Monday, August 29, 2011

Tuesday TV/Media Notes

You know it's going to be an interesting media week when the news of Hurricane Irene damage is mixed with the announcement that Headline News anchor Nancy Grace will be on Dancing With The Stars.

Reports are that none of the East Coast racetracks involved in hosting major NASCAR events sustained any damage. Pretty rare moment in time to face both an earthquake and a Hurricane within days.

Speaking of earthquakes, Richmond International Raceway has the Wonderful Pistachios brand as the sponsor of its upcoming Sprint Cup Series race. The spokesperson for that brand is going to be the honorary starter and wave the green flag for the race.

Most of you are familiar with Nicole Polizzi by her nickname of Snooki. Yep, the controversial star of The Jersey Shore is going to mount the starter's stand and wave the green flag on 43 Sprint Cup Series cars. Click here if you are not of the current MTV generation and would like to meet the spokesperson.

Earlier this season, many fans enjoyed a TV special called The Day: Remembering Dale Earnhardt. SPEED aired this special produced by The NASCAR Media Group back in February. This Thursday at 8PM ET, another show in the same type of tribute style will air on the network.

The Day: 1992 Hooters 500 will be a special recalling the amazing group of stories surrounding that race in Atlanta. Richard Petty's final race, Jeff Gordon's debut and a championship that came down to the final laps made for a memorable day of racing.

Veteran crew chief Tony Gibson was heading up the rag-tag team for driver Alan Kulwicki. "We were the underdogs, we were the underbirds and we did it,” said Gibson. "We went out and beat these guys with multi-million dollar sponsorships. Here is this group of guys that pushed lawn mowers all day long and we go out and win this championship. It'll never be done like that again."

Some interesting NASCAR marketing news came down this week. Mike Myers wrote about a new initiative that involves 12 colleges. Click here for the full article at Q4G.

Here are some excerpts:

NASCAR has teamed up with University Directories on Campus (UDOC) said to be the leading media and marketing company on US college campuses. Their plan is “designed to engage college students by establishing unique NASCAR events on campus and at the track. With the assistance of two brand ambassadors per school, NASCAR will be integrated into the college lifestyle.”

"NASCAR and the social component of watching and attending races lends itself very nicely to the college lifestyle," said NASCAR Chief Marketing Officer Steve Phelps. "NASCAR U CREW will allow us to interact with college students across the country in a fun and relevant way, giving our current fans the avenue to express their passion and our future fans the vehicle to experience the sport."

It should be interesting to see how the NASCAR U CREW is received.

Saturday night in Bristol was tough to watch on TV due to the amount of commercials inserted during green flag laps. Jayksi reports the total broadcast time was 184 minutes. That total was comprised of 132 minutes of coverage mixed with 52 minutes of commercials.

ESPN will return the same broadcast team for this weekend in Atlanta. Marty Reid will call the Nationwide Series race while Allen Bestwick will handle the Cup race. This weekend both races are under the lights. ESPN2 Saturday night at 7PM for the Nationwide telecast and Sunday on ESPN at 6:30PM for the big boys.

When ESPN's Dale Jarrett was driving, he was deeply involved with UPS. Remember "The Big Brown Truck" ads and marketing campaign? Click here to see the most recent UPS move in sports. Former NASCAR executive George Pyne has snagged UPS and created a major college sports package for his company, IMG.

Keep an eye on UPS and the continuing commitment to NASCAR after the current contract expires with Roush Racing at the end of this season.

Finally, you may have noticed that NASCAR Now is again taking it on the chin this week. Rather than move the 5PM airing over to ESPNEWS, the early show is preempted for the early rounds of the US Open Tennis coverage. The solo airing for NASCAR Now is early morning East Coast time.

As we mentioned a short time ago, it's a double-whammy for the series. Starting in September, NASCAR Now will be pushed back to a 3PM timeslot while ESPN's own Sports Nation show will take over 5PM permanently. Tough demotion for a series in year five.

Happy to have your comments on any of these topics. Just click on the comments button below.


glenc1 said...

I look forward to "The Day". I was not a full time race fan back then, but I was watching that one. Never forget the "King" in his 'modified'.

I don't see how Snooki (I don't watch the show) is any worse than some vice president of marketing or whatever. Of all the jobs, though, that's the one I would want, waving the flag. Lucky her. All for being an obnoxious NYer (someone told me they're mostly from the city, not NJ, but I really don't know.) All I know is MTV hasn't showed videos in years but they still give out awards. Crazy stuff.

