Sunday, April 6, 2014

Repost From 2013: Why SportsCenter Hates NASCAR

Take a good look at the picture above. You can click directly on it to see it full-size. On the right in the tie is a young Bob Ley. The man standing in the middle of the picture with the glasses is Stephen Bogart. He looks to be producing the show being prepared and yes, he is Humphrey and Lauren's boy. On the left seated and also in a tie is "Sweet Lou" Palmer.

On the desk to the right is a stack of 3/4 inch video cassette tapes. On the bench under the windows are the two record/play machines wired to two TV sets. Those papers hanging on the wall to the left are called wire copy. The AP and UPI sports stories look to have been neatly assembled by Production Assistant Steve Dirks, the man in the blue jeans.

Those things on the desk are called typewriters. On those single line telephones, you had to dial "9" to get an outside line. There is trash on the floor, boxes crammed under desks and Hank Aaron swatting the big one out on the wall.

The room is full of dedicated people making little money who believed in creating something new. The year is 1979. That is the ESPN newsroom.

This is SportsCenter.

The concept was simple. Take a look at what was going on in sports that day. Then filter out the news items and edit the videotape highlights. Run to the studio and put on a show giving sports fans nationwide a rundown on what happened.

SportsCenter was fun, hectic, irreverent and loved by cable TV viewers for all those reasons. Ultimately, it was the programming franchise that built ESPN. It added words to our vocabularies and faces to the national television landscape.

Now, over thirty years later, SportsCenter is seen on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNEWS. There is often over twenty hours of SportsCenter content spread between these networks daily. The early evening show is from Bristol, CT. The late show is from the ESPN studios in Los Angeles, CA. The daytime show is now done live and features the power duo of Hannah Storm and Kevin Negandhi.

Along the way, the franchise has changed. ESPN has gone from reporting the stories to becoming part of them. No longer is ESPN's news operation an interested observer with an accurate report. The thrust of SportsCenter is now to use the power of the ESPN family of television networks to feature and promote the topics that tie into ESPN's own programming.

When NASCAR and ESPN said a bitter goodbye in 2001, the reality of SportsCenter and credibility was immediately driven home. In the blink of an eye, NASCAR went from a SportsCenter staple to a memory. Angry that NASCAR had struck a deal without ESPN involved in the top series, this major professional sport was relegated to barely a mention.

The current crop of SportsCenter management remember this all too well. They actively participated in trying to wipe NASCAR off the map. It might have been a choice ESPN tries to defend as related to track access, but in fact it was a purposeful campaign to make NASCAR pay for leaving the mothership.

Well, a funny thing happened to that plan. NASCAR thrived on FOX, TNT and NBC. Despite the smear campaign, guess who came right back to the bargaining table for the next NASCAR TV contract? ESPN was first in line with cash in hand. ESPN came away with the final seventeen Sprint Cup Series races and the entire Nationwide Series.

Now, these same SportsCenter types who had openly mocked NASCAR for years had themselves a little problem. Not only was NASCAR returning to the mothership, but ESPN had the Chase for the Championship for years. At the height of the college and pro football seasons, SportsCenter now had to report on NASCAR's version of the playoffs.

In came familiar names like Marty Smith, David Newton and Ryan McGee. Bolstered by others who lived outside of New England, SportsCenter grudgingly tried to integrate NASCAR content back into the news franchise that started it all. The result has been a complete, miserable failure.

Now five years into the current NASCAR TV contract, the open contempt and outright hatred of NASCAR by SportsCenter anchors is not only tolerated, it is encouraged.

It was SportsCenter anchor John Anderson who came on immediately after the Nationwide Series race from Chicagoland Speedway. That same day the Camping World Trucks had raced in Kansas and Richard Childress had gotten into a little dust-up with Kyle Busch after the race.

Anderson was annoyed from the start that NASCAR lead SportsCenter. He started by calling the highlights of the Nationwide Series race complete with all the same mistakes made live by announcer Marty Reid. It was pathetic and it was painful, but Anderson was just getting warmed-up.

