Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Wednesday TV/Media Notes

Here are some items crossing the TDP desk this week:

SPEED was rewarded for producing the Nationwide Series race from Richmond with its biggest Friday primetime rating since February. The race attracted about one million viewers and a 1.08 rating. This number is up 6% from 2010.

Meanwhile, FOX did not have the same luck. This from SportsMediaWatch.com:

Saturday's NASCAR race on FOX could only match last year's near-record low in the metered markets. FOX earned a 3.4 overnight rating for Saturday's Matthew and Daniel Hansen 400, flat compared to the same race last year (3.4), and down 8% from 2009 (3.7). This marks the lowest overnight for NASCAR's spring Richmond race since the event moved to FOX in 2007.

Saturday's race ranks as the lowest rated of the season in the metered markets. In addition, the 3.4 is tied as the second-lowest overnight ever for a NASCAR race on FOX, ahead of only the 2009 Subway Fresh Fit 500 (3.3).

The controversial Captain Thunder website run from Daytona, FL is also in the news. After it reported a possible crew chief switch between the Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch teams last week, the mainstream media chased the story in Richmond. Nate Ryan from USA Today said on the Speedfreaks radio show that the media played a role in hyping this story because they chased it without any kind of confirmation or credible source.

Tuesday on ESPN2's NASCAR Now, JGR president JD Gibbs said the entire story was fake and expressed concern that anyone would take Captain Thunder seriously. Gibbs was clearly not amused. Captain Thunder is part of the YardBarker network, a company owned by FOX Sports Interactive Media.

Also crossing the wires was the announcement that ESPN and FOX have chosen to split a big college sports package. The Pac-12 conference will get $250 million annually for the next 12 years from those two networks to split marquee events like football and basketball games. An entire package of other sports is also included.

This commitment comes at a time when NASCAR is beginning to work on renewing the current TV contract that expires in 2014. Normally, the new deal would be in place and announced early in 2013. ESPN and FOX certainly seem to be pointing more and more toward college product.

The new player on the horizon in motorsports is Comcast/NBC. Fueled by the same duel revenue stream that powered ESPN to become the leader in TV sports, the new company features broadcast network access in NBC, cable access in VERSUS and ancillary outlets like CNBC and MSNBC. Both those networks have been used for weekend sports access in the past by previous owners.

Comcast executives have already said that VERSUS will be rebranded with some NBC identification within the month. CSNBC and NBC Sports Net are the two favorite rumors. Whatever the name, it seems clear that there is a new shark in the NASCAR pond.

The Sports Emmy awards have been presented and NASCAR was involved in two. Jimmie Johnson: The Road to Daytona was part of the 24/7 documentary series on HBO. That project picked-up the award for Outstanding Editing. NASCAR on FOX won for live event outstanding audio. Guess those "Crank it Up" segments worked after all.

Finally, click here for a link to a story on NASCAR.com that recaps the changes Brian France is making as the sport gets ready for the most crucial round of TV and media negotiations in its history. Paul Brooks and new NASCAR VP of Broadcasting Steve Herbst look to be the two guys on the TV hotseat.

We welcome your comments on these topics. 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.


Anonymous said...

I have a hunch that some of the lower ratings could be attributed to the fact that many in the south had other things to tend to instead of NASCAR. We love racing, but sometimes real life must be dealt with...

TheBleacherCreature said...

Looks like internet streaming coming soon thank goodness.
Paul will bring NASCAR into the "modern" way of broadcasting!
Go Paul!

Andrew S. said...

The change is probably very close since typing versus.com into your web browser of choice re-directs to the NBC Sports website

Jonathan said...

Interesting stuff! It sure seems like Fox wants out at 2014 with there production of the races and we will see what ESPN has for us when we go INDY! Looks like the fans are speaking very loudly by turning the remote to something other than Nascar and ya know what good for the people cause im sorry the coverage sucks! The only time im on the edge of my seat is during crank it up or if JR takes the lead. Fox sure isnt what it was when I first started watching in 04,05,06! A shame we go backwards instead of forward but it is what it is! Thanks for posting that link I sent you

PammH said...

