Monday, April 9, 2012

Can NASCAR Learn From The Masters?


Social media was dominated on Sunday by the saga of the final round of The Masters golf tournament. The stories of the day had been set-up during the three previous rounds of play and ultimately came down to a putt to win on extra holes under darkening skies.

While the story of Bubba Watson's win is a good one, there was another story being discussed on Twitter, Facebook and websites. CBS Sports was again presenting the tournament in a fashion that is rarely seen in today's sports television environment. Across the board, it was a hit.

It's been a rough go this season for the TV surrounding the Sprint Cup Series. Despite a popular champion, an Earnhardt in contention and the spectacle of high speed racing in High Definition there seems to be something missing.

Let's take a look at what CBS Sports did with The Masters and see if NASCAR TV can benefit from some of the fundamentals the network used to cover the tournament.

CBS treated TV viewers as intelligent adults. On-air conversation from analysts, reporters and hosts was informative and focused. The commentary served as a backdrop to the action, allowing the athletes to take center stage.

It was assumed that those watching knew the rules of the game. There was no pandering with explanations of the basics of golf. Any explanation of the rules came in reference to a specific incident that was clearly shown to the viewers.

During the live telecast, it was clear that the analysts had put time and effort into gathering facts about the conditions and specifics of the course that day. As the athletes moved through the holes, the comments from the analysts were specifically directed to the current issues being confronted.

Rarely did the announcers use their own specific experiences to reference the live competition in progress. Instead, issues confronted by the athletes were put in a broader frame of reference. Announcers spoke about general topics like emotion, the mechanics of a golf swing or the specifics of that part of the course.

Pictures selected to present to the TV audience kept a larger frame of reference. Images of play on the holes began with a wide perspective of the challenge ahead and moved tighter as each athlete continued through the field of play. It was easy for viewers to know who was where simply through the images shown on TV.

Tight shots were purposeful and used to drive home a dramatic moment without the loss of meaningful live content. Zooming to a tight shot clearly was meant to indicate to the viewer that something important was happening at that moment. The mix of subsequent replays allowed viewers to then see the larger perspective, including the emotions of the athletes.

Viewers did not get the sense that play was interrupted for commercials, even though that was the case for all commercials presented during play. There was a format in place that allowed for a story to be told in full and then a commercial was inserted before additional action was shown.

The announcers were focused on describing the action and then analyzing what happened. They suggested possible scenarios, watched the athletes play and then explained to viewers what had happened. There was a pattern that made the telecast comfortable to watch.

Regardless of experience level, championship history or nationality all competitors were treated equally. A good performance from a non-championship contender was celebrated equally as those playing for the win.

The agenda of the network was to feature athletes as the show, not promote the announcers as individual personalities. The on-air personalities instead gained credibility through providing effective and accurate commentary on the live action.

At no time were the announcers placed on-camera simply for the purpose of getting TV time. It was clear from the initial set-up at the beginning of the telecast where the on-air personalities were located. The challenge for the announcing team was to remain relevant with commentary alone.

After play concluded, the athletes were asked to provide their own opinions about key moments of their round. The reporters did not reference themselves, second guess decisions made by athletes or suggest reasons events occurred. It was simply up to the athlete to provide a first-person perspective on what viewers had seen earlier during play.

Finally, the winner was treated with respect and allowed to offer comments about topics important to him. The host knew what topics made sense to bring up and avoided those that did not. In the end, viewers were able to get a unique sense of perspective from the winning athlete's point of view.

CBS ultimately acted as a support staff for the athletes and event. Being consistent with graphics, pictures and commentary throughout the day resulted in the feeling that those producing the telecast were just as interested as the viewers in the outcome.

That connection between production team and viewer may be the best lesson of all. By simply letting the athletes perform under pressure, documenting their efforts and working hard to keep viewers informed the CBS team used a simple equation with big success.

Can NASCAR learn from The Masters? The Sprint Cup Series season resumes this weekend at the Texas Motor Speedway and runs for 14 straight weekends before taking a break. With the CBS production fresh in our minds, it should be interesting to see how fans react this weekend when the green flag drops.

We invite your comments on this topic. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. Thank you for taking the time to stop by The Daly Planet.

59 comments:

Anonymous said...

