Monday, October 4, 2010

Your Turn: Sprint Cup Series On ESPN From Kansas Speedway


Beautiful weather welcomed ESPN2 and ESPN to the Kansas Speedway. An audio problem on the ESPN2 feed affected many viewers for slightly longer than thirty minutes. Those affected heard only static. Over on ESPN2HD, there was no problem.

Allen Bestwick hosted from the Infield Pit Studio with Rusty Wallace and Brad Daugherty. Marty Reid called the race with Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree. Dr. Jerry Punch, Jamie Little, Dave Burns and Vince Welch were on pit road.

This race featured long green runs interrupted by David Reutimann and Kyle Busch exchanging contact with some hard feelings. Both drivers continued in the race, so TV was unable to interview either one at the time.

ESPN is featuring two video boxes on the screen this season and began that immediately from the start. On this race, the first commercial was on lap 9. Few caution periods meant a lot of commercial breaks in action.

The feature of this telecast was the Chase. Stories that did not include Chase drivers were slowly moved away and rarely were the non-Chase drivers featured on any type of field rundown. Instead, tires became the feature of the telecast.

This post will serve to host your comments on the ESPN coverage of the Sprint Cup Series from Kansas. To add your TV-related comment, just click on the comment button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting.

47 comments:

Anonymous said...

Not a bad 1.5m track race and I also thought that the coverage was descent.

Daly Planet Editor said...

No late commercials made a big difference. Big...

Sally said...

About half way through the race, I realized I just don't care. Don't care who wins the race, don't care who wins the 'chase', The coverage is so disjointed and slanted toward the top 12, that I seldom get to hear a word about 'my' driver, so why should I watch? ESPN has just managed to make the 'product' so unintelligable that it isn't worth trying to watch anymore. Sad. And it has nothing to do with a 1 PM start time!

KathyJ71 said...

fire some ppl for your horrible nascar coverage...hire some who know what they are doing!

Vicky D said...

I didn't have my heart into watching this race I ran out with about 50 laps to go and got back in time to NOT see the cars crossing the finish line. Marty is still struggling in the booth I think there needs to be some help there.

Jonathan said...

Great race great broadcast!!! I give this a B much much better than the past few races! I still question the ratings system though cause again I was checking my active button on direct tv and Nascar was the most watch program on direct tv! Central (my time zone) National and Sports Nascar was on top of all programs including football and baseball! I feel the ratings system needs to change theres way to much riding on ratings that this 1980's system needs a fixing! Way to much technology out there we should be able to pin point what everyone is watching like direct Tv does!

ESPN Ombudsman said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
AncientRacer said...

JD
I will make my comment in the form of a question I asked late, probably while you were preparing this blog:

Who was today's director? Same as last week or different? Pictures when I got them (e.g. between commercials)seemed better. Better shot selection than last week. Or maybe it was due to the camera positions?

It was far better visually than Dismal Dover, but a long haul from what I'd call "good".

You have a picky bunch here, JD. Of course you know that!

Ann_Ominous said...

Some of the time the camera work was better, but they just couldn't resist going to tight shots. Or putting Brewer in the big box. And when they went to the boxes rarely was there any identification as to what place the racing was for.

Sound continues to be a problem. Too loud and hard to hear the booth. Not that the booth is that worth hearing, but the engine sound is monotonous. It is not varrom varrooom vaaarrrooooommmm. It's just rooooooooooo...... Puts me to sleep.

Marty continues to make mistakes. Maybe it is the voice in his ear telling him what to talk about instead of the racing.

Constant commercials for football just encourage you to change the channel. Only I don't care for football with all its thugs anymore. And my local NBC affiliate decided to show infomercials instead of the horses. :(

Not looking forward to Fox's bafoon circus next year either. Would somebody please give me a life with something to do on my weekends besides watch NASCAR? I'm only watching out of habbit and nothing else to do.

Next weekend I think I will go watch the local dog show. Buh-bye!!

Lisa Hogan said...

I just want to watch the race. The camera shots don't show the race and the booth doesn't describe the race.

I know that there must be commercials; but, the timing is usually questionable.

I will thank ESPN for a great laugh! One of their execs actually thinks the start time is to blame for the ratings!

I think a lot of us are just tired of pointing out the obvious and ESPN will not acknowledge.

