.”

That would seem to put an unofficial end to rumors that TWIN was returning for 2010. There has still been no comment from SPEED, which has been strangely silent on this issue. 14 years is an amazing run for any cable TV series, Monday nights will just not be the same.

Also, some senior management changes have resulted in shifting TV duties. Fox Sports President David Hill is having his responsibilities broadened to include managing the Fox Cable Networks. While this includes the Fox Regional Sports Networks and FUEL, it also includes SPEED. This puts Hill as the ultimate boss of that network, which has been in transition for several years in terms of programming and direction.

Finally, news broke from ESPN about the final seventeen Sprint Cup Series races of the season. In a nutshell, all but three of those events are going to air on ESPN in 2010. The three in question are Saturday night races that will remain on ABC. In addition, the Sunday Chase races that air in NFL season will have the pre-race show moved to ESPN2, with the race then being shown on ESPN.

This is quite a change in direction for NASCAR. Originally, one big part of the NASCAR TV contract was that the final ten races should be on "free tv," as over-the-air network transmission is called. In 2010, all NASCAR fans will have to get ESPN and ESPN2 to see the pre-race shows and the races themselves.

ESPN is quick to point out many other major sports properties are on cable. NASCAR is also on board with this change, so there is no contract issue. While the decisions have been made and the changes will go forward, there are some things to remember.

NASCAR has been a nightmare for ESPN. Plain and simple, it has been a face-off where every change of format, on-air talent or production technique has been like pulling teeth. It has been three seasons since Brent Musburger stood on pit road at Indy in his sneakers and told us ESPN was the Worldwide Leader in Sports.

Now, Musburger and many of the first year gang are gone. The NASCAR Now show has been completely revamped with great success. Allen Bestwick has brought order to every program originating from the Infield Pit Studio. Jerry Punch has been moved to pit road and Marty Reid is here to call the action in 2010.

ESPN gets the nod on this schedule change because it comes at a time when everything in NASCAR from COT wings to race start times is changing. Something has to be done to get this sport back on its feet other than politics on the radio or good social media PR.

If leading into the Chase races with an NFL Football preview show will help, then let's do it. However, one big issue still remains and only ESPN can solve it. 2010 is the last gasp of credibility for ESPN where producing live Sprint Cup Series races is concerned. There is no other way to say it.

Images of seeing Jimmie Johnson's pit stop replays one lug nut at a time as the field went green are burned into our minds. The awkward silence of Punch at critical moments in races has been documented for three seasons. Who can forget when Johnson hit the wall early and the telecast switched to coverage from the garage? The actual Chase race became an afterthought. For many fans, so did ESPN at that moment.

Kudos to ESPN for making changes once again. Now, it's time to look in the mirror and make changes to help the network's production of this great sport. Those changes are always the hardest. The time is right. A lot is at stake. Here we go.

Please feel free to leave us your reactions and comments on these topics. 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 stopping by TDP.

76 comments:

Anonymous said...

Love the picture - old BBQ on the side, SaniKan in the background - NASCAR all the way!

Anonymous said...

Kyle Petty on Showtime?

Prediction: hard card pulled within two weeks.

Brad is out of place. Some will think Myers is, but if he cuts the gags he is great. Pemberton and Petty on cable? WOOO HOO!!! I'm ordering Showtime now. The show is on in a few weeks!

J said...

I'm left wondering if that two sentence quote means that Waltrip is done with TWIN. Or Speed is done with TWIN. The show can survive without Waltrip.

But, It's most likely gone. Very much enjoyed TWIN. Taps.

David said...

Myers will do fine if he DOESNT play a character which I don't think he will here. Brad though, is a complete fail as a choice on this IMO. Heck, Rusty might even be a better choice than Brad...

Elain said...

Not a big fan of Chris Myers. He usually just gets on my nerves. Steve on TWIN was great...I will miss him on that show and Chad too. Hope they still show up over on SPEED. Michael is great everywhere....but Dougherty will fill that void. He is hilarious. And of course LOVE LOVE LOVE Kyle Petty....so if Chris doesn't talk much, I think it will be great.

Anonymous said...

JD, totally off-topic. Did you get the latest Fan Council survey asking about the upcoming season and changes to the car? I think this would make for an interesting column for you.

Dot said...

Sad for me to read TWIN is not returning. I have the last episode saved on my DVR.

If Brad D is on SHO, does that mean he's no longer on NN? Agree with Anon 4:00, if Myers acts serious (in a fun way), he will be great. Does NASCAR have any control over what happens on SHO? I don't really want to hear/see the PC stuff. Petty is pretty outspoken and I hope that's the Petty we get to see.