You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. The Master's coverage was excellent. All the great announcers have said, "It's all about the game, not me." You will never hear that, with a straight face, from nascar tv. MC

Charlie Spencer said...

JD, correct me if I'm wrong, but I recall there's one huge difference between this golf tournament and almost all other televised sports. Doesn't the Augusta National club pay for at least part the coverage itself? I thought the club received the sponsor dollars directly and then paid the network itself.

If I'm mistaken, it's obvious the club somehow manages to dictate to the network how to cover the event. The number of commercials is far less than during other PGA tournaments. The limited number of sponsors must be paying far more than average per minute to be associated, whether the money goes to CBS or the club. What makes Augusta National an 800-pound gorilla?

I have only one problem with the way The Masters is presented, and that complaint lies with the club and not with CBS. The presentation of the green jacket is one of the stodgiest, most anti-climactic ceremonies in sports. A closed room with no view the course, only a couple of club bigwigs, some wingback chairs, and a fireplace; it just sucks the life out of the finish. The winner and leading amateur usually look uncomfortable. The club used to present this trophy outside in front of the fans; the broadcast shows this in many of the historic highlights. I don't know why they changed, but the winner is now treated like the Ark of the Covenant in 'Raiders': out of sight and context in an obscure warehouse.

On to Texas, where we'll be bombarded by the broadcast crew with references to Hammond's bull riding and dozens of superfluous cowboy references. What a contrast.

PS - "tionfire irestar" would be a great name for an exotic female alien.

Rockin Rich said...

I am of the opinion that Augusta National has a great deal of influence on how this tournament is presented. Therein lies another lesson for the NASCAR management group.

Anonymous said...

JD really nailed it on this one with his lead-in. I don't play Golf and the Masters is the only Golf match I watch. I watched from Thursday until Sunday evening. Everyone involved in the broadcasts of Nascar racing could learn so much from the Masters broadcasts. The broadcasts were uniformly outstanding. They didn't tell me what the back nine was. If the narrators liked or disliked a golfer, I couldn't tell. At the end, no one said Bubba was their pick all along. The broadcast was always about the golf and not those holding the mic. Gone was the mind-numbing trivia you get from Mike Joy. The Masters was a classy and totally professional Sports broadcast.

Mickey McLean said...

The green jacket is re-presented to the winner in front of the fans (excuse me, "patrons") on the 18th green after the Butler Cabin ceremony.

Bobby said...

Agree on how Augusta National broadcasts their tournament. The club controls the broadcast entirely, with television restrictions (four minutes of commercials, and 18-hole coverage wasn't allowed until recently). They also control who is allowed in the booth, with one famous case of CBS having to remove a popular course reporter for what he called the greens on his hole assignment in the early 1990's. Augusta is known for restrictions that the PGA TOUR does not have. (None of the four majors have PGA TOUR sanction but have different entities in control.)

Oh, by the way: For this site, maybe Wednesday's Par-3 contest picture of the champion and his guest caddie for the tournament be used.

w17scott said...

Mr Editor -
Professionalism was prevalent throughout The Masters on CBS and served to emphasize the amateurish presentation of NASCAR on FOX
Walter

Mickey McLean said...

Most of the credit for how the Masters is presented on television should go to the late producer and director Frank Chirkinian. NASCAR and its partner networks could benefit greatly by having a visionary like him at the controls.

starrcade76 said...

I noticed that CBS had to occasionally show something on replay because they were either in commercial or busy with another shot. Hmmm

And too, if my favorite golfer wasn't in contention yesterday, they didn't bother to update me on him. Instead they just followed the guys at the top of the leader-board. My guy and his sponsor deserve to be featured as much as the people actually playing for the win. Hmmm

Buschseries61 said...

While I was away in Europe, I watched a 2002 Busch Series race presented by FOX on YouTube. As I watched, I remembered how I fell in love with the early years of FOX.

The pre-race Hollywood Hotel antics lasted 20 minutes, followed by the traditional ceremonies. The cars moved onto the track for pace laps and Mike Joy announced the entire starting grid. Three pit reporters each highlighted a Busch series driver with an interesting storyline, even though there were Cup drivers like Joe Nemechek, Michael Waltrip and Jimmy Spencer in the field. The booth boys each put in a guess who would win the race before the green flag was waved. The field took the green flag, and the booth boys began commenting on the race just like spectators in the stands. The camera shots were nice and wide, and the director followed all the mid-pack battles rather than the front three. The problems of all drivers were documented, all cars entering the garage were reported.

