Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Another NASCAR Online Hurdle Falls
In the midst of Wednesday's breaking NFL news about Tebow, Manning and suspensions there was one little sports news item that you may have missed.
After years of haggling over contracts, payments and Internet rights another key hurdle in NASCAR's digital transition has fallen. The SiriusXM NASCAR channel will now be streamed online for all types of computers and smart phones. In our little world, this story is huge.
It's been six long years of hitting NASCAR, Turner Sports and the SiriusXM gang over the head with a big stick. Turner Sports owned the rights and wanted to get paid. SiriusXM had little cash on-hand but yearned for a larger audience. NASCAR just shrugged and pointed to the contracts. It was a classic media stand-off.
It was January of this year when things began to change. "NASCAR Regains Digital Rights" was a TDP column that documented the radical move by NASCAR of finally stepping-in and buying Turner Sports out of the old digital rights contract.
The ramifications of this move continued Wednesday with the announcement that NASCAR's SiriusXM channel was expanding availability through online streaming.
Here are some excerpts from the announcement:
Sirius XM Radio and NASCAR announced today an agreement to simulcast the programming on the SiriusXM NASCAR Radio channel in its entirety – which includes live broadcasts of every national series race, plus daily NASCAR talk – online for SiriusXM subscribers nationwide.
Starting with this weekend’s races in Fontana, CA (March 24-25), subscribers who have SiriusXM Internet Radio access can listen to live broadcasts of every NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on the SiriusXM NASCAR radio channel through their computers at siriusxm.com and through the SiriusXM Internet Radio App for smartphone and wireless devices.
The channel’s daily talk programming will begin simulcasting online on Thursday, March 22. Throughout the season, NASCAR fans get a daily lineup of call-in talk shows that feature up-to-the-moment news, expert analysis and interviews with the biggest names in the sport.
“Extending our broadcasting agreement with SiriusXM was a big off season move for the sport,” said Brian France, Chairman and CEO of NASCAR. “A dedicated NASCAR channel is important for our teams, tracks, drivers and sponsors and is crucial for fan engagement and audience growth. Being able to simulcast SiriusXM NASCAR Radio online to subscribers nationwide will allow us additional opportunities to take our product to new fans in new places.”
“SiriusXM NASCAR Radio has become a part of many NASCAR fans’ daily lives and with so many fans now connecting to their sport through handheld devices, we want to give them an easy way to access the sport they love online and in mobile settings,” said Scott Greenstein, SiriusXM’s President and Chief Content Officer. “NASCAR is an excellent partner and its programming continues to be a key element in the SiriusXM lineup. We’re very pleased to now deliver to our subscribers live coverage of every race broadcast, plus our unparalleled daily talk and analysis, through their computers and mobile devices in addition to their satellite radios.”
Are there still some issues to overcome and some bugs to work out? Of course there are. Purchasing SiriusXM just for NASCAR is not possible, it's a package deal. Ultimately, it is now up to SiriusXM and the NASCAR program producers to get new fans to migrate to the service with quality content. A free trial period would be a nice touch as a start.
In the past several weeks, we have seen both the Motor Racing Network (MRN) and the Performance Racing Network (PRN) expand online to offer streaming from both their respective websites and through a variety of easily available radio apps. Suddenly, races and featured weekly programs were not just limited to the radio.
The new announcement of SiriusXM's NASCAR channel now joining that group with online access is a final step in having all the "radio" coverage of the sport available to fans through a variety of devices, including smart phones.
Before we turn our attention again to the online video and television topics, it's just nice to be able to take a moment and enjoy the fact that finally the sport seems to be moving in the right direction where digital technology is concerned.
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