As always, thanks JD. :)

goat said...

I agree, Sally, about the Chase-focus being overdone.

Another problem is the predictable excuse-making for Kyle Busch, or other "top" drivers, when they create problems for themselves. It's really tiresome.

larry said...

With Daly Planet and Twitter, I don't need TV. Way too boring watching TV...If twitter says look now, I check for replays, otherwise TV is on other channels.

FWIW, I use Tweetdeck. It notifies me if there are nascar comments.

Anonymous said...

Watched HotPass in SD while driving home from Sears Point (no..I wasn't driving). Double boxes on ESPN side really doesn't work well with other half HotPass driver. There seemed to be lots of them this race!!

To sum up...Chase & commercials, Chase & commercials, Chase & commercials.

Not sure why I still torture myself. Keep thinking my driver will improve...LOL! Otherwise no point to watching.

Anonymous said...

Race Day was again insulting. The Waltrips and Wallace's have definitely over stayed their welcome. Marty Reid continues to dwell on meaningless and absurd statistics. DJ and Andy did a competant job all afternoon. Personally, I'm getting really sick and tired of Nascar. What really bothered me was what Reutimann did to the #18 car. I'm not aware of any action that Nascar took against Reutimann (we lost power here twice late in the race). My concern has nothing to do with either driver. What bothers me are the implications to the other Chase drivers if Nascar takes no action. It means that drivers can affect the outcome of the Chase by purposely wrecking anyone who poses a threat to their standings in the Chase. I originally thought the Chase was a good idea, but too much can go wrong that's not in your control in only ten races.Just think of how many Jimmie Johson interviews we're going to see in the next seven days!

sue said...

Thought the coverage for this race was laughable. When the ticker first started on lap 3 it said "race results" and the telecast went down hill from there. Could never tell what positions the cars were running in. The booth did not do a good job calling the race. At times when the pit reporters were telling what was happening it just got confusing. Of course the obligatory shots of the 88 were there. What happened to Montoya? Almindinger? Don't know because nothing was said. I've never come here to criticize espn before but this time it was called for.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I'm just going to say this, the rating decline is not because of start times.

Here's a hint.

It starts with a "c" and ends with a "ommercial"

lol

Terri said...

Very sad when the only thing worth watching is the ticker at the top - to see where my driver is AND to see where the other drivers are. It's for sure no one is going to mention any of them.

The top dogs at Nascar ought to be ashamed of what they've made their sport into, just by not caring who broadcasts it and how.

Jojaye said...

The start times are NOT the problem - the product on TV is the problem.

That said, its the same old same old week after week.

Why keep repeating it? espn doesn't give a rip, it hates NASCAR & its fans.

After a fan is lost from a sport - its very very hard to get us back. Just ask MLB about after the strike/ lockout, or the NHL...

Anonymous said...

The rating decline is because the racing sucks. End of story!

GinaV24 said...

I had said I wouldn't watch this Sunday, but since the rain came in, I figured what the heck, why not.

I used trackpass and MRN to actually follow the race, because ESPN is still bent on following their script and going to commercial WAY too often. Plus interrupting the broadcast with commercials makes it way too hard to follow.

As was pointed out on the live blog, we talked about a lot of things today but not much about the racing. I guess we were all watching the same thing on TV and that was not much racing.

At least they didn't go to commercial at the end of the race, that's about the best I can say.

GinaV24 said...

oh yeah and that's right, it's sure not the start times that are the problem, its the non-racing and bad broadcasts by ALL parties.

OSBORNK said...

There is not one thing that has ruined NASCAR for me. It is a combination of stuff. The Waltrip and Wallace clans start the fiasco with their over-exposure and self-promotion. Then there is the ADHD director with his in-cars, close-ups and jumping around. On top of that, there is the scripted show with a concentration on only certain chosen drivers that fit the script. Of course, there is the constant interruption of commercials, the Tim Brewer distractions and the booth not having any idea of what is actually happening on the track. Add the Chase and the COT to the mix and you have a disaster.

Fixing one or two things will not bring it back for me. There needs to be a concentrated effort to change many of the things so the sport can again become a sport.

Andy D said...

Johnson's in the points lead. They've lost me for the rest of the season unless a post-race inspection drops him to 7th place.