Joy was fantastic calling the play-by-play of the race. Waltrip and McReynolds were still fresh at this broadcasting thing, at the end of their second season. They each knew their role on the broadcast, and simply commented on the race they were watching, not telling stories of their experiences or trying to be the star of the broadcast.

It was a fantastic broadcast with great camera shots, commentary, simple graphics, and great reporting. It had all the qualities you describe in this column. These are the expectations I hold for FOX and all the broadcast partners.

subsailor_739 said...

Well put DP, especially about the tight shots, used to indicate something dramatic, not just another golf shot.

@btizzy

Anonymous said...

Good piece, JD!

It got me thinking in a slightly different way.

Instead of uplifting the NASCAR coverage, camera work, & announcers (their ego is probably too big to change), what if the NASCAR Fox crew were broadcasting The Masters!

Tight shots of the logos on the golf balls and clubs, DW talking on and on about how he didn’t have that kind of equipment in his day and how he used a wooden driver. Mickie raving about how good a job Nike has done since it entered the sport and how his team is delighted with them. DW in the main broadcast room interrupting the announcer on the 12th hole telling us how wet the water is in the pond in front of the green and would have played a shot after a player barely missed a 20 foot putt. All of the announcers talking about how Annika Sörenstam is actually at the even watching The Masters and highlights of her career! Tim Brewer showing us how the new drivers can be adjusted for a fade or hook. Jeff Hammond on site where they are selling pimento cheese sandwiches. In depth coverage of how the patrons can place their chairs early in the day and no one messes with them but miss the albatross by Oosthuizen while doing so. Larry Mac mispronouncing his name 6 different ways.

Jack, Arnie, and Gary would be in the announce booth kicking the crap out of them.

JR

Oh, almost forgot DW on the 1st tee screaming Boogie Boogie Boogie ~ let’s go Golfing Boys!!

matriarch said...

JD you wrote the thoughts that have inhabited my mind for some time. Professionalism is not dead...only absent from some programming, namely the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

This sentence stands out like a beacon, "The commentary served as a backdrop to the action, allowing the athletes to take center stage." Why is it so difficult for some in the booth to accept the fact that learning about their experiences is not why we tuned in?

Just a thought, you will notice there was no "Boogity, boogity, boogity" before the start of the Masters. A simple introduction of past champions done with class started the day out fine. What a great departure from the usual embarrassment we endure before a race.

KC Weldon said...

I'm not a golf person so I didn't watch the Masters. But from your observations and the other comments, I'd have to say that all the networks broadcasting NASCAR can learn from the Masters. All of them are guilty of too many antics to entice viewers to watch, rather than presenting the race and letting the on-track action sell itself.

Billy Carter said...

What can the Masters learn from NASCAR? You can admit a woman to the club.

KudzuCarl said...

Good comments JD. I agree that Augusta National controls the broadcast to a great extent, but that doesn't mean NASCAR can't learn from it and emulate it. The announcers stay in the background. The story lines are allowed to develop and play out and pre-planned story lines aren't forced down our throats. You get a quick summary of top guys who are out of contention (like Tiger) but you don't get a broadcast still dedicated to them (like the 48 in recent years). And, as I said on Twitter, we weren't subjected to "club face cams" or other "technology" that becomes a crutch. Well done all around.

Bruce Ciskie said...

I'm not going to say that I disagree with the premise of this post, or even the majority of the things that were said and the spirit behind them.

But two things need to be straightened out.

1. On the chip shot Bubba hit on the second playoff hole ... the one out of the woods, CBS used a shot of the ball that was so tight that I didn't have the first clue if the ball was going to land on the green or in the gallery. It built the drama, but it was hardly camera work that allowed the viewer to develop any perspective.

2. If you're not a fan of a golfer in the top ten or in one of the last two playing groups, you're completely out of luck if you want updates on your guy. Does that sound familiar to anyone else?

MRM4 said...