Vince said...

So is this NASCAR U CREW gonna involve scantily clad females and beer? I can see it now.

JD you need to change that picture of Nancy Grace to something else. My scream of terror when I saw it scared the dog.

Roland said...

Of all the celebrities/athletes/media people Nancy Grace is the person I like the least. How anyone so mean and ruthless can be successful is beyond me. I dont give 2 lugnuts about dancing with the stars and I wont watch.

Forget waterboarding, make the terrorists watch Nancy Grace paired with Marty Reid for Dancing and play by play. America will never be safer.

As for Snooki waving the green? Sure why not. Exposure is exposure.

The Day has been a great series. Would love to see them expand it and maybe do a special on May 1, 1994 when Senna was killed.

As for marketing Nascar to college students, nice try. Im 20, Im a junior in college. No one my age enjoys Nascar, and I live in the south. I dont care how many posters you put up around college campuses, college students my age arent interested in "rednecks driving in circles".Youd be surprised the hatred for our sport by "normal" people my age. I had to stop wearing my Nascar shirts to college cause it was kinda embarrasing. People instantly thought you were a redneck. Im not a redneck, hell I listen to Foo Fighters and Green Day and have never hunted in my life. I applaud them for trying to break the stereotypes my generation has for Nascar, but its not going to work. Sorry but thats the truth.

KoHoSo said...

I was originally going to write about how awful it is that Snooki is going to wave the green flag at RIR. After thinking about it, I'm glad she is there because she will almost certainly be interviewed in the infield studio and make more coherent and meaningful statements than Rusty Wallace. :-D

saltsburgtrojanfan said...


That post was hilarious

Anonymous said...

I look forward to "The Day" as well. I hope it's a regular segment.

LOL Vince! Poor doggie!

So that's what "Kevin" has been up to :). Will be interesting to see how this works out. That seems to be the demographics TV keeps shoving down our throats they want, so we'll see if this marketing gets them in.

Sally said...

It's even more humiliating than being bumped to 3 PM. I tried to tape the Monday NN, and instead ended up with some poker players. So, no matter what they announce, trying to find the program is a crapshoot.

Anonymous said...

I've been greatly disapointed in Nascar Now for some time now. If the Monday edition is on at its normal time, I always watch it. As far as I'm concerned, the rest of the week is a mindless rehash of material we've seen many times. I frequently watch the Hub,especially on Mon days and Tuesdays (Jimmy Spencer is hilarious). My problem with all the pre race and post race programming is that all the programs latch on to one topic and just relentlessly beat the crap out of it.With every race, there's a major story that gets over done. Now its the #2 car being a threat to win the Chase. Then it was Brad's broken ankle. Then it was the Menard families long involvement in racing. Then it was Trevor Bayne's Daytona win. It was Hamlin's knee problems with Carl Edwards on crutches. With each one of these topics, they just rehash the situation endlessly. Now, I just watch the Race. Sorry to vent so early in the morning, but our sick, very old dog woke us early today.

MRM4 said...

I thought DWTS reached the bottom by adding Nancy Grace. But now they've added Chaz Bono and found another Kardashian. I'm glad I don't watch that crap.

Anonymous said...

Sirius satellite radio - NASCAR channel. Rick Benjamin needs to go. He got upset with Clint Bowyer last week over a discussion on contract talks. Said Bowyer is a premier driver in the spotlight and "needs to put on his bigboy pants" and handle it.

Benjamin is the only host who berates fans and callers and cuts them short. His demeanor is unlike any other host on the Sirius NASCAR channel. Has anyone else noticed this or is it just me ?

GinaV24 said...

Man, I have to remember to set my DVR for Speed on thursday. These programs are really well done.

Geez, I know who Snooki is only by reputation (i don't watch the show either). How absolutely wonderful for her -- Oh well, I'll skip watching the pre-race crap, watch the cars come to the green and ignore the nonsense in the starter stand. I'm a born and raised NJ girl and people like her give us a bad name.

Nascar Now -- oh you mean the show that I have to chase around ESPN's other programming? Not going to do it. RaceHub is on every night at 7 p.m. - I can always find it. That works for me. Love AB but ESPN not so much

hannahanderson7 said...

