Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Does The Sprint Cup Series Banquet Belong On TV?

We had some wonderful comments on SPEED's coverage of the Sprint Cup Series banquet last Friday night from many readers. The opinions were all across the board. Not about the actual banquet, but about how it translated to TV.

Now that some time has passed, let's take a look at three scenarios for deciding what to do with that post-season function when it comes to television coverage.

Option one is easy to understand. Don't cover it. The argument in support of this choice is that the function is simply an evening designed for the teams, sponsors and others who have worked hard all season long in the sport.

The mainstream media at the event will provide pictures and clips of the festivities. SPEED will provide coverage on The SPEED Report. ESPN, FOX and others will provide stories and interviews as well. Option one is no TV at all.

Option two is what SPEED did this year. Basically, the attendees arrive and go into the ballroom. They get a greeting, a musical number and then an hour of dinner. It isn't until after dinner is completely done that the awards portion of the evening begins.

SPEED taped the arrivals and interviewed participants on the red carpet. Steve Byrnes and Jeff Hammond then hosted an hour show mixing those interviews with various edited features recapping the season. Several drivers stopped by the outside set to offer their reactions on that same topic.

This hour of content was used to bridge the time that the dinner was taking place. SPEED then joined the program inside the ballroom when the awards and additional entertainment began. It was a good effort, but oftentimes awkward due to the reality of the function.

So, option two is to keep things as they are, using the red carpet and interviews to fill an hour before joining the live awards and watching the drivers read their speeches. It was 12:52AM ET on Saturday morning when Jimmie Johnson finally appeared on SPEED to accept his championship earnings.

Option three is a combo platter. Use the NASCAR.com website to stream the entire function online live from start to finish for hardcore fans, including dinner. Not a big polished production like SPEED creates, but basic coverage of an event like NASCAR.com delivered for other events in Vegas and during the season.

That would let SPEED and the NASCAR Media Group do what they do best, record everything that goes on and edit it for a later airing. Let's say the following week SPEED sends NASCAR out with a bang by putting together a final evening or perhaps an entire day of the best of the year programs ending with the banquet.

Let's review the choices:

1 - No TV for the banquet. Let the NASCAR reporters, photographers and bloggers send along pictures, stories and clips but leave the night for the teams and sponsors.

2 - Polish up what SPEED tried to do. Use red carpet interviews, highlights and pre-banquet driver interviews to create an hour show and then join the banquet for the awards in their entirety.

3 - Stream the entire evening online using the NASCAR.com website. Let the TV professionals record the events, edit a feature program and use it as the cornerstone for a final send-off for NASCAR on SPEED.

One final note before you respond. The format of the Sprint Cup Banquet is not going to change. For those who enjoyed the combined Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series banquet on SPEED, the format of brief interviews in a talk show like setting is not going to apply. That's one key reason we narrowed our discussion down to three choices.

What do you think about how or even if the Sprint Cup Series banquet should be on TV now that you have seen SPEED's effort for this season? 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.


Phathead said...

Maybe I'm biased, but I think they should televise it simply so I can see the beautiful Krista Voda all dressed up.

Anonymous said...

Leave it on tv. Alot of people I talked to, don't like all the peformances, they tune in to see some...but mostly to see the drivers give their speeches. Now its a big entertainment value, which is NOT nascar and therefore you won't have to worry about them running into the late hours of the night because there isn't so much in the middle.

RvNGrammy said...

I enjoyed the format this year and would like it if they added streaming on NASCAR.com as well as the TV coverage on SPEED. Only on SPEED. Not ESPN or any other channel, please. I'm one who watches because I enjoy seeing the ladies and men all dressed up and out on the town - they do clean up nicely - and I enjoy the speeches even though the drivers don't enjoy that part of the season. The entertainment this year was great and they did better with the sound for TV than in the past.

Jonathan said...

I like it but yeah feel it should only be for the Hardcore fan such as some of us so I go with option 3the online content with it still being on tv but polished up! Great Ideal

Anonymous said...

Leave it as it is. It's time for that old chestnut: "If you don't like it, you don't have to watch."
Those who do, can watch if they like.

Anonymous said...

