Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Time For A Change In TV Land


On Monday afternoon reporter Nate Ryan from USA Today passed along the following information:

According to tomorrow's USA Today Page 3, overnight ratings for the Sprint Cup Series race at Texas on ESPN was 2.7, down 12.9% from last year on ABC.

This means that slightly more than 3 million viewers tuned-in to watch the action from Texas. Basically, each cable rating point equals 1.159 million homes and that includes live viewing and DVR results.

These results are not what NASCAR expected for the Chase. Regardless of whether the final ten races are on ESPN or ABC, the numbers should be significantly higher due to the nature of the sport and the tight battle for the season championship.

ESPN and NASCAR recently had a meeting in Charlotte, NC to discuss this situation. NASCAR's position was that the product being delivered to the TV network was solid and the action was made for TV.

ESPN's answer was that the network had exposed this product to a universe of 90 million cable TV homes. The telecasts had been produced in HD, featured a group of well-known personalities and had comprehensive pre and post-race shows.

Unfortunately, after Talladega and Texas it's clear that the final NASCAR TV product being delivered by ESPN is just not getting the job done. It's time for a shake-up in TV land.

We have seen SPEED switch things around on various NASCAR TV shows as the network auditions talent in new roles for next season. Sunday, we even saw a pit crew switched in the middle of the race simply for better performance. The bottom line is that it's the time of the year where there is nothing to lose.

There are twelve on-air personalities heading for Phoenix this weekend to work on the ESPN telecasts. This group will handle practice sessions, qualifying, two pre-race shows, a Nationwide Series event and then the Sprint Cup Series race.

Many of these on-air talent are very versatile. Some have previous experience in other roles in NASCAR telecasts than the ones they currently fill for ESPN. There are plenty of opportunities to shake things up and put people in different positions on some of the 13 hours of coverage that ESPN and ESPN2 will produce this weekend.

Inside the TV truck the situation is the same. It's time for another director to be given a chance to create a new perspective for the ESPN viewers and see how they react. The difference between the SPEED coverage of the truck series and ESPN's coverage of the Sprint Cup Series races from Talladega and Texas was stunning.

The sweeping camera shots, aerial perspectives, wide angles and focus on racing from SPEED was in sharp contrast to the tightly zoomed, carefully controlled and completely disjointed coverage from ESPN. It's time for a change.

Chad Knaus made a tough decision on Sunday that was based strictly on team chemistry and performance. He replaced one group of highly trained and experienced team members with another. No one ever mentioned that a specific member of the group was the source of the problem. It was simply time for a change.

ESPN is on the air Friday from Phoenix and originates telecasts through Sunday. This weekend is the next to last for the season. The finale in Homestead is always a bit different with lots of network management, public relations types and special guests in attendance.

If there was ever a weekend in which ESPN could shuffle the deck, shake-up the status quo and try some new things, this is it. Let's see if it happens. The first telecast is Friday at 2PM on ESPN2 with Sprint Cup Series practice. It could be a very interesting weekend.

We welcome your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

68 comments:

Anonymous said...

Switch all the reporters around all you want,aslong as they all have to follow the script it won't be any different.I watch the F1 races and with the same basic team announcing for years and production limited to watching their monitors they do an excellent job.With the closest drivers championship in years,they focused on the racing,not updating drivers standings every few laps.
NASCAR producers can learn from these guys.

earl06 said...

When a network can't find replays of significant incident because all the cameras are zoomed in close, something has to change. Incompetent directing makes this sport impossible to watch.

ESPN and Fox should look at a "less is more" approach to showing the action on the track. Like a whole lot less analysis and more description of the action. Show me what happens, it will rapidly become apparent how important something is, and why, without 5 people debating the subject.

What is obvious is that action that could have been shown during silly analytical segments ends being important. I hate looking back at a race thinking I missed most of it because of the coverage. And that happens just about every week now...

Jonathan said...

yeah it "COULD" be an interesting weekend but I dont see anything happening! You seriously think there going to change something w 2 races to go???? LOL ESPN=FAIL

Bill H said...