Being a college student myself, I have found it hard to get my friends into the sport. However, I have taken some of my sorority sisters (!!!) to the track and they have fallen in love with Nascar. It's almost impossible for someone to become a fan just from watching it on TV, but going to the track and staying in the infield over the weekend is a way to make anyone become a fan.

The strategy this "U CREW" is going to be participating in will not work, unless they promise college students free food and free beer, but even then they will not become loyal fans. The way to get these students involved is to send them to the track and have them experience the fun first hand.

Jayhawk said...


Please do not say things like that when I am drinking coffee while reading things on my computer. It hurts my nose and my budget for new keyboards is limited.

Buschseries61 said...

Roland - Nancy Grace paired with Marty Reid, hilarious!

I have the same situation at college here in NY. It is rare to see 'professional' men and women into NASCAR here. College kids just don't care about the sport either - unless you travel closer to Riverhead. Baseball, football, hockey & basketball are popular instead. All the NASCAR promotions, t-shirts & gear have been gone for half a decade unless you travel to small die-cast stores out east. NASCAR has a lot of work to do to catch this age group.

Anon 8:57 - I was on vacation last summer without cable tv & happened to listen to Benjamin & Chocolate Meyers. It was horrible. Rick would speak over callers that didn't have his viewpoint. He was convinced the sport was as great as it's ever been. So he carried a negative attitude towards callers that wished NASCAR would go back to it' roots. He's another: 'if you don't like _____, you're not a fan of NASCAR.' I've never listened to his show again.

James said...

GINA V 24 . Happy to see you made it through the storm. North of you got clobbered. I hope Rusty has his arm around BRAD when he departs. It would not surprise me if SNOOKY gets an analyst job, she would fit right in.

Darcie said...

Just wondering...does Snookie know the difference between splitter and a tire iron? I wonder if she can name at least 5 drivers? Probably not. But if you ask her to name five alcohol beverages, she'd pass with flying colors.

As for the U Crew, give me a break. Unless it involves copious amounts of alcohol and putting the Sprint girls in bikinis, forget it. It's a stupid move. Of course if this U Crew thing includes free tickets to the races, free beer and food, you're not going to get any interest. College kids, at least at my alma mater Wisconsin, only care about the football, hockey and basketball teams. You're not going to infuse any interest in Nascar, especially at schools where the stick and ball sports rule the day.

Love "The Day" especially this new one focusing on one of my favorite drivers, Alan Kulwicki, Mr Polish Lap, himself. Should be an excellent show.

KoHoSo said...


If it makes you feel any better, I have spent many a day cleaning off my monitor due to some of the hilarious comments made here. We're going to have to ask JD put up a warning or something. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I took a look at the list of schools that are "participants" in this lunacy of U Crew and I can't see any of the kids at those schools being interested. U of New Hampshire? Get serious. U of Delaware? Come on. The U's of Kansas, North Carolina and Illinois will be too busy with their sports teams, especially basketball. I agree with the author of the original article who says the whole thing sounds lame, especially the name of the thing. Nascar is grasping at straws here.

Anonymous said...

@ anon & Buschseries61 - I love my Sirius radio and the NASCAR channel. Most of the programming is great but I have to agree, the Tradin' Paint show at 11 am is the low point. You guys are spot on regarding Rick Benjamin and Chocolate Myers is a big NASCAR & RCR cheerleader. Neither of them handle the callers well at all. They do not encourage different points of view - it's their way or you get cut off.

Granted, on these call in shows there are some callers who are from outer space but the other hosts have the flair to handle them in a humorous manner.

Kudos to the other shows but Tradin Paint is due for a revamp.

John in Chico said...

