Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thursday TV/Media Notes

Needless to say, the vast majority of attention from the sports TV world will be on the rather amazing deal struck between LeBron James and ESPN.

This NBA player gets an hour of ESPN Thursday primetime on multiple television and online networks to simply indicate which team he will play for next season.

Sponsors are lining up to get ads in this program, the content of which cannot yet be explained or even imagined. Nike, Sprint, McDonalds, Bing and even the good old University of Phoenix will be seen running ads.

ESPN says they control the content and format, but the network spokesman continues to deny that ESPN knows LeBron's plans. All we know as the viewing public is that he has 44 minutes of primetime to say something that normally takes less than one. It should be interesting.

ESPN2's NASCAR Now has Thursday off as the network offers extended coverage of the US Women's Open golf tournament. That means SPEED is the only game in town and they are taking full advantage on the final Race Hub program of the week.

Tony Stewart will be John Roberts' guest as he hosts the program. Steve Byrnes will be doing a TV marathon for SPEED this weekend at Chicagoland Speedway and Krista Voda is handling the pre-race and pit reporting duties for the trucks in Iowa. Look for them to return to the Hub next week.

While Stewart is a good guest, it is Mark Martin that may be making some news for an interview he recorded for the Thursday Race Hub show. The network released some memorable quotes in advance.

“This time next year, if nothing suits my fancy, then I’ll wait until something does,” Martin said in the interview. “Some of that’s driving and some of it’s not. I’m gonna do what I wanna do, and how do I know what I want to do a year and a half from now?”

In terms of Kasey Kahne's ongoing media coverage, Martin offered this pointed remark.

“I had to quit following the sport because it kinda made me sick,” Martin said. “The media didn’t understand and didn’t get it and couldn’t seem to deliver the message correctly. They only delivered the message they wanted to deliver, which was was disgusting.”

Well, you don't usually get that type of reaction from Martin. Things should be even more interesting due to the fact that SPEED's Randy Pemberton told Sirius NASCAR radio Wednesday morning that he believes Martin may wind-up on the Red Bull team next season and Kahne would be driving the #5 for Hendrick in 2010. Pemberton will be on Thursday's Race Hub reporting from Chicagoland.

Rumors about Kenny Schrader returning to TV are true, but unfortunately it's only for one ARCA race Saturday night on SPEED at 9PM. Schrader is racing a truck at Iowa Speedway, so he happened to be in the neighborhood. Rick Allen may have his hands full with Michael Waltrip and Schrader together.

Speaking of Waltrips, this is Darrell's last appearance on SPEED for a while as Kyle Petty returns after this weekend now that his TNT duties are done. Friday, Waltrip calls Sprint Cup Series practice, qualifying and is a panelist on the Trackside show. Saturday, he joins NASCAR RaceDay with Kenny Wallace and John Roberts from the SPEED Stage.

TNT has reported a nice jump in TV ratings for Daytona. Here is some official information:

TNT had double-digit ratings, total viewers and household increases for its coverage of the Coke Zero 400. The network, airing the race in its signature Wide Open coverage which resulted in zero missed laps of green flag racing for the second the consecutive year, earned a 3.6 U.S. household rating, up 16% over last year.

The Coke Zero 400 was the number one program of the night on television with households, total viewers, and key adult and male demographics, as well as the number one program of the week across cable TV with households, total viewers and men 25-54.

We will update this post throughout the day with an new TV-related stories. In the meantime, please feel free to offer comments on these topics. Just click on the comments button below. Thanks for stopping by!


Richard in N.C. said...

I do not know how to express the relief I anticipate when Lebron's announcement is made - the media has beat the subject past to death.

Word Veri = wheeze - how appropriate.

jmnlman said...

As much as we as fans often complain about "Danica vision" I can't see any way that she would be able to pull off the James deal. I must be missing something here what was the message that the media refuse to transmit for Martin?

Andrew S. said...

Actually Kenny is racing a truck owned by Delana Harvick. She's the smart one in the family because she wears the firesuit.

Jonathan said...

So glad to hear the ratings are up thats great news! Looking foward to Racehub today that should be interesting! Then its off to Chicagoland Speedway for me Friday all day and night!!! A ray of sunshine is back for Nascar and Im soaking it in awsome to hear the great news

51 yr. fan said...

I'm glad to to hear Schrader is
on. I wish FOX/Speed would use
him in lieu of Waltrips/Wallaces/
Spencer. His insight and humor
would be a great replacement for
the vaudville clowns.

I hope the rivals look at TNT coverage and ratings increase and
make much-needed improvements.

Anonymous said...

Lebron...I gues the media thinks there is money in this hype...I couldn't care less. No, I won't watch.

Vicky D said...

I think MM sees the writing on the wall with KK coming over to Hendrick for next year. I guess it would have been nice for someone over there to discuss with Mark before the announcement though. Waiting to hear what he says on Hub tonight.

GinaV24 said...

Well, happily for me, I don't watch much ESPN and don't follow professional basketball, so all the LeBron coverage falls into the category of "who cares" for me.

Sounds like Mark Martin is getting back to the grumpy old man routine -- how many times has he retired? I kind of lost a little respect for him when he did the whole "for the fans" tour and then continued to drive. Its OK, its his perogative, but after buying one of his retirement souvenirs that did it for me, I'm not buying any more.

Hooray for the end of DW's reign of terror on Speed! maybe I can start watching trackside again.

Well, I'm happy that Schrader will be in the booth for the trucks but that is tempered by the fact that I'll still have to listen to Mikey babble on, although Kenny usually deals with Mikey very very well and it could be fun, so I'll most likely tune in.

