Thursday, December 3, 2009

Fan Council Survey Targets ESPN/ABC Race Coverage

Well now! Just when the fan backlash over the ESPN coverage of the Chase was dying down, the good old NASCAR Fan Council comes along with another double top secret survey. This one pulled no punches.

Here are some of the topics and questions:

Rank the TV networks, Fox, TNT and ESPN/ABC in order of preference for the Sprint Cup Series races only.

How many of the 17 ESPN/ABC races did you watch?

Rate ESPN/ABC's Sprint Cup Series broadcasts: Just right, make no changes...good, but need minor changes...poor, major changes needed to keep my interest.

Open comments on what fans liked or disliked about the ESPN/ABC Cup race broadcasts.

Rate the following using: Strongly agree, moderately agree, neutral, moderately disagree, strongly disagree.

ESPN/ABC booth and pit reporters:
Announcers are NASCAR experts
They make the race more exciting
Cover all the drivers
Excellent job explaining strategies
Makes me feel more knowledgeable
Makes the broadcast fun
Are passionate commentators/announcers
Makes me more interested in NASCAR
Does a better job than other TV networks
Too structured and uptight
Always on top of the action
Does the best job covering the race
Never misses important on-track action
Doing an excellent job
Too many on-screen gimmicks
Thrilling camera angles
Captures the sounds of the sport
Covers Victory Lane and post-race in an appropriate manner

Rate these elements with: It's OK, I can take it or leave it or I really dislike it.
Triple pit camera
Over the wall camera
Wall camera angles
Overhead camera angles
Tech Garage
Team radio communication
In-car camera angles
ESPN pit studio
NASCAR Countdown
Pit crew reporter
In-race reporter
Sports ticker at the bottom of the screen
Full Throttle feature
Mike Rowe narration at the beginning

Rate the Chase coverage on ABC (final ten races) on a scale of 1 to 10. With 1 being disagree strongly to 10 being agree strongly.
Covered those drivers not in the Chase
Covered the Chase like a playoff
Made the races feel special
Covered the drivers in the Chase appropriately
Made it feel like more was at stake

Rate the pre-race on a scale of 1 to 10. 1 being not very important through 10 being very important.
The location of the pre-race show at the track
Commentary and discussion
Lifestyle (fans tailgating, etc..)
Historic flashbacks
Driver interviews
Review of the previous week
Starting line-up
Review of the last race run at the same track
Driver features

Rate the actual race coverage on a scale of 1 to 10, using the same parameters as above.
Covering the leader
Covering the side-by-side racing
Covering the cars outside the top ten
Race recaps
Covering the big name racers no matter where they run
Interviews with owners
Current point standings throughout the race
Technical explanations
Covering pit stops
Interviews with drivers out of the race
Covering the passing for position in the race
Interviews with crew chiefs and other team members

TDP has been covering the TV side of NASCAR since 2007. Over that time, we have seen lots of changes in style and personnel. Our discussion about the final seventeen Sprint Cup Series races covered by ESPN/ABC appears to directly mirror the issues addressed in this fan survey.

The NASCAR Fan Council is a group of twelve thousand fans who are not paid, but help NASCAR to gauge a wide variety of topics, including the media. Click here for the column about the NFC asking fans about Digger at the height of the Fox backlash over the animated rodent.

It was amazing earlier this season when NASCAR executive Ramsey Poston blogged about the sanctioning body being upset with ESPN and how the network covered the Talladega race. Click here to read the full post.

Now, we see questions directly addressing issues like the Tech Garage with Tim Brewer, the pre-race show with Allen Bestwick and the event coverage anchored by Jerry Punch. The survey also steps behind the cameras to ask about the mechanical parts of the coverage from pit stops to in-car cameras.

What is your reaction to NASCAR as its online consumer marketing arm brings up topics directly related to the ESPN/ABC Sprint Cup Series coverage?

To add your comments on this topic, just click on the comments button below. This is a family-friendly website, so comments may be moderated prior to posting. Thanks for stopping by and leaving us your opinion.