The Fox on NASCAR group (yes, I purposely transposed the name) think they are the show instead of being there to cover the show. It's funny how they do this with NASCAR, but rarely do this with the NFL and MLB.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Bruce,

You mean the network zoomed into the ball in flight because that is how the camera can follow it?

What other option would you have chosen?

Did you seriously feel that CBS did not update the scores and players on Sunday?

I'm a bit lost on this one.

JD

Adam Wood said...

I believe that although they have renewed the contract every year for a long time now, the Masters is only on a one-year contract every year with CBS. Perhaps we need to get rid of these monstrous 7-year $4.5 Billion contracts and go down to 1-3 year deals. It seems to me that with the 7 year deal, the first couple years are "Yes, we got it. Now we just broadcast it and don't do anything." Then as the contract progresses and we get to negotation time, it becomes "OK, it's negotiating time, we have to care and improve now."

JD-you hit it on the dot. I hope that all sports properties, particularly NASCAR, takes a look at this weekend's broadcasts and make some changes.

Anonymous said...

JD summed it up with one sentence. "CBS treated TV viewers as intelligent adults." Nuf said.

Charlie Spencer said...

Mickey, thanks. I think the presentation in front of the fans would make better television. However, this is my only issue with the entire weekend, and it's definitely a minor one. Obviously, it's their private club and they can do as they wish.

JD, I think Starrcade 76 and Bruce have a point. CBS didn't show EVERY player; many were in the clubhouse before the each day's broadcast started. They did keep us updated as to how all players in the field were doing, but only in the same way that a ticker keeps up posted on Micheal McDowell or Travis Kvapil. I don't think we saw more than five players who weren't in the final five or six pairings. As to replays, Starrcade, it's television; accept that all media have some limitations.

Anon @ 10:00am, if Fox covered The Masters, we'd see Digger tunneling out of the greens.

OSBORNK said...

Someone mentioned that the Masters negotiates yearly deals with CBS and that gives them some control over the coverage. Isn't that a little like what individual tracks did when the TV coverage was better and before NASCAR took over? When you give up your negotiating power to big brother, it seldom works out well.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Charlie,

I would argue that they both missed the point and made a great effort to purposefully do so.

The program was tremendous, the response was huge and the ratings will be driven by both the coverage and the story.

If and when players early on Sunday made a run, an outstanding shot or were involved in a controversy, it was totally covered.

Instead of focusing on one group, the coverage moved seamlessly between those involved in the action. There was no script.

There was never a time when viewers were forced to watch what the network chose to follow a story, set-up a feature or pander to a special interest.

Of course there will always be flaws to uncover, but to miss the radical difference in this style of coverage and argue that it's not perfect makes little sense to me.

JD

Jayhawk said...

I think it should be added that this type of coverage is not unique to the Masters, but is pretty much typical of golf coverage in general. It's one of the reasons that I watch golf.

And, no, NASCAR will learn absolutely nothing from this.

OrangeTom said...

Amen to the comment about how great it was to hear announcers not always talking about their own specific experiences. There was one guy yesterday who I've been listening to for years on CBS--forget his name, just know the voice--and he mentioned something yesterday about being a player back in the day. It was a complete shock. In all these years, I had never heard him mention his own pro career before. Would be a great lesson for DW to learn.

Garry said...

I agree wholeheartedly, JD. In fact, I'll go another step, and discuss the Barrett-Jackson auction. Mike Joy SHINES, and I mean absolutely shines, when he is on that program. The show was about the cars, the details, and the history of that particular car. If there were certain nuances associated with, say, a color combination, or patina, or provinance, you gained the knowledge from the announcers, and came away informed, educated, and enhanced with intelligence, useful wit, and comraderie. Again, to the point, Mike Joy on his own can SHINE as an intelligent broadcaster given the right equipment. As it stands, all he has is a couple of "tools"....

Charlie Spencer said...

Just to make sure we're on the same page, I agree that this was an excellent example of how most sports could be presented. I'm nit-picking a couple of minor points, but they in no way prevent this from being an outstanding, entertaining four days, year after year. For those who don't get enough, the Golf Channel presents minimal coverage before CBS hits the air, although all they can provide is scores and analysis. They're contractually prevented from show actual play.

I'd like to note that ESPN presents the afternoon broadcasts on the first two days, with basically the same production crew (and club-imposed standards of excellence). When someone puts a leash on it, the Worldwide Leader can turn in a great show too.