Not sure what to think of our friend Mr Hill. Will he now be too busy to mess w/NASCAR and the gimmicks he brought to the FOX broadcast? Hope, hope.

Race season is almost here and I am fizzed up.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Yes, I did get the NASCAR Fan Council survey and am considering it as a column for Thursday night.

JD

David said...

ESPN...what...the...hell!?!?!?!??!?!?!?

how much longer till 2015?

Glenn said...

JD,
Are you working on a column about the switch of cup races on ABC and ESPN. Moody reported only 3 will be on ABC and we may have to channel hop for the pre-race then to the race on a different channel.
Sounds like the same ol' crap if it's true.

Anonymous said...

With Mr. Hill overseeing SPEED, can we hold out hope that they might lose some of the garbage "lifestyle" shows and get back to showing various styles of actual RACING?

Richard in N.C. said...

I like the Showtime cast selections and will more seriously consider dropping HBO and picking up SHO since Kyle P and Randy P are going to be on the show. I like Brad D and I think he is often underrated. Just because many serious NASCAR fans think Brad often states the obvious doesn't mean what he says is not true. Brad does have a unique perspective for the current state of the sport that Kyle and Randy don't have - that of the small team owner struggling for sponsorship - and Brad does have extensive connections in the sport.

Not sure I understand the shift from ABC to EESPN for Cup races, especially since I suspect many fans are going to lose access to watching races. I wonder whether cable subscribers have been dropping off and NASCAR is viewed as a hook that might draw some back as the economy improves?

Haus14 said...

As I told @PPistone who is already complaining that we haven't given "Inside Nascar" a chance even though it hasn't started, the group of guys that Showtime put together is not very attractive. Only one of four (Petty) of those guys will have an opinion on anything. The other three guys don't bring anything to the table and certainly don't do anything to encourage the average NASCAR fan to add Showtime to their tv package at an additional $15/mo.

I don't have anything against any of the four guys individually and I think that each do ok in their current roles. However, they are not the guys for this type of show.

PammH said...

I was going to sign up for the free DishTV 3 months of Showtime & HBO. But I can't stand BD or CM, so I won't even bother. KP & RP can't make up for them. I don't think they can save that ship. And PP is already on the fan's cases for complaining! What a shock...NOT!

Haus14 said...

Hey, maybe David Hill can add a Digger cartoon to the SPEED tv reality line-up. I am sure it would do just as well as pass time.

SonicAD said...

Wow. ESPN just pulled the same kind of crap they pulled with the NHL a few years ago. I have to assume this was part of the agreement to move race start times back, but... I can't imagine NASCAR is happy about this at all, and neither are most fans.

JoeS said...

Why would people question moving a sporting event to ESPN?
Bet less than 1% of NASCAR fans do not have ESPN!
Petty on Showtime should be very interesting!!

Vicky D said...

We will miss TWIN.

Dot said...

Moving the races to BSPN from ABC makes me wonder if they are going to start that fee increase crap again with the cable/dish providers. Any bets?

Newracefan said...

I'm very sad about TWIN and underwhelmed with the "cast" for Inside Nascar. Not a happy day for me

Vince said...

I think ABC moving the coverage of the Chase to ESPN is a major mistake in these economic times. I live in Michigan and we have the highest unemployment in the nation. I have a lot of friends that only get their tv OTA (antenna). I am going to have to join them soon. For me it is coming down to a choice of either keeping cable or Internet. But not both. So I'm keeping my Internet and dropping cable. I'd get Dish, but have too many trees in the way for that.

I thought when NASCAR did the new tv contracts a few years ago, the goal was to keep as much of the coverage as possible on "free" network tv and not cable.

I can't see this helping NASCAR's dwindling fan base at all. A lot of their long time fans are now retirees. And I have news for NASCAR. A lot of retirees can't afford cable. Let alone somebody with a job now days. Bad, bad move.

Sophia said...

Also VERY SAD ABOUT TWIN cancellation.

Dont like the cast on the new show except Petty.

VERY sad day for me, too. Seriously rethinking the NASCAR season in this house with all the dissing of fans lately of going to cable & dropping INC/TWINT. Had they never FIXED what wasn't broken on Monday nights, that would've stayed a great show.

Already watched LESS races last season & will not watch more this year.
:-(

Anonymous said...

My ESPN HD picture from DirecTV is a much better quality than that of my local ABC affiliate. Same with TNT.

YEAH!!!

Now if only FOX HD could improve their picture quality.....

glenc1 said...

