Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Need For SPEED

A recent story in Sports Business Daily reported that FOX Sports was involved in negotiations with NASCAR about a new TV contract. The current one expires at the end of 2014. A tweet from a FOX announcer then suggested the new deal may include even more Sprint Cup Series races than the current agreement. That started the ball rolling on a discussion about another key NASCAR TV partner.

SPEED is the cable TV network that facilitates the vast majority of the NASCAR TV programming throughout the season. The network is a staple at the track on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The coverage includes practice, qualifying and NASCAR news shows. SPEED is owned and operated by the FOX Sports Media Group.

The secret to the shows from the tracks is that these programs are not actually produced by SPEED, but are handled by NASCAR's own in-house TV team. That division used to be called the NASCAR Media Group but was recently downsized and renamed NASCAR Productions. Neither FOX or SPEED have an ownership stake in NASCAR Productions.

Over the past six years, we have repeatedly wondered what the heck was going on at SPEED. Various management teams made decisions that virtually eliminated all traces of NASCAR programming on Monday through Thursday in primetime. "Automotive lifestyle" programming was the order of the day. No other network has aired and then cancelled more of these low-brow reality-style shows than SPEED.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, other broadcast networks have quietly gone about the business of building or buying a cable TV network for sports. CBS and NBC now have national cable sports networks that allow them to partner on programming just like ABC and ESPN. The odd man out at the table is FOX.

Click here for the story from the Sports Business Journal about the Fox Sports 1 cable network. Never heard of it? You may be hearing that name once the current NASCAR TV contract expires. In theory, it would replace SPEED on the cable dial and shutter the motorsports-themed network.

Closing SPEED and turning it into a national cable sports network run from Los Angeles would put FOX on an even keel with NBC, CBS and ABC. Any TV contract done for the FOX broadcast network could now facilitate what is called "shoulder programming" on cable. For instance, the Preakness might be shown on NBC but all the preliminary races and coverage of the entire day would be on NBC Sports Network on cable.

The sad part of this arrangement would be the end of SPEED as we know it. The network was originally launched as SpeedVision and featured programming split between cars, boats, airplanes and motorcycles. The subsequent purchase by FOX and move to Charlotte, NC was to turn the network into a dedicated NASCAR channel. Those plans never came to fruition.

It seems ironic that the network that hosted more "shoulder programming" for NASCAR over the past decade may be closed. That raises the issue of just what kind of an extension FOX is trying to negotiate for Sprint Cup Series races. The door is open for all kinds of speculation.

Keeping all that weekend NASCAR programming on the new mainstream Fox Sports 1 network would seemingly be impossible. The season runs for ten months and SPEED airs hundreds of hours of programming from the Sprint Cup Series tracks.

It would also seem that other motorsports series from Grand-Am to ARCA would be impacted. The list of programming currently on SPEED also includes Formula One, AMA Supercross and the Barrett-Jackson Auto Auctions.

One peek at the current SPEED on-air schedule should convince skeptics that the network has effectively shuttered the development of new series. From five year-old Pimp My Ride shows to endless Dumbest Stuff on Wheels re-airs, it is clear that something is going on and it is not good.

It is important to note that FOX has two additional cable networks, FUEL and FX, that could be used to distribute additional motorsports programming. FUEL is already undergoing a transition with UFC shows airing while FX has been used in the past for NASCAR programming.

While it may seem that 2014 is far away, in fact the negotiations for the new contract are far behind schedule. Since the incumbents get first shot, it is interesting to note that very little information exists about the future of TNT and ESPN in the sport. Turner just returned all the digital rights to NASCAR and effective January 1 will no longer operate the NASCAR.com website.

ESPN is loaded with college and NFL football content after September and has been struggling to give NASCAR a fair shake down the stretch. The final ten Sprint Cup Series Chase races are the prize to that network and that may be the only real item that is pursued.

Currently no comment from the FOX folks on the NASCAR or SPEED issue. Whatever happens, it is becoming clear that there will be substantive changes in the look of NASCAR TV after 2014.

We invite your opinion on this topic. Comments may be moderated prior to posting. Thank you for stopping by.

47 comments:

GinaV24 said...

Well, I loved the "old" Speed channel, the one that showed racing in all its forms. The new version doesn't excite me much and I don't watch any of the lifestyle programming. I continue to watch Racehub since I really like Steve and it gives me a chance to see and hear about NASCAR. Other than that, I'm at the point where I am considering "cutting the cord" and getting rid of my cable.