Anonymous said...

Golf is just an easier sport to cover than auto racing.

CBS chooses just to follow the leaders, like most NASCAR broadcasts. Updates on anyone else are few and far between.

When the leaders finish up one hole, there is plenty of time to get in a commercial break. Heck, I wonder if the course marshalls even hold up play just to be sure TV is back from commercial.

Unless NASCAR starts officially throwing competition cautions to get in a commercial break, or ponies up some cash to the networks so side-by-side commercials are able to pay the bills all race long, we're stuck with what we have.

I think the guys in the booth for The Masters did a much better job than any NASCAR broadcast.

Mickey McLean said...

Charlie: I agree that the Butler Cabin ceremony leaves a lot to be desired, especially yesterday when they rushed through it so that CBS could get off the air and get 60 Minutes on. That's why every year I flip immediately over to the Golf Channel, which carries the outside ceremony and the winner's press conference.

Bruce Ciskie said...

John

If your favorite golfer finished 35th, you didn't see anything from him other than his score. I'm not saying that's the wrong way to run things, but you're somehow arguing that it's not true. Even Tiger barely got any face time during CBS' coverage yesterday.

If your favorite driver runs 35th and doesn't get involved in a major wreck, he will still at least get camera time when the leaders lap him on the track.

Mickey McLean said...

Again, if Fox had someone like Frank Chirkinian calling the shots, someone who respects the sport and the intelligence of its fans, you see a much different product.

Of course it would also help if NASCAR cared at least one-tenth as much about its reputation as Augusta National does.

AncientRacer said...

The key fact for me is this: On TV I can see a Golf match better than I can in person. Golf courses are big places and at the height of play things are going on all over the course all at once. If you are there the most common thing, in my experience, you heard is a distant cheer and everyone starts saying "I wonder what just happened"

Racetracks, ovals, are not nearly as hard to cover -- or should not be. Yet the obsessive focus on one or two cars we complain about constantly make it harder to watch on TV than in person. It should not be this way.

As for the commentators, well, I just don't feel like flogging that poor horse again today except to say perhaps DW etc. should go have a talk with Jim Nance or Pat Summerall about how to stay out of the way.

Ir42nate2bhere said...

It is easy to want to compare the Masters to NASCAR, but the true comparison needs to be NASCAR to PGA broadcast over the whole the season. The Masters is a PGA event in name, but run and their TV deal is all done by Augusta National. Now if you watch 20+ events over a PGA season, you see for the most part only coverage of the top 20, announcers who also serve as coaches to golfers, a lot of talk that drifts away from the action on the course. A lot more similar to NASCAR TV then watching the Masters, or any of the 4 golf majors. If you could take the 4 biggest NASCAR events out of the TV package and bid them out as stand alone coverage events, then you could compare things beter. But it is nice to wish.

Daly Planet Editor said...

The premise of this column was to ask simply if NASCAR can learn anything from the manner in which The Masters was covered on Sunday by CBS.

Keep in mind the tons of emails from irate Junior fans because TV chose to show only the first two cars on the final lap at Martinsville.

Keep in mind that a recent TV feature explained that cameras show the cars in pairs at most and that is the way the network wants to present the sport to viewers.

Keep in mind that The Masters announcers did not reference themselves or promote their sponsors or interests. They referenced the athletes, the play and the results.

In the end, a story was allowed to play out without interruption or second guessing from the announce team.

It seems that perhaps some fundamentals of sports TV coverage were on display that have been sorely lacking in recent NASCAR coverage.

Thank you for all the diverse comments on this topic.

JD

Anonymous said...

You've hit the nail on the head in a very diplomatic manner. I think a good portion of the Fox talent are a joke that are keeping our sport from growing to new fans and continue looking like a bunch of media hungry rednecks. If that's how the fans see it on TV, that's what they are going to remember. 'boogity boogity boogity!' Really? That's what we want to present to the world every weekend?

Anonymous said...

The masters was one of the most enjoyable golf telecasts so far this year. No mute buttons required, no stress, no yelling at the tv. Actual interesting smart broadcasters who treat the audience as intelligent humans ( rather than the 2 nascar bozo brothers who talk down to the audience as if we are blooming idiots from the backwoods of Tennessee.) Jeff Hammond needs to be back in the Hollywood Hotel.PERIOD. Nascar needs to present a racing telecast, not a MRW & Sponsors infomercial. (all waltrip all the time )Sorry but he must go.