The problem they (ESPN) face is that they basically scripted how they were going to call the race months ago:

"Welcome back to the [insert race name here]. We are on lap [insert current lap here] of [insert race length here] in race number [insert race number here] of the chase. Points leader [insert points leaders name here] is in [insert points leaders position here] and second place [insert second place points leaders name here] is in [insert second place points leaders name here]. We will return to the exciting racing at [insert race name here] after these commercial breaks."

Or at least it appears....

Anonymous said...

JD
Espn announced that Baseball announce duo Joe Morgan and John Miller will not be back next year.......in effect, take the best announce team they hve and can them, but they can't (won't) make the obvious change they need in the NASCAR booth?
Can you say arrogant? Out of touch? Inexperienced?

Anonymous said...

How can Nascar say it doesn't matter if it is ESPN or ABC? They think everyone in the country has money to buy cable network tv? 1/4 of the population is unemployed. If the broadcast was on ABC then they would have a true comparison to last year. I like watching nascar racing and used to get the cable channels, but I sure am not paying the outrageous prices any more for what is becoming more of a gigantic infomercial.

Scott Orr said...

Man, how the ratings could have been down for that Texas race is baffling.

It's a real tribute to ESPN that they managed to produce coverage that drew lower ratings, given the exciting race they were broadcasting.

Anonymous said...

JD i'm no expert but I know what I like to watch and ESPN has not been fun! I'm stunned at how bad their collection of on-air talent is together. they seem to be like the 48 team and the SPEED trucks team is like the 24 crew. Maybe a switch from all sides of the playing field inside and out .... maybe that would help. SPEED's director and producer seem to understand what we want better then ESPN.
Mr. Hendrick can you please call ESPN and make the switch! thank you!

Anonymous said...

I think all you need to know is this...

Jimmy Johnson was focused on 181 more times than Jr. 181 more times than the most popular driver in the sport.

Jimmy Johnson was focused on 189 more times than a lot of drivers. 189 more times than my favorite driver, who was never mentioned.

Why would I watch a broadcast that never mentions my favorite driver 1 time in the race?

GinaV24 said...

Yes, its time for a change. Several years past time. There may very well be racing going on at the tracks during the Chase, BUT unless they are going to show the action and broadcast the race, as it happens, not the Chase or a pre-determined scripted idea, it doesn't matter how good the racing is, the fans at home need to see it and have someone competent to call the race to enjoy it.

Put Allen in the booth to call the race, put someone in the production truck who knows racing and can pull the cameras back and give the fans at home a perspective on the track and the race. Ditch Rusty, Brad and Tim Brewer and let Marty go back to Nationwide. Let the pit reporters DO their job. I don't think it will save the final 2 races of the season, but its a place to start.

Cale Yarborough said it best in an interview last week - he said "people have just lost interest".

Also you referenced the pit crew change for the 48/24 teams and said that for the sake of performance there was nothing to lose at this point in the season by doing this. That probably works in TV and for the 48 team you are probably right - they can continue their "historic" pursuit of their 5th 10 race trophy, but the 24 team, well, IMO, HMS just sacrificed any chance, however small, Gordon had to win a race this season. I'm annoyed enough with both the TV broadcast and this decision by HMS to feel that there's no reason for me to bother watching the last 2 races. I may change my mind by Sunday, but that's how I feel on Tuesday.

Anonymous said...

Your expression of this sad situation is completely correct,
however it will go unnoticed with
the people who should be making the
changes. As I have said before the
product and the delivery are stale.
What used to an opportunity to go
to the races or gather for a TV
coverage has come to a halt; and thats from Race City, USA. Racing
as we knew it as kids has ceased to
exist. Everything is geared toward
the Chase and seeing how many points you can safely gather in
the first 26 races. Riding is not
racing. It's time for change.

Honor the Vets on Thursday.

sbaker17 said...

Marty and Alan switch places. Crusty and Brad go run their NASCAR teams. Everham & Craven with Marty. Find a spot on pit road for Glen Jarrett.
Or simply repalce the whole thing with the MRN team.
Cover the race as a whole and follow the ACTION wherever it might be with the camera zoom in function unoperational.

MRM4 said...