I'm not a Gordon fan, but I think that NASCAR needs him up front if they hope to retain any of their diminishing audience. A Gordon-Kyle battle at Homestead would probably sell out.

Personally, I'd love to see Gordon and Johnson separated by ten points going into the last race. I think that would be a very exciting duel for many reasons.

Buschseries61 said...

Same old disjointed, clueless broadcast. Marty's become a fish out of water, the production truck likes to press buttons, and Tim Brewer still has creepy fingernails.

Time to mail it in through Homestead.

Anonymous said...

As for me I am looking forward to the ARCA final on Saturday on Speed. Then I will, as I have for years, go to Talladega. I may watch the race from Charlotte since that is on ABC and I get that in HD. Other than those things I am outta here for this season.

I will be very interested to see what "big changes" JD has said to expect for next year, but I am not holding my breath in anticipation of good news.

As I leave I am reminded that John Lennon had some advice for NASCAR which he wrote, I believe, before BZF was born:

"There's nothing you can do that can't be done.
Nothing you can sing that can't be sung.
Nothing you can say but you can learn how to play the game
It's easy.
There's nothing you can make that can't be made.
No one you can save that can't be saved.
Nothing you can do but you can learn how to be you
in time - It's easy."

Jonathan said...

I dont understand Gina the Non racing??? I thought the racing was great today!!

Rex said...

I have been following Nascar since before 1956. I think I have come up with the answer to all of your problems with both the races and their coverage. The pitstops are by all accounts much more interesting than the actual race. So, if the TV coverage was shown in 43 little boxes and only showed pitstops they could run the commercials all during green flag racing.

Then, the Nascar brains could evolve the sport so that actual racing is only long enough to get in the commercials. We the viewers could then see 3 hours of continuous pitstops, interrupted by commercials. Think of the money to be saved by the owners on barely used cars, tires, fuel and brave drivers. Nascar could then award a cup to the best pitcrew (the last 10 events of the season would be called the run-around).

We don't need no "stinkin racing", do we?

Chadderbox said...

Overall this race felt like it was a snooze fest on the track. I watched on DVR around 7 pm. The coverage seemed a little better this week and I won't blame the network because the race was boring.
But, ESPN still has the same problems each week, IMHO.
1. The on air talent is weak in the booth. The energy level in the booth is non existent. It's lame. It's unbearable. There is no edge, no passion or excitement in the booth. I don't know what happened to the booth, but it's getting worse every week. Silence would be better than the monotone chatting I hear.
2. Erratic camera shots and overuse/poor use of technology. The overall race telecast just has no FLOW to it. The coverage just jumps around and I lose track of what is going on in the race. It's very frustrating. The producers are trying to do too much. Just show the damn race!
3. Too much talking about nothing during the race.
4. ESPN has lost control of the broadcasts. The coverage is fit for a crazy person.

51 yr. fan said...

ESPN VP Julie Sobieski is looking
into the TV ratings drop according
to a column from Scene Daily. Maybe she should look at the way ESPN treats real fans by moving
around Nascar Now, along with the
stale presentation from the booth
and the production/direction that
leaves the viewers dizzy.

With the superior NFL and MLB programs today, I watched only
about ten minutes of NA$CAR.

Daly Planet Editor said...

51 yr old fan,

My column on Tuesday will feature that article and ask for comments from fans.

This post is for comments about the Kansas race and the current TV presentation of the Chase.

Thanks!

JD

Anonymous said...

"The Waltrip and Wallace clans start the fiasco with their over-exposure and self-promotion."

Thanks OSBORNK- my thoughts exactly. I thought I was the only one who felt this way. Their drive for fame and fortune was when NASCAR jumped the shark.

yankeegranny said...

The weekend started with trying to find the Nationwide race and finding a football game instead and went downhill from there. And the best part was the morons on the booth had no idea there was anything wrong. Good racing in the Nationwide race. Sunday prerace with no sound might have been a blessing in disguise. The less we have to listen to the announcers the better. As to the race/coverage, MARTY REID HAS TO GO. Horrible does not begin to describe him. Hit the mute button and listened to the race on MRN. wow can those guys call a race and you know what is happening during commercials. Another boring race with cars strung out all over the place. Watched JR on raceview and that was another disappointment, as usual. Way, way too many commercials and too much emphasis on the chasers. Paul Manaurd should have been the story of the race,but he was invisible unless he was racing for position with a chaser. Never thought I would say it, but I cannot wait for DW and Fox at least he has passion and knows something about racing. Kansas does not deserve 1 race, let alone 2 next year and one of them a chase race.

