Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wednesday TV/Media Notes

First of all, best wishes for a speedy recovery to veteran NASCAR owner Jack Roush. He was involved in an accident while landing his private jet at the airport in Oshkosh, WI.

Arriving for a major airshow, Roush experienced a hard landing and his airplane broke apart. He experienced some cuts and bruises, but walked out of the plane under his own power. He and his female passenger were transported to the hospital and reported in stable condition. The photo is from AVWeb via reporter Bob Margolis.

Sports Media Watch updates the TV ratings for the Brickyard 400 on ESPN:

Sunday's Brickyard 400 drew a 3.6 U.S. rating and 5.709 million viewers on ESPN, down 12% in ratings and viewership from last year (4.1, 6.487 mil), down 16% and 14%, respectively, from 2008 (4.3, 6.668 mil), and down 14% and 13%, respectively, from 2007 (4.2, 6.574 mil).

This marks the lowest rating ever for the Brickyard 400, which debuted in 1994. Only once before had the race ever drawn less than a 4.0 rating -- 2000, when it hit a then-record low 3.7 on ABC.

SPEED's Race Hub continues to develop the new one-hour weekday shows. Wednesday, Marcos Ambrose comes to the studio to talk about his impending departure from JRG/Daugherty Motorsports. Reporter Danielle Trotta is at RCR to speak with Clint Bowyer and Ray Dunlap will update the truck series before the first race at Pocono.

While the Sprint Cup and truck series are in Pocono, the Nationwide Series is at Iowa Speedway and live on ESPN2 Saturday night. This stand-alone race lets ESPN put together an interesting announce team in the booth.

It will be Ray Evernham and Ricky Craven teamed as the analysts with Vince Welch calling the play-by-play. We have consistently urged the network to use a different team of announcers on Nationwide Series races once Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree move over to the ESPN Sprint Cup Series coverage. This Iowa trio should be fun to watch.

Late last week, NASCAR quietly added a new TV partner. VERSUS is the new home of nine NASCAR Modified Series telecasts. Venues include Bowman Gray Stadium, home of the cancelled Madhouse TV series. Click here to read the entire release.

Opening a relationship with VERSUS is a positive step. This Comcast-owned network is growing quickly and stands to become a sports TV powerhouse when Comcast's acquisition of NBC becomes final. We will pass along more information about announcers and air dates when they become available.

There is no NASCAR Now program on Thursday as ESPN2 has live golf coverage. This also played a role in the fact that SPEED will originate the practice and qualifying coverage from Pocono this weekend for the Sprint Cup Series.

The good news is that another extended post-race show will air on ESPN after the Pocono race on Sunday. ESPN's first effort last week at Indy was outstanding. This is exactly what fans have been requesting. ESPN has blocked out 5:30 to 7PM on Sunday for a combination of post-race coverage and SportsCenter highlights.

We welcome your comments on these topics. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. You can email with comments or suggestions on other topics at anytime. Thanks for taking the time to stop by.


Anonymous said...

I've had a feeling for a while that the Versus network may become a major NASCAR TV partner in 2015, especially once the network becomes a sister to NBC.

I know that the new TV contract is still 3 years away from potentially being decided (and 4.5 years away from starting), but there are a lot of TV networks that could potentially carry part of the package. But based on the network's IRL coverage, I would not mind seeing NASCAR back on NBC splitting time with Versus.

Chadderbox said...

It's great to hear that Jack Roush is ok after that plane crash yesterday.

I watched the Versus Indy Car coverage from Edmonton on Saturday (qualifying) and Sunday (race). I DVR the coverage and watched it Sunday evening. It is actually the 3rd Indy race I have watched this year on Versus. I am not a huge IRL racing fan but I do enjoy the coverage on versus. Its a breath of fresh air, actually. In my opinion, the coverage is simple, with great wide angle camera shots, and good pit reporting. Also, they use the in car mostly AFTER the accidents. I would suggest checking them out if you have not seen a telecast this year.

The ratings for the Brickyard are down, but I am not worried about it at all. Neither is Brian France, I hear!

GinaV24 said...

Wow, Jack is a lucky man considering his accident only a few years ago in the prototype plan. Glad to hear that he and his passenger were OK.

I'm not surprised to read that the ratings were down for Indy. But according to Brian France's comments to the media, the fact that the fans are dissatisfied with the TV broadcasts are of "no concern".

Probaby because his organization is too busy fining drivers for saying what the fans had already been talking about. Talk about a group that hasn't got a clue, NASCAR's management, including that pitbull Poston, really need to remove their rose-colored glasses and take a look around at reality.

I am not planning to tune in to the Pocono race. The weather forecast for Sunday is decent weather, not as stupid hot as its been, I'm betting I can find a lot of things to do with that 5 hr block of time.

I may come back and watch the post-race to see what happened since ESPN did do a good job of that last week, once Edwards got off of my screen.

I am really really upset with NASCAR right now so I plan to limit my watching of their programming for the sake of my blood pressure.

51 yr. fan said...

Great news on the Versus coverage.
It will be a welcome change to
see "racers" and not "drivers"
for a change. I hope the Republic
Czars of Na$car don't suppress the

OSBORNK said...

