Friday, April 8, 2011

Happy Hour In Texas Not TV Happy


Friday is day two of the TV clash between the Barrett-Jackson auto auction from West Palm Beach, FL and the on-track NASCAR action from the Texas Motor Speedway.

Nationwide Series practice ends at 1:30PM ET and that overlaps with the start of the Friday auction coverage at noon on SPEED. So, neither of the two Nationwide practice sessions will be televised.

Later in the day, Happy Hour for the Sprint Cup Series starts at 3PM but the Barrett-Jackson auction coverage is live until 6:30PM. So, no Happy Hour from Texas for NASCAR fans.

Click here to discover an interesting twist to the auction coverage. The SPEED production is being made available live online for the entire 6.5 hours on Friday. Where can it be seen? At the SPEED website, of course.

It seems ironic that a private company auctioning cars can arrange a simulcast live on SPEED, SPEED-HD and SPEEDtv.com all day long. Meanwhile, NASCAR and SPEED cannot figure out how to offer one moment of Nationwide Series practice or Sprint Cup Series Happy Hour online at either the NASCAR or SPEED websites.

The frustrating part is that all the parts and pieces are on-location in Texas. The TV cameras are there. The production team is there. The cars are on the track. The product that is being seen by the fans in the stands cannot be seen by the fans nationwide and that is a shame.

Our friends at Turner Sports Interactive who own the online video rights to NASCAR just recently finished offering an amazing online package of basketball games during the NCAA tournament. This weekend, The Masters golf tournament is also available online for fans who would like to view by computer or smart phone.

There are four more seasons of exactly this type of coverage under the current NASCAR TV/Internet contract. FOX and TNT cannot help because they only carry the Sprint Cup Series races. Until July rolls around and ESPN takes over, the opportunity to provide Sprint Cup Series TV "support programming" like practice and qualifying belongs to SPEED.

Despite protests to the contrary, ESPN has continually given only lip service to the Nationwide Series since 2007 and happily throws them to the TV wolves of college football once ESPN's own coverage of the Sprint Cup Series begins.

The bottom line is that the teams in the Nationwide Series need more help through exposure on TV. When SPEED covers Nationwide Series practice and qualifying, the "regulars" are given strong exposure and all the stories of the day are followed. The teams are all treated equally.

ESPN has never grasped that concept and continues to hound the Sprint Cup Series drivers during Nationwide TV coverage like demented stalkers. Every move is documented as if they are somehow the entire show, instead of being exactly what NASCAR is trying very hard to downplay this season.

Once the Nationwide Series race coverage hits the air on ESPN2, the realistic opportunity for a team of "regulars" to get coverage is gone. ESPN loves stars and when the big boys are playing in the minor leagues, the big boys get the TV coverage.

This weekend NASCAR.com has a slate of press conferences, appearances, chats and video clips. What NASCAR's own official website does not have is any of the live on-track action from TMS.

It seems clearer by the moment that as SPEED and ESPN continue to gather diverse high-profile sports properties, expanding online NASCAR offerings is the only way to continue to make the on-track sessions before the races themselves available to fans.

Marty Reid, Rusty Wallace and Andy Petree will handle Nationwide Series qualifying on Friday for ESPN2 starting at 5PM ET. Mike Joy, Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds will host the Sprint Cup Series qualifying on SPEED at 6:30PM. Reid and company then return with the NNS race coverage beginning with the pre-race at 8PM ET.

We welcome your comments on the topics discussed above. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, please keep that in mind. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

We will live blog the Nationwide Series race coverage right here beginning at 8PM. Please join us for TV comments.

39 comments:

Roland said...

This is an outrage. Now I enjoy Barrett-Jackson but only in small doses. It amazes me how an auction can be on TV and the interweb at the same time while a practice session for a major american sport takes a backseat. Just awful. Bad move by Speed.

Edward said...

Amen. Simple as that. Great commentary.

tiamatsrevenge said...

They could've shown the first Nationwide practice today on ESPN and SPEED could've aired the 2nd practice (instead of the Hub) ...

They've got room on the schedule tomorrow (Friday) for both Nationwide practices on ESPN ... IF they were to dump their precious "Sports Center" ...

Six total practice sessions for both series at Texas ... and only ONE gets actual tv airtime ...

IF Versus was a tv partner, ALL of the practice sessions could've been shown on tv ...


This is as bad as SPEED not airing the majority of Truck practice sessions ... and NASCAR.com NOT having any kind of live leaderboard for the Truck series (They used to, but it seemed like it was only when the Trucks were at the same track with the Cup series) ...

Vince said...