The race coverage in the final few races consist of showing the drivers still in the championship hunt and that's it. If a driver made the Chase but is out of contention, they aren't shown. If a driver never made the Chase, they aren't shown. The only exception to this rule is if one of those drivers is actually contending for the race win late in the race. I don't watch races to just keep up with two or three guys, I want to see racing regardless of who it is. That is what they need to fix or dump the Chase.

rich said...

Just think how bad the ratings would have been without the KyBu incident and the fight between Jeffs. I know that the phones were hot after that happened and lots of eyes were put on the screen that had not been there up to that point.
Another subject, why has the one finger salute from KyBu been minimized by the networks in replaying the event. They cut away from the shot before he adds the second hand which he actually did. Makes it much worse and just show his true character.
Last night on NN, Rusty totally missed the question asked him and started on a rant about the fight. AB just looked blank for a sec. Not the first question this year that RW has punted.

rich said...

Oh, by the way. Please put AB and Ray and Ricky in the booth this weekend. Just give it a try, you'll like it. LOL

Anonymous said...

Production is being told what to do by the sales dept. If you don't pay sales for it, production is told not to show it - tight shots eliminate billboards and logos of non-paying brands.. In-car cameras have to be used because sponsors are paying for them. Pre-produced features/spots have to be run because they cost money. Result - confusing disjointed broadcast.

51 yr. fan said...

Well said about the sales end running the production end. One
would think that cable subscribers
paying out their rear you could
expect a better product than the
over-air channels. I just saw
the race time vs commericals and
they are the same as regular TV.
About 2 1/2 to 1. E$PN is laughing
all the way to the bank thanks to
BZF.

OSBORNK said...

There is no magic bullet. Even if they make major changes that "fixes" the broadcast problems for the upcoming race, ratings won't improve a great deal. Many viewers have given up and won't tune in to see the changes. You gain viewers slowly with quality coverage as viewers learn about the quality. NASCAR lost viewers relatively slowly as the coverage quality dropped over time. Viewers that have left are hard to get back because they don't want to be let down again.

I'm concerned that if they do make major improvements, they will abandon them as a failed experiment if ratings don't jump immediately.

Anonymous said...

I honestly don't see this as an ESPN specific problem. Ratings have traditionally tanked with the start of football season. It happens all the time.

Also, the year over year ratings decline for ESPN is inline with what the other broadcast partners have experienced.

I think you are barking up the wrong tree by just pointing the finger at ESPN.

Donna in FL said...

Drop the script & report the race.

Buschseries61 said...

Things have to change behind the camera first. Anyone can be put in front of the camera and suffer with the ESPN production philosophy. Anon @ 944 makes a very good point as well. You can tell change is needed when more people watch horse racing on espn than the end of the nascar playoffs on the same network

Anonymous said...

Two comments. First, I think the fact the races are on ESPN vs. ABC does have an impact. For me, it's got to do with HD. On Comcast I only pay for one digital box, so I only have one TV that has ESPN in HD. All of the TVs plugged straight into the cable get ABC in HD. I'm simply more likely to watch if the race is in HD, and if the one TV with the box is being used by another family member, I'd just assume watch football in HD rather than the race in SD. I know it's kind of petty, but it's the way I am.

Second, NASCAR must embrace the internet for all of the races. More and more of TV is going this directions. If I could have the race up on my monitor while working on other stuff, I would me much more likely to watch and stay interested. I wish I had 4+ hours to lay on the couch and watch a race, but it usually is not happening. RaceBuddy was great, but it would be nice to be able to get the actual broadcast.

Anonymous said...

It's not the pit crew that is the problem. It's the man. Knaus no way/no how would admit he's the problem and step down. So it goes with espn and fox. Just to be sure it is understood, tv is only half the problem. The man in nascar no way/no how would admit he's wrong and step down either. MC

Walter said...

Mr Editor -
@Anon 944 sounds like you're privy to inside info, so thanks for passing that along ...true enough that sales is calling the shots, but somewhere along the way the broadcast has to be about what the fans want to see ...at TMS, sadly it was the racing that was overlooked ...Marty did yeoman work on Nationwide, but Craven deserves greater broadcast role and long past time to bring back Randy Lajoie ...as for F1 broadcasts, knowledgeable broadcasting crew make for informative and enjoyable show ...I believe F1 gets what it pays for with its world feed.
Walter

Anonymous said...