If the ratings had been high enough it would still be on ABC. Obviously, there are a million reasons we've said here why they decreased, but I can see why AESPN felt the sport needed to be on the sports network. I assume it was an experiment that didn't work out for them (kinda like Leno at 10pm...) If it ends up not making financial sense, it's going to change. What would be nice is if a rebroadcast could happen on 'free tv' or the internet, but I wouldn't hold my breath. I do feel bad for the people who only have free tv but they're missing other worthy things too. That's just how it is today. I wonder what the real percent of consumers without cable or dish? I think when they made the digital switch it was...maybe 15%?

Buschseries61 said...

There are positives and negatives to moving more races from ABC to ESPN.

Positive: No more worries about running over scheduled time into primetime. No more channel swaps thanks to America's Funniest Home Videos.

Negative: NASCAR will be squeezed in between too many sports again. Overtime sports and pre-race activites will clash even more.

Inside NASCAR has quite a poor panel. No active drivers or crew chiefs? (And of all the ESPN broadcasters, they pick Brad? Good lord) Randy Pemberton could have been the host, Kyle Petty in one chair and two seats open for 2 active drivers and/or 1 driver and a crew chief.

saltsburgtrojanfan said...

Who cares, NASCAR has already lost a fan, which is myself. Until NASCAR goes back to the way it used to be I won't be watching even 5 seconds of this crap.

Erik said...

man, this sucks. makes me wonder what the heck ABC has planned for that time period. non-stop infomercials selling sham-wows and snuggies?

MikeC said...

This is just the continuation of things with ESPN to phase out the "ABC Sports" side of things. The Rose Bowl is no longer going to be on ABC....all of the BCS football games will be on ESPN next year....wouldn't doubt the NBA Finals eventually move from ABC to ESPN. Within a couple of years ABC Sports will no longer exist. Also, any big sporting event will be on ESPN as well (NCAA Basketball tournament, etc.) One of the big reasons they're moving these over to ESPN is with ABC they can't charge a "per subscriber" fee to the cable and satellite companies. With ESPN they can do that.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, I thought ESPN was taking a step in the right direction by making changes in the booth and then they announce that only THREE RACES will be on ABC.

I think its interesting to note is that they use at excuse that ESPN is seen in over 100 million homes. Its common sense to know that ABC, SINCE ITS A BROADCAST OVER THE AIR NETWORK, is seen in more home. These people at ESPN are seriously bone heads. It makes no sense to put the final race of the year on a CABLE NETWORK.

John I am really upset about this and I hope NASCAR is too. There is no question now that the ratings for the chase next season will be way down since only three races are on ABC. I really dont know what direction these people at ESPN are going.

John I hope you research this topic a little more and get some answers and comments from people in the industry. Personally I think its a rediculous move and is bad for the sport, as much as ESPN will deny it. It's common sense more people will watch races on a broadcast channel, like an ABC NBC CBS or FOX, than a cable network!

Don't even get me started on having the pre-race show shown on a competely different network from the race......

Anthony said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Richard in N.C. said...

JD, are ratings calculated in the same way for over-the-air versus cable channels - or are cable channel ratings based just on viewers having cable access?

It seems to me that shifting Cup races from ABC to EESPN is likely to eliminate access to Cup race viewing for fans in less densely populated areas where it is not cost effective to run cable.

Bobby said...

Exactly. NASCAR and the Fan Council are probably up in arms over this, especially since the unified television deal was based around network television, not cable, and local advertising dollars mean aplenty. If you're WSOC-TV, how much revenue will you lose in losing your NASCAR races to ESPN?

This is a continuation of the ESPN takeover. The day races in the Chase, the BCS, and the Open Championship are now cable-only properties. I predict a BCS pay-per-view coming.

Sponsors who paid big dollars for network television appearances are probably rethinking what to do. If my sponsorship package was signed for 24 races on network television, and only 16 will, that dwindles my investment. Lowe's didn't pay Hendrick Motorsports to sponsor Jimmie Johnson for just 16 races on network television when they signed for 24.

And having to change channels for a pre-race show before the Chase just has no logic.

This is to justify the upcoming BCS-related per-subscriber rate hike. This will get fans unhappy.

Anonymous said...

And MikeC, don't forget that once Comcast finishes the NBC deal, Versus will take over everything else.

ESPN has proven that the subscriber fees will make up for the reduced ad revenue from cable - remember what happened to ABC's iconic Monday Night Football.

GinaV24 said...

If Chris Myers drops the I'm stupid about Nascar stuff, he'll be fine, but I won't be watching so whoever has Showtime will have to provide a review so I'll know if the program is any good.

David Hill in charge of more stuff. How sad that is for the NASCAR fan.