The event has tried to be "all things to all people" and as usually happens in things of that ilk the Awards Banquet morphs into a conundrum that begs the question......whats the purpose of the event? Bill France jr started it as a way to thank sponsors. Now its part vehicle to "recognize" the top 10 drivers and allow them speech time to thank their sponsors (and wives, girlfriends, parents and children), part semi-big name musical entertainment (who look, for all the world, like they'd rather be ANYWHERE ELSE [Martina McBride] and a part time "host" like Frank Caliendo who pops in and out with jokes that bomb so badly that the audience gets REALLY uncomfortable.
Bottom line ....it entertains NO ONE. The racers are burned out. Brian France can muster the energy to read 3 teleprompter lines. Fans know what happened over the season, so the highlight packages are very old news. 5 in-a-row Jimmie was HO-HUM. The flow of the show is non sequitor.
I'd much rather see NASCAR spend the millions that this fiasco costs by hosting 10 regional holiday parties for America's neediest children - each one hosted by one of the top 10 drivers and teams. Do a one hour special on that initiative, and we'd all enjoy the show. The NASCAR top 10 would also get a new perspective on how fortunate they really are.

Bray Kroter

GinaV24 said...

Leave it on TV, but for heavens sakes if they are going to do the red carpet thing, get someone with a brain out there - not that stooge Kenny Wallace. It didn't work with Mikey acting like a dork with Melissa Rivers either. Have Krista do the "red carpet" interviews or even the new lady from RaceHub -- someone who can make it reasonable for the viewers.

I wanted to watch my driver give his speech, unfortunately, I was so annoyed with KW's antics that I didn't last that long. I recorded it to watch later when I could FF past the nonsense.

Anonymous said...

I'm okay with SPEED covering the event, but the whole production has to start earlier. I know 9 p.m. Eastern is basically dinner time in Las Vegas, but the champion should not be speaking at 1 a.m. Eastern (live or tape-delayed DVR).

I don't understand how TNT used to show this program in 3 to 3.5 hours year after year, but all of a sudden the program morphed into a 4+ hour affair.

By my calculations, the first speech from the Top 10 came around 11:15 Eastern. That's too late.

I would start at 8:30 Eastern with a brief intro, and then do the music and Calliendo during dinner, so that come 9:30 or 9:45 they're ready to do the speeches. This program could be over by midnight. Easily.

John said...

Option 3 seems to be the best one for the banquet. The live streaming should keep the hardcores happy, while Speed gets some time to produce a more polished, highlights version of the festivites.

SoCal Matt said...

I was going to go with option 1, until I saw your well thought out option 3. That would be much better. If you are so hardcore you HAVE to see it live, watch it on the internet. Let SPEED make a better show of it to air on TV rather than watching it live. Let's face it, there's not an awards banquet anywhere that's entertaining enough to watch live on TV. I appreciate the effort SPEED went to this year, but I turned it off less than half way through, just too dull.

For those who want to but can't watch it live on the internet, well, you can't and never will please everyone.

Anonymous said...

Option 2 - Leave it "live" on TV. I enjoyed the red carpet (except for KW). In fact, I'd have liked to see more drivers, etc. talked with.

I think there is way too much "entertainment." Have the drivers/owners been asked what they want the banquet to consist of? I didn't see any of the driver's speeches this year - too late.

In these hard times for a lot of the Nascar fan base and teams, does it make more sense to have the banquet in the Charlotte area? Less costly for the teams to have all their employees participate in some way. And, Speed is obviously already there. Just less costly all around.

With the exception of KW, I think all the on-air Speed personnel fit their duties well. I just don't think viewing the banquet a week or more later would have any appeal to me - too much opportunity to edit out what I might be interested in - rather see it live.

Looking forward to a lot of improved Speed programming. My interest in watching the races waned this year - hope to revive that in 2011 and part of that revolves around pre-race programming - not just on race day.

Thanks, JD, for having a site which is not full of crass language and comments.

Marsha - Iowa

JohnP said...

I use to watch it every year until the Chase started. Dale Jarret in 1999 was a Blast and had me laughing as he told his story of his day slipping in all his advertisers (that Nascar had just banned them from talking about) It was soooo funny lol. And Bobby Labonte in 2000 stumpling for words lol. Ohh, the good days. But, have not watched it since the Chase. Didn't even know it was on, so that's how much I paid attention to it.

However, for the folks who watch and really enjoy it I'd say leave it on TV live. So #2.

Bobb said...

I DVR'd the whole event - adding 3 hours cause who knew when it would end and watched it on Sunday morning just like I do for races -
but at least this time I already knew who won and didnt have to avoid tv and radio.

Funny that by the time JJ got to speak all had been said although there were some snarky comments all around - some directed towards
J Johnson and he kinda deflected them.

My opinion is that JJ is the real deal ie: sincere- but has no problem accepting the awards, trophies and large sum of money- you know - more than most people will make in a lifetime.

Wish they would announce how much each driver received like they used to.

I say keep televising it in this format as it is. first choice - NO TV is not acceptable to a sports that prides itself on fan participation and editing it would bring it down to ESPN level a few years ago.

