Saturday, February 25, 2012
Post-Race Part Two
ESPN got into the act with an abbreviated post-race show after SPEED did the same in leaving the Camping World Truck Series on Friday night. ESPN had a whopper of a Nationwide Series tilt on Saturday afternoon with mangled machinery and lots of stories to pay off.
What these two networks have in common is that they both cover these respective series exclusively. It was NASCAR's intention that these two support series would benefit from being on only one network for the entire season.
SPEED left without speaking to lots of folks for the debut of the Car Warriors show. It was thirty minutes later than scheduled, but it was the network itself that scheduled it after a live event. There is absolutely no guarantee that a race will end at a specific time.
ESPN had a big ACC college basketball game ready to go as the Nationwide Series race dealt with a late red flag period for SAFER barrier adjustments after an accident. The race telecast ran past the tip-off, so ESPN started the game on the ESPN3.com website.
After the race surprise winner James Buescher, shown above, got the checkered flag. But it was what happened on the last lap that made the network's hasty escape annoying. Granted, this race was something of a mess but that is the nature of the beast at Daytona.
One driving force behind the discontent with post-race shows is social media. NASCAR race information is available on almost a real time stream on Twitter and a slower but more informative platform on Facebook. These two content streams often reflect what is going on at the track and the resulting frustration is that the network TV coverage has long since departed.
A lot of folks have weighed in on this topic. As we mentioned, on one side is a fan base who just enjoyed a Nationwide Series race with free live scanners, a RaceBuddy video feed and top of the line network TV coverage. More post-race content would have updated the stories of the race.
On the other is those who believe the race is over when it's over. They feel it is not the TV network's responsibility to show an extended post-race for either the Trucks or Nationwide Series.
The point is that the Sprint Cup Series is already surrounded. Four hours of pre-race shows on three different networks precede every single race. Sunday, it will be five hours for the 500. After each race, SPEED offers multiple hours of recap shows while ESPN uses SportsCenter as a platform for post-race coverage.
Minutes after SPEED left the air on Friday, fans were posting pictures on social media of the hole torn in the frontstretch catchfence after the big crash on the closing laps. The network never updated this situation. Questions were being asked about fan injuries or the situation for the race on Saturday.
After the Nationwide Series race, fans were asking if their favorite drivers were OK after the big crash. Also, they asked for a full field rundown and why Danica Patrick did not talk to ESPN after her crash.
In a way, fans asking for more live post-race TV coverage is a great sign. Interest in both series was solid heading into this first race and the action in both races certainly was exciting. The question is, how should post-race live coverage be delivered?
Neither the trucks or the Nationwide Series have the post-race press conference for the winners streamed at NASCAR.com like the Cup Series. SPEED has no weekly TV support show about the trucks and ESPN has never had one for the Nationwide Series.
We have seen both SPEED and ESPN stream content online before with great success. The problem is that type of content is scheduled in advance. The very nature of NASCAR is still at the core of the issue. Once the green flag flies, the time of the checkered flag is anyone's guess.
This is the final season for the NASCAR.com website to be operated by Turner Sports. Next year, NASCAR itself will be in charge and that should result in some major changes. Post-race content has to be high on the list as this topic has been debated for several years now.
If you watched the ESPN Nationwide Series telecast, did you get the feeling they rushed off the air? What stories or information did you miss? If ESPN has shifted coverage online would you have watched? How about some suggestions on how to handle this situation in the future?
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