ESPN gets to cover the races on their channels, lucky, lucky race fans. Oh well, I didn't watch a lot of the races that they covered in 2009 because of the lousy way they did it, I have ESPN, but I may choose to not watch again this year. A lot depends on whether the racing is worth spending time in front of the TV for AND how well the races are shown to the fan.

After last year's mess, NASCAR and ESPN are going to have to sell me that they have a product I want to buy.

Anonymous said...

Going back to cable is a big loss for sponsors and those in a company trying to justify the current cost to field a team.

I would hate to be trying to sell a sponsorship with this news or trying to keep one. Maybe it is a way to justify lower viewer numbers because you just lost significant households.

If the ratings were bad last year lookout 2010.

The ability to get sponsors to renew just went down without a major drop in sponsor money. Add the loss of Scene with this and the face of NASCAR sponsorship selling and marketing is trending to a different model, maybe they need to dust off the books and check back in to the 80's and 90's way of doing business.

Ryan said...

I guess I won't be caring much about the Chase at all since I won't be able to see it. Thanks Nascar.

Anonymous said...

Nothing to to look forward to on Monday now.Don't like the HUB.NN needs to br "laid back"like TWIN.

Anonymous said...

They should replace Brad with Jenna Fryer or Angelique Chengelis, but other than that, I like it. If there is a crazy finish at Daytona or a car on it's roof - that is going to be THE TV show to watch.

I think what might even be more interesting than the SHowtime show will be how the Showtime show makes other shows change. When Inside the NFL came on HBO it changed the tone of the other NFL shows. If the Showtime show gets a reputation for really raw, honest talk it will be up to NASCAR Now on ESPN to change so they can compete.

Anonymous said...

RIP to TWIN, but between NASCAR Now, RaceHub, and the Showtime show TWIN would be the last show I would watch every week, and I'd probably skip it. IT was a great show on weekends when I was traveling and thoroughly missed the race, but otherwise, it was getting a bit old.

I am also excited for the HBO Jimmie Johnson show coming up in a few weeks, It's a three parter and should be awesome.

David said...

Alright, I've had a few hours to collect my thoughts. ESPN doing this is NOT unprecedented. Anyone remember NASCAR on ESPN pre-2001? NASCAR2Day would often be on ESPN 2 with the race being either on ESPN or ABC. You had to switch channels to get your pre-race and race. That formula worked quite well for me and I wasn't worried about having to make that channel change. It was excellent quality product, so that small detail was not a bother for me.

If ESPN puts a great finished product out, I will forgive this change since it really is only a minor inconvenience. However, should football or other sports over-run into the Cup races, I'm gonna be screaming at the ESPN folks.

Anonymous said...

Good riddance ABC and your NASCAR pre-emptions. I wish they had no races at all like CBS who always mistreated NASCAR just as bad.

Dave Hill overseeing SPEED cannot possibly turn out to be anything but a total disaster. Soon to be a bad combination of the Cartoon Network and a very non-funny Comedy Central, just like Fox Sports has become under his watch. EEK!

Dannyboy said...

Back in the late 80s-90s, after 20 yrs of avid fandom, NASCAR lost interest for me. The reasons may not be exactly the same as what's going on now, but the effect was the same. Inside Nascar Winston Cup Racing brought me back to at least paying attention, even if I didn't watch all the races. Now that may finally be gone, and so far, nothing remotely like it is being considered.

If all of this negative mojo continues as it has the past 2years, I see a possible decline from which the sport may not recover this time.

All you have to do is look at what NBC has done with their former status as #1. It's EPIC FAIL in BOTH prime time AND late night and yet Jeff Zucker gets a new contract for 3 more years of this garbage. Why expect ANY network to be smart about NASCAR when the same sort of people (pinheads with MBAs & JDs) have messed up something that had worked for over half a century?? Even a shlub like me figured out that Leno at 10pm was an answer to a question nobody asked.

KoHoSo said...

Just something for everybody to think about in regard to most of the Disney-controlled races being on ESPN instead of ABC.

I am guessing that most Planeteers are old enough to remember the glory days of Monday Night Football. Even well into the 1990's when cable television had already exploded, it was unthinkable to most people that MNF would ever leave a broadcast network. Yet, there finally came a time when ABC knew that it would get better ratings on a Monday night with "regular" programming than even the most highly-watched sporting league in the country. They have now decided that this has become the case with NASCAR on Sundays (probably aggravated by the fact ABC is competing with the NFL on CBS and Fox during their portion of the schedule).

