Sunday, April 18, 2010
Turner Sports Responds To FOX's Online Plans
Click here to review the story originally published on TDP Friday that referenced the plans by FOX Sports to provide a live online post-race show from the Texas Motor Speedway after the Sprint Cup Series race.
Basically, in trying to address the growing post-race TV issues, Fox executive Bill Brown indicated the network would use the FoxSports.com website to stream additional post-race content.
On one hand, this made sense because FOX already had the production resources available to offer the coverage. On the other hand, the online rights to all NASCAR content have been owned by Turner Sports for a decade.
This is not a political debate, but a serious business issue involving millions of dollars in rights fees paid directly to NASCAR by Turner. NASCAR chose to "farm out" the online or interactive rights and now must live by that agreement. As the earlier story references, NASCAR recently extended that contract through 2014.
After the initial posturing, FOX released the following statement:
Unfortunately, due to contractual limitations that we had hoped to overcome, we're unable to extend post-race coverage on FOXSports.com. Since this would have been a commercial-free undertaking, our goal was simply to have all parties agree that this would only benefit NASCAR fans, but obviously that didn't happen.
While that may be nicely written, it obviously ignores a reality that many NASCAR fans have become familiar with over the last few seasons. The problems that exist between Turner Sports and FOX affect NASCAR fans on many levels.
There is no online streaming of the FOX Sprint Cup Series races. There are no interactive elements to the broadcasts. Turner's online application RaceBuddy was not added this season by FOX as expected.
In response to the FOX statement, Turner offered this media release:
NASCAR.COM continues to provide fans with the most access and comprehensive content and coverage of the sport, including free in-depth coverage every week of all the storylines going into and following each race.
NASCAR.COM has also consistently partnered with other media companies -- including Fox's sister network SPEED TV, to further enhance the offerings to NASCAR’s loyal fan base.
NASCAR.COM has proactively approached Fox over a period of time with a variety of collaborative online media options that unfortunately have been rejected.
So, there you have it. The simple story of one company that paid for ownership of certain rights and another that would like to use those rights for free. Lost in the mix is the reality that the entire issue is driven by the sale of those rights by NASCAR in the first place.
Right or wrong, there will be no live online post-race programs during the remaining FOX races. FOX alone controls the TV "off time" of the live races. Choosing when to end the post-race coverage is a decision made by the NASCAR on FOX management team. After this little scuffle, it should be interesting to see how FOX handles the post-race programming for the remainder of this TV package.
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