Sunday, April 18, 2010

Turner Sports Responds To FOX's Online Plans

Click here to review the story originally published on TDP Friday that referenced the plans by FOX Sports to provide a live online post-race show from the Texas Motor Speedway after the Sprint Cup Series race.

Basically, in trying to address the growing post-race TV issues, Fox executive Bill Brown indicated the network would use the website to stream additional post-race content.

On one hand, this made sense because FOX already had the production resources available to offer the coverage. On the other hand, the online rights to all NASCAR content have been owned by Turner Sports for a decade.

This is not a political debate, but a serious business issue involving millions of dollars in rights fees paid directly to NASCAR by Turner. NASCAR chose to "farm out" the online or interactive rights and now must live by that agreement. As the earlier story references, NASCAR recently extended that contract through 2014.

After the initial posturing, FOX released the following statement:

Unfortunately, due to contractual limitations that we had hoped to overcome, we're unable to extend post-race coverage on Since this would have been a commercial-free undertaking, our goal was simply to have all parties agree that this would only benefit NASCAR fans, but obviously that didn't happen.

While that may be nicely written, it obviously ignores a reality that many NASCAR fans have become familiar with over the last few seasons. The problems that exist between Turner Sports and FOX affect NASCAR fans on many levels.

There is no online streaming of the FOX Sprint Cup Series races. There are no interactive elements to the broadcasts. Turner's online application RaceBuddy was not added this season by FOX as expected.

In response to the FOX statement, Turner offered this media release:

NASCAR.COM continues to provide fans with the most access and comprehensive content and coverage of the sport, including free in-depth coverage every week of all the storylines going into and following each race.

NASCAR.COM has also consistently partnered with other media companies -- including Fox's sister network SPEED TV, to further enhance the offerings to NASCAR’s loyal fan base.

NASCAR.COM has proactively approached Fox over a period of time with a variety of collaborative online media options that unfortunately have been rejected.

So, there you have it. The simple story of one company that paid for ownership of certain rights and another that would like to use those rights for free. Lost in the mix is the reality that the entire issue is driven by the sale of those rights by NASCAR in the first place.

Right or wrong, there will be no live online post-race programs during the remaining FOX races. FOX alone controls the TV "off time" of the live races. Choosing when to end the post-race coverage is a decision made by the NASCAR on FOX management team. After this little scuffle, it should be interesting to see how FOX handles the post-race programming for the remainder of this TV package.

If you have an opinion on this issue, feel free to add it by clicking 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.

Online Post-Race Plans Raise Questions

On Thursday, veteran NASCAR reporter Jenna Fryer offered a post on the Yahoo! Sports website. Click here to read the full article.

Here are some excerpts that focus on the topic being discussed:

Fox will offer extended post-race coverage of NASCAR with an online program beginning this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway. The Overdrive on will begin immediately after the network ends its broadcast coverage of Sunday’s Sprint Cup race.

“It’s something we should have been doing all along,” Bill Brown, senior producer for Fox Sports, told The Associated Press on Thursday night.

Brown said Fox will not set a hard time on how long The Overdrive will run since it will be dictated by storylines. “We definitely will have stories to talk about because this is a sport with 43 stories,” Brown said.

Click here to read "TV Viewers Get The Post-Race Blues." It was August of 2008 when TDP once again addressed the issue of NASCAR TV post-race problems.

Here is a brief excerpt from that column:

It is the lack of guaranteed post-race coverage that is driving fans crazy. NASCAR fans do not change their loyalty depending on where their favorite driver finished.

There is an entire story to tell that features teams that finished well outside of the top ten. There are issues between drivers, incidents during the race and questions asked during the live TV coverage that are still unresolved. The whole story is not being told once the race itself is over. There is no time.

Currently, there are on average four hours of pre-race programming offered by the NASCAR TV partners before each Sprint Cup Series race. While SPEED offers the one hour tape-delayed Victory Lane show on Sunday nights, there has been no live post-race TV show since the new NASCAR TV contract began in 2007.