Also remember that the decline in NASCAR television ratings began well before "The Great Recession" and even before we all began gathering here with a queasy feeling in our stomachs that the beloved Dr. Jerry Punch was not the right man to do play-by-play. Broadcast television has rarely been a patient industry and its declining audience share in the continuing onslaught of quality niche cable programming makes it even worse than back in "the good old days." Like it or not, they cannot afford to wait around and try to "rebuild" with NASCAR on their marquee channel.

Another thing to consider is very similar to what is a huge factor causing the current mess at NBC with Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien. One of the main things that a local network affiliate wants is a good lead-in to their local news and to not have that news show pushed back from its scheduled air time. The reason is that those news shows are where local stations make a good chunk of their income. In the case of Leno, his poor ratings had NBC affiliates up in arms because of the lost audience share -- his new show turned out to be a very poor lead-in program as opposed to what NBC had run previously in the same time slot. While not as key as a weeknight broadcast, it's still the same thing on a Sunday when the evening news broadcasts in the Eastern and Central time zones get pushed back or even completely preempted by sports (not to mention that a different and more popular program preceding the news might get more viewers to stick around).

Do I like this move personally? No, and others have already covered the obvious reasons. But, in the world of television, it does make a lot of sense, at least in the short term, and it's not something I am going to fret about. Amazingly, after feeling so down about NASCAR at the end of last season, I am truly excited again and cannot wait until the cars arrive at Daytona.

6p010535e43b89970c said...

Count me out as a possible viewer for "Inside NASCAR" ... 1 - I don't have SHO and I'm not going to get it ... 2 - I don't like BradD ... Lost any & all respect that I might've had for him a few seasons ago when the cameras caught him doing stuff that an on-air broadcaster shouldn't be doing ...



Disney must really want OUT of the tv contract if they're moving almost everything to cable ... That sure cuts down on the potential audience #s ...

It was only a few months ago that the news was telling us there were millions of households that had not gotten their digital converter boxes to view OTA tv ... Throw those people in with all of the people who've recently dumped cable/satellite because they can't afford it and you've got an even smaller potential viewing audience ...

Ratings have been down for the BuschN'wide races since they switched to 31 of 35 races being on cable ... Cup ratings will drop even more than they did for the 2009 season ...

One would think that if you have a product to sell that relies extremely heavily on sponsorship that you'd want to have it available to the largest possible viewing audience ... I don't understand "HOW" NASCAR could be completely on-board with this change ...


The only things that I watch on ABC/ ESPN / ESPN2 2 are NASCAR and a couple of very specific college bball/fball games ... The only things that I watch on SPEED are the NASCAR / ARCA / F1 / GrandAm related shows ... I don't watch their "lifestyle" shows ...



This is just turning into a really bad sports on tv that I watch week ... It comes on the heels of finding out that CBC got outbid by CTV on the Olympics, so I'll have to watch the Ladies Figure Skating on taped delay (unless I go hunt down our little "friend" Justin) ... Comcast carries CBC ... Verizon carries CTV ... and we don't want to switch ...


Grrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!

Anonymous said...

The difference between cable and over the air is getting smaller and smaller. The ABC to ESPN switch absolutely could not have happened with NASCAR executives signing on the dotted line. More and more sports will move to cable in coming years. Already you have Monday Night Football, NASCAR, NHL including portions of the Stanley Cup, BCS Championship, etc, etc. Someday the Super Bowl will to be on cable.

50 yr. fan said...

You can bet NA$CAR is getting
something out of the switch to
BSPN. Why else would they take
a chance on lowering the quantity
of viewers. CHA-CHING. It's just
like their taking of "official
sponsors" from raceteams to further line their pockets. I would
be angry if I were a sponsor who
thought I was getting my exposure
OTA and now it was changed to cable.

Hopefully the Showtime gig will
keep Chris and Brad from thier
regularly scheduled annoyances.

Anonymous said...

Myers is a class act host when given the right opportunity. Of course he "acts" the way he does on FOX because that is the role they want for him. Old and tired act yes but that's the higher ups choice for him. Inside NASCAR will be different. He will be the professional that he is. He will of course have some jokes as always.
Brad (not a great pick in my opinion) and Kyle and Randy are all very opinionated analysts and that is what they wanted. Inside NFL doesn't have current players or coaches. I wouldn't expect NASCAR show to either. They need guys that can speak their mind.
Overall good panel. Jury out of what Brad has to offer "expert" wise but he is opinionated and dare I say it does fill a added demographic.

Anonymous said...

Where do I sign up for Showtime? I don't want to miss a single insight from Captain Obvious. He is going to have his hands full also as an apologist/cheerleader for NASCAR now that MW won't be around to share the load.