I just could not watch the Truck/NW Series presentation.
Perhaps because it was edited for television.

Steve L. said...

I vote to keep it the way it is, BUT, PLEASE, hire a real live production company to do the sound mixing. The sound is always awful!
Why can't they get the sound like the Grammy's or other awards shows? If they would take the sound from the mixing board instead of placing mics all over the place, the sound would be much better.
If I were Rascal Flatts or the other groups that performed, I'd think again before returning to do this show. I bet they cringed when they heard it back on tape.
It is a great show for us hard core fans, but for all the money spent, spend some on production.

The Mad Man said...

They should have it on TV but they need to do it a little differently. Have all the song and dance stuff and the dog and pony show red carpet done beforehand so we don't have to put up with Mr. "Your Not a True Race Fan If". Show the actual awards presentation and speeches. That way folks don't get indigestion or nightmares from the poor comedians or multiple Elvis impersonators dancing around. Then wrap it up and have whomever the comedian is bomb out after the show is off the air so that the only people who have to suffer through it is those in attendance. If it's really supposed to be about the fans and family as was implied during this past show, then make it so the fans and family can actually watch it at a reasonable hour.

And don't tell folks it's live when it's not as we found out in Twitterville.

FloridaMatt said...

Option 4: Take a page from the NFL's super bowl sunday: Have an hours-long well-planned pre-show which includes all the entertainment, clips, interviews, etc.

While there are probably several male broadcasters who would do it well, let's acknowledge that Speed employs ladies who know both Nascar and fashion. They could bring us a real red carpet welcome.

Dinner's served at 5pm, during the final hour of the pre-show.

6 pm (9 Eastern), stand up Mike Joy and Alan Bestwick (if he can be pried loose from ESPN for the evening) as co-hosts for a straightforward awards presentation. No singers, no purported comics. Presenters for every award to be past champions, HOF inductees, or other significant figures.

Give Kenny Wallace his own show at the very beginning of the preshow, so those who like his act can see him and all the rest of us can be less annoyed.

With the awards over so much earlier, it's party time. Do a half-hour recap or so, and then let's switch to the pit reporters at the cocktail parties being held in the big teams' suites.

Speaking of other things Nascar would never allow, if next season is as bad as this one I'd love to see a preshow segment ridiculing all the horrible anthem singers.

BTW, I didn't bother watching. My wife did, although it took her two hours because our cable pvr doesn't have as fast a fast forward as she would have liked.

Donna DeBoer said...

I DVRed & watched what I wanted from all 3 banquets in little over an hour. At this point I'd go with option 3. If they want Cup hosted live on TV, fine, but I'd prefer to be a "fly on the wall", just be able to watch the thing live & unedited like NASCAR.com streamed the Myers Bros & the Lap events.
I do think producing a nice piece of glossy for fans to watch on a later date is a good idea.
If they do goto internet streaming, I'd like to have the NNS & Truck banquet as well, as I was disappointed the speeches on the NMG piece were cut.

Anonymous said...

Leave it as it is.But since you don't have that scenerio I guess #2. You don't have to like it as it is so don't watch it. DVR it and fast forward through the parts you don't want to see. The banquet is fun to watch but its certainly not worth the time or money for speed to edit and clean it up.

Keith_Kagee said...

I've never watched the banquet show. Just don't care. The season ends at Homestead.

Anonymous said...

Okay ... let's be honest for once. The whole thing was paid for by the vegas convention group. Dec. is a VERY, VERY slow month for the casinos so that's when they give everything (rooms, meals, shows, etc.) away for FREE. They just want the TV publicity and individual gamblers losses to pay for the complete shebang. If NASCAR paid more than $16.42 they were overcharged for "something". So NASCAR, spend a little of your own money and hire actual "EVENT DIRECTORS" who are well trained and specialize in these OTO productions. A little bit of money will go a LONG, LONG way!!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: December 7, 2010 8:20 AM

Leave it as it is. It's time for that old chestnut: "If you don't like it, you don't have to watch."
Those who do, can watch if they like.

DITTO times a gazillion.

Vicky D said...

I'll say televise it, lots of Nascar fans probably enjoyed it, but I watched something else.

Anonymous said...

Like some others, I found Kenny Wallace to be over the top. Not good. Asking Boyers girlfriend if she spent his credit card, was classless, and tasteless. Doesn't he realize that most women today work, without sponging off their boyfriends or hubby.
I found Krista Voda and Mike Joy to be two bright spots in this production.
Get rid of the red carpet fluff. Start the show when the dinner is over with, and allow all 12 drivers who made the chase to share the spotlight.
I think that Speed did a good job, but four hours was way to long! Cut it down to two hours. Get rid of the musical portion, and the comedian.
I would loved to have seen this on ABC-

Anonymous said...

