Saturday, September 8, 2012

ABC Coverage Brings Local Station Issues

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is on the pole and the Sprint Cup Series is ready for some primetime action under the lights on national television. As most of you already know, the race tonight is on ABC.

The history of trying to serve four timezones with NASCAR has been problematic. Tonight, several markets will not carry the pre-race show but will join the coverage before the start. Local stations have established newscasts and also previous programming commitments.

Here is the list of markets where the NASCAR Countdown show will be preempted:

Corpus Christi, TX
San Antonio, TX
Tyler, TX
Little Rock, AR
Baton Rouge, LA
Omaha, NE
Kearney, NE
Louisville, KY
Pittsburgh, PA

Meanwhile, WPVI in Philadelphia will be showing “Inside the Eagles” but will carry Countdown on its D2 channel, then switch to the race at 7:30 p.m. ET.

So, the bad news is that some markets will not see the pre-race show that will be focused on making the Chase this season. The good news is that all markets will be along for the race.

The reality check amid all of this is the event possibly running long or being delayed by rain. In the past, some ABC stations have left NASCAR in the closing laps in order to begin their late local news on time. Hopefully, this situation has been addressed.

Weather is a factor and the scenario for tonight's race to go hours longer than scheduled is very real. There is live college football in progress on ESPN, but SportsCenter is on ESPN2 from 10:45PM through 1:30AM Eastern Time. Look for that network to get the NASCAR switch should things run very long.

In the event of the race being postponed until Sunday, it would run in the afternoon against NFL football. ESPN's flagship NFL Countdown show ends at 1PM ET, so perhaps NASCAR would take over ESPN at that time as the network is in replays for several hours. On Sunday afternoon, ESPN2 is contractually obligated to coverage of US Open tennis.

We will be hosting our usual live stream on Twitter using the #TDP1 hashtag for TV and media comments about the race coverage. Please join us, as Twitter is easy to use and provides instant communication. You can check to start putting your customized NASCAR timeline together.

After the race, there will be a new post for your comments. Friday night, the crowd was small and looked awful on TV. Hopefully, tonight will provide a much-needed spark for the sport and get the fan interest back in gear as NASCAR heads down the stretch. Thanks to Team Hendrick for the picture of the pole winner.

We invite your opinion on this topic. Comments may be moderated prior to posting.


oldirtracker said...

in reference to the small crowd friday night,I live in Richmond and do not attend, it is not a fan friendly track,restrooms are inadequate, food venders are outrageous, traffic is horrible and parking requires shuttles to access the track. Friday nights race was awesome as i watched it on TV from 20 miles away and when it was over i did not have a 4 hour wait to go to bed.

Mike in Pittsburgh said...

I'm in Pittsburgh and Dish, Titan Tv, ans all show the countdown in the schedule. I usually DVR and fast forward until the cars are on the track anyway.

Buschseries61 said...

Probably the last big weekend for the S&P topic. Keep an eye on those S&P teams tonight. They have just as much impact on the Chase as the guys racing to get in. They could be gaurantee at least 8 points for those that survive after 100 laps.

GinaV24 said...

Somehow I don't think having the night races on the local ABC channels has worked out quite the way it was intended. As you said, the local stations prefer to deal with local coverage - I'm in the philly area so thank you for letting me know that there is no point in trying to watch the countdown (although I usually don't). Bad weather is expected in the Phila area tonight, too, so it will be hard to know if the power will stay on.

I second oldirtracker's comments about Richmond not being a friendly track. They used to force people to buy their season ticket package and you have to plan at least 3 to 4 hrs to get out of the parking lots after the race. We gave it up after they parked anyone arriving early down in an empty field with no portajohns within a mile walk. I had an unexpected surgery a week before the race, didn't want to miss the race although in hindsight it was a stupid decision on my part since I wasn't up to walking back and forth. The local police who run the parking lots were completely unreasonable when we asked if we could move closer to the track to access the facilities. I honestly thought they were going to arrest us. I wrote to the track, the Va Bureau of Tourism and contacted the local police. The only one I heard back from was the police. The man started the conversation with "are you that yankee?" and told me I should have arranged for a handicapped pass in advance.

Yeah, after that response, we don't spend any $ going to Richmond any more. I decided if I couldn't get a courtesy call back from the track, they didn't need our money.

Anonymous said...

Game on ABC is in a weather delay. So much for seeing countdown anywhere, and probably the start of the race.

saltsburgtrojanfan said...

Did you kbow that Richmond races used to be run in the daytime

Wisconsin Steve said...

WISN, the ABC affiliate in Milwaukee, has scheduled a local sports studio show to run during Countdown's slot.

Anonymous said...

The good news is that X number of stations will be skipping the pre-race festivities. I know I will be.

Much better that than cutting off the finish of the race, don't you think? Let's face it, the pre-race stuff is just filler. If you're trying to educate your audience, September is much too late to try.

Axe the fluff beforehand. Keep the feed until the checkered flag. Who would argue with that?

Anonymous said...

No prerace on WPVI's second channel on Fios in NJ.

Rachel said...

We shall see. Right now, it's looking pretty bleak in Richmond as we speak.

Buschseries61 said...

Started watching at 9:20 PM with 2 other people. At 9:59 PM I'm the last one left watching. This is supposed to be an event aimed at the casual fan, right?

Anonymous said...

KATC-TV3 in Lafayette, Louisiana will not air the race in its entirely at 10pm central time, their local news will on instead.

Paul Rivera said...

I saw on the Twitter feed that the DC affiliate left during the race. At least NYC (WABC) only did a storm update (TWO tornadoes confirmed in the NYC area today) during the first segment of Countdown but went back to it for the second segment onwards. The whole race and post-race were seen uninterrupted here.