Like many others, I find that I need to use multiple ALTERNATE methods to get actual information about the race as it is going on since the TV broadcast doesn't give it to me.

Based on past experience, I'm not sure that Fox, by whatever name it chooses, will provide anything better with the "new" contract.

If NASCAR chooses to renew a contract with any of their TV partners without giving consideration and some control over what style of broadcast the fans at home actually see, I don't see much reason to keep my cable package. As you say, 2014 isn't that far away, but it is 2 yrs of money given to cable for not much value.

Colorado said...

FOX has no business whatsoever in broadcasting NASCAR races. At all. They have destroyed what little integrity the sport had. Now they want more? For what? Leverage to shove dumber programming to the viewers? NASCAR is just a means to an end for the networks these days. Brian France holds the key to this, yet we all know what will happen. He'll make more money, the sport will suffer more dwindling ratings, attendance will wane(until they put the "race" back in racing), and it will essentially take a step back in time, to when the races were only shown on segmented "Wide World Of Sports" type programs.

w17scott said...

Mr Editor -
Looks like FOX is sending SPEED down the proverbial dead-end road ...a la the network's appropriately titled reality show, 'Wrecked' ...as FOX has proven time and again, no changes it makes are for the betterment of the viewing public, just to satisfy the back-scratching, personality-driven egos of David Hill and his minions ...oh for the days of an actual race broadcast and not a 4-hour commercial interrupted by 5 mins of two-car, hyper-tight video and self-serving commentary ...sorry for the rant, but just had to put that out there ...makes Bill Flemming (sp) and Keith Jackson look like professionals ...oh yeah, their work was professional, a trait sadly lacking in many respects of today's race coverage
Walter

LpMv2407 said...

I've read NBC is looking to get back in this time around. It makes more sense(both practical & economical) to have a sister station, such as NBC Sports, cover practice & qualifying when it's each network is covering its alotment. I think the more media partners the sport has the better it is because that should be more promotion.

As far as Speed becoming Fox Sports, I will miss the Speed Channel from when Fox first took over. Very enjoyable back then.

JJ48fan said...

I know you probably don't want to hear this, but I would really like it if FOX broadcast the entire season. I know there are a lot of people who don't like the FOX coverage, and even I have grown weary of DW's boogity--boogity routine....but two races into the TNT season reminds us how inferior the other networks are. TNT is a minor league production, and I have never found ESPN's boring coverage to be up to par. ESPN may be a little better with camera angles and interviews, but their presentation of the race has been boring as heck and changing the lead chair three times in the last few years hasn't changed that one bit. FOX is the only network that actually seems excited by NASCAR (ESPN acts embarrassed by it), so I say give them a chance to do the entire year.

Maverick24 said...

"Turner just returned all the digital rights to NASCAR and effective January 1 will no longer operate the NASCAR.com website."

Does this mean the website will return to something usable?

Because, without a doubt, the NASCAR.com website is the ugliest, most useless website of any major sports league ever.

Seriously, is it even possible to find practice speeds on there anymore? At times it requires multiple clicks to even find the starting lineup for the race. Makes absolutely no sense to bury the actual data like they do.

This is why Jayski has been getting 98% of my NASCAR related web traffic and has been for several years now.

Buschseries61 said...

Thanks for the column. I don't really understand what FOX has as their wager to expand and extend their coverage of NASCAR. SPEED is NASCAR's lock that Indycar wish they had. While ESPN may be booked soild, FOX committed to their national programming, and TNT uninterested in stopping their rotation of movies - SPEED has always been there all season long for extra NASCAR programming beyond the race on Sunday. I think dropping an hour of Le Mans for last minute practice coverage at Michigan shows that.

If SPEED became another ESPN-like channel, it would just be another overcrowded program bumping game.
Extra programming like practice and qualifying that SPEED has been great at providing may no longer fit on the live schedule with other sports sharing the channel. Instead of providing opportunity to expand more NASCAR coverage, the current direction of SPEED I perceive looks to fill all the empty weekday time around RaceHub with non-motorsports programming.

Now FOX enters the negotiations with the future of their SPEED Channel, the season-long NASCAR backbone, in question. I don't see that inspiring NASCAR to cut FOX a larger slice of the pie. There has to be more in the works behind closed doors, it will be very interesting to find out.

