By admin | July 15, 2012
By Richard Allen
TNT wrapped up its stint of covering NASCAR Sprint Cup events in 2012 with Sundayâ€™s race at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. And fans who have watched the six races shown by the network were not at all shy about voicing their opinions of the coverage during the mid-summer stretch of the series schedule.
Among the biggest complaints seen in my highly unofficial survey of responses from Twitter followers was that there were too many commercials during the telecasts and that the coverage is too narrow in its focus. These were almost universal responses from multiple fans who took the time to voice an opinion.
When I asked the question, â€œSo what did everybody think? Good race? Bad race? TV coverage?â€ on Twitter following Sundayâ€™s event, I got hit with a number of answers. Here are a few:
â€œTV coverage was too poor for me to actually grade the race itself. Very hard to follow,â€ declared @heylookaturtle.
â€œRubbish coverage! We get leader cam, onboard cam during TV breaks in Ireland, don’t know how you guys put up with the breaks,â€ said @trevormurphy73 from afar.
When I added the question, â€œDoes anyone have a positive comment about TNT’s NASCAR coverage? Other than it’s about to end?â€ more answers came rolling in.
â€œTypical race coverage.. more commercials than racing and clueless banter between commentators,â€ opined @Brandon88_.
â€œAs usual horrible TV coverage from TNT. About to quit on Cup this year and hope new car is better or I’ll stick to dirt!â€ said DownNDirtyTN.
And @dstuddard placed a final punctuation mark on the TNT coverage with, â€œGlad itâ€™s over!â€
All of that said, I am going to offer up a couple of counter points in TNTâ€™s favor.
First, there did seem to be a lot of commercials. I made my share of quips during the race myself. But one thing to consider is that with the lowered number of caution flags this season, the networks have been forced to show more commercials during green flag segments. In the minds of the viewers that may make it seem as if there are more ads simply because there have not been enough lulls in the action to blend the spots in.
Iâ€™ll be honest enough to say that I do not look at the commercial breakdown data for each race but if there had been more cautions, the ads would almost certainly seem less noticeable during the telecast.
Secondly, the six race stretch handed to TNT is not exactly the highlight of the Sprint Cup schedule, with the exception of the race in Daytona. Fans often complain about less than exhilarating races on tracks such as Pocono, Michigan and New Hampshire. There may just not be that much there to work with in terms of the material at hand.
And I will also say that not all the responses were of the negative. While some seem to dislike Kyle Petty and Wally Dallenbach as commentators, the overall feeling seemed to be that they are worthy of attention.
As @DownNDirtyTN added, â€œIn regards to TNT coverage as a whole I don’t mind listening to Kyle & Wally - for the 26 minutes they actually get to talk.â€
Also, the lineup of pit reporters for TNT is very solid and they do an effective job of keeping fans abreast of what is going on from that part of the event. Some Twitter respondents shared that assessment.
All in all, fans did not seem to be pleased with TNTâ€™s NASCAR coverage. However, the same can often be said of the sanctioning bodyâ€™s other two network partners as well. My contention is that the overall coverage of NASCAR by the television networks is not as good as it needs to be. My biggest complaint is that the coverage is too narrow in its focus, meaning that too few individuals are given too much attention and racing back in the pack often goes unnoticed.
In my opinion, TNT is little better or worse than the other networks. Fans may not share that opinion now but after ESPN/ABC complete their segment of the schedule, they will be receiving much the same criticism as the network that just finished.
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