Someone just needs to walk into the offices of ESPN with an audio tape of MRN (not PRN, they're not nearly as polished)... and show them what it sounds like to call an exciting race.

The Breeder's Cup was on this weekend, which is basically a one-lap shootout with horses instead of stock cars. Listen to how they called that. They need to call the race and film the race in a way that shows people how exciting NASCAR is in person, not a program that puts you to sleep like a bad golf tournament.

Anonymous said...

ESPN is treating this championship like is a stick and ball sport.Racing doesn't work out like that.They are so focused on covering the three drivers so much that the race itself is just a background noise. Now that Harvick is a little behind on points ESPN will probably exclude him from some coverage because he is not in contention to win the title.
As for them making some changes or trying new things I don't think that is going to happen. They are always going to do what pleases them. In addition, I feel like ESPN is trying to please and get the attention of the stick and ball fans with the way they are covering the championship battle but they are just not interested which in return is hurting as he core fans.

Anonymous said...

If it were 1983 and there was a three-man race for the championship between Waltrip, Petty, and Earnhardt. Do you think they would be covering a driver in 25th place just because he has a big fan base. No. They'd be showing the top three almost all the time. But now because of the Chase, it's a criticism. I think we over romanticize the way racing used to be covered. This booth combo is awful, but even the best booth could and probably should be covering the 48, 11, and 29 with the same exclusivity as the above example.

Anonymous said...

In all fairness to the Director.

Execs control what is ultimately seen on TV, they give the production team their "vision" for the broadcast. As you can see, ESPN made a change at producer and we still get the same storylines.

Crap rolls down hill...

Bobby said...

I noted in July after the record-low ratings for The Open Championship after the move to cable-only this year was a foreshadow of the Chase and the BCS.

I think it's come to that point.

As for the F1 coverage, Will Buxton is the only link between what's at the track and at the studio. He has to do a more massive job with what he has.


All of the complaints about Jimmie Johnson and those ten races reminds me that it's called a Playoff. You make it to the playoffs on your merit. No sleeping through allowed. Once you get to Daytona and you are assured in the playoff, it's Chequered or Wreckers. A second place finish won't give you anything. A win gives you ten big points.

ESPN seemingly has acted in the same way as a monopoly drop the quality and make prices high.

Anonymous said...

They should have kept the chase races on ABC. The majority of people who are watching the NFL are watching on their local CBS or Fox affiliate. That way when they are flipping around their local channels, you say maybe they come across the race and maybe it lures them in that way. I personally had a bad feeling about the chase ratings when I saw they were going to be on the 4 letter mother ship of sports. Tom in Naples,Fl

brucerFL said...

JD good call on the vast difference in the truck vs. sprint races. As a long time Nascar fan, CBS some years ago, had a better product than what we see today. Even with the limited technology.

Monrozombi said...

The problem just doesn't lay with ESPN's coverage, NASCAR itself has a lot to do with it. Of all the sports out there it is the most inconsistent in terms of penalties, rules and overall product. They back themselves into corners and then are selective in how they react to certain situations. @ Talladega, according to NASCAR Kyle was forced below the yellow line, but 2 years ago, Smoke does the same to Reagan Smith and yet Smith was penalized? In my opinion is stuff like this that lays with NASCAR itself that keeps people from being engaged, they have their hands too much on the sport.

ESPN needs to stop focusing on what they think is important and actually report on what is happening on the track. As much as I'm a JJ fan, "the points as they are now" on lap 60 of a 200 lap race means nothing and they should be focusing more on the actual track happenings than hypothetical points.

Sally said...

It's a viscious cycle. ESPN covers only the chase drivers, limiting exposure for the teams trying to find/keep sponsors. Sponsors look at the lack of any exposure on TV and wonder why they should sponsor a car. While fans may have some interest in who wins the title, they are still most concerned about where their favorite driver is running. Would it really kill the networks to have an actual full field rundown at least twice a race? Some mention of cars coming forward or dropping back and the reason why would be nice. After all, they ARE supposed to be covering the actual race, aren't they? Until they understand that, it's hopeless.

Anonymous said...