JD, are you playing with me? I swear that my word verification is "shill". Either you or the internet god has a real sense of humor.

GinaV24 said...

I was just reading through the posts and came across the one that talked about Monday Night Football on ABC. It's funny, I used to watch MNF when it was on ABC, but since the switch to ESPn, I never do. For some reason, it simply doesn't sink into my psyche the same way.

As you said, JD, ESPN is going to have to do things quite a bit differently to make any gains on the fans who suffered through the last couple of seasons. If they start chanting, chase, chase, chase right from Indy onward, this is one race fan who will be tuning out, not in.

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

It doesn't really matter which network shows the Chase races - anybody who wants to see racing has cable or a dish for ESPN.

I think it is hilarious they lengthened the Phoenix spring race so the same amount of the race would be run under the lights. Why didn't you just keep the same starting time? Oh yeah - some limited survey of fans said they wanted earlier starts.

Kevin said...

Despite being about 100% certain that it won't accomplish anything, I still wanted my voice to be heard so I sent an email to ESPN this morning to complain about the change. I'm one of the "1% of Americans" (according to an earlier comment, even though we all know the number is significantly higher) who doesn't get ESPN. I pay $23 a month for the very basic cable service that goes up to the channel just before ESPN. I'm certainly not going to pay an extra $40 a month to be able to get ESPN; that would be insane. This news is very disappointing and frustrating. I wish ESPN actually cared about the fans.

Nathan Brice said...

This is setting the stage for ESPN/ABC to acquire the entire Sprint Cup package in the next contract. That contract would start in 2015. I have also heard some rumors that a NASCAR channel could be in the works. I have not confirmed that, but it would be interesting. They would probably have qualifying and practice coverage. I don't think anyone would miss Digger or Chris Myers. I would miss TNT's coverage, although they would probably hire some of the people from there like Ralph Shaheen and perhaps Kyle Petty. We are setting the stage for a great cast of characters in 2015. It could include Kyle Petty, Darrell Waltrip, Larry McReynolds, Jeff Burton if he has retired by then, Dale Jarrett, Andy Petree, and who knows who else might make cameo appearances. We can only hope that they can get some guys like Robert Flores and Bram Weinstein to be part of the coverage somehow. They seem to know something about NASCAR.

Adam Wood said...

It is unfortunate that the coverage has changed. While I can get ABC in HD through my cable company, I am currently not able to get ESPN in HD. This all seems to be about money and that's unfortunate.

My local NBC news affiliate spent some of the broadcast talking about how it is nice to be back at 10:00 instead of 10:30, 10:45, or 11:00. (I live in the central time zone) Football has the same issues with overruns and overtimes, but nobody is moving it to another network.

I think the sad day in NASCAR broadcasting came when NBC signed the deal with the NFL and decided not to cover NASCAR anymore. With these early start times, I think that NASCAR could go back to NBC. I even think that the races in August could go to CBS if necessary. The fans will be up-in-arms about this, and I am sure that 2015 can't come soon enough.

Darcie said...

So, with the move of most of the ESPN races away from ABC and to the cable network, is this a step backwards for Nascar? I can't help but think this move will further alienate fans, especially those who cannot afford cable or satellite. If anyone thinks that it won't affect a fairly large portion of Nascar fans, think again, as evidenced by the sheer numbers of people who fought to get the TV converters when TV went digital. Millions of TV viewers purchased those converter boxes because they don't have cable/satellite. Yet again, Nascar is being treated like the bastard son at a family reunion.

So, what else will ABC have in Nascar's place? We all know that they don't have original programming on Saturday nights anymore, so I'm guessing it's their beloved football.

And all this happens while Brian France sits in his New York penthouse counting the millions he's received from the TV contracts. But, I really expected something like this because of the terrible ratings for Nascar. ESPN is stuck with this contract, so they have to put it somewhere and I'm betting that before their contract expires, we'll see the races on Classic. The only way we'll see the races on over the air TV will be if Nascar's savior, aka Danica, races full time in Cup.

Anonymous said...

Since there's no more TWIN, there's no more reason for me to have the SPEED channel.

I always enjoyed the interplay between Steve, Chad, Michael, and even Jimmy Spencer. The other shows I've seen might as well be like watching the evening news.

Although watching races from the 80s and 90s are cool (because racing back then wasn't staged), I can do without the SPEED channel now.

Anonymous said...

If TWIN is gone then I will not watch the Racehub (not a good show) or the Showtime replacement. Cause I tuned to TWIN to watch Chad Knaus, Michael Waltrip and Steve Burnes. I loved the show. I have every issue on recorded from last season. I can't believe that the best show they have is being replaced with not near the talent they had on the Speed show. What idiots.