David said...

At least we have Velocity. Chacing Classic cars,Wheeler Dealers,Cafe Racers,etc.. is better than the crap Speed is putting out. Its just so sad to see Nascar go back to the 90's as far as tv goes. Well I guess it has been a good 12 year run guys.

KoHoSo said...

JD...the last time this news floated around, there was speculation that Fuel might be the channel turned into "Fox Sports 1" or that it might pick up Speed-type programming if that channel is changed. Are you hearing anything that still floats those possibilities?

JJ48fan...I can't speak for everybody here but I certainly don't mind reading an opinion that differs from my own especially when it's genuine and not like some of the people that come here just to troll. I even agree that Fox is more "excited" about NASCAR than the other two channels. I would hate to think that any of us would become so narrow-minded that we would not want to read comments from people like you even though it's currently a minority opinion among the Planeteers.

MRM4 said...

I watch some other forms of racing on SPEED when they are on. If SPEED goes another direction and those are gone, I'm not sure what's going to happen with them. That is a shame.

Daly Planet Editor said...

KoHoSo,

The FUEL numbers don't add up. SPEED is the only cable network that could simply switch over with the current subscriber base and work as a national cable sports network.

You can look at the current SPEED TV schedule and see an empty network just riding out the next two seasons with existing contracts like NASCAR and other live racing series.

JD

Sophia said...

This household would be crushed if this happens.

My housemate LOVES Formula One and JUST as important, the guys in the booth are THE BEST!! Great fun & chemistry.

I would miss Wind Tunnel but no longer watch Trackside, NPerf due to the changes.

I still watch some ARCA but not many truck races this season.

I think we need another sports network like a fish needs a bike. They all eventually become about white trash tv stuff OR egotistical yapping heads & little sports.

It's quite sad. But as I'm often told it's about the ratings & revenue and "entertainment factor" these days.

And thanks to all who watch fake crap 'reality shows' like the bachelor/ette & now some glass house tv show, the Kim K family, and apparently that white trash Lizard Towing promoted on TNT, there is not real tv for the rest of us as far as intelligent scripted drama/comedies or good sports coverage.

TNT last year was fabulous, except i missed sheehan in the booth. This year, first race was great, now back to bumper cam junk.

also speed center is handy depending on the host. hate to see all the guys on this station lose their jobs (Form1 guys, NASCAR, other racing broadcasters) :)

windowlicker said...

Most importantly (to me), is what will happen to the truck series? Will this be the final nail in its coffin? It's my favorite NASCAR series by far.

Colorado said...

The only reason FOX is excited, is because DW is BEGGING them to pursue this venture. He will be out of a job, if they lose the rights to another network. He has convinced David Hill and company that he has alot of pull with NASCAR, and he can get this done.I see no valid reason as to why FOX wants to extend this contract. I believe that they know that without NASCAR their new "networks" are useless. CBS sports has college football in the fall, and people tune in, NBC Sports will have horse racing and golf, and people will tune in. FOX has, what, Darrell Cartrip? Please.JJ48 fan, I too agree with varied opinions, but to have FOX broadcast all season? Do you realize the anger and hatred that mankind will unleash on the network? The only viable option I see here, is NBC winning the rights . Why else does FOX want to start now? They are afraid. And they should be. They have stripped every shred of dignity out of NASCAR, and turned it into MTV. All that's missing is Trevor Bayne getting "t.p'd" each race all season long...

glenc1 said...

I was going to argue that other networks had cancelled as many bad programs, but I guess 'low brow' sort of limits the competition...
The only good thing is they've been re-running Wind Tunnel after Racehub.

I watch are qualifying & practice, special events like HoF documentaries/coverage & Racehub. I watch as much qualifying & practice as I am home for. Well, I have the TV on, I listen more than watch--if we could at least have it online that would help. But I would miss that if it went away all together. I like the interviews, finding out what some of the stories are for the weekend, who the field fillers are, etc. OTOH...I would have to admit I believe I'm in the minority; and if the ratings don't support showing it, I can understand that. Perhaps they would use either FX or Fuel. Fuel, in fact, is already aptly named if they switched SPEED programming to it (I'd have to upgrade). Just thinking aloud. Ironically, I'm assuming it was NASCAR's popularity that led to SPEED's growth, and yet now that it wanes a bit, they could throw it all away. If they did use another network, they could grow that one too, perhaps, as the economy improves. Our wishing it so is not going to make it happen, though.

