Wednesday, December 14, 2011

SiriusXM Stand-Off With Turner Sports Continues

Since the two NASCAR news TV shows went dark, fans have been asking questions about SiriusXM Satellite radio. It usually happens this way every year.

Let's talk about SiriusXM and NASCAR content. The Motor Racing Network (MRN) is owned by NASCAR and has been around for a very long time. MRN supplies the content for SiriusXM during the weekdays from a studio based near the Charlotte Motor Speedway. SiriusXM and MRN just re-upped for several years on this contract.

Satellite radio has limitations. Originally intended for motor vehicles, it can also be heard using a portable SiriusXM receiver if there is the ability to get a signal. Recently, SiriusXM has been moving toward addressing distribution issues by paying for online access.

Click here to view the SiriusXM page that discusses the options for getting a signal using laptops, tablets and smart phones. As you can see from the many choices, when it comes to getting a SiriusXM signal on your portable devices, there certainly is an app for that.

While all that is well and good, NASCAR brings with it some issues. "Off-Season Priority: Online Streaming of SiriusXM NASCAR" was a TDP column from December of 2009. Click here to read it.

In a nutshell, here is the scoop. NASCAR sold the online rights to the sport, including the audio content, to Turner Sports as part of the deal allowing Turner to operate the website. If SiriusXM wants to stream the NASCAR channel it distributes online, it has to pay Turner.

It seems ironic that Turner and SiriusXM cannot simply agree to revenue share and see if they can grow the business by adding the NASCAR channel online. Turner does not offer anything that conflicts and certainly SiriusXM could use the exposure. In the end, SiriusXM says Turner wants too much and Turner says pay up.

As is so often the case, the loser in all of this is the fans. If SiriusXM was available online the sport would be better off. I know the issues with "shills" and company men, but that is something any sports radio channel has to deal with. Everyone has a perspective and sometimes it is paycheck related.

SiriusXM features guests of all kinds on the weekday shows, often adding them on the fly as news is breaking or events happening in the sport. The real news source for NASCAR is Twitter and SiriusXM. Twitter provides instant information and links to website pages. Sirius allows those involved in the stories to speak their peace.

While ESPN and SPEED shifted their NASCAR TV news programs into terrible timeslots in the heart of the 2011 season, SiriusXM just kept on chugging day after day with news, interviews and opinions. Love it or hate it, SiriusXM's NASCAR coverage was consistent, live and on target.

We have two months or so before things crank back up on the racing side. It certainly would be nice to hear that the parties involved in this conflict have resolved their differences and put the sport and the fans first this time.

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