Oh well, just frees up more time to not watch Nascar or Speed.

Anonymous said...

I still miss Kenny Schader, Johnny Benson, Waltrip and Allen Bestwick.....

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why TWIN would not be brought back. Could someone enlightn me please?

Bobby said...

I found some major spin in the ESPN release that the ratings were higher on the ESPN Cable Network than on broadcast. They didn't say the cable races didn't face the NFL while network races did.

All that's left on ABC Sundays are reruns of their summer shows (Wipeout) and whatever entertainment programs they can find, plus affiliates have the hours to their own time.

But I wonder if the quality will decrease as ratings continue the drop. The tracks and sponsors aren't too happy with this. We'll see what the Fan Council says about this push.

MRM4 said...

While everyone is fretting over the move from ABC to ESPN for the Chase races, keep in mind the upcoming BCS bowl games will all be on ESPN and not on ABC. And this included the national championship game. There is a strong move to get as many events off ABC and to ESPN.

I like many of the moves that have been made this off-season. It's actually getting me excited about the upcoming season.

Anonymous said...

I know I'm in the minority here, but I pretty much wrote off TWIN after Schrader and Benson were canned and the producers allowed it to become the Mikey show (sorry, just not a fan of his buffoonery). In that regard, I'm not overly sad to see it put to rest.

Having said that, I'm also a little underwhelmed by the Inside NASCAR cast. However, I will give them the benefit of the doubt and watch initially.

As for the ESPN/ABC controversy, I don't mind the switch as I hope it will prevent the maddening pre-empting or channel switching.

Anonymous said...

There are lots of good points here about the ABC/ESPN thing. For me personally I am not affected as I have satellite, but I am feeling very upset for my mother who will basically not see any races after May when TNT takes over and then ESPN. She's a huge race fan and if she can't watch the race live, she tapes it and watches it later. But she is on a fixed income and cannot afford to pay $40-60 a month to get the minimum package required to get ESPN on cable or satellite in this area (I looked up the prices yesterday after the news was announced). In these economic times, I'd bet there are many others that are in a similar situation. Do you buy food or pay for cable?

So what is ABC going to put on our TVs on Sunday afternoon? It's not like they have NFL games...just the Monday night game they have already moved to ESPN. What could they possibly put on that will compete with NFL better than NASCAR during that time slot. Anything that advertisers are going to be willing to pay for? It's really too bad for the affiliates who now have to try to sell advertising for that time slot.

I guess I'll just have to plan on having Mom over on Sundays from May through November now. Hope my hubby doesn't mind!

Sophia said...

More than "1%" have just basic and or OTA TV though the "experts" don't want us to reflect the REALITY of the times or living in rural areas. They think the whole world has HD/DSL/upper tiered excesss tv packages!

Anonymous said...

Since there's no more TWIN, there's no more reason for me to have the SPEED channel.

I always enjoyed the interplay between Steve, Chad, Michael, and even Jimmy Spencer. The other shows I've seen might as well be like watching the evening news.

....


I TOTALLY agree. How the heck SPEED gave up Monday night's FUN show for N Hub (who's rotating host roulette annoys me as well as the hokey set) Didn't it cost money to make THAT new show? And 4 nites a week At the expense of TWIN? NO thanks.

My room mate is huge fan of F1 races. Thus the need for SPEED ch.

I LOVE the SPEED guys, and enjoy the 1st half of the season when THEY HOST QUALS/PRACTICE while showing RESPECT to the fans.(Not junking up the tv screen with excess graphics)

I don't care what the reason (and I am told NO DETAILS were given for the dropping of TWIN) SPEED Execs (David Hil now?? or whomever) proves how out OUT OF TOUCH they are with the canceling of TWIN.

I am ashamed to say I NEVER thought I would become a fan of Chad but I was... (ALSO enjoy him on NP) enjoying he and Mikey & Steve IMMENSELY.

Jimmy Spencer seemed shoved onto the show but for the most part, I enjoyed him on there except when asked to leave if Helton or another guest was on (Guessing that an extra chair was NOT in the budget)

If TWIN were straight talk, with very limited video recaps & excess B Roll forced to be on the show show, wouldn't it have been a cheaper show to produce?

I would watch the TWIN team broadcast from an SUV/ or Mikey's RV, if it had the regulars on it...... I ENJOYED their fun and LOVE for the sport.

No offense but the "other broadcast" partner will NOT be getting any more viewers from this house on Monday night.