As far as other series...that's where it would be even harder. I watch F1 when I can, Rolex sports cars, events like LeMans & K&N, ARCA....heck, I just realized I watch more Speed than the broadcast networks, most weeks at least in the spring/summer. But that's mostly because I find sitcoms & reality shows pretty worthless, and I'm not a big baseball or basketball fan.

Sam said...

I really hope Fox doesn't get any more races unless they change their on air lineup tremendously. The Waltrip show is old, saggy and tired and needs to be put on a shelf somewhere. I see what some of you guys are saying that Fox seems excited to cover Nascar more than the other networks, but they just don't cut for me any longer.

I too miss the old Speedvision and do think Velocity is heading in that direction. I too don't watch Speed very much (at all) during the week but they are a good partner to Nascar during the weekend.

I don't understand why I have a NFL,MLB,NBA,NHL and Golf 24x7 channels but not a Nascar dedicated channel. To me that would solve a lot of issues here.

GinaV24 said...

JJ48, I understand your point about Fox being more excited than ESPN about NASCAR and your opinion is certainly as valid as anyone else's here.

There has just been a major change in the way they cover the sport as compared to before the contract extension. I, too, thought the coverage in 2001 up thru the renewal was amazing - I couldn't get enough. Unfortunately, IMO, that is no longer the case.

If they could pay attention to the whole race package and do it well, w/o the cult of personality coverage that it has become, I would have no problem with them having the entire season.

Anonymous said...

To everyone reading these comments, remember there is SPEED 2. If SPEED itself were to go away, we would still have SPEED 2. What they might be looking at doing is building up SPEED 2, turning into their main motorsports channel with variety programming like original Speedvision. However, what may suffer is that there will be less practice & qualifying sessions shown live, or even shown at all but possibly more NASCAR programming, similar to what NBC does with Indycar and their coverage.

ThinkingBrian said...

SPEED Channel is one of the most watched channels in my house. I watch NASCAR practice, qualifying, final practice, NASCAR RaceHub, Grand-Am, Formula 1, ARCA, Barrett-Jackson (which is very good considering I'm a car guy) and of course GearZ.

I just don't think SPEED going to go away. NASCAR would loss big and so would FOX for that matter. The channel does need more, but it works for now. And there is no alternative especially since SPEED reaches more homes than FX, NBC Sports Network or just about anything else.

Tim S. said...

I hated when Speedvision became Speed, but liked that period where they carried the ASA, Outlaws, and numerous other series live or same-day, and seemed to be all about showing live cars on the track, wherever it was, whatever it was. Too bad we can't have a network like that.

Sophia said...

I never HEARD of Speed2 and we don't get it on our digital cable here on TW in Ohio anyway.

So that's the other hassle, took years to get MLB channel & don't think we have NFL network either ...so

Anonymous said...

anon 1:51...'we' only includes people who have a bandwidth to watch such things on the PC. Not true for everyone, especially as people cut back on things...not to mention, if the networks 'went away', they could do away with online content as well. Fox owns it, they could do whatever they like.

Daly Planet Editor said...

There is no indication that SPEED's broadband channel (SPEED2) would continue if the network was rebranded and the current TV contracts for motorsports were allowed to expire.

JD

Dot said...

I hope whoever gets the nascar related shows and racing, it is NOT BSPN. Out of all the TV partners, they treat race fans the worst. It kills me to say this as Dale Jarrett works there, I don't want him unemployed. At least FOX & TNT schedule "junk" after the races in case they run over. No channel roulette like BSPN does to us.

BTW JD, I thought of you when I read about the FOX deal on Jayski. I knew this would be your next topic. ;)

Anonymous said...

There is no way Faux will want NASCAR races going into their money making machine known as the No Fun League. That is what the networks really cherish because it blows NASCAR out of the waters in terms of how much it matters to the sporting public.

I really hope Faux gets out of the NASCAR world. I have hated their hokey broadcasts from the start, I used to never think of not watching a race until Faux started doing broadcasts. When the change-over to TNT starts all those feelings go away. Faux does not treat the series like a true sport and never has.

The best scenario for NASCAR would be for ABC/ESPN to flip and take the season from Daytona until the World 600. There would be much less conflict with other sports for the network during this time. Many NBA games are on at night, there is no football occurring, no little league bs and the college basketball season is winding down.