Marty Smith is a patient man. After five years of dealing endlessly with SportsCenter talent who know nothing about NASCAR and could care less, Smith's "phoner" into the show carefully explained the Busch and Childress history and NASCAR's perspective on boys having at it.

Anderson then told Smith he was appalled that there could be a fight after a race. He was amazed that an owner would possibly act that way. He was even more confused as to how two professional drivers like Carl Edwards and Justin Allgaier could possibly run out of gas on the track? Don't they get that for free?

Once Anderson's four painful minutes of NASCAR highlights and speaking with Smith were over, his smug look of disgust turned into a grin. "Now...we have some baseball!!" he screamed with delight. In the SportsCenter world, things were back to normal.

The bottom line is that SportsCenter hates NASCAR because the ESPN management allows it. Any interruption of the flow of the stick-and-ball seasons by racing will be met with the arrogance we now know as a trademark of the group that promotes itself as the Worldwide Leader in Sports.

It's always interesting to look at how something got started and where it is today. As someone once said, it all seemed so simple back then.

We invite your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. Thanks for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.


RPM said...

I hope NASCAR never resigns with ESPN. No matter how much they pony up for the TV rights, it can't make up for the damage they do to the sport.

If NASCAR wants to regulate it's self to 2nd tier cable access, they should go with SPEED or just do the job themselves and create The NASCAR Network. They have the facilities located in the hub of the action (HOF Studios Charlotte)and on-air talent isn't hard to find. NASCAR is the top sport without it's own network. NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB all have league owned networks.

Hold back the internet rights from Turner and run that in-house, too. They are thinking 20 years behind the times instead of 10 years in the future.

WickedJ/Joe said...

JD. i really enjoy your writing.

I got nothing more to add,. just that :)

RFMjr said...

I hope SPEED gets everything! They are the only ones who care and can relate to NASCAR fans.

Anonymous said...

Do not think for a moment that nascar is the only one treated this way. Any women's sport, bicycling. No, a better way to state it is any sport other than MEN'S baseball, football, basketball, soccer(now that they have that contract) and lacrosse is looked at with total disrespect. espn is making a ton of money the way they operate right now, so do not expect anything to change for a long, long time.

My problem is I absolutely believe that nascar, under bf, would screw up coverage of nascar even worse with their own network. bf is so greedy that the coverage would end up being nothing but a commercial designed to put money in his pocket - kind of a 24 hour dw infomercial show.

My wish is that nascar would take less money and do a contract with just TNT. In the contract, I would state that a certain percentage of the race had to be shown, side by side commercials during green flag racing, total commitment to innovative social media, etc.

The reality is that bf will take the money over any quality assurances of nascar production and espn can outbid anybody. Coverage will get worse.

I hope I am wrong. MC

J said...

SportsCenter use to be a highlight show. And that was great, they showed the highlights, some with humor and inside jokes. Then came the era of SportsCenter becoming a news and discussion show. Highlights became an afterthought. Now there has to be five minute discussion on "the story." Shouldn't "the story" be discussed on programs like NASCAR Now, NFL Live or Baseball Tonight? They have all become the same show. I can't watch SportsCenter any more. I use to get 30 minutes and all the highlights, now its just "stories."

glenc1 said...

not sure if that took; hopefully I'm not putting this in twice.

I think our only hope is for another full time sports network. I don't have Versus or Universal Sports (the latter is not even offered on DISH) but I would *pay* if it meant a network treating all sports with dignity. Around the Horn & PTI proved the same ignorance a few weeks back by repeating the 'Junior running out of gas' bit. Honestly, like it was all his own doing, & discussing their own experiences in passenger cars--as if it's the same thing. IMHO they should just not talk about NASCAR since they know nothing about it. But at least they are *feature* shows, they aren't meant to be taken seriously (at least, I don't.)

Sportscenter should be the news. Real news, not the sensational story of the week. I don't mind the humor, which the network was founded on, but do it with respect and knowledge. You can't properly mock something unless you understand it. I guess I would say, as poorly as they treat NASCAR, as MC said, they treat other sports as poorly. And even the sports they think are 'real' are still covered as if they're the National Enquirer half the time (Tiger, Favre). They still do good things at this network. But Sportscenter is not on that list for me.