What Brown described to Fryer sounds like an attractive scenario. Free from the time constraints of television, an online environment offers a great alternative for live content. Fox already has all the resources on-site to provide outstanding coverage. Unfortunately, there is still one key issue on the table.

While Fox holds the TV rights to its package of Sprint Cup Series races, the online or interactive rights to the very same races are held by Turner Sports located in Atlanta, GA. It was January of this year when TDP reported that Turner was optimistic on partnering with Fox and offering the popular online application called RaceBuddy for the Fox Sprint Cup Series races. It never happened.

Click here to read the official news release on the contract extension between Turner and NASCAR that allowed Turner to lock-up the online rights to the sport until the 2014 season. Basically, Fox has no legal way to offer live post-race NASCAR content of any kind online.

Despite the fact that Brown's online plans involve the NASCAR on Fox announce team, the website and races telecast by Fox, moving from broadcast TV to an Internet environment would violate Turner's current online contract.

A Turner Sports representative politely declined to comment on Fryer's story or the quotes from Fox's Brown. There really was no need for a statement. Turner has owned these interactive rights since 2000 and over the years has offered a variety of NASCAR programs and applications, including a live post-race show.

A Fox Sports representative was unable to provide any additional information on Brown's plans for Sunday. Perhaps, if the RaceBuddy deal had been done, Fox would have found itself in the position of already having an online platform that could serve to host a post-race show with little problem. Now any online effort would start from scratch.

Should Fox, Turner and NASCAR reach a solution that would allow for a live online post-race show, TDP will provide the updated information. In the meantime, it's up to the live NASCAR on Fox telecast and the 8PM Sunday night Victory Lane program on SPEED to provide the post-race coverage for fans.

We invite 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. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

Postponed: Monday noon ET For Sprint Cup Race

The rain is falling, the day is gray and FOX has five hours to fill. This should be interesting!

Chris Myers starts the day from the Hollywood Hotel with Darrell Waltrip and Jeff Hammond. This is a one hour pre-race show. Last week the emphasis was on the new DirecTV head-to-head bracket game that puts NASCAR into an NCAA hoop tourney style bracket. The secondary emphasis was on Subway and the launch of the new breakfast memo.

Myers is looking at a long day as track drying has not made a dent in the rain and the entire track is wet. Upstairs in the broadcast booth are Mike Joy and Larry McReynolds. Expect McReynolds to contribute to the rain delay and maybe even move from his broadcast booth location.

Luckily, the FOX pit reporters are the best in the business. Steve Byrnes, Dick Berggren, Matt Yocum and Krista Voda are going to be working very hard for several hours to offer the stories of the day other than the rain.

It should be interesting to see how long FOX remains on the air live before giving way to either the local affiliates or standby programming. The challenge is normally to try and encourage the TV audience to remain, but today is still a wash-out and none of the drivers are even in their firesuits.

This post will serve to host your comments on the NASCAR on FOX coverage of the Sprint Cup Series race from the Texas Motor Speedway. To add your comment, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind when posting. Thank you for stopping by!

Live Blogging RaceDay on SPEED From Texas

Well, RaceDay host John Roberts already relayed this morning that panelist Kenny Wallace was going to make some controversial statements on the show. Kyle Petty is sitting alongside of Wallace and enjoys adding his two cents into the mix.

It might be a fun show to watch and get your comments live as it happens. Just click the comments button below to add your TV-related comment about RaceDay on SPEED.

Wendy Venturini and Hermie Sadler are the reporters. They have a tough assignment today, as the drivers are in their motorhomes and not a thing is happening at the track except for jet dryers slowly circling.

This RaceDay will be different, because the Nationwide Series race was delayed and will be run either later tonight or on Monday. It should be interesting to see if RaceDay talks about this situation or interviews any of the Nationwide Series drivers.

Thanks again for stopping by, we will be live blogging the entire FOX and ESPN2 race telecasts later in the day.