I would like to see TNT run with the season from just after the World 600 until the chase, this would allow for 1 network to build up excitement during the dog days of the schedule. I enjoy the TNT broadcasts and a longer run of them would be good.

I would like 1 network to take the chase and ONLY handle the chase races. I believe NBC would be a better fit for this, due to the No Fun League conflict of Faux. The NBC Sunday night game doesn't start until 9 EST. NASCAR races, even on the west coast are over by 7 or 8 at the latest, barring disaster during the race. This would be a good lead in to the pre-game for the No Fun League and reduce conflicts.

In the end I just want Faux gone and all their affiliate networks.

Ir42nate2bhere said...

Speed is going, safe assumption. FOX Sports 1 will need programming, and NASCAR is available. I can see it biding on the NNS deal, do not think ESPN would fight it. Friday daytime has nothing, so live coverage fits in their plans. NNS has a college FB issue wherever it lands.F1 i think survives there because of Sky sports connection. Non-NASCAR series and non live racing programs probably are in trouble.Cup only matters to FOX sports1 if they land the fall package, as NFL is over the air on FOX. JMHO

Anonymous said...

I agree with pretty much everything said by Nate (I'm guessing on the name by the nameplate). I see the change happening with Fox still getting most of the races for Cup.

The bigger question comes with how much other stuff gets switched over from Speed. I think F1 survives, it's too big around he world not to! I think Fox Sports 1 would be willing to cover Cup Qualifying, Truck racing, and maybe some of the 24 Hour races (both Rolex & LeMans) but I unfortunately think that's it. Hopefully I'm wrong though!!

MortonGroveDon said...

The move from Speed Channel to Speed TV was the first nail in the coffin. What everyone thought was going to be the "Nascar"channel didnt pan out as the boom of stockcar racing fizzled. What was left were weeknights filled with moronic "reality" shows, endless auctions, and less racing than ever before. Remember when Wind Tunnel wa s on more than once a week? Now they beg you to go online. Trucks and F1 are about all I watch on it anymore. Velocity has far better info-entertainment shows.Putting a soccer game on Speed ended any hope I had left for this channel.If it goes away Ill miss it for a little bit, but then like most of its current programming, itll be quickly forgotten.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, it's looking more and more likely Speed Channel will be gone. While I hope I'm wrong, what really matters is that if this happens, will the live racing programming be able to find a new home or will this be the end of many series being on TV?

My opinion is that Fox Sports 1 would still be willing to broadcat Cup, Nationwide, and maybe Truck races with any races Fox gets in the latest round of negotiations, along with Cup Series Qualifying. Formula 1 will find a home somewhere, as well. But I don't see anything else outside of these hanging on. As a racing fan, this would be terrible.

Will Rabb said...

It's simple NBC proper may or may not want NASCAR same for CBS but there cable nets could fill time with the type of NASCAR shoulder programing SPEED showcases as well as ARCA Grand AM et all granded FOX Sports one may want some of it even if it's just durring the FOX portion of the season as mentioned it's a 10 month season and half or even a 1/3 season would be great for NBCSN and CBSSN who lack programing. Also never count out FX as FOX seems commited to putting sports back on FX and a few NASCAR events and other supports programing would be solid

Anonymous said...

I think the general concensus is:FOX is joke.I am sick of DW's ramblings,not to mention how they have made these Sprint Cup drivers look like idiots in commercials.

@Colorado... You are spot on sir, I applaud you. Brian France, sadly, is merely a lacky for FOX,or whoever will offer the most money to NASCAR.

I must stop now, because I am gonna get real melancholy.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately the other problem with Speed2 is that despite it being an internet station thatbshows live programing you need to have a cable provider that has a deal with Speed. So if you dont have the right cable provider you cant watch Speed2 programming. This is fairly absurd to me considering it is a purely online station and should have nothing to do with 'cable providers.'

JD, could you explain why Speed2 is set up that way? Is it because they can make more money by selling or licensing to cable providers?


It would be a great disappointment to lose Speed network. My personal biggest disappointment would be the loss of coverage of Formula 1 races, qualifying, AND practice. And SPEED Center and the race news tocker on the bottom is the best place for auto racing news on television.

John in Chico said...