I might watch more of the shows this week to see how the talking heads handle the controversy of secret fines imposed on drivers that NASCAR felt spoke negatively of the sport. This relevation reinforces the phony cheerleading we have been hearing all year from the booth and others associated with NASCAR. The last person that could tell the public and NASCAR what he really thought without the fear of punishment was Earnhardt Sr. When Tony Stewart tried it, he came out of the trailer with his tail tucked between his legs and was clearly neutered.

Tracy D said...

Thanks for the heads-up about Versus and the Modifieds.Can't wait.

The post race production on ESPN shows real promise, if they'll just get rid of Carl Edwards.Who wants to hear about his race experience? Not me. I won't watch with him on the screen.

Can't wait to hear Craven and Evernham in the NW booth.

Donna in FL said...

Hey, if Brian France isn't worried about TV, I'm not worried! It's not MY money! But it IS my time! /sarcasm

Will watch the cool qualifying they are doing & have to DVR Pocono Truck race due to commitment, but I'll be watching NNS Live from Iowa which has become one of my favorite tracks. Welch better not screw it up.

Will be DVRing Pocono Cup race, so I won't be watching any ESPN post race, also DVR SPEED's Victory Lane which is always decent. Glad to see ESPN expanded post race but I was personally turned off by last week's handling due to certain persons.

Will reserve opinion of Versus presentation of NASCAR until I see a race. I like how they show IndyCar races.

Veri word = crumsess. What NASCAR needs to avoid.

Chadderbox said...

Brian France: "But they all bring something different. So, no, it’s not something that we’re concerned with".

This was his answer to a question from the media at Indy regarding declining television ratings and unhappiness from the fan base about tv coverage.

Would Bill France Jr. give an answer like that??

Lisa Hogan said...

Sounds like an interesting booth for the Nationwide race.

Glad that SPEED will have the Cup practice and qualifying.

Don't have VERSUS, so no opinion there. :)

Garry said...

I have always liked Craven as a driver and person, but in the booth, it's like listening to a team of engineers. Very articulate, boring tone. I'm not sure if engineers were ever born with emotions. lol. But will be interesting to watch.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Versus /Mods news- hope its as good as the IRL coverage which we have been watching when its on.

On the "secretfinegate" mess nascar created for itself - I got no problems with the fining for detrimental/derogatory about the sport comments, just be honest about it. Tell us who what & how much.
Just like the NFL,NBA & other sports.

Really explains the hand holding, kiss up everything is great we have heard all year.

So ontrack attempting to or actually crashing a competitor for bumping is 25k - bad mouthing the sport 2X that! Hmmm...

Anonymous said...

I am NOT a fan of Brian France and wish he would just reign and not rule whilst turning the sport's management over to a racer who actually gets it, I must note that even with ratings down for the Brickyard 400 it was the highest rated cable sports broadcast of last week and ranked overall(cable side) #4 behind three scripted dramas. So, I can see why he is not worried. Of course this discounts the fact the fan base is restive and not filling seats, the COT sucks, etc., etc.,etc.. I am sure, JD, that the NASCAR Media Group knows this, tell him, and until Brian gets pinched in the pocketbook he will continue not to care about the base. It may be (and I think it is) no way to run a railroad, but when you are in the palace it is difficult to see the revolution coming. Remember, on July 14, 1789 when the Bastille fell, Louis XVI of France wrote in his diary entry for the day, "Nothing happened."

Anonymous said...

I actually like Ricky Cravens style especially compared to the hillbilly style of Larry and the Waltrip brothers. He's very knowledgeable in knowing what fans don't yet know, but would like to know.Instead of repeating hundreds of times that there's no free lunch in aero, like Larry Mac does, he give us new info that we haven't heard before.I'm looking forward to him and Ray in the booth.

Darcie said...

I'm here in Wisconsin and the latest on Roush is that he's in serious, but stable, condition. Although he walked off the plane he was immediately placed on a back board by paramedics. Thanks to JD, he didn't include the awful picture of Roush getting off the plane. It was a very nasty sight.

Chadderbox said...

I give ESPN a B- for Sundays Sprint Cup Telecast.

Unfortunately, I am getting used to being frustrated with the coverage, but a new crew televising the races seems to have eased the frustration somewhat.

Richard in N.C. said...

I guess I should not complain since I went to TMZ to look at the Rousch pictures, but TMZ seems to take such pleasure in the pain or problems of others that now I feel like I need to take a shower.

Wisconsin Steve said...

Wayback Wednesday on NASCAR Now was AWESOME tonight. Great highlights from the inaugural truck series season in 1995.

Vicky D said...

And I just have one comment for RW being on NN on Monday and it was just too much Rusty adding it to the previous weekend. I'm surprised he has a voice left with all that screaming at us viewers! Best wishes to JR for a speedy recovery from his plane wreck.

Anonymous said...

Now Gateway drops two races for 2011. NASCAR seems like they cannot catch a break and the downward spiral continues. When Kentucky gets their Cup date for 2011, that will filter off a few Indy ticket holders. They need to stop the bleeding - it's like a severed artery !