I don't care what people say. I think that switching The Chase from ABC to ESPN has alot to do with the ratings. Yes they claim that its the same number of households but its common sense. When someone is looking to watch something on TV they will most likely start with the basic stations of FOX, ABC, NBC, and CBS. Most people I know don't say "Hmmmm I wonder whats on ESPN today? Ill check there first"

Wisconsin Steve said...

Please show as many cars on the screen at one time as possible. Even if I don't like what I'm hearing from the announcers (and they can never please everybody), I'll keep watching if I can see what's going on (it is TV, after all).

Ryan said...

What should Change for 2011 at ESPN:

Booth: Allen Bestwick, Ricky Craven, Ray Evernham

Pits: Dr. Jerry Punch, Jamie Little, Mike Massaro, Jim Noble

Pit Studio: Nicole Briscoe, Dale Jarrett, Andy Petree

Nascar Now: Marty Reid, Shannon Spake

Nationwide Booth: Dave Burns, Randy Lajoie, Hermie Sadler (either hire him away from Speed or share)

AncientRacer said...

JD, the other day you said "they have gotten rid of the people who hate us.' That is a good point. Now they need people who UNDERSTAND us. I am at my wit's end about how bad the tv coverage is and I did not have many wits to begin with. My solution remains the same as it has been and will be: Before anyone works in the truck make them do some time in the stands then ask them "How did you watch the race?" and "Can you translate that into tv pictures?"

I know it is simplistic, but, h***, we seem to have suggested everything else....

JohnP said...

If ESPN would just show the race we are watching it would improve the broadcast 1,000%.

But as another blogger has already said - the fans that have bailed are gone. Coming from a business point of view, Nascar/ESPN/FOX/TNT/ABC/Whoever bla bla bla can now only try to stop the bleeding and re-build it's fan base. And, simply put, after the destruction over the last several years, it's going to take many many years to re-build. If it's even possible.

Casual fans simply loose track of the sport. When is qualifying? What channel? What network? What time? Race day - Same question. What channel? What network? What time? Saturday night? Sunday?

To have absolutly crappy coverage of the race itself (concentrating on the Chase) AND make the fans search it out on TV is a definition of insanity.

AncientRacer said...

And to what I just wrote I will add -- the rights negotiations seem to have opened. Quality of "product" (I hate that word!) and "broadcast" are not the real point now. It is the bucks; and it is how much racing we will get on ANY station in the future.

Of am I just being overly glum?

Anonymous said...

Along with all of things that the blogger have suggested we should not forget that the COT is still a problem that Nascar needs to fix. This car just doesn't race good like the old car did. So I don't buy it when Nascar says the product is good.The only exiting part of the texas race was the incident between Jeff Gordon and Burton. Everything else was like watching paint dry.So Nascar have to fix these cars and make them race better. I don't like watching somebody with a five sec lead while the others play follow the leader. That's not racing to me.

Anonymous said...

The largest problem I see is this: nobody at ESPN other than the on-air personalities has ever been to a race except as a condition of employment. Unless and until that changes, the production values that we witness every weekend will not change.

Anonymous said...

No matter what the viewers are gone and ain't coming back until maybe Daytona. The coverage of the texas race was so disjointed that I just lost interest and switched to the National Geography channel.ESPN just don't get it.Yes there is a championship battle going on but that doesn't mean you should ignore the rest of the field. Do away with what seems like a script they are following and let the race play itself out.
I'm tired of the same issues from ESPN every year.LET THE RACE PLAY ITSELF OUT AND COVER IT ALL.

Steve said...

Honestly, for me, it is as simple as the fact that they are going up against football. I don't hate the coverage, I don't whine about not seeing the cars pass the finish line or too many in cars... or whatever else I read on here.

I watch diligenetly every week... until the NFL comes along then I'm out. It might get flipped to once in awhile to see who is leading, and I try to watch the last couple of laps, but other than that I just can't justify watching it over the NFL.

If only their seasons didn't overlap, or they did more Saturday night races or ???

saltsburgtrojanfan said...

An excerpt from JD's column

ESPN and NASCAR recently had a meeting in Charlotte, NC to discuss this situation. NASCAR's position was that the product being delivered to the TV network was solid and the action was made for TV.