It’s pretty much all been said right here today, how Speed is an important network for many people and I agree. But other than weekends, for the most part SpeedTV is and has been a wasteland. That being said it doesn’t take much to listen to the viewers and produce appropriate programming. So who is responsible for blowing a golden opportunity to capture a large and dedicated audience? Doesn’t take much, wouldn’t take much. If any fan is loyal, we are loyal. But it not going to happen, not at FOX apparently, ESPN had it and got baseball and walked away from motorsports,.t
hey had and gave the NASCAR Trucks to Speed, couldn’t be any less interested, ESPN used to show the F-1 races back then too.
Today ESPN has races, both Cup and Nationwide but NASCAR Now is preempted regularly for anything stick and ball.
NBC has a sports network now and JD says that they ignore motorsports, NASCAR anyway.
Is Velocity Network in the works for the future?
Interesting that FOX wants to broadcast more races, Cup/Nationwide(?). But they, on the other hand rid themselves of a dedicated motorsports network. It’s not about the racing on FOX, it’s about the vehicle it provides FOX to show themselves off, not the race. And more of the same? I hope not.
We live and breathe motorsports in this house. Are we in a minority here? We got another PC so we could hook it up to a separate HDTV and get whatever we can of the internet, whatever it is. Race Buddy, NHRA, the 24hrs of Le Mans, all on-line. Are we so few an audience that motorsports TV is shrinking? Our viewing of racing in this house hasn’t, with the internet, it’s expanded.
Those of us on Comcast already know that Speed2 isn’t available and contacting them doesn’t do anything. Besides, if it’s going away, why bother?
Are the numbers so low for shows like “The Hub” that the audience isn’t enough to keep it alive? We DVR it and never miss it, never missed RPM 2Night either, we bought a big dish to get both Speedvision and RPM 2Night years ago.
It’s going to look a lot different in two years that’s for sure it’s the unknown. Hate not knowing

Fed UP said...

I will be sorry to see Speed go. If the motormouth network takes over all of the races, i'm outa here. Finite. Done.

Get rid of Fox and split the year between TNT and ESPN/ABC.

Adam Wood said...

I guess I'm not sure how I feel here. I defiantly want SPEED on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday as a racing network but Monday - Thursday (Thursday excepted if practice/quals is on Thursday for whatever reason) I rarely if ever watch SPEED. I don't really care for these other shows SPEED offers. I think that putting more coverage online is the way to go. Has anyone watched F1 Practice online? There's no commentary-and it actually works pretty well.

Adam Wood said...

Also, as for my ideal TV contract, I would like to see FOX keep the first several races, maybe Daytona thru the Coke 600. Then I'd like to see a CBS/TNT partnership, with NBC taking the Chase. Move the chase races back to 1:00 PM ET so they can be done in plenty of time for football baring rain. Run the west coast races on Saturday night.

ESPN & SPEED should form a partnership for Nationwide Series races, with SPEED keeping the Trucks.

bowlalpo said...

IMO the salad days of racing on TV are long gone. It was about 1985-1999 when TNN covered their NASCAR tracks and the ASA, while ESPN had Thursday/Saturday Night Thunder, their NASCAR tracks, all open-wheel racing including F1, IndyCar, CART, Indy Lights, Atlantic, Barber Pro, plus IMSA and Trans-Am (did I miss any?). You also had the occasional races on TBS, CBS and ABC, where more of the masses had access a few times a year.

ESPN (which had only one outlet for most of that era) and TNN had 96% of the racing. Now we're looking at spreading out all these series evenly over 7 or 8 platforms. It's an impossible ad-sell in today's economy; it may still be impractical when the economy gets better.

I don't see any way (for example) the NBC Sports Network can sell a partial-or-whole season of CW Truck races, CBS Sports Network can sell a partial-or-whole season of the Nationwide Series, or how "Fox Sports 1" can or would try to sell any of what is left over (ARCA, Sports Cars, IRL, USAC, etc.).

I am 52 and way out of the demographic. I don't like it but have come to accept it. I bought the MLB package this year and, even at its cost, it has paid for itself with the entertainment it has given me.

The Sunday Ticket cost is dropping to $199 this season. That would be the equivalent of buying FOUR individual games last year. Hopefully this price decrease will be a trend.

Racing looks like it's headed for pay-per-view. The question is, are there enough people to sustain it and will the cost be reasonable?

Devin C. said...