MRM4 said...

I no longer watch SportsCenter because I do not like most of their anchors and do not like the way the present their stories. They are full of themselves and so are some of their anchors, Anderson being one of them.

When ESPN began getting full of themselves many years ago is when I would watch the sports show on CNN that came on at the same time. Nick Charles and Fred Hickman were fun, kept the stories in context, and were a great pair. They couldn't compete with ESPN and was taken off the air. Today, I can get my sports stories from the internet. I don't need to sit through their agenda-filled shows.

Anonymous said...

Their loss. My little bird has come back and said that now they have a NASCAR Hall of Fame broadcaster in the booth, FOX might be prepared to bid for the whole enchilada and use SPEED as the overflow partner, which is already being done anyway. I'd hate to see TNT/Turner cut out because of their willingness to create, implement & improve online content, but FOX isn't blind to that future either (again, SPEED).

AncientRacer said...

What a fine column. I can imagine were I writing it I would have had to do some really heavy editing before I posted it on my "family friendly" blog. I can imagine this because of the "enhacments" to the text that popped into my head as I was reading.

I have, speaking of ESPN's reentry into NASCAR "coverage", thought for some time that they came in with their mega buck offer to get the rights back not because they wanted NASXAR for any good purpose, but just because they wanted it bsck. An ego thing.

Then you have the biases of the "talent" (I do wish there was another recognized term, but there is not) and the producers and the suits. I know at the Bristol "campus" (another term which bothers me; words having meaning and consequences) NASCAR, and indeed most all motorsports except "exotics" like overseas F-1, overseas INDYCAR, Overseas etc. are seen as so downmarket; so beneath their sophisticated selves. They have, they all have, after all, been to the City and seen the Elephant.

Again, good, good job, JD. I'll quit now before I have to do some heavy editing of my own. ;)

James said...

I could not agree more. ESPN has become the snobs of sports. When they were first trying to establish themselves they ran sprint car racing from all over the country and demolition derbys from Islip NY! Now they are too upscale, as I have said here before, NASCAR should never allow them to destroy the sport. I only hope they realize that they are losing their core fans, not the newbies, the loyal fan that made them famous for the most loyal supporters of the products that supported it series. You have to wonder when ESPN chooses to demean the series if they have forgotten that, I know I do not watch ESPN when I have a choice, and that is a shame, because NASCAR would not have grown like it did without ESPNs coverage. I believe we should be as loyal to them as they are to us!

Sympliredd said...

Very well written. ESPN/Sportscenter has always been biased to the big 3 (NFL, NBA and MLB). I was surprised to see how much converage the Women's College Softball playoffs. I know they don't give a rip about racing of any kind and probably don't consider it sport. I choose to get my NASCAR news from, SPEED and people who actually follow the sport. I wish FOX had more of the season, but Digger must go!

The Mad Man said...

Great piece JD. Not much else I can add to it.

Anonymous said...

This is just emblematic of the overall culture of the "sporting fans" we have in the United States.

There always has been an "upper crust" of approved sports. Back in the day it was horse racing, golf, baseball.

For the first half of the 20th Century, college football was accepted but the NFL was not. Same could be said for basketball.

Today, it is football (college & pro), baseball, basketball and golf that represent the upper crust. When the Olympics come around, they join the club. All other sports are relegated to Plebian status.

Once in awhile you get some who are invited into the club. Soccer seems to be in the kliq now. But around 2000-2001, NASCAR got that privilege. Sadly, it is ESPN who dictates most of this. It used to be the sportswriters, but they merely follow the lead of the network. And the biggest problem is that when NASCAR was included, the mainstream sportswriters and columnists never fully jumped on board. Thus, when ESPN ditched the NASCAR bandwagon there was nobody left on to carry the fight.

Personally, I liked it better when we were the "outsider" sport. I don't mind defending auto racing to non-fans. It's all a matter of taste and I don't care if you don't like it, just don't get in the way of my enjoyment of it.

I want my races shown on a network that actually cares about the product. I'll tolerate any coverage faux pas from FOX, TNT, Speed as long as they continue to show they give a damn about the sport. I'd love to see NBC jump into the fray again. The key is finding a network that doesn't conflict with the NFL in the fall. You're going to lose that battle everytime.