Wow I just watched the live streaming of the F1 practice on Speed's web site. It was great! No commercials, no guys in the booth yapping and minimal graphics on the screen. Wish Speed could show the Cup practices the same way.

NA$car's online presence right now is a mess. Speed/ESPN/Fox/Turner/NASCAR need to get their sh*t together and fix the mess they've created. There is no excuse for the absence of live streaming for the fans. None. And BZF keeps telling us it's all about the fans. Yeah, like I believe that one.

Anonymous said...

Barret-Jackson thing is so boring. They must be getting a ton of viewers for that.

Anonymous said...

Preaching to a deaf choir, i'm afraid. NASCAR currently seems to not care one way or the other if the floor falls out from under the N'wide series altogether.

There is one way and one way only that people are going to light a fire under them to DO anything that matters: money. Put forth a serious threat to cash flow (either the owners' or NASCAR's) and that should inevitably create some panic. N'wide sponsors with some degree of clout need to either have a come-to-Jesus meeting with the sanctioning body (certainly not the TV people, they don't care) or try to walk away.

Not that it should come down to a game of chicken by any means (see: Washington D.C.), but by the time that the floor does give way, it will be too late.

Anonymous said...

So I was thinking...

What "Professional Sport" airs Practice every week?

Think about why Practice & Qualifying started airing in the first place.

JD - You were there!

ESPN had major holes in ""Live" programming, and since the NASCAR crew was already on site, and usually rehearsing during practices, someone said "hey why dont we just air this stuff".

15 years later we are demanding that we should be the only sport that airs practice?

Interesting - Just Saying.

Jonathan said...

Such a damn shame! Im sorry but why is B Jackson even on tv???? Thats like ESPN showing a spelling bee! I dont get it dont care nothing will happen so whatever! Sucks cause I work nights a UPS so I will miss the last 40% of the Nationwide race! I would of been exstatic to see happy hour but nope sorry!!! ESPN could care less and Speed seriously???? WOW this is sad stuff

Anonymous said...

To the editer, Thank you for this article! I logged onto Nascar.com last night only to realize I missed the 1st cup practice. I thought ok, I will see if it re-airs later. It didn't (i'm not sure if it ever aired). So I then looked for Happy Hour only to realize Happy hour isnr being broadcasted. In a time when Nascar is trying to grow again I'm amazed they arent getting as much air time as posible. Jr is running better, Harvick is looking like a champion but JJ is off a little bit. This coould cause the JJ fans to want to watch practice to see if JJ and Chad Knause are running well or poorly. Nascar is missing out! I'm very dissapointed.

GinaV24 said...

If NASCAR is wondering why the Nationwide series is having trouble attracting sponsors, your article outlined the problem very well.

ESPN really only wants to cover the Sprint Cup, I'm not sure why they bid for the Nationwide coverage at all. They do a pitiful job of it since as you pointed out, the only drivers who get coverage are the Cup guys who cross over (and Danica of course). I'd have been happier if NASCAR had put a limit on the number of races the Cup guys could drive in for both the Nationwide and trucks. This "declare where you're running for a title" makes a joke out of it.

MRM4 said...

It would be interesting to find out if the lack of online coverage is orders from NASCAR, SPEED, or a combined decision.

It would seem that NASCAR and/or SPEED are way behind when it comes to online content. If I'm not mistaken, ESPN opened up their ESPN3.com service to anyone, not just customers of certain internet providers. Maybe I'm wrong, but there are a lot of people that can view ESPN programming via this option. They openly promote that service. NASCAR and/or SPEED need to get their act together soon because what's being offered now online is just the tip of the iceberg.

Chadderbox said...

4 Years in the world of technology is a lifetime. If things at online for Nascar stay the same as this for 4 more years because of the NASCAR TV/Internet contract, well that is scary for Nascar! Being out done online by an auction house - embarrassing.
When it could be done (Turner??? or Speed???) and they don't do it, it's hard for me to understand.
4 more years is too long and people won't wait around!

OSBORNK said...

I fear that the lack of coverage we see now is what will be normal in the future. I live near Bristol, Tn and my local daily paper is printed in Bristol, Va. Over the last few years, the amount of space dedicated to race coverage has dropped dramatically. The coverage by the three local TV stations has also fallen. The excitement of race week in Bristol has diminished and folks don't talk about racing like they once did. If NASCAR doesn't do something to get its MOJO back, I think coverage will continue to decline.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why anyone wants to watch someone else buy a car on tv! You could go to your local dealership and see this in person, if that's you thing...I just don't get it.

Anonymous said...