ESPN's answer was that the network had exposed this product to a universe of 90 million cable TV homes. The telecasts had been produced in HD, featured a group of well-known personalities and had comprehensive pre and post-race shows.

I think not

NASCAR is letting ESPN provide mediocre, errr abysmal coverage of the races.

NASCAR and ESPN is laughing all the way to the bank while we are all being held hostage

The declining ratings mean nothing to them as all they see is $$$$$$$

Until the men at the top stop being arrogant and greedy, real changes the fans want are not on the horizon.

We can expect minor changes but until they truly clean house for the fans the ratings will continue to decline and attendance at NASCAR races will continue to drop.

John, do you think Brian France and the people who run ESPN are being guided by satan.

Chris
A Jagged off ex-NASCAR fan in Pennsylvania

Daly Planet Editor said...

Chris,

This is a tough situation. All parties are on the line for a whole lot.

Rather than confuse the situation with issues like the COT, track selection or the Chase we simply have to solve the basic problem of putting a good telecast in front of the fans watching on TV.

Got to start somewhere...

JD

Chadderbox said...

You said 12 on air personalities heading to Pheonix?
12!! And the product we get on the screen is awful!

All the talking during the race makes me sick and I turn the volume down. 12 people yapping away during the race isn't working right now. The overall presentation of the racing on track is completely butchered beyond belief. Every week I think it can't get any worse and it does!!

ESPN is destroying Nascar for TV.

They have to change it!! There might not be anyone watching next July when they start coverage again!

The battle for the championship is great and I dread turning on the TV to watch the race telecast...it's sad!!

Anonymous said...

Put it this way: it's pretty damn difficult to appeal for change to management people who couldn't care less to begin with. The root of the problem is at the top of ESPN, and good luck finding anybody with an axe sharp enough to cut that particular deadwood.

Although, when I read about NASCAR's meeting with ESPN, it sounded to me like businessmen grinning ear to ear as they lie to each other, both unaware (or again, oblivious) that they are being lied to themselves.

Anonymous said...

...and only now I realize saltsburgtrojanfan beat me to that last part. Argh!

Daly Planet Editor said...

Chadderbox,

Here they are:

Dr. Jerry Punch
Jamie Little
Vince Welch
Dave Burns
Allen Bestwick
Ray Evernham
Rusty Wallace
Brad Daugherty
Tim Brewer
Andy Petree
Dale Jarrett
Marty Reid

12 on-air announcers for PIR.

Jay @ Sequoia said...

While I certainly agree that the TV coverage of ESPN is problematic, there is a larger problem. To solve this problem, you have to define it correctly.

The ratings plunge is not just a TV issue, it’s a media issue.

We live in a world where the public can access all forms of media from their laptops, netbooks, and their smartphones. Smart media strategies attempt to capture fans in all available mediums. The NFL and other major sports have done a great job here: One can see football games live on a myriad of platforms, to include their phones.

NASCAR’s business position in this forum does not allow it as much flexibility to exploit the vast sea of media options. It has multiple contracts where exclusivity rights gets in the way of mass media exploitation. For example:

- Turner Entertainment is the exclusive provider of online content for NASCAR and runs NASCAR.com. As such, that is the only location one can get live online content for NASCAR races (but not any TV broadcasts).

- Sprint is the exclusive mobile phone provider to NASCAR and is the only location one can get mobile live content for any NASCAR events (but not any TV broadcasts)

- The TV contracts seem to allow for only that network to provide any NASCAR-related content within a certain timeframe of a live event. As such, there are no options to view a live race anywhere except the actual TV channel.

The result is that there are very limited options to fully exploit and saturate the media environment with the NASCAR Product. Verizon users can’t have any mobile content, no one can view any NASCAR live online content outside of NASCAR.com, and no one can view a broadcast outside of the TV.

In contrast, NFL is everywhere. Its fans can access games online, via their iPhones or Android phones, and can watch games online. I was able to watch games live on my neighbor’s iPad via the DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket while relaxing outside during Halloween. In contrast, I recently had to be on-travel during the Brickyard 400 and was unable to view ANYTHING on either my Android phone or my laptop. Even TrackPass was not working. Not a good situation.

The media world is changing – smartphones are proliferating rapidly and more people are using netbooks and laptops to view TVs. At the same time, TVs are having more internet applications integrated.