AncientRacer said...

Jeepers, JD you are raising expectations about your Tuesday offering. I would recommend at least 4 edits before you publish. Remember, many of us are virtually sitting in the waiting room more or less convinced the patient will likely die or become a vegetable.

The Mad Man said...

As usual, the coverage left a lot to be desired. Disjointed camera shots and commentary go a long ways towards driving fans away during the last 10 races. Showing one driver while talking about others makes it confusing and adds to the mess. Missing action,like lead changes or cautions,for commercials just adds to the dislike of the coverage.

One thing I did notice was they kept mentioning Joey Logano even though he's not a part of the play-offs. Could it be that Home Depot is raising heck about the fact that they're paying for commercials and not getting the additional air time of their sponsored car on the track?

Granted, it was nice that the last 22 minutes were commercial free. But having to suffer through the rest of the race with all it's faults makes me wonder if it was "worth the price of admission".

I also noticed that BSPN did a great job of not showing the grandstands. Tight shots from the blimp and angled shots from ground level made it hard to tell if it really was a sell-out or not.

gwsp3 said...

ESPN can't figure out why their ratings are so low? Maybe they ought to read The Daly Planet on Mondays. However, it looks to me like they have figured it out all by themselves and its start times. I thought they had changed them this year because of last years dipping ratings. Masterful!!!!

Also, they might consider toning down the cars just a little so the fans could hear Andy and Dale in the booth. I believe this could be done right there in the production truck.

David said...

I just don't believe the racing is horrible, I just think ESPN misses it. I'm a huge Harvick fan and listen in on his radio through TrackPASS. It seem there was a lot of close and great racing he was invovled in. NASCAR didn't even mention he was in the race until 30/40 laps in though. As I saw on Twitter yesterday, at one point the two major things that happened were a caution and a lead change, and ESPN was in commercial both times. It's not their fault stuff happens during the break, just unfortunate I guess. The whole booth seemed off, usually just Marty Reid drives me crazy. As far as the finish, I'm so glad we got to see that "close" battle between Edwards and Gordon coming to the line. Again, I think the racing is a lot better than we see on TV.

Anonymous said...

Twice, I heard John Roberts claim that the seats were all full. They had an elevated camera shot inside the track panning as the cars exited turn four. There were quite a few empty,blue seats when you shot directly into the stands. Naturally, the booth immediately cut to another shot. When they did focus a shot on the main grandstand, they did it from an extreme angle so you couldn't clearly see the empty seats. I think the ratings would be higher if you got rid of Rusty,Allen,Brad,Brewer and Marty. Just let DJ and Andy call the race and have a fair amount of silence where viewers could just take in what they were viewing. These guys in the booth think we're listening to radio where they explain what any idiot can see with their own eyes! Nascar continues to slide and "The Chase" is not going to save them.

GinaV24 said...

Jonathan, perhaps I should have said it differently -- the non-race coverage of the broadcast.

Sometimes you could actually see racing on the track, but the booth was usually talking about something else or like Seinfield's show "nothing at all".

I just don't find watching the TV broadcasts that exciting any more -- remember I am coming off being at the track for the last 2 races so I could watch everywhere not just where the ADHD cameras were pointing.

rich said...

Well JD, I tried it different this week. No blog and very little twitter, just TV. I was surprised to see what I consider changes. The commercials seemed better handled. Camera shot selection seemed better this week. Wonder if it was a different director this week?
However it was not what I would call a good broadcast. Booth monkeys were lost at times. I really think that if DJ and Andy took their ear buds out and just said what they wanted to we would have a better called race. Marty is still lost at times. Maybe he will get better with time.
ESPN often fails to call all the action because they have just got to stick to that script. They will take to long to try to explain what happened instead of just telling what happened. They continue to talk to the "new fans" who might not know what is happening. While they do that, the old timers are getting fed up and going to watch football which manages their commercials perfectly.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many times the word "chase" was used during the race coverage. I'm guessing a few hundred?

glenc1 said...

yankeegranny, just because ESPN did a crappy job of showing the racing doesn't mean Kansas didn't deserve 2 dates. That's based on (relative) attendance.