Vince said:

"NA$car's online presence right now is a mess. Speed/ESPN/Fox/Turner/NASCAR need to get their sh*t together and fix the mess they've created. There is no excuse for the absence of live streaming for the fans. None. And BZF keeps telling us it's all about the fans. Yeah, like I believe that one."

This is the same Brian France who said in the Homestead media center that he's never seen or heard one complaint from a fan about the Chase. I was standing in the room when he said it. I still can't believe the media assembled there didn't heckle him and force him to leave in disgrace.

Gymmie said...

That's such a shame :(. I'll be at the track today but would be very upset if I were home. It was bad enough yesterday just getting one practice.

@Roland--same here, I'll watch some of it but not hours upon hours at a time. The last one I kept an eye on Twitter & checked in when they got to the Kennedy hearse to see what that hoopla was all about. Caught a bit of Austin Petty & Goldberg there. Mr. Hendrick buying another 18 gazillion cars.

Anonymous said...

MRM4 - near as I can tell, the TV contracts are made on a fairly long basis - 2014 is gonna be the next renegotiation/shop-around.

This whole fancy internet thing flew out of the dark, and while it happened early enough to be in the paperwork for the lawyers, those same lawyers have put the kibosh on streaming.

Turner owns the rights to the Nascar domain, streaming rights, etc, far as I know.

So, that said, it's not a matter of no one wanting to - it's just tied up in ownership rights, legalese, and a lot of other crap.

Which is stupid, but it's how lawyers and people with a few billion dollars operate. Inefficiently. :)

Anonymous said...

Do people really think showing Practice and Qualifying is critical to the future existence of NASCAR?
I would love to hear why?

w17scott said...

Mr Editor -
One word in regard to NASCAR's concern for its fans - pitiful! Apparently with FOX + ESPN's money in hand, NASCAR shows little interest in promoting their own events, all the while voicing mock concern about attendance and ratings ...this will bite 'em in the butt come contact time, because TV sells on ratings, not on wishful thinking ...there is no shame among thieves and that's just what NASCAR has become ...hey, BZF, take your hand out of my pocket ...tickets are out of reach for many fans and now access to the sport is greatly hampered ...fan for more than 50 yrs, but no longer seriously interested ...there are other things to occupy my time
Walter

Anonymous said...

I have never understood what someone gets out of watching rich people bid on cars. I always assumed it was just to fill time on a channel lacking live action but when they show that instead of NASCAR practice sure shows how wrong I was.

Anonymous said...

Again, No one has an answer for the reason it is important that Practice is vital for the existence of this sport.

Vicky D said...

When Nascar/Speed should be trying to get additional viewers and fans they are broadcasting an auto auction. This is just awful.

Steve L. said...

"I have never understood what someone gets out of watching rich people bid on cars. I always assumed it was just to fill time on a channel lacking live action but when they show that instead of NASCAR practice sure shows how wrong I was."

I agree with you. One time I had nothing to watch and watched a 'rerun' of the B/J auction. Most of the cars sold that night was to only one or two individuals with 'lots' of money to blow. The same guy bought 10 cars in a row!

Yep, that's more important than live coverage of NASCAR, the filthy rich having fun spending money.... NOT

Chadderbox said...

Just asking?
Couldn't the parties involved renegotiate the online content portion of the contracts? Obviously, I do not have any idea if this is possible (I am not a lawyer) but I am just asking? It would benefit everyone involved, wouldn't it?
When business people want to get something done in this country, when there is a desire to get something done, it seems that things can usually get done. One way or the other!
When people are looking for excuses they can usually find one of those too!
I guess I am saying the existing contract is an excuse for doing nothing. Smart people always find a way to get things done! They don't take NO for answer. In this case I don't see any forward movement! Just excuses!
When it comes to online technology it is 2011 but Nascar (and the TV partners) are operating like it's 2001!

Loudmouth said...

The CEO of NASCAR, whatsisname-Arthur Bach? He and the President of NASCAR, Mike Hobson, connot be bothered with the plaints and problems of the little people-for the power has gone out in the wine cellar and there is work to be done lest the inventory spoils.

West Coast Diane said...

Well, I am watching, mostly listening to the Masters online. But I'm not in anyone's "key" demographic, age or gender, so no one, least of all SPEED probably cares.

Went to Indycar, then remembered no online...just leaderboard.

Then SPEED has BJ on TV and online, but no practice.

Why do I watch practice? Well, I don't watch every minute. I DVR then go through looking for updates on certain drivers. Checking on who is fast. Just info so not watching race cold.

Kiteman said...