Convergence is upon us and NASCAR is stuck in a business model that is 10 years old. Even if one were to fix the TV issues, the lack of online and mobile options will limit media penetration and further alienate fans that are looking for live online content. That means that potential fans simply are not connecting… they are going somewhere else.

JD – thanks for keeping this blog going!

Vicky D said...

One thing ESPN has to do is bite the bullet and bring Randy LaJoie back in the booth for NW telecasts. He's made for that series don't they realize that? That would help some of the guys from being on-air so long over the weekend.

Roland said...

Its getting old having to write the same thing over and over again, and ive only been on this blog for a couple months! ESPN and BZF just simply dont listen to us. 12 on-air people are entirely too much. Heres how id like to see the lineup, AB, DJ, and Petree in the booth, Nicole, Ray, and Craven in the studio. This change alone would drastically improve ratings.

The biggest thing missing from Nascar TV is professionalism. When I watch an NFL telecast, which is rare, They dont scream. They dont cut to a tech center to show us what a tight end does. Half the screen isnt obstructed by meaningless graphics. They dont talk down to us or giggle like a schoolgirl (Marty Reid). Its a calm, informative, simplistic broadcast of a game. Nascar desparately needs this. I forget who wrote that the CBS broadcasts from back in the day are better than the ones now, but they are so right. Put a box on the screen with a running order, and calmly talk about whats going on.

Now to another subject, The 11, 48, and 29 DESERVE to be talked about as much as they do. They made the playoffs, they are competing for the title, they are the stars of the show and deserve the camera time. They do not deserve an entire one hour pre race show with prepackaged content centered around them. They dont deserve 2 pit reporters after a race (JJ). Trevor Bayne got a top 20 and he was never shown on camera. Unacceptable.

Finally, I have no problem with the zooming of the camera or anything to that extent. It doesnt bother me one bit how many cars are on screen. But when they miss a wreck, such as Elliott Sadlers at Pocono, then I have a huge problem. That alone was one of the biggest fails of espns 4 years of mediocrity.

Anonymous said...

The 12 ...

Wow, thats a sad list. IMO, only Allen Bestwick, Ray Evernham and perhaps Marty Reid are worth retaining. Leave Nicole and Ricky in the studio where they do a great job.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Jay,

I have been working behind the scenes on that issue for some time now.

Wednesday night's post for Thursday reading will be on the topic of NASCAR's online stuggles with video streaming.

It's a huge topic with many different points of view to be represented.

Please check back then, I would love to get your comments.

JD

Jay @ Sequoia said...

JD - will do... I look forward to it!


Cheers, Jay

Anonymous said...

point fingers at everything!!!! you can say all you want about what network is great or what network stinks. They share a lot of the same camera people and most of the TV people have worked with each other over the years. Yes, some teams have better chemistry then others, but the real problem and a lot of people have touched on it in the last few weeks.... NASCAR has be crumbling slowing for the last 5 years and big chunks are falling now and they are just turning the blame on the networks.
GREED has come to bite the mighty NASCAR in its rear end! NOT THAT LONG AGO CART WAS ON TOP OF THE WORLD! no problems and all the racing eyeballs watching! great ratings, great racing and the indy 500! look what the split did to that sport! NASCAR I think has a few years here to try and save this thing, but I think they have already lost that casual fan and they are pushing away all the core fans! GREED .... make it affordable again for everyone! not just the fans, but the young drivers who used to be able to get a shot without buying a ride! GREED will kill this and is killing this sport. it will soon be a level 3 or 4 sport ... sportscenter can't wait to NOT show NASCAR.

Anonymous said...

Good points, Jay, but my issue is I spend hours sitting and watching a TV show and do not watch enough of the racing to make it worthwhile. Three to four hours watching the broadcast and do not see much of the race. Lots of race cars but not much of the race.

OSBORNK said...

The irony of the coverage is that they could deliver a much better product for less money than they are spending now. Get rid of half the talking heads and half the cameras but use a director that has a clue. Less will be more in the end.

Anonymous said...

Rusty needs to pack his bags as a TV "analyst"

Replace him with Ricky Craven.

Anonymous said...