It was attendance (or lack thereof) that cost Darlington 1 race, and Rockingham all. Kansas at least draws in from areas not already covered in the midwest where there are a lot of racing series. I saw 'relative' attendance because it's been down everywhere, even Bristol & Richmond, so I think you have to take the market into account.

Also...I have to say, while I think it's dishonest to say the stands are full when they aren't, it also isn't really relevant to a TV broadcast. Even if there are 3 thousand watching a truck race, it shouldn't affect the coverage of the actual racing, so it's not something I find that important (knowing that the economy is what it is.) I think the racing appeared to be good, we just couldn't see it all. It was pretty good on restarts, and then it went downhill. I also think think the ad placement was better. You have to fit them in one way or another. While I think NASCAR needs to relent on side by side, I think ESPN has said they would be up for it so we can't be blaming them on amount, only on timing.

The worst thing for me was the emphasis on the Chase guys, even though I was prepared for it. It is kind of interesting how they start all spread out and by 20 laps to go they're usually all up there (which is why they're in it...) But guys like Menard & Newman deserved some love also.

Todd Crane said...

JD...I did notice that the sound on regular or hdtv was pretty bad. You can't hear the announcers for the cars, but If you have a surround sound system, go to it, and jack up the center, and turn down the rears, and you'll hear the announcers. Rockingham lost it's races becuase B. Smith bought it so he could take the races away. Same with N. Wilksboro.

Jonathan said...

yeah Gina Its much easier to follow live no doubt but ESPN did a better job this week than last weeks let down! How were the past 2 races bet you had a blast! How full was Dover? 50 60 70%?? Im happy next year Chicago gets a Chase race ill get to go

Allison said...

DW and Kenny on RaceDay: Awesome. The race coverage: not so good, but I'm learning to ignore the booth and focus on the cars. But I have to say it again: it's great to see DW and Kenny kicking it old school, instead of the vanilla drones that most seem to desire. We all have to be careful to not blame the coverage and the on-air personalities for our discontent with our drivers' finishes.

GinaV24 said...

NH apparently gave away a bunch of tickets to get the crowd they did. Kind of irritating when we paid full price for ours.

Dover was 70% full at best. The track is only 2 hrs drive for us and you get a great view of the whole track if you sit up high in the corners like we do. I just wish that it would race like it used to -- there used to be some cool battles side by side on the high banks, but now with the COT and the goodyear tire rubbering it up - it has been a one groove track for several seasons and the racing IS boring when its all a parade so attendance has been falling off.

The TV can't fix the way the tracks or the way the ugly car races, but by continuing to provide a scripted broadcast, it won't attract new fans and it will drive the old fans who hate the chase away even more.

I'm glad that you'll get to see a chase race in C'land, so have fun.

Kathy16 said...

Todd, they had to sell the Rock *because* attendance was off & they were losing money. The last race, with only one, they didn't come close to filling the place. I loved racing there, but there was just too much saturation--it makes you vulnerable when NASCAR wishes to get both their spectators and TV markets into new areas. North Wilkesboro did not keep their facilities up, they never progressed like, say, Bristol or Richmond & were ripe for a 'takeover' so to speak. People can glorify the old days, but you also have to be realistic about what you have (Bowman Gray thrives even though NASCAR outgrew them.)

Anonymous said...

SO, DO YOU GIVE KUDOS TO ESPN?
- Dustin Long.

Heard about some complaints from last weekend's race about when ESPN took commercial breaks and how long they were, so since I was at home this weekend, I timed all the time ESPN showed racing and how long their commercial breaks were.

At the first part of the race (first 27 minutes), ESPN showed 17:02 of racing and had 10:38 in commercial time. Some would argue that's a heavy load of commercials early in the race. But by doing that _ and with the way cautions happened during the middle of the race _ ESPN showed the final 22:56 of the race without taking a break. They took a break as Biffle headed to Victory Lane.

Of the commercial breaks, none was more than 3 minutes. Most were in the 2:30-2:45 range.

So, if you have to have commercials _ and don't even argue about fewer commercials because that's partly how the bills get paid for networks _ where do you want your commercials? Are you fine with being able to watch the last 20 or so minutes of a race without a break? Or something else?