Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wednesday: TV/Media Question And Answer Session

It's been a whirlwind off-season for the NASCAR TV and media folks. We have also raised some new topics that have been hotly debated since the season ended.

Here are some items of interest. Feel free to add your opinions and questions in the comments section of this post. All questions will be answered ASAP with some help from our friends in the media.

SPEED will resume NASCAR TV with Daytona testing in mid-January. We are being told that the RaceHub series will return in the last week of January, but no time has been passed along.

The network has a new interim president named Scott Ackerson. A TV production veteran, Ackerson gets SPEED without Patti Wheeler present and is said to have been meeting with various staff members to get a feeling for the network's issues.

Sports Business Journal reporters John Ourand and Tripp Mickle published a story that NASCAR is going to buy back its digital (online) rights from Turner Sports. This move is said to be completed for the 2013 season and will reportedly cost over 25 million dollars.

NBC announced that the Super Bowl will be streamed online for the first time this year. NASCAR and FOX Sports continue to be at odds over any potential streaming of the Daytona 500. In the next TV contract, look for online streaming of live content to be a key element.

NASCAR's official satellite radio partner is SiriusXM. NASCAR owning digital rights could swing the door open to making the weekday NASCAR shows available on smart phone, tablets and laptops via streaming. How that deal would work is still up in the air.

Several veteran journalists have raised the issue of just how much reporting and healthy debate about issues in the sport will go on in 2013 if NASCAR itself is running the website from its HQ in Charlotte, NC.

Right now NASCAR has a digital chief, a marketing/PR chief and a VP dedicated to television operations. It will be up to these three players to craft a working agreement on how to most effectively cover the sport 24/7 online beginning in just one more year.

Michael Waltrip has been very active online during the off-season. This multi-car team owner will soon be moving into the Hollywood Hotel and sitting alongside his older brother Darrell for the NASCAR on FOX coverage. Waltrip will also retain his duties with SPEED as an analyst for the truck series.

The debate has already begun about how an active owner is going to offer analysis on teams, drivers and incidents in a series in which he has a major financial stake. Issues arise that require strong opinions and Waltrip is going to be facing a new situation where it's not going to be hard for fans of drivers to wave the conflict of interest flag when they are called out on TV.

ESPN has been silent on the future of Marty Reid. He was removed from the Sprint Cup Series telecasts on the network in the week before the first race. While he handles duties on the Nationwide Series telecasts down the stretch, ESPN does not cover the Sprint Cup Series until July. Since Allen Bestwick moved into the Lead Announcer role, we should find out what Reid is going to be doing for ESPN this season shortly.

Finally, the debate that just won't die is the absence of any live studio news programming from SPEED this off-season. Repeats of old shows highlight the primetime schedule even as the NASCAR and the motorsports world in general continue to generate big news stories on almost a daily basis.

The emergence of social media as a key pipeline for this information has made the lack of news programming on SPEED stick out like a sore thumb. Although SPEED threw together one special show after Kurt Busch departed Penske, nothing else has followed during the off-season.

We invite your comments on these topics and your questions on anything related to TV or media in NASCAR or motorsports. We will try to get answers ASAP and invite you to check back during the day on Wednesday as these Q&A sessions usually get rather interesting. Thanks again for stopping by.


Buschseries61 said...

Thanks for keeping up with all the news, JD. You've outpaced Jayski with some stories. The internet has saved NASCAR from dead TV.

When RaceHub comes back at the end of January, all the news already revealed and soon to be revealed the next few weeks will be such old news they might as well not even bother trying to review it.

As for ESPN, they have been completely tuned out of NASCAR silly season. The ESPN casual NASCAR viewers that checked out with ESPN at Homestead will be baffled by the landscape of the sport in 2012. That requires a recap of the winter. Whoever writes the script for the first show of the season needs a nice Christmas gift.

ESPN will answer a lot of questions when they discuss Reid's fate and Carl Edwards' placement in the broadcasts.

Bill said...

Speaking of conflict of interest in the Hollywood Hotel, there will be even more over at ESPN.

What I want to know is, if a Roush-owned car wins a Nationwide race, will Carl Edwards do a backflip off the Tim Brewer cutaway car?

DaveM4210 said...

When Speed's TV coverage resumes for the Daytona testing on January 12, folks that do not use the internet and do not listen to SiriusXM are going to be so far out of the loop that it will take most of the first day of coverage for Speed to bring them back up to date on all of the changes. Speed really should restart Race Hub on January 9 or 10, then do a follow up on the 16th. For the next couple of weeks, they could cut back to a half hour until a week or 2 before the Bud Shootout. They SHOULD be doing daily half hour shows now, and next week between Christmas and New Year's Day. The SiriusXM NASCAR weekday programs are going to be live next week instead of going to "Best of..." like they did Thanksgiving Day weekend. Speed will have live coverage of the Barrett Jackson auction January 17 to 22, but I think the big NASCAR media events are that same weekend, and should be given coverage.