Nice to hear that the rating were up for TNT's coverage. They have done a far better job than Fox so should at least get some good news from it.

GinaV24 said...

Have fun at the races, Jonathan.

Anonymous said...

What will we do??? The Lebronathon is almost over! Who will get the next overhype spotlight? Maybe KK?? What will they do??? Sarcasm off. Thank heavens its almost over.

OSBORNK said...

I think the jump in ratings is deceiving. The race being on the third rather than the fourth boosted the ratings because there were less distractions this year than last year. Fireworks and other July fourth activities were not as much a distraction this year as last. If you go back to 2008 with the comparision, the ratings are down from 3.8 to 3.6 with over a quarter million fewer viewers.

Anonymous said...

Well, good for TNT to pull those ratings even with the rain delay.

To rain (ha!) on the parade a bit, an increase in ratings over last year had to be expected since last year's race was actually on the 4th so they would naturally lose a lot of viewers to other festivities.

The ratings are actually down a tick from 2008, but hey - any good NASCAR TV news does deserve some praise.

Donna DeBoer said...

And that's a rise in ratings WITH a rain delay!! Hmmm!! I would LOVE to credit it to WideOpen coverage in an attempt to get more of it but I'm sure that's wishful thinking. Hail it as great news, but I still think it's an anomaly due to a broken ratings system, this time it happened to fall to the positive side. And, to just follow that thinking, can't help but wonder how many has fallen to negative because of badly collected numbers?

I'm finding the whole Mark Martin thing to be very weird. What's with all the back & forth? Why is Mark angry? It's not making anyone look good. And yes, when he retired I had expected him to stay retired. Hate to put him on my Farve list.

Richard in N.C. said...

Being a grumpy old man, I think I can understand Mark's being upset since it appears to me more that few in the media are concerned about getting things right - just get it read and somewhat close. Don't let the facts interfere with a story that might sell.

For instance, I have not seen any of the commentators for well-known sites speculate that age might finally be catching up (even just a little bit) with Mark - no, his decreased performance for 2010 versus 2009 is all the fault of Dale, Jr. and Rick Hendrick.

Dextermorgan said...

People thought that age had caught up with Mark Martin in 2001 when he had his worst career season up to that point. He nearly won the championship the next year.

This season is the fault of Rick Hendrick and the distractions and changes he has allowed to happen.

Anonymous said...

Here's my prediction:

LeBron James goes to the 5 car next year. Kasey Kahne signs with the Knicks. Mark Martin gets a prime-time special to decide if he'll re-sign with DEI, RPM, or the LA Clippers.

longtimeracefan said...

Dale take note, the next time you decide to change teams, do it via an ESPN special presentation. It's a great way to raise a few million dollars for your foundation.

The Loose Wheel said...

Mark has EVERY reason to be upset! He answered the question already. He has a contract and fully expects to fullfill that. Kasey Kahne be damned. He is upset with the media because this is one sport where the media can make a change happen before an owner or a driver realizes it. Dale Jr was a perfect example. No one really figured Hendrick was a huge player until the media kept up with the idea that Mears should get fired to make room. Kyle Busch wound up getting the boot, but only a year later Mears was out. He was doomed before he got to the 5th race of the season in 2008.

Mark knows the media is fabricating some of this out of thin air and what do they expect Mark to say?

I personally feel like Hendrick or someone in that camp is trying to force Mark out in no uncertain terms by fueling these rumors. I just hope Mark has a good situation to compete in next season whether that is the 5 car or some other ride.

Oh boy what if he went back to Roush in the 6! KIDDING!!!

Glad to see the Daytona ratings were strong though, breath of fresh air.

Anonymous said...

I agree with David at 12:27 a.m. For specifics, see the article on Jayski where Mark's business manager gives an unequivocal statement about the Red Bull "story". For fans, this sort of stuff may be entertainment. But for Martin, this is his life and his future. I doubt that any of us would appreciate baseless speculation in the media regarding our future.

I also agree that Hendrick is the cause of much of this, directly or indirectly. Some personnel were shifted from Mark's team to Junior's team to try to improve Junior's performance. Junior has improved somewhat, and Mark's team has suffered. Hendrick's continued silence allows Mark to twist in the wind while people speculate on his future.

As an old person, I prefer the ethics and standards of the traditional newspaper business. Opinion and speculation were easily identified because they appeared on the opinion/editorial page. Everything else was supposed to be objective and factual. Most of today's electronic and internet reporting have blurred those lines to the point of nonexistence.

Most of what passes for reporting in NASCAR today is little more than speculation and rumors. It's no wonder that Mark Martin decided to stop listening to it.

Richard in N.C. said...

It appears to me that in today's world the primary objective of much of the media is to be read - not to be right. Commentary and speculation is often passed off as news - such as so-called reporters writing about races without making it clear that they watched the race on TV, and were not at the track.

Michael Schumacher is clearly one of the top 10 or 20 race car drivers of all time. The F1 press, especially in Europe, is constantly (gleefully) writing articles questioning whether or not he is over the hill at age 41.

I have a great deal of respect for Mark Martin, and am slightly older than him. Whether or not mother nature might be beginning to catch up with him at age 50, to at least some extent, seems to me to be a valid question. However, I have not seen anyone in the media even mention the possible impact of Mark's age on his performance this year. Maybe because the possible impact of Mark's age takes away from blaming Dale, Jr. and Rick Hendrick for the decline in his performance versus 2009?

GinaV24 said...

50 year old Mark Martin -- how many times did we hear that phrase last year? I was seriously tired of it then and I sure agree with many of you who talk about the reporting these days -- most of it IS speculation without a lot of fact to back things up.