Lefty said...

I too was sad to see NASCAR leave ESPN in 2001!!! I really loved their coverage and broadcasters who brought us the races!!! But after NASCAR left it became clear very quickly that ESPN's Sportscenter was a comedy looking for a hospital. Still is today!!! If I want comedy in my sportscaster I'll stop watching sports, which I did!!! I hate ESPN SPORTSCENTER, those numbskulls are arrogant and very obnoxsious and I don't watch them. So I don't care what they think of NASCAR, I have enough trouble with NASCAR's decisions without some idiot want-ta-be comic telling me anything!!!!!

Buschseries61 said...

I still don't understand why extended post-race shows are moved to SportsCenter. If the anchors aren't interested, and we view nothing but the garbage after Chicago, why bother?

Also, ESPN is a powerful part of the lives of young sport fans. There is a national interest in basketball, baseball, football, and hockey. SportsCenter constantly covering those sports in a positive light inspires the youth to participate. It's turned from a news network to a PR network for those sports. Meanwhile, the hostile coverage of NASCAR lacks any inspiration, and encourages the mindset that NASCAR is the "sport" of rednecks driving in circles. We have seen track attendance suffer and networks struggle to regain the interest of the youth over the past two years. Local tracks suffer the most with lackluster interest and attendance. We have to look no further than the ESPN SportsCenter circus from Chicagoland to find the problem. Instead of helping NASCAR, SportsCenter is trying very hard to break it.

Lugnut said...

ESPN is great if you're a typical "bro" type of jock, or ex-jock, who thinks that it can't be a sport if it's not NFL, NBA, or MLB.

If you're into anything else you probably don't pay much attention to ESPN.

KoHoSo said...

It just seems so odd that Disney/ESPN would pay so much to have the rights to broadcast NASCAR and let their flagship "news" program act the way it does. I can understand it from ATH and PTI as those are opinion shows and everybody knows that going in. As for SportsCenter, it just makes no sense to me to denigrate the channel's own product.

OSBORNK said...

Sportscenter used to be the sports version of the old Headline News. I tuned to both every day because I could get caught up with what was going on in half an hour. They have now both lost their way and have become just another show of talking heads that don't inform as much as entertain. I never tune to either now. I miss the informative format of the old shows.

The internet has taken over for both Sportscenter and Headline News.

The (Western) New York said...

Well said, JD.

Personally, I stopped watching SportsCenter years ago. It's not just the fact that they treat NASCAR like crap, it's also the fact that they seemingly refuse to take ANYTHING that comes from outside the East Coast seriously -- even major sports teams.

Their burial of NASCAR is nothing compared to what they did to the NHL after NBC/Versus got the rights following the lockout. They'd put the highlights at the tail end of the show, and maybe you'd get Barry Melrose for three minutes. Because a sizable TV audience has returned, only then did they care again. (Now that NBC/Versus has the rights until 2020, the same thing could happen again.

As Anonymous 5:57 a.m. said, any sport that ESPN can't profit off of showing is treated horribly. That's a shame.

Dannyboy said...

Oh, for the days of RPM 2Nite and Thursday/Saturday Night Thunder!

I wonder, did you shoot that photo yourself John? What a flashback. I didn't even have cable until 1985 when I moved from Staten Island - where we only had "Wometco Home Theater", an over-the-air pay service - to California. Only then did I become familiar with ESPN. Sports Center and Roy Firestone's interviews were a revelation. Keith Olberman was still sane and not convinced he was the second coming of Walter Cronkite. And he was funny. And NASCAR (and all motorsports)was treated fairly, even if not a top priority.

What a turnaround. Last night I watched two really excellent NASCAR shows, with news and info-tainment. Neither of them was on ESPN.

Why do I have to go to a premium channel like Showtime (which I only get as part of a promotional package for one year) to see the kind of excellent race recap segments that evoke the memory of NFL Films? By the time Wednesday rolls around, I already know most everything that happened last race, but they make it worth looking at again.