I heard rusty wallace makes well in to the millions to be a broadcaster for ESPN. WHAT!!!! JD is this true?
whoever hired him should be accountable...what do you think?

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 9:19PM,

I have no idea about the current salaries for the NASCAR on ESPN personalities nor will the network ever disclose them.

It's a tough job in a high pressure environment with a lot of attention focused on the comments and actions of the various personalities.

As I said in my column, perhaps it's time to move some folks around and shake things up.

JD

Charlie said...

In the booth -
Allen Bestwick, Dale Jarrett, Ricky Craven

Pit Reporters -
Dr. Jerry Punch
Vince Welch
Dave Burns

Roving Pit Road Reporter - checks out all the other inside stories.
Andy Petree

Infield Studio -
No one, not needed.

No In-car cams during green flag racing. Use for replays only.

Anonymous said...

We should all try to enjoy these broadcasts while we can.Just remember, come February we will be saddled with Fox and their garbage "analysts" like Darrel Waltrip. You think it's terrible now?

Anonymous said...

maybe ESPN thinks he is good ... has anyone thought of that?

Delenn said...

JD, rather than repeat the usual commentary, I would like, if I may, to compare the nearest I can get to a live Nascar telecast in the UK.

We receive a full days action from a British Touring Car meeting (6 1/2 hours a day). This is made up of about a dozen 20 minute races for various formulae, but it is the best comparitor I can get.

6 1/2 hours live coverage with commercial interruptions, in widescreen and from 2011 in HD.

Announcers: 4 announcers (5 this year because one announcer has his son in a series, so will not call that race because of conflict of interest - hear that Rusty and Brad?) Announcers are only on in pairs.
Additional on-screen talent: 1 presenter, 1 grid interviewer. That's it. If they want some talent to talk to the presenter, one of the booth announcers pops down.

On-screen graphics: The only things on screen at all times are a lap counter eg 14/25 (which goes yellow for a safety car) and the network logo (ITV4). That's it.
Occasional graphics are: distance and time gaps between runners (shown in pairs) and a full rundown in a 3x2 grid which is shown probably once every 5 minutes.

Racing: Quite often, the cameras will focus on the race for 8th or 9th place, because it is where the action is. Occasionally, the action will cut to a close-up of the race leader, before the camera pans back and waits for the 7 cars to pass before resuming focus on the 8th place battle. At most, 2 in-car cameras, which are used sparingly, and only if relevant for the battle.

It is real stripped down coverage, but it is a heck of a lot more informative than what ESPN (and to a degree Fox) offer. I believe it is a good starting point for where Nascar coverage needs to go. Strip it down to basics - no planned storylines, no over the top graphics, no 12 voices on screen, focus on where the racing is. KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid).

Zetona said...

Regarding Roland and Delenn's descriptions of NFL and BTCC broadcasts, respectively:

From what I've seen on Youtube of the BTCC, the announcers scream in that series, but they're hardly unprofessional, they're just very much into the action. (If NASCAR wants better racing, it could take some notes from the BTCC, by the way.) Screaming announcers are far more exciting than more buttoned-down, "professional" announcers. I wouldn't know what NFL commentators do in lieu of screaming, but I wouldn't condemn NASCAR announcers for getting excited, which almost seems to be what Roland was saying.

I will acknowledge that NASCAR has seen some startlingly unprofessional moments this year. The low point in my mind was Larry Mac trying his darnedest to call the finish at Martinsville over Mike Joy. But that was an analyst screaming, not the PxP guy. THAT was unprofessional. All screaming announcers are not.

Bobby said...

The problem with the analysts is often prevalent with Fox if something goes haywire. See Atlanta and Charlotte 2005 for examples when the analyst takes charge in a last-turn pass for the win on the outside. The Charlotte example turned into Tom Carnegie!

Martinsville in the spring was an example of the haywire finish and all three announcers have a tendency to focus on the track. But if nothing goes haywire it's normal, thinking men.

RPM said...

7:41 AM nailed it. Move the races to ABC and the ratings would increase dramatically.

It was evident from the crowd in the campgrounds that "Joe NASCAR Fan" didn't have the money to go racing this year. It probably means he didn't have money for cable or satellite either.

NSCS needs to be on broadcast, not cable.