The ONLY thing I watch Speed for is F1 qualifying and races, Rolex series, Le Mans and a few NASCAR qualifying shows (rarely). THAT IS IT. Fox, like many other networks, thinks everyone wants to watch ridiculous reality shows....that have very little to do with the spirit of the channel. We see this same crap going on at the Weather Channel, where they are constantly rolling out these silly reality shows. Um, it's THE WEATHER CHANNEL. try to get weather between 9PM-12AM EST...
Anyway, the channel took a major hit when it was decided (by the dummy who runs the series) ALMS would not return. Speed was a very unique, interesting channel for a long time. Now, it's been brought down so many levels that it's hard to watch. I'm not as big a NASCAR fan as I was a few years ago. Even THEN they had too much NASCAR.

It will be interesting to see what happens with it. Maybe Fox will do the best thing and sell it to someone who actually cares about the health and spirit of motorsports.

John in Chico said...

PPV; Many years ago Pocono had at least one of the races on PPV. Didn't watch, will not pay. NASCAR has had something on-line to keep up with the races and wants to charge for it. Ain't gona happen. With what we pay for cable we aren't paying anymore for programming. If any live race goes to PPV, we will not be there. Am waiting for the race Tony Stewart put on PPV a week or two ago to show up in Speed, not paying any more for television coverage.
F-1 practice on live streaming is awesome, close ups of the cars with great sound and no commentary. This type of broadcast is what streaming is all about.
Instead of worrying about whether we will see it in the future we should be seeing more of it.
When SpeedTV went HD they apparently had an exclusive contract with some providers, DirectTV being one of them. It took 2 years for the cable companies to get or show SpeedTV in HD. I wonder if that's why the largest cable company, Comcast, doesn't provide Speed2. Stinks.

Anonymous said...

John in Chico, in all fairness, Tony's PPV show $$ goes to charity, although if one can't afford it, it's certainly understandable. But it's PPV because it's intended to be a fundraiser.

Devin C...you have to turn in between 10 & 11 ET to get weather, that's the live weather show now. In between the Iron Men, the Hurricane hunters, the Pyros, the Storm Chasers, the Lifeguards....sigh.

GinaV24 said...

I would be OK with PPV IF and it's a big IF, the coverage was good enough to warrant it. If it's just the same old crap, repackaged, it doesn't interest me.

ITA about the weather channel. More lifestyle programming - all I wanted to know was the weather report, something I used to be able to get every 8 minutes, but no more. Now I check online, since I am not into the BS they are showing.

sbaker17 said...

PPV:
Absolutely NO WAY will I pay money to watch/listen to any Waltrip or Wallace. As it happens I have decided to go 'WAL' free for the rest of eternity. No Walmart, Walgreens Walla Walla, WA nothing with a 'WAL' (except for Dallenbach)

Anonymous said...

I don't see the whole pay per view thing happening. There just aren't enough fans out there that would pay for it to make that venture worthwhile.

What the networks want to cover will get covered on television, and what doesn't will be online (like the F1 coverage now) as far as NASCAR goes. Hopefully the networks want more NASCAR than I realize.

And who knows, maybe they switch over to Fox Sports 1 and they keep quite a bit and the channel gets in more homes (wishful thinking)

OSBORNK said...

I think PPV would kill sponsorship in NASCAR. Why would anyone spend the money to sponsor a car with such a small an limited audience? Their advertising dollars would switch to somewhere that gives more exposure to their product. If you lose the bang for the buck, the buck stops.

Keith Murray said...

I agree with FED UP. I was already tired of FOX and then they added Michael Waltrip. Yeah, nothing like having the owner of a team in the booth for fair and balanced, huh? TNT has done a great job so far this year, but then again, the bar is not set very high by FOX. I think that as long as FOX is in the mix, more and more fans will tune out. It's that bad.

AlisonJ said...

Amazing that no venture capitalists are not putting together a true racing channel. With so much trash on the cable and sat these days, and the size of the racing fan base, it should be a no-brainer.

If reality TV (and faux-reality TV) was banned, American TV networks would collapse.

Kiboe said...

knowing how things are going, speed will die, they will move those cup races to FX or another cable channel they own.

oh, and those that complain about cup races being on TNT, which is cable....IT'S BASIC CABLE, NOT LIKE IT'S PAYPERVIEW OR DIGITAL TIER.