And why does ESPN virtually NEVER set one interviewer down with a guest for an extended segment like Steve Byrnes does?

The only saving grace on ESPN for me is the Monday night shows with Allen Bestwick and several panelists, a formula which he pioneered on Speedvision, and which even now doesn't always gel due to ESPN's corporate mindset of always wanting to have journalists in on the chat.

Sorry, if the guests are participants (or those who HAVE participated) the insights are always going to be more interesting to me than what some writer's opinion is. An occasional opinion from an Ed Hinton, Marty Smith or Robin Miller is fine with me, and I really enjoy those guys - in modest doses.

So for the most part NASCAR NOW is something I can take or leave, other than the Monday shows.

And the only reason I tune in ESPN these days is for specific events and occasionally Baseball Tonight, which now has formidable competition from the MLB Network.

Thanks for the forum, JD!


Anonymous said...

Very well written...just wish NASCAR (BF) could read this and take this as the statement of fact this is, and not just a disgruntled opinion. I can't think of near anything you said that is really not just a statement of fact.

I'm not much for other sports...I don't watch Football until racing season ends, and follow College BB in the offseason so ESPN really does nothing for me, I follow NASCAR for hours a day on Sirius but don't watch more than 1 or 2 Busch (sorry NW...maybe in a few years i'm remember your name) races because of distaste for ESPN. My TV season ends when TNT coverage ends, next race i watch will be the finale (if it's interesting)

Bob from VT

Three Cheers for Gene's Machine 61NY

Anonymous said...

I am SO happy to read this article. I was so irritated watching that very episode after the chicago race, not only had they cut the race broadcast short and not interview some of the key players in the race (like then point leader Elliot Sadler) but the jokes and sarcasm from the host, I really think they should stick the people that know the sport to broadcast it and report on it.

bryan said...

I hope NASCAR never resigns with ESPN


Resign means quit, 'take this job and shove it'. I personally hope that NASCAR resigns from ESPN at the earliest opportunity and goes with someone who wants them.

Anonymous said...

It is not just ESPN editors and reporters who hate and mock NASCAR and its fans. Newspaper sports department loath the sport. When staff cuts were made during the recession, it was racing beat writers who took first hits. Now, only USA Today and Charlotte Observer have full time racing reporters.
In there place are staffers from other beats and even copy editors. The result is disgraceful reporting. Like two weeks ago when local metro daily missed the Busch Childress incident.

Anonymous said...

I think it's because the sport is still seen by some as populated with knuckledragging rednecks. Speaking as a yankee myself, I know among my neighbors the minute they hear a southern accent they assume the person is of below average intelligence and they start to feel superior. What I find amusing is people guilty of that are totally unaware of how unintelligent that reaction of theirs is. Their belittling of the sport actually shows how little they know. Other than to gently try to educate these lunkheads, NASCAR shouldn't let it upset them too much. The sport doesn't need Anderson's validation. In the big picture he simply isn't that important.

Off topic: Have you seen the online golf leaderboard at You can pick players as "favorite", "preferred" and "despised". Can you imagine that in NASCAR? LOL

Anonymous said...

I'm sure John Anderson was very concerned with how NASCAR reporting affects his credibility. After all - HE CO-HOSTS WIPEOUT.

Jonathan said...

Jd your spot on its sad! I dont watch sports center but I usually go to to read about Nascar and you can always watch the video of what was shown on sports center that night and 9 times out of 10 they find a way to bad mouth the sport. Though there is a few (maybe fill ins) that do the sports center report that show Nascar a little respect and dont bash it they just do there best and read the telepromter. Some just dont understand how big of a player Nascar is in the sports world and never will

Mike said...

After reading this story, I hope NASCAR doesn't include ESPN in their new TV Contract. FOX doesn't start NFL Coverage until September so I say give FOX more races along with SPEED getting some of those races through the second or third week of August, and let TNT finish off the year beginning at the Night Race in Bristol through Homestead.

FOX/SPEED: Feb-August

TNT: August-November

Roland said...

How fitting is it that todays Nascar Now is pre-empted by sportscenter

KoHoSo said...

Anonymous 2:13...