Anonymous said...

JD, you are spot on. No "boogity boogity, boogity" hillbilly crap. No "I promise you one" thing repeated about a thousand times by a know it all melon head. And, no owners with their own agenda making asinine comments.

Jonathan said...

I dont think JD is talking about Boogity Boogity bro!

Anonymous said...

We just returned from Wednesday's practice round at Augusta - delighted to see Denny Hamlin caddying for Bubba in the Par 3 contest! The telecast on CBS is like everything that is associated with The Masters - pure class! Nick Faldo is one of the best who every played, with multiple major wins - yet you never hear him self-promoting while he is doing analysis. He is articulate and fair - I've never heard him play favorites as seems to be the norm on the Fox NASCAR broadcasts. We watched the coverage from start to finish on Saturday and Sunday, the coverage was excellent. Also, with Direct TV, we have additional channels and leaderboard information available that is an excellent complement to the CBS coverage. We always enjoy a trip to Augusta for the tournament, but watching on CBS is entertaining and educational - in addition to be humorous is David Feherty is having a good day!

Charlie said...

CBS let the pictures tell the story.

Did you notice that when they ran the bottom ticker, that showed the scores of all players, they waited until all players were shown before going to commercial? One time I noticed they had to do some talk fill in to make sure all the players were shown and in what position before going to commercial.

ThinkingBrian said...

I didn't watch the Masters, I really didn't watch anything Easter Sunday. However it sounds like the broadcast was a good one that NASCAR fans might benefit from.

But can you really imagine watching this weekend's Samsung Mobile 500 at Texas for example with Mike Joy, Larry Mac, Darrell Waltrip and Michael Waltrip ultimately acting as a support staff for the athletes and event and no personal opinions?

Wow that would shut them up. Not going to happen, but I would love to see it for one race in 2012.

Chadderbox said...

Your article was great. Your points are spot on about the coverage CBS provided. I don't golf, ever, but I do watch the Masters every year. CBS was great. Nick Faldo did not talk about himself either, unless he was asked.

I am Nascar fan of 35 years. The coverage of Sunday's races has become like watching a WWF event. I am a true nascar fan who travels hundreds of miles every year to attend 2-3 races. I do not want to continue to criticize the coverage but the truth is I am recording the races every Sunday so I can watch the race Sunday evening and fast forward though the babbling WWF antics, the commercials and the basic annoying style of the coverage. I love DW, Larry Mac and Mike Joy and I know they are doing the best they can, but it's all gotten so far off track it's just hard to sit through it live. Thank you DVR.

tonybct said...

That's a very interesting premise, that Nascar could learn from the other networks, even when CBS did the Daytona 500, and a few others, The great Ken Squier,kept the focus on the race, Ned Jarrett, BP,I remember them at times discussing how they raced, but not to the point of being intrusive,and Chris Economaki?, wouldn't ever talk about being at the rodeo, or weight lifting, wrestling, just his joy of being at the track, learn anything?, not as long as DW,MW, Hammond, et.al thing that we are tuning in to watch them, watch the races.

Roland said...

Can NASCAR Learn From The Masters? Yes. Will they? No. All the parties involved from the sanctioning body to the TV crews to the tracks are too stubborn to change up the formula.

I watched the final 10 minutes or so of The Masters to see Bubba win, mainly because of the NASCAR connection, without that I would not have watched. I have never watched golf before and dont understand much about the game.

The part of the coverage I watched was top notch. There were no graphics on screen unless they were needed, compare that to ESPN's 4 lines of info.

I know its golf so the commentators will talk softly, but I found that to be so much better than a bunch of former drivers and crew chiefs SCREAMING AT YOU ABOUT EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!

I remember a couple years ago I posted something about NASCAR telecasts lacking professionalism, and got laughed at by some. Whos laughing now? The product that CBS put out was a perfect example of what I was talking about then. That is what our sport needs from the TV side of things. I was thoroughly impressed.

BTW, these new captcha's are a pain. It takes 3 or 4 tries to post a comment.