DWTS, watched maybe 5 minutes of the first show and heard groaning from the Better Half, changed the channel and haven’t been back since. Caught a segment of Nancy Grace on the former Headline News, now known as HLN. HLN is no longer a news outlet and is filled with screaming (Talking) heads. And Ms. Grace’s abuse of her guests, even more reason to not watch the show.
Snooki, do not watch MTV, MTV doesn’t show music videos and well, I don’t care what they do, we don’t watch.
College students and NASCAR, when I got my drivers license I couldn’t wait to get a car. I had a nothing job but it was enough to buy a cheap car for a few hundred bucks, insurance was cheap enough to afford and of course gasoline was cheap enough to fill up the tank for less than $5. Out here in the west, Northern California if you don’t have a car, back then or now, you’re in big trouble getting around. You have to have personal transportation. Cars, even cheap used cars cost thousands of dollars these days, insurance, tires and gas are for those that have good jobs and lots of money. All of the above do not match a college students ability to purchase and operate a car, besides the fact that a new driver has to deal with some very aggressive and rude, if not threatening drivers.
None of the above makes for car nuts that we were and are. How many people that live in NYC and other Eastern large cities have cars? We’ve watched the Cash Cab show and it looks like there are more cabs than personal cars. Besides where do people park, without going broke paying for a parking spot?
Where in all of that do the car nuts and racing fans come from?
NASCAR Now, yep, it was to come on a 9pm here and what did I get after a replay of a tennis match? A riveting (presumably repeat) of a card game. More of the same from ESPN. Stick and ball, stick and ball, stick and ball and the occasional poker game. Riveting, exciting.
And people expected more? What, NASCAR should preempt a repeat of a poker game? Blasphemous….
The DVR is set, if it gets poker then we don’t get to watch and whoever was advertising on that show did not get to us.
Again the ONLY reason I have EVER watched ESPN is for is motor sports, Sports Center? Never watched, stick and ball. I had enough watching Bonds, Maguire and the bash brothers pump themselves up with drugs, not interested in taking time to watch cheaters and thugs and then have Sports Center glorify them.
Just some thoughts from a car nut.

Anonymous said...

You know what's funny? I know people that are actually going to tune into the race just to see Snooki there. lol

Anonymous said...

Like many others here, Snooki is of no interest to me. Name recognition is only slightly above zero. As far as I know, she has no discernible talent or skill. She is famous for being famous. I guess Andy Warhol was right: Everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.

If all of Snooki's fans tune in, NASCAR's problems will be over as they lock up the MTV generation. And if all the fans of pistachios tune in as well, the France family will need a new fleet of trucks to haul their money to the bank.

NASCAR's program to raise interest in college students is dead on arrival. I haven't heard anything this lame since Indy Car announced they were going to promote the series with the Gene Simmons song "I Am Indy". I'm sure Simmons cashed his check, but the results for the series were less than spectacular. Some promotional company will cash the check from NASCAR for the college program, and the results will be the same as Indy Car. By the way, when is the last time you heard someone humming "I Am Indy"?

The remarks regarding UPS sound ominous to me. It sounds like UPS may stop sponsoring an individual car and move to the sanctioning body. If so, it will be added to the list of sponsors who have been siphoned away from race teams and put in NASCAR's pocket. NASCAR can always be counted on to go for the short term gain at the expense of the long term health of the sport.

If you need an illustration of maximizing short term gain at the expense of long term health of the sport, just look at the present television contract. Brian sits back and counts his money while the sport slowly sinks, thanks in part to the terrible broadcasts of races.

Don said...

Glad to see that Atlanta race being highlighted. It remains the most memorable race I've ever seen.

Who owns the NASCAR broadcasts and why do I have to wait for these specials. They have DVD sets of every crappy TV show that's ever been broadcast; where's the memorable races series? There's a special season wrap-up DVD being hawked the day after a Super Bowl/World Series win. Where's the NASCAR championship reel?

Anonymous said...

NASCAR U CREW ?? Yet another absurd, crazy, far fetched, lame brain marketing idea from BZF and his "team" of experts.

GinaV24 said...

and if we are going to talk about Nancy Grace, ugh, well, talk about a pit bull. I haven't watched DWTS often but sometimes it would be fun, but with that cast of characters, I won't be watching DWTS this year at all.

dear heavens, that woman is just plain mean and vindictive. I agree with vince - when I see her face on TV, it makes me want to scream

Jonathan said...

Do you think UPS will stay with Nascar that would suck if not

Anonymous said...

George Pyne -IMG grabs UPS away ?

Mark Dyer - IMG now handling Danica Patrick ?

Both of these guys use to be BZF's right hand men but bailed on NASCAR.

Aside from Mike Helton - it's clear that all of Brian France's executive staff have no sense of the sport.

52yr. fan said...

Great column JD! Looks like the
myriad of marketing geniuses at
NA$CAR are grabbing at straws again to enhance their stale product.

As I commented yesterday, the ratio of racing to commercials continues to fall. It would be interesting if someone with previous years of data would do a calculation of the declining race viewing time compared to the declining viewership. I'm sure NA$CAR has the data but it probably is clouded by all their trips to the bank.

Vicky D said...