Speaking as a southerner that has also lived in Yankee territory, that is so sadly true of many (but not all) people even outside of the northeast. I shudder to think what would have happened if Albert Einstein had been from Georgia instead of Germany.

Anonymous said...

A lot of you have mentioned the stereotypes that News/Sports media have against auto racing. The actions of Richard Childress played right into their hands. It didn't help with the really challenging situation with Sponsor funding either. Hard to believe that big-name teams are cutting back in NNS and Trucks and Roush cars have bare quarter panels.

tonybct said...

it makes me sad to see what ESPN does to NASCAR, I love most sports, and watching sportscenter is still part of my routine daily, but to throw all the coverage to Fox with it's HOF announcer, how many times will we have to hear that now, I don't believe is the answer, as far seriousness goes, that's why I can't stand to watch most pre race shows,n except on ESPN, Showtime? not as long as MW is involved, Steve Byrnes needs to realize not everything said by DW is hilarious, sorry, wandered a bit, I just wish ESPN would straighten out, rather then turn our beloved sport over to other well-critisized networks, it's a quaundry for sure

DewCr3w88 said...

If Nascar had any courage they would tell ESPN where to go when the contract comes up.

However we know courage in Nascar these days is hard to find outside of the racers strapped into their car. Especially with upper management in the white and yellow hauler.

Its sad because the races with Alan Bestwick have been fantastic, the rest... well not so much.

Anonymous said...

RPM--when I started getting on the internet in 2K1 fans were screaming for a NASCAR network back then & the screams get louder each year. I heard years ago that they were looking into a Gymnastics channel. While they train all year the season is actually short. They may have meets here & there throughout the year but the majority are in the Spring/Summer.

@anon 9:24--yes back in 2K1 they'd often have an extended post-race on SPEED. Whatever was on would be interrupted & we'd join them over there when they were up against the TV window.

adamtw1010 said...

I can't find it, but there was a clip up for a while on YouTube that had Jimmie Johnson being reported as a Roush Racing driver. Embarrassing.

FOX isn't my favorite broadcaster, but they do better than ESPN. Here's what I want to see for the next TV deal:

FOX gets Daytona 500 thru Coke 600
TNT gets everything after Coke 600 thru the Chase
NBC gets Chase

I'd even be willing to add CBS into the mix if they were interested. I think that NBC could do the Chase if we moved back to the 1:00 PM ET start times. The early start times will ensure that the races are done before Sunday Night Football. Even the west coast races are likely to be finished by Football Night in America.

The only thing I would NOT want to see is NBC move races to VERSUS. That channel is still on the top 250 on DISH and is in fewer houses than SPEED.

I'd like to see Nationwide and Truck races both on SPEED. The Richmond Nationwide race was the best broadcast I've seen in a long time.

Oscar Love said...

DOn't feel to bad NASCAR car fans, ESPN hates, NHRA, IRL and ALMS, but they love Danica Patrick-go figure

Anonymous said...

Yes, I saw this episode and it was sad. Its unfortunate Marty Smith has to work with such arrogance. I thought they were very disrespectful to him when they started talking to him on the phone on the Bush and Childress incident.

Curtis Bailey
aka cbaileybg

Spring Rubber said...

Yep, ABM. ESPN loves Danica because she's a great "story". ESPN loves to shove their "stories" down our throats 'till our ears bleed. Other than that, they indeed couldn't care less about racing. It's pretty sad.

Broadcast School Grad said...

You can tell that ESPN hates
Nascar .. Look at who they hire to
do the telecasts.

Youtalktoodamnmuch said...

Is Adam trying to get a "Suthin "
accent ? Did his mentors at Radio
School help with that ?
Talk normal Adam. It wont hurt a
thing. And if the Broadcast School
doesnt like it ...tell em they can
come back after these messages.

GinaV24 said...

Perfect summary of why I try to NEVER watch SC - ever. Once upon a time it was well done and relevant, now IMO, its not.

I had been watching the Nationwide race and was still in shock over Marty Reid's level of mistakes at the end, so I didn't realize they had switched to SC. I sat there aghast at what I was hearing.