MortonGroveDon said...

As I have said before in the past week, there are racing series that treat their viewers like adults. The F-1, ALMS,Rolex Sportscar Series, and Indycar treat the people that have chosen to tune in like they are appreciated,as opposed to being told endless nonsense, let alone camera shots that create headaches all over the country.

Bobby O said...

Very nice write JD. And spot on.

It would seem very simple and clearly obvious for some networks to see the lite we have been asking for the last few years.

Sorely they are blind!

Anonymous said...

sorry to interrupt this love fest...but you cannot honestly compare broadcasting the MASTERS to nascar?

Funny...I didn't hear you moan and groan about seeing about 50% of action on Sunday on TAPE and REPLAY..but I digress...i guess it's like covering 43 cars on the track...sometimes things get missed

And you really have the stones to bring up the commercial usage between the two sports??? what you fail to mention is that The Masters severely limits how many spots can air in an hour, and they limit how many sponsors CBS can bring on...which is why you saw the same commercial over and over. See how many commercials are jammed in when the green jackets lift the restrictions

as for the production...I give them good marks across the board...although they were a lot of audio mishaps (wrong audio under video being shown was common) but overall the pretty pictures of Augusta were plentiful...as was the obnoxious hyperbole from each commentator...BUT that's expected at the Masters.

Could have used an interview from the dude who caught double-eagle ball as well...although I may have missed it

Also...worth noting...the ratings were lower than last year

disclosure...i work in the TV business and have worked on NASCAR coverage

Bobby O said...

Sorry JD, I got this one.....

Anon 12:10, you are a person in need of enlightenment. ;) lol

Obviously you DO work for nascar or fox. sorry......

If you can't see the differences?
This is why you are part of the problem.

I do understand that self analysis is very difficult. Something you may want to explore sometime

Charlie Spencer said...

Anon @ 12:10a, the club does limit the number of commercials. The question is, if Augusta National can do it, why can't NASCAR? Nick Faldo didn't hawk stuffed animals on the network web site. The sponsors didn't get air time with pointless statistics under the guise of branded 'features' at the expense of covering play. Obscure rules were explained, but it was assumed the audience had a basic knowledge of the sport. Compare that to explanations of 'tight' and 'loose' that still occur after a decade of national broadcasts.

Joj said...

Can NASCAR learn from the Masters?
Well they could if 2 things came to pass.

First they would have to recognize the problem is them, the lousy product they put on the air week in & week out. And take responsibility for it.

Second every one on air, in the truck & TPTB would have to care, en mass about getting better.

I just do not see that occurring. All it takes is 1 stubborn mule & a boss who has the attitude of "if fans don't like it - Tough" to derail any improvements.

Now I'll read the other comments.

Anonymous said...

Hey Charlie.... Nick Faldo does not hawk his wares because the MASTERS will NOT let him!! You bet he would if he was allowed. How many times did you hear he was a 3-time champion? Plenty!
Again with the sponsors...they don't get those features because they ARE NOT ALLOWED to do it

it's a bogus question that is only backed up by "general" observations...nothing specific...nothing TV related...nothing in general other than than "talent" complaints and the disdain for tight shots.




Anon @ 12:10a, the club does limit the number of commercials. The question is, if Augusta National can do it, why can't NASCAR? Nick Faldo didn't hawk stuffed animals on the network web site. The sponsors didn't get air time with pointless statistics under the guise of branded 'features' at the expense of covering play. Obscure rules were explained, but it was assumed the audience had a basic knowledge of the sport. Compare that to explanations of 'tight' and 'loose' that still occur after a decade of national broadcasts.

bowlalpo said...

Anon at 12:10 is correct about having 50% of the shots shown on tape, and that doesn't count the shots which are repeated, like the double-eagle, by using the "effect" logo.

Fortunately, unless TV tells you, you can't tell if a golf shot is on tape unless the "tape room" messes up and freezes the picture. But CBS took a big risk Sunday by delaying the pictures of Mickelson's birdie putt on 17 by SEVEN MINUTES while having us watch Bubba and Louis LINE UP their putts on 18.

IF Mickelson had made it to get within one, which would have generated the loudest roar of the weekend, CBS would have been creamed by the critics.