NN taking it on the chin? That's an understatement. Even when we recorded the show it was poker instead of a show about Nascar racing. And a comment abouty DWTS that I have never watched, there are sure more interesting stars on it this year I saw mentioned on yahoo.

Palmetto said...

I don't know who Nancy Grace, Snooki, or Rick Benjamin are, and the comments by the other Planeteers don't make me burn with desire to find out. Darcie, if she can't name five drivers then she'll be know different from half a dozen others who have given the command this year.

hannahanderson, many of us face the same obstacle and find the same solution: if you can just get them to the track, you've got 'em. I start potential fans with a Truck or Nationwide race. The tickets are cheaper, the races are shorter, and there are usually more wrecks (which newbies enjoy until they learn to appreciate rubbin' without wreckin').

JD, thanks for the heads up on 'The Day'. I've already got the DVR set.

fabmaster said...

I'm curious as to why all you NASCAR haters complain about "they aren't doing enough to grow the future of the sport" Then complain when they announce this college program. They are trying something that hasn't (to my knowledge) been tried before. I know that from working in Drag Racing, there are those interested in Motorsports Marketing and they don't have many options geared to them. So they take sports marketing classes then have to intern somewhere to learn the motorsports side.

As a business owner myself I can tell you that I have tried many things that failed. But I have NEVER succeeded when I didn't try something.


Anonymous said...

I don't really have an issue with NASCAR giving it the old college try. I don't have much hope...but you never know.

Palmetto, she's only waving the flag, so far as I've read.

John in Chico...I'm not a car person. Not a gearhead, don't mess with cars, not loyal to one brand, just take them in & keep them running. Just a way to get places. Yet I am still a race fan. I don't play football but I like to watch. And where are all those Northern Californian fans? Can barely keep Fontana open. Owning a car has NOTHING to do with being a race fan.

sbaker17 said...

And I quote:
"Yep, the controversial star of The Jersey Shore is going to mount the starter's stand..."

From what I gather, she has mounted just about everything else :)

Anonymous said...

That recent post about Snooki is right on. I ever watched Snooki on TV, but there's material on the internet where she demonstrates her acting talents. On the serious side, I wish Nascar and the Media would emphasize RACING and not hype. Here's hopin'....

Anonymous said...

Rick Benjamin - great motorsports knowledge, good TV guy but NOT cut out for talk radio.

SD80MAC said...

Snooki will almost certainly be able to provide more coherent and substantive commentary than Rusty or Brad in the infield studio.

I would like to see Nancy Grace go after Kyle Busch every time he intentionally wrecks a car that is in his way.

The NASCAR U Crew is going to be a waste of money. The way to get the college crowd involved with NASCAR would be to give them weekend passes to the infield campground with a big supply of free beer and food.

Anonymous said...

FABMASTER at 7:38 on 8/30/11 -
I am one of the people who scoff at NASCAR's program to attract college students and commented to that effect above. I think that you misunderstand my motives and those of others.

I WANT NASCAR to succeed. I WANT the sport to be financially healthy for all the participants. I WANT the sport to grow steadily or at least maintain its current level of fans. I WANT the sport to be respected. I WANT the fans to be respected. Those are the reasons fans read TDP and bother to make comments.

However, that doesn't mean that I have to make happy talk and blindly suppport everything that NASCAR management does. In this case, NASCAR is going to spend a limited amount of money to grow the fan base through special programs. It's not like there will be an unlimited amount of money to fund hundreds of different programs. The university program looks like it is doomed to failure, and I would rather see NASCAR spend its money on some program that had a better chance of success.

NASCAR management frequently demonstrates its lack of understanding of its fan base. I think some of it may be a generational issue, but other things make it appear that management only sees the sport as a product to sell. It appears that most of management doesn't really watch the sport or see it through the eyes of the fans. And at some level and in spite of what they say, they do not respect the fans.

Fake debris cautions to manipulate a race may be the most obvious example. Someone in power thinks fans are too dense to notice, and the practice only disgusts fans and drives them away. Secret disciplinary action involving fines and probation also alienates fans. Allowing a few cup drivers to dominate the Nationwide series continues to push many fans away. NASCAR's reaction to social media also suggests that management is detached and just doesn't get it.

I see the university program as just the latest example of NASCAR's detachment. I don't think they know how to attract and hold the interest of this generation of college students because they don't really understand them.

I see no value or merit in encouraging someone about to embark on a foolish venture.