I can tell you right now, I will NOT be glued to the tv for races anymore (well after the TNT portion anyway)
I would also rather LISTEN ON RADIO (if it were possible for FREE, can't afford XM) to the SPEED guys broadcast quals and practice in the latter part of the season. I love DW, LM and M Joy..and Steve and the rest of the gang. Frankly NOBODY on ESPN gets huge raves in this house.

Say what you will but I feel the guys in the booth at Fox & SPEED STILL love NASCAR, warts and all. AND RESPECT it and do not try to do "Gotcha interviews" to drivers.

I realize that comment will bring out the haters but so be it.

Chris from NY said...

Prepare for lower ratings this Chase season. It's the fault of both BSPN and NA$CAR.

Jon Medek said...

A few things nobody wants to hear. (1) Free Broadcast TV will be gone within a few years. Period. The only reason it existed this long was sponsors covered costs through purchasing commercials. They are no longer buying enough ads to cover costs. There is no place in the constitution or bill of rights that guarantees us free TV. It will be gone and people will have to pay for these services. Unfortunate but inevitable. (2) It seems that most NASCAR fans don't like to live in the present: its all about how it was in the past, how it used to be, how it was in the day. Living in the past is neither practical or possible. The ways we can move the sport forward matter, the past is helpful in providing information but trying to turn back the clock makes the sport look very dated. (3) Stock car racing is a great sport, but if the fans do nothing but complain then progress will be very slow. If the NASCAR bosses don't listen; spend your time and money at the local track and screw the billionaires that own NASCAR! Support real racers, not just celebrity multi-millionaires. (4) we used to have no live broadcasts of races, and if I were to guess, I believe all races will be on either premium channels or pay per view within 10 years. And shows like TWIN will be streaming on the internet rather than be on TV.

Anonymous said...

You have to wonder what they are thinking. Who thought that going to SHOWTIME was a good idea? I would think that if you just look at the potential number of households that have Speed Channel versus those that have SHOWTIME, SPEED Channel wins. ANd how many of those are going to remember that SHOWTIME has a NASCAR show. Then to add Chris Meyers and Brad Daugherty? All I can say is wow. Snooze-ville

Anonymous said...

TWIN was my favorite NASCAR show. I preferred the original cast but still liked the newer show.
Looking forward to TWIN on Monday nights was the only thing that made getting through Monday possible. Say it isn't so.

Jim said...

NASCAR must be limping from repeatedly shooting itself in the foot. Sucking up to ESPN will prove to be a waste of time.
I'll miss TWIN on Mondays more than I will miss the races on ESPN.
I may tune in for Daytona and 'Dega, but otherwise count me as "disenfranchised."

MRM4 said...

Glad to see that Versus will be back on DirecTV. Now if I can just get ESPNUHD, I'll be set. LOL

Anonymous said...

I can't believe TWIN is gone. The best show ever! Why would you drop that show when the fans look so forward to it? The hosts on that new show are annoying and don't compete in the sport, with TWIN you get the people who are competing in the sport and knows what is going on. Plus, you can see they love it. What the heck is up with this?

Richard in N.C. said...

Now on the other hand there may be a silver lining to the move of Cup races to EESPN - hopefully it will be a spur to NASCAR to develop a NASCAR channel by the time the current contract runs out so they will not be so reliant on the Evil Empire.

Richard in N.C. said...

JD- Have you heard any scuttlebutt on whether Ricky Craven will be doing more on EESPN, or elsewhere, in 2010 now that he's no longer a Yahoo columnist? Might he be in the booth on some N-wide races? The more I see of Ricky, the more impressed I am.

Anonymous said...

I think those of you thinking with your heart need to remember something. Just because you liked something, doesn't mean everyone does. Networks make decisions for one main reason--MONEY. And it's not just about wealth, it's about survival. Broadcast TV is simply not making enough money (see Jon Medek's post) to support itself, and with the economy the way it is, it will be hard to get those sponsors back. Likewise, even on pay channels, it's still about how many people are watching. If not enough people are, the show is gone. I think NASCAR will weather this storm. As many have noted, it used to be only on cable save for a few races. Yes, I'd like to see them find a way to allow people who can't afford cable to watch, but I don't see that happening, unless they figure out some online deal.

Jonathan said...

JR needs to shave lol Im a big fan but looked like he should be on the flinstones tonight lol

GO JR


IM COUNTING THE DAYS TILL THE BUD SHOOTOUT

Anonymous said...

So is it official that TWIN is gone? Someone at Speedtv.com posted they had a response from Speed that the show is cancelled officially. I can't believe they dropped TWIN for that stupid RaceHub show. What a crock of crap!!!