Kudos to Scott Ackerson for meeting with staffers at Speed, but I hope he is reading this web page deep into older posts! Hopefully Byrnes and company are giving him an ear full on the lack of NASCAR news coverage!

Anonymous said...

It would be great to be able to listen to the Sirius Nascar channel at work

Vicky D said...

And I am hoping that ESPN moves Nascar Now back to the later time and stick with that. It was so frustrating trying to follow them when they made changes to the broadcast - where's Waldo today? I don't like the idea of DW being in the booth, like I didn't like the idea of RW there either. I also liked your comment, Bill. My word verification is ailingat wonder if that is writing about Nascar!

Anonymous said...

anything about what type of tire goodyear will make this year, will it be a softer tire that wears more like the drivers were asking for?

Daly Planet Editor said...

No word yet about Carl Edwards possible role on NNS telecasts from ESPN.

52 yr. fan said...

I still plan to watch DirectTV
Hot Pass; listen via the radio
starting at the green flag and
avoiding all things Wallace and
Waltrip. Don't we deserve professional announcers like other

w17scott said...

Mr Editor -
@Bill and @52yrfan - likewise ...kudos for ferreting out off-season news and keeping us in the loop ...SPEED could 'steal the show' with a 30-min weekday broadcast ...guess my verification word "suedes" fits NASCAR giving the boot to Turner, but should represent FOX squashing DW and MW from its broadcasts and ESPN ousting RW ...I'd accept either, hopefully both, as a late Christmas gift ...JD, keep on keeping-on

Roland said...

Any idea if MRN and PRN will be able to stream their coverage online next year? Or will it be another year of searching on tunein and iheartradio? PRN has a great post race show with Randy Lajoie that I would love to hear.

Daly Planet Editor said...


That will not be until 2013 at the earliest.

DaveM4210 said...

Here we are with another day of big news events taking place in the NASCAR World, and no TV coverage. Hopefully Speed, since they did the special Race Hub show when Kurt Busch got booted from the Penske 22 Dodge, they will again today do a special edition and cover the 5pm press conference announcing A J Allmendinger as the new driver of the 22. If they do not, I will listen to it on Sirius XM NASCAR. SiriusXM is turning out to be the NASCAR Fan's Best Friend this winter!

bknotts said...

The complete lack of in-depth coverage of all the chaos in the off-season is asinine.

If this is the best the "broadcast partners" can do, NASCAR's future is in question. Find a new partner, or create your own (see: NHL)!

Buschseries61 said...

bknotts - So true! This offseason would have been amazing to follow on tv. There are still great storylines yet to be solved, like the shrinking opportunities Ragan & Busch have left to pursue in Cup.

It's amazing how fast Allmendinger was able to change rides. Pretty much until yesterday, Ragan was the lead candidate for the #22. I think Allmendinger was the better choice. I have to resort to twitter to find out the opinions of the NASCAR tv people.

Daly Planet Editor said...

No contact from SPEED on any kind of news program or special.

GinaV24 said...

JD, I have lots of questions - fortunately you've been able to answer most of them on this blog otherwise the NASCAR news is a barren wasteland.

It didn't used to be this way - they need to cater to more than the casual fans who may only be following the "chase" if they want to put butts in the seats at the tracks.

SnowdogBob said...

I never viewed television as the best way to keep up with racing news, whether speedway scene, grand national scene (winston cup scene), or Illustrated Speedway News. It was the newspapers that carried the racing news. (of course they're all gone now) Just like 8-track, cassettes and CDs will be a historical footnote between turntables/records and digital distribution (ala MP3) television racing news shows just can't keep pace with the transition to the web, facebook, and tweets. And when they attempt to integrate digital media in they don't pull it off well. Unless there's a car going around the track I don't need TV to follow racing.

Love the site JD, keep up the great work in the new year

Anonymous said...

JD, why is there such an absence of tv coverage? No buyers of advertisement, costs too high, not enough viewers, just management decisions to not do it, etc.? It just seems a nascar program, during the off season, would make a ton of money. Merry Christmas everyone! MC

DaveM4210 said...

Buschseries61, The Allmendinger move has been in the works for at least a week according to Lee Spencer on SiriusXM NASCAR this morning. He met with Shell, AAA and Dodge last week. Thanks to the lack of TV coverage and a lot of the media that covers NASCAR being on vacation, it apparently was easy to keep it secret.

Daly Planet Editor said...


ESPN could care less! They wrapped NASCAR Now Sunday night at Homestead.

Then, they flew Smoke to Bristol on Monday and walked him around ESPN with NO NASCAR PROGRAMMING ON THE AIR.

SPEED was trapped in a management tug of war. Now, things have been changed and the new prez should show us the direction they intend to follow soon.

The one thing SPEED should do immediately is get something on the air from the studio updating either the NASCAR or the general motorsports stories happening before Xmas.


Russ said...

As to Speed putting on a show with Nascar updates, wouldn't this just be rehashing old news?
I wonder how many people these days aren't already aware of whats been happening. And through blogs such as this one.