Monday, March 7, 2011
TV SmackDown: SBNation's Jeff Gluck
Here are some tweets from SBNation's NASCAR blogger Jeff Gluck, shown above on the left, after two press releases came out on Monday.
The first release said that FOX had extended Darrell Waltrip's TV contract until 2014. That is the final year of the current NASCAR TV agreement with FOX.
The second, without mentioning the programming issues of last season to put things in perspective, announced that the overnight ratings from the Sunday Sprint Cup Series race on FOX were up almost 30%.
This followed from Gluck:
DW joins Rusty as broadcasters signed to extensions despite fan gripes. Conclusion: Networks don't care what you think about their talent.
DW isn't going anywhere and he isn't going to change (a new deal only encourages his broadcasting style), so if it annoys you, tough luck.
While enough fan opinions/complaints may move #NASCAR to make decisions, TV networks are not interested in fan input on who's in the booth.
My point is if you're going to complain about something, you're wasting your breath on the TV announcers. Save it for something else.
The ratings are up this year so far...everyone is happy in TV land. My advice is to just enjoy and press mute if it bothers you.
Well now, that certainly is interesting. There is only one little problem. Many of us remember the reaction when Gluck did not travel to the Chicagoland Sprint Cup Series race last year. He was forced to watch just one race on TV just like the rest of us.
Gluck was upset from the start. It was as if he had just come out of a protected cave and discovered the real world of NASCAR TV. Some suggested at the time that cave might be called the Infield Media Center. Then he wrote a column.
Click here to read the entire post. Here are some excerpts:
"It's not the quality of the racing that's making people tune out – it's the TV broadcasts themselves."
"I'm not sure the executives at NASCAR understand this. Like me, they're at the track nearly every week and don't rely on the TV broadcasts as their primary source of information. I didn't get it; they probably don't, either."
"Unless you're truly hardcore about NASCAR, you can't just sit there and watch the race from start to finish. Casual or even semi-interested fans would be turned off by the broadcasts."
"What's frustrating is all this time I've been thinking the declining ratings had much to do with the quality of the racing. It really doesn't. It's the quality of the broadcasts which are supposed to show the racing."
FOX, TNT and ESPN are returning their primary on-air staffs this season without change. The amount of commercial time is identical to last year. There is no side-by-side commercial option available and RaceBuddy will be provided for only the six TNT summer races.
In short, the very same product that Gluck could not believe was being presented to fans is being presented once again. In his column, Gluck called for change and innovative thinking from NASCAR, the TV networks and sponsors.
This is not a ratings issue. There is only one outlet for NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series races. You want to see them, you must tune in to FOX, TNT or ESPN. Last year this past weekend had the gold medal game in Olympic hockey competing with NASCAR. You might remember who won.
Now in year five of talking about NASCAR TV and new media issues, we have seen tremendous shifts in the television and online video landscape. Solid news programs are now up and running on ESPN and SPEED. NASCAR.com continues to expand online video offerings and is working hard on becoming more fan friendly.
NASCAR racing series, drivers and teams use Twitter to its full capability. They mix that with social media content from Facebook to offer an almost continuous stream of fresh racing content. It has been nothing short of amazing to watch.
Meanwhile, the Sprint Cup Series TV networks are effectively producing the same product with the same personalities and the same amount of commercials in the same way they have since 2007. This too, has been amazing to watch.
In closing, we leave you with the words of Gluck from his column after the Chicagoland viewing experience:
"For those decision-makers from NASCAR or the TV networks who read this, you may be tempted to dismiss this column as the typical gripes you hear every week."
"But I challenge you to do this: Sit down and watch a NASCAR TV broadcast from start to finish without fast-forwarding through the commercial breaks."
"You may discover the same thing I did: As it turns out, fans don't just complain for the sake of complaining after all."
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. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.