Thought it was interesting last nite on RH when MTJ said how strong his team was, at the same time FOUR members of said strong team lost their jobs!
I seriously don't think ratings are being affected by the southern storms, sorry.

MRM4 said...

It's funny this column mentions the rumor about crew chief swaps between Hamlin and Logano starting on the internet. Tuesday night's episode of "Glee" was about rumors, some of which started with an online video. It's scary to think how many people can buy a domain and post almost anything they want to say. And the scariest part is the amount of people that actually believe some of these stories.

As far as the next TV contract, my guess is there won't be many takers or NASCAR is going to be very surprised at the low bids they'll receive. That will certainly open the door for NBC to get back into it in some way.

GinaV24 said...

Since I don't have a Nielson box I know that I don't "count" in the ratings tally, but for myself, I didn't watch the race at all. I had made plans with friends before I remembered that the race was on Saturday night and since I've been disappointed with the Fox coverage for the past several years and again this season, I didn't bother to even try and tune in.

I did watch the Speed broadcast of the N'wide race and thought it was very well done with the camera work and information presented, although I could have lived without the Waltrips in the booth all night. I sent an e-mail to speed saying so, too.

So BZF shows up in ESPN land and it seems that both Fox and ESPN are going after more college sports. Makes you wonder if they plan to even try for NASCAR considering the large fall off in ratings -- of course, they have themselves, along with NASCAR, to blame for it.

Anonymous said...

Gee. Brian France in his interview a few days ago said that TV viewership was up(??)

Ir42nate2bhere said...

I'm guessing the Olympic contract will play a major factor in the NBC/Verses/Comcast entry into the NASCAR world. Any guesses on formatting on a new contract, as in another segment deal, cable only, things like that. I noticed the PAC 10/12 did not include internet in the TV deal.

OSBORNK said...

I think the drop in ratings is a joint venture of NASCAR and Fox. The NASCAR effort to turn the race into an entertainment show through gimmicks and manipulation of action on the track has resulted in a drop in interest by longtime race fans. We tune in to see a real race and not a show manipulated for "excitement".

Fox is responsible because they don't present a race that the fan can follow. If you try to watch something and cannot figure out what is happening, you turn it off. Years ago, I tried to watch Australian Rules Football but stopped because I couldn't figure out what was going on. I think a new fan would do the same thing trying to watch a NASCAR race as presented by Fox.

Anonymous said...

There's alway ESPN 3 like the ALMS series for NASCAR. The Sebring race didn't have enough bandwidth for me to watch more than 5 minutes, extremely blocky on the computer.

Long Beach wasn't that bad. I'm sure though that the sponsors in ALMS are thrilled to showcase their names + products via a web site.

NASCAR is not going to get the money they got the last go around. I wouldn't be shocked if they got no takers at half the price they currently charge for rights.

Is IndyCar a time buy or did Versus + ABC/ESPN pay for rights?

I still waiting for DodgeBall on ESPN 8 (The Ocho!!)

Roland said...

I would love to have NBC back in the fold. They did some things wrong last time around (Nothing But Commercials,Swapping Allen and Bill, ugly graphics with drivers pictures appearing out of what looked like a toilet seat) But that brings up the question of what happens to TNT. For the most part we can all agree that TNT is the best at covering nascar right not. Would TNT still get races, or would those be transfered to the new Versus? I was under the impression from the last TV contract that Turner networks were affiliated with NBC. Lots of time to ponder this, but I would love to see a new network break up the monotony that is nascar TV right now

Anonymous said...

As I have stated before, I have reached the point where I refuse to watch anything with a Wallace or Waltrip. It had nothing to do with the tornados. MC

starrcade76 said...

I feel one reason the Nationwide Series has fallen some is from not being paired up on TV with the Cup Series. Fox and NBC/TNT would build from qualifying to happy hour to the Busch series and then finally to the Cup race.

It will be interesting to see in the next set of TV contracts if they package the two series together once again.

terri said...

DW hyped that crew chief stuff and I figured he was talking out of the side of his mouth.

Anything to hear his own voice yap.