After being on the road for nearly 2 months and not being able to catch much coverage, I'm finally at home on a Friday and was looking forward to working at home while watching some Texas pre-stage. Man, not even online streaming is unacceptable. I don't understand why they seem to try to limit fans from accessing the sport.

Chadderbox said...

Someone asked...."Do people really think showing Practice and Qualifying is critical to the future existence of NASCAR?
I would love to hear why?"

I am not speaking about just streaming online in regards to practices and qualifying but the races too! All 3 series! In addition to that, the online streaming of the races should go beyond what we see on tv- like the truck buddy/race buddy but even better and improved!
If something very cool in the way of an online race application does not become part of the future of Nascar at some point soon, the future of Nascar is going to look very limited compared to to all the other options available to people in terms of entertainment!

Palmetto said...

Why watch practice? Well, my friends and I watch because we're in fantasy racing leagues, and P&Q can tell you a lot about how a driver is going to do this weekend. I'll bet there are a lot more fantasy players than B-J bidders. I can't believe the ratings numbers are there to support regularly broadcasting B-J, so maybe the auction is paying for the air time.

Alan said...

Just checked in at thedalyauction web sight and they are all upset and complaining that the stupid taxi cab practice is cutting into their auction TV time.

First I don’t get the attraction of watching practice. If there’s nothing else on them I might check it out, but my life isn’t ruined by not getting to see practice. I’m interested in who wins the race, not who was fast during play time. Plus as has been mentioned many times no other sport shows you the practice so if you miss one of these, what’s the big deal? You already get way more practice coverage than any other sport.

Second, I love the “my sport is more important than yours” attitude around here. The universe doesn’t revolve around racing; there are others who are just as passionate about their sport or activity. And I have the ability to tell someone that I love my sport without telling them that the one they like sucks.

Chadderbox said...

If one is involved with fantasy racing, watching practice can help you know who is running good right now at the track which may help you set your fantasy lineup for the race!
If fans at home, who can not go to the race, are able to be engaged with the track activities each weekend in multiple ways it is good for the sport! Practice, Qualifying, Race, Fantasy Nascar, Real Time Scoring, Race buddy, Scanners, all of it keeps people engaged!
During practice, in the stands each week, fans of a certain driver will listen to that drivers scanner during practice. Listening to scanners online would be cool. Yes, it's for Nascar junkies, but it keeps people engaged.

Anonymous said...

i like Barrett Jackson as well, but if you're going to commit to cover the Sport of NASCAR, u should b willing to arrange your schedule around it, we NASCAR fans want Practice, qualifying and race on schedule LIVE (or Tivo in qualifying so we see each and every car) not a car auction. save the Car Auction for the spot on TV where Car Warriors and Car Science currently reside. and because i don't have an account with Google, I'll sign this Zebmonkey.

Anonymous said...

Wow, the #6 on the pole!

Loudmouth:-) said...

Dear Alan 5:13

Please, Sir, I want some more!

Buschseries61 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bucky Butler said...

I will not be convinced that any Nationwide Team will be adversely affected by practice and qualifying not being televised. I also don’t blame Speed for this perceived outrage. ESPN owns the property for race broadcasts. It should be their responsibility to broadcast practice and qualifying. They have the channels and the means. Other than The Masters, they have nothing else going on on their other outlets. I for one appreciate Speed’s commitment to Barrett-Jackson. I also don’t believe that all things NASCAR absolutely MUST be on TV whenever there is on track action. That is terminally boring. These channels must have some kind of diversity to keep eyes on the screen.

Now, all that said. I have come around to the assertion that there is absolutely no reason why all on track events can’t be on an on-line outlet, streaming live. No reason. Because there is a segment of the population that wants to see cars going around a track during practice and of course qualifying, no matter the series. So, if they want it and are able to go get it, no one loses. The Masters does a spectacular job show casing their event on line and has for years. No reason that any racing series cannot do the same. This will have no impact on TV viewership, since we are only speaking of instances where TV scheduling conflicts with separate events. For me, I would rather watch Barrett-Jackson than another NASCAR practice session. But there is no reason for those who want to see a practice session can’t be able to access it on line.

Bucky Butler said...

SPOT ON Alan 5:13!!! Well said!!

Daly Planet Editor said...

Bucky, going to disagree with you on this one.

NASCAR owns the TV rights and they are all scheduled in advance of the season.

A short pre-race and the ensuing race coverage offers most of the NNS teams nothing.

The stories of the sport and what is really going on are told in the practice coverage by the reporters. The folks they interview and the updates are the only real way to get a feel for the reality of the weekend.

To me, it's vital that all three series have practice online or TV.

JD

Bucky Butler said...

We agree to disagree JD.