End of the day, I agree with RPM. I wish that NASCAR would have some good sense when the new contracts come up and don't resign with ESPN. $$ are not worth having a TV broacast group actively seeking to present a sport in the worst light possible.

This continued attitude doesn't bode well for the 17 races they cover in the cup series.

FloridaMatt said...

I know it's no excuse, but if I recall correctly, when ESPN lost their original coverage, they were not allowed to do interviews at the track. As a result, driver interviews were catch-as-catch-can, often at the local airstrip as drivers headed for home.

I'm of the belief that the effectiveness of the lockout led to the loss of RPM 2Nite, and may well have left lasting bitterness.

Stoptalkingthankyou said...

They cant even shut the H *** up
for 15 car lengths at the start of
the ARCA race. Incredible.And how
many folks even know whois in the
race ?
My point is ..that the folks who
run the game have no respect for us
poor schmucks out here..
who want to hear the sounds of
the engines. No effffing respect at

The girl in the green yellow dress said...

The aarons commercial. For anyone
who has seen it .. I understand
your pain.
Um did any of the folks working
on the commercial ..actually look
at the final product.
And the colorand the fit of the
Green yellow ugly color ?
There is no hope none at all

Anonymous said...

I like this scenario: Fox/Speed get first 26 cup races thru Labor Day then NBC/Versus get last ten races. Versus would have to be the contract because of SNF and there are a lot of west coast races in Oct and Nov.

For those that do not get versus - I feel your pain but its not my pain. I get Versus with my DirecTV package. Back in the day my cable company put TNN on a pay tier so I never say many races in the 80's.

StreetDreamer83 said...

I don't care for ESPN's coverage of NASCAR on SportsCenter or otherwise. However, it would not be good for the sport to dwindle down to two broadcasters. People already complain enough about having to hear DW talk about himself. It would be worse if Fox were to get 1/2 the season.

Personally, I'd love to see the way the season is broadcast now to be completely scrapped and for the networks to bid on each event. Race fans didn't have a hard time finding what network was broadcasting what race 15-20 years ago. Why not have Fox cover one race, ESPN do another, TNT do another, ESPN do the next, etc. like the old days? Having to listen to different voices every other week would be a nice chance and a big improvement in my view.

Matt TSB said...

How about an article about why ESPN hates Tractor Pulls, Aussie Rules Football, or the AWA? Those were all mainstays of the network once upon a time, too.

Go back twenty years ago before the internet, and Sports Center was just about the only way to get out of town scores and highlights within a decent period of time.

Today anyone with a serious interest in a sport or team can have updates sent straight to their phones or computers, or can easily seek out the information they want when they want. Most of the major sports have channels of their own to get information to their fans.

The idea that ESPN or any other programmer puts content out there that doesn't maximize their return on investment is laughable. You don't stay in business and grow your business by intentionally avoiding profits to satisfy your own emotions.

ESPN may do a lousy job with NASCAR, but it makes no sense that they would intentionally craft their product offerings to do anything other than maximize profits.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Matt, your contention is that journalism on ESPN is dead and that there is no need for credibility, only promotion?

Anonymous said...

I watched that broadcast and you nailed it precisely. I was thinking: what is this guy's problem? Is he incompetent or just hates racing?


Matt TSB said...

If that maximises profits, yeah, I guess so!

My points are two.

First, the media and information landscape has changed in was that were barely, if it all imaginable when that picture was taken. The information that Sportscenter provided then is available faster from other sources now, and they can't do now what they did then as there is no need for it.

Second, succesful, profitable companies are not known for leaving money on the table becasue it suits their own tastes.

They did 45 seconds on the Stanley Cup finals on this weeks "Sports Reporters" despite John Saunders being Canadian and Bob Ryan being on. Is that because they hate hockey, or because the US Open was playing, and there were other stories that they judged people would be more interested in?

How would leading with and spending a lot of time on golf help ESPN, since the final two rounds were on NBC?

Anonymous said...

Great column, JD, I didn't realize you were still writing it. And we even have issues chasing down Nascar Now let alone watching SC. This is really VickyD in Houston but I couldn't remember my google password I haven't accessed it in so long.