Sunday, April 18, 2010
Online Post-Race Plans Raise Questions
On Thursday, veteran NASCAR reporter Jenna Fryer offered a post on the Yahoo! Sports website. Click here to read the full article.
Here are some excerpts that focus on the topic being discussed:
Fox will offer extended post-race coverage of NASCAR with an online program beginning this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. The Overdrive on FoxSports.com will begin immediately after the network ends its broadcast coverage of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race.
“It’s something we should have been doing all along,” Bill Brown, senior producer for Fox Sports, told The Associated Press on Thursday night.
Brown said Fox will not set a hard time on how long The Overdrive will run since it will be dictated by storylines. “We definitely will have stories to talk about because this is a sport with 43 stories,” Brown said.
Click here to read "TV Viewers Get The Post-Race Blues." It was August of 2008 when TDP once again addressed the issue of NASCAR TV post-race problems.
Here is a brief excerpt from that column:
It is the lack of guaranteed post-race coverage that is driving fans crazy. NASCAR fans do not change their loyalty depending on where their favorite driver finished.
There is an entire story to tell that features teams that finished well outside of the top ten. There are issues between drivers, incidents during the race and questions asked during the live TV coverage that are still unresolved. The whole story is not being told once the race itself is over. There is no time.
Currently, there are on average four hours of pre-race programming offered by the NASCAR TV partners before each Sprint Cup Series race. While SPEED offers the one hour tape-delayed Victory Lane show on Sunday nights, there has been no live post-race TV show since the new NASCAR TV contract began in 2007.
What Brown described to Fryer sounds like an attractive scenario. Free from the time constraints of television, an online environment offers a great alternative for live content. Fox already has all the resources on-site to provide outstanding coverage. Unfortunately, there is still one key issue on the table.
While Fox holds the TV rights to its package of Sprint Cup Series races, the online or interactive rights to the very same races are held by Turner Sports located in Atlanta, GA. It was January of this year when TDP reported that Turner was optimistic on partnering with Fox and offering the popular online application called RaceBuddy for the Fox Sprint Cup Series races. It never happened.
Click here to read the official news release on the contract extension between Turner and NASCAR that allowed Turner to lock-up the online rights to the sport until the 2014 season. Basically, Fox has no legal way to offer live post-race NASCAR content of any kind online.
Despite the fact that Brown's online plans involve the NASCAR on Fox announce team, the FoxSports.com website and races telecast by Fox, moving from broadcast TV to an Internet environment would violate Turner's current online contract.
A Turner Sports representative politely declined to comment on Fryer's story or the quotes from Fox's Brown. There really was no need for a statement. Turner has owned these interactive rights since 2000 and over the years has offered a variety of NASCAR programs and applications, including a live post-race show.
A Fox Sports representative was unable to provide any additional information on Brown's plans for Sunday. Perhaps, if the RaceBuddy deal had been done, Fox would have found itself in the position of already having an online platform that could serve to host a post-race show with little problem. Now any online effort would start from scratch.
Should Fox, Turner and NASCAR reach a solution that would allow for a live online post-race show, TDP will provide the updated information. In the meantime, it's up to the live NASCAR on Fox telecast and the 8PM Sunday night Victory Lane program on SPEED to provide the post-race coverage for fans.
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