I agree with JD that the SPORT OF GOLF is treated more properly with respect to its audience, and NASCAR should make strides to do the same. But CBS did miss a lot of live shots and did not follow up on many of the "roars heard in the background."

I think the drama of the event is disproportionately taken into account when the presentation of the event is reviewed.

Anonymous said...

well NASCAR and the Master's are two entirely different sports.

tell me how you make the Master's exciting with Tiger leading my 10 strokes in the final round? then where are the ratings?

i'm so sick of this "hallowed" golf course and all the history that makes it seem like we are in Church. And we hear the fake birds chirping. Amen Corner, Hogan's Bridge, Butler Cabin...enough. they didnt integrate until they had to and they still won't let women in the club, that we know of.

what kind of excitement can the announcers create in NASCAR when the cars whiz around at 200 mph for 90 laps without a caution?

Most of the races are decided like NBA games anyway. just tune in for the last 20 or so laps.

you cant compare golf coverage with NASCAR.

Amen (corner).

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 7:04PM,

Golf got some of the highest ratings when Tiger was dominating.

CBS got rid of the sound effects many years ago.

Don't understand why you think there has to be an accident to make racing exciting.

If you took the time to read the column, the question is could NASCAR TV take anything from The Masters coverage.

Thanks for your comment.

JD

Anonymous said...

JD,

thank you for being dismissive and condescending of my opinion on your column.

let me say that Fox could get rid of Digger and we'd all be better off.

however, I maintain that NASCAR and the Master's golf tournament are horses of different colors and you cannot compare the television coverage of the two.

thank you.

Zetona said...

Over the past few days I've watched various NASCAR clips on Youtube, and I'd like to share a couple of observations.

I watched the finish of one of NASCAR on FOX's first races, the 2001 Carquest 300 at Charlotte. It was decided by half a car-length after Matt Kenseth tried unsuccessfully to root Jeff Green off the bottom in the final turn. Going into turn 3, DW said "Kenseth's gonna take it in on the outside"; Kenseth went low, and DW said right after the checkered flag fell, "Kenseth did...exactly what I thought he was going to do". Meanwhile, Larry Mac called the finish more than Mike Joy did. In other words, the FOX announcers behaved back then exactly like we criticize them for doing today (assuming I'm not the only one who thinks Larry has a tendency to yell over the rest of the booth). Why didn't we mind them then? Better presentation is my guess. I don't want to get too much into that.

I also saw some compilations of NASCAR speed shots, which were absolutely glorious and are terribly underused during broadcasts. Here's an idea for when the field gets strung out: increase the volume of the ambient noise. Let the engines take over, and convey the speed to the audience.

I also saw a bit of racing from the FIA GT1 series, where the camera work makes FOX look good. It's not that the angles are bad, but cuts are made with extreme frequency—in-car, wide shot, tight shot, wide shot, tight shot, in-car—wait, who are they showing? All the jumping cut up the wonderful engine noises, and without a label for the in-car shot, I had no idea who I was looking at.

I don't know what to make of all this. I'd say:

Three commentators work best when the presentation is good and they don't get in each other's way.

Big, noisy speed shots can be infinitely preferable to three commentators' worth of babble, and would be a great way to spice up a long green run if they were noisy enough.

When we see in-car shots, tell us whose car we're looking out of.

I didn't see the Masters, so I can't comment there.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Anon 6:04,

Having different opinions on the same topic happens here everyday.

JD

Dot said...

I'm behind on my TDP reading.

I did not watch the Masters so my comments are only guesses. Here they are.

1. No close up of Golfer A's feet after his tee off.

2. Not talking about Golfer B when Golfer C is making his putt.

3. Not missing a ball going into the rough, unlike the replays we are subject to when the camera director's attention is elsewhere.

I realize golf is easier to televise than racing. However, if the announcers and the truck would be a little more in sync, we could get a better bead on what's going on. I don't know how many cameras there are at any given track, but the least they could do is place them in the hot spots. And, I'm still wondering why no actual footage of JPM hitting the safety truck. Is it on Youtube somewhere? I could understand if someone died and not showing it, but why the secrecy?

BTW, I love that someone named Bubba won the green jacket. His name just doesn't fit in that sport. BTW2, does televised golf have a version of Tim Brewer or Jeff Hammond?