Would like to see the live streaming & then package the deal. Watching the NMPA awards on line worked well. Would have been nice to have some entertainment or something for the 30 or so minutes they had for lunch. It wasn't too bad since it was also my lunch time so was nomming away :).

They can entertain us while they're eating.

Many fans only want the speeches & don't care about the fluff before.

Anonymous said...

Some people I want to hear, some I don't. Some of the entertainment and features I want to see, some I don't. I Tivo'd the show and then watched what I wanted, and skipped the rest, so I think it's fine the way it is. Of course, luckily I had it record late and caught the second half of Jimmie's speach -- just like a race, they went overtime.

Sophia said...

Start the awards show earlier.
It's worked for Academy Awards from LA (ALSO LIVE) its 5pm when folks are on the red carpet there.

Edit the show a bit & get somebody to ask thoughtful questions of the wives instead of shopping questions (sigh)

It's nice to see all dressed up.

Frankly, I could do WITHOUT the music. Just keep the flow of the drivers talking. I really think this show could be edited back down (!?) to 3 hours.

Like the folks from SPEED being dressed up. Society in general doesn't seem to like to dress up anymore.

Somebody was talking that winning driver's used to have their own party on Thursday nights years ago (Kenny Schrader on his live chat I think) and THOSE were fun...just the folks INVITED to a party.

What we see on tv is just so Hollywoodized.

Just somebody ask the wives more insightful questions (like are they relieved the grinding travel schedule is over? Plans for break. I like how Harvick said they love being HOME after traveling all year...it's like a vacation)

I think it was him:)

Anonymous said...

Stream it online. Air a condensed version at a later date, ditch the formality, and, by golly, just let everyone have real fun. All that uppity stuff doesn't fit Nascar.

Bobby said...

The move to Las Vegas created more trouble. If they had stayed at the Waldorf in New York, they could have done a one-hour pre-game on Speed with interviews pre-taped during the winner, and switched to Fox at 8 PM for the live awards ceremony.

The ceremony could then go back to introducing the major superlatives and then the top ten live on Fox in New York with a week of things a Champion would be easily doing. Take some Chasers to the Turkey Derby, take some to other major short track end-of-year showdowns, the major talk shows, waving the flag to start the trading day (just how many people remember Dale Snr owned a seat on the NYSE) or finish it, fans at Rockefeller Center's skating rink, or more.

I miss the New York speeches -- they had more value then and we loved the laughs. But keep the Former Champions Banners.

margie s said...

#2 works for me. For those of you who are annoyed by one thing or another, ff or don't watch. I especially enjoy the beautiful clothes, the beautiful wives we don't get to see often, and the occasional clutcziness of the announcers, like the heavy-set guy saying he was wearing Vera Wang. Some drivers seem better able than others to give their speech, in particular, Carl Edwards and Denny Hamlin spoke to us instead of to their notes. It's great the banquet moved to Vegas, very appropriate.

Anonymous said...

I vote to shorten the whole thing. There were so many long video elements. The number of them and their length needed to be cut down. I know Elvis is big in Vegas but that schtick could have been eliminated. Not sure we needed three musical acts. I was there in person and the former NASCAR champ I was sitting next to had to nudge me twice to wake me up! It was simply too long!!! And I was watching in the Pacific time zone! I can't imagine the pain back east!

Delenn said...

You missed the obvious option. Show the red carpet bit on tape delay, before the awards ceremony bit live. Cuts out an hour of filler.

Ginny said...

If I'm being selfish, I'll say leave it the way it is. I'll DVR while I watch so if it gets boring I can tune out for a while and then come back to FF/skip what's boring to me personally. I got into NASCAR in the first place because of Rusty's Elvis car, so I really enjoyed having Viva Elvis as part of the show, but there are other entertainers that I would happily skip. No two people are alike in what they think is worth watching. However, when it comes to ratings, sponsor issues, and reaching the largest audience, I would say option 3 is a good compromise. Stream it for hardcore fans (meaning I'd have to give it up since I don't have the bandwidth), and provide a condensed, more watchable, version for TV after the fact. The NASCAR Media Group does such a good job, I would love to see what they could put together for a "final send off" at season end. Bottom line, I still feel the awards is their night, not mine, so they don't owe me any kind of special "fan experience".

Anonymous said...

who's was that they played at the end of the program when steve byrnes and jeff hammond were talking?