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« Big Crash Eliminates Top Contenders Early at Talladega | Main | NASCAR’s John Middlebrook Confronted With Another ‘Gray Area’ Appeal in Penske Case? »

Talladega Television Coverage Demonstrates Why Fans Complain

By admin | May 5, 2013

By Richard Allen

One of the biggest targets in the sights of NASCAR fans when they decide to complain is the sport’s television coverage. And among the most common complaints is the number of and timing of commercials during each broadcast. Sunday’s race at Talladega demonstrated why those complaints come so frequently.

On lap 124 NASCAR threw a caution flag for rain. Significantly, the race could have ended at that point being that the halfway mark had been surpassed. So, the event could well have been determined in those laps preceding the yellow flag had the rain lasted long enough to force NASCAR to call the race.

The trouble was, the Fox Network was away in a commercial break while there were apparently a number of wild moves taking place on the track. Scanner chatter among spotters and drivers had certainly amped up and Twitter posts among those reporters on the scene confirmed that racing had intensified.

It’s not as if Fox did not know the rain was coming. Their own announcers had just stated that the action was about to pick up due to the possiblity of inclement weather. Team spotters, who Fox monitors, were urging their drivers to get going as the rain approached. But just after the hype by the announcing team that the intensity was about to pick up, Fox went to commercial.

And this rather long set of commercials came after only a brief return from another set of advertising spots.

The broadcast did not return until the moment the yellow flag waved. The viewers had missed the entire sequence of intense racing. Knowing that rain was coming, the network’s director and producers had to know they would have time for commercials during the inevitable rain delay. But even with that knowledge, they made the decision to break away at one of the race’s most pivotal moments.

But not to worry, there was plenty of uninterrupted talk of the relationship between Danica Patrick and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. as well as lots of air time for broadcaster turned racer(or vice-versa) Michael Waltrip during the rain delay.

Topics: Articles |

25 Responses to “Talladega Television Coverage Demonstrates Why Fans Complain”

  1. GinaV24 Says:
    May 5th, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    Good synopsis, Rich. This is one of the reasons I have stopped changing my schedule to “watch” racing on TV. Poor information, lots of commercials and mostly stupid commentary. I should waste my time for this?

  2. Gene Says:
    May 5th, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    It’s by design. They know more viewers stay tuned in when they go to commercials during green flag racing. The same viewers tend to change channels when undedr caution.

  3. Cindi Says:
    May 5th, 2013 at 8:12 pm

    That’s why I listen to MRN or PRN radio and lower the sound on the TV and use Twitter.

  4. Tony Geinzer Says:
    May 5th, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    I almost would have felt better if the race was not a Supermarathon, because I believe that at least engage us as fans, as the Next Act is for Talladega is Night Racing in the Summer Pre Brickyard.

  5. zhills fan Says:
    May 6th, 2013 at 3:12 am

    I have quit watching nascar races altogether because of all the commercials.

  6. KYBOY Says:
    May 6th, 2013 at 4:52 am

    I really got tired of the Toyota lovefest. They seemed to talk about Toyota waaaaay too much!

  7. Brandon Says:
    May 6th, 2013 at 7:01 am

    Why won’t NASCAR start a race early when they know weather is in the area? They spent an hour doing pre-race crap with blue skies all the while talking about how the rain was coming and would come into play later on. They Kowtow to the TV contracts that provide the sport with poor coverage. NASCAR really needs to have their own channel to cover the sport.

  8. Jesse Says:
    May 6th, 2013 at 7:24 am

    KYBOY, thank you, thank you, at least someone notices, but you have got to understand with the Waltrip brothers, I think they have got Fox under their finger, everyone hates to listen to them but the network gives them more air time. Then they but Denny Hamlin in for a little extra Toyota time.

  9. midasmicah Says:
    May 6th, 2013 at 7:52 am

    It isn’t just the commercials, though there are way too many. The nine headed monster called a broadcasting crew has gotten worse this year, if that’s possible. I’ve found myself turning off the TV or changing channels in frustration. The Waltrips must own a big stake in FUX because they sure get a lot of air time. And Newman was right in his comments.

  10. Jeff Says:
    May 6th, 2013 at 8:14 am

    After 3 1/2 hours of constant commercials, both by sponsors and Waltrips, they cut to commercial after three or four laps into the final segment. I commented to my daughter that the rain was just another reason to put on more commercials…

    If Fox doesn’t get rid of those buffoons in the booth, they are going to lose what few fans they still have.

    M. Waltrip (conflict of interest and Toyota shill)
    D. Waltrip (”when I was racing” is his favorite line)
    L. McReynolds (self-absorbed language butcher)
    M. Joy (likes to scream at the audience)

  11. GinaV24 Says:
    May 6th, 2013 at 8:15 am

    A couple of other things that occurred to me after I posted. NASCAR has shown the fans that they don’t care about the tv presentation by renewing the contract with Fox early, allowing them to have an ACTIVE owner in the booth (Michael Waltrip), continuing to allow them to dumb down the sport and show favoritism and cheerlead.

    No other sport does that when broadcasting on a national level. If you tune in to the local broadcast for hockey, for instance, you definitely will get announcers who are “homers” and that’s fine, I know what I am getting when I tune in.

    NASCAR allows all of this to go on, they take the money and go merrily on their way, leaving the fans to complain.

    I seldom watch the races on tv since as I said, I get better information off of radio, trackpass and twitter. I expect to get pictures of the actual races but Fox and ESPN as well, have both decided that they don’t have to do their part in promoting and supporting the sport by actually providing that in the broadcast.

    I don’t plan to pay extra for NASCAR when Fox moves it to whatever they are calling their version of sports network. I am leaning more toward canceling my cable subscription completely since it seems mostly a waste of money these days.

  12. RickP Says:
    May 6th, 2013 at 9:46 am

    Fox came out of a commercial break at 3:04pm yesterday and that was just when the racing was getting good because of the coming rain. Then Fox went to another commercial break at 3:07 pm after the announcers were making the point that the action on track was heating up. When they returned from the second commercial break, the caution came out. What is the point of showing three minutes or less of on track action?

  13. Bill B Says:
    May 6th, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Brandon,
    If you had a ticket to the race and it said “start time: 12:00 AM” and you got to your seat right on time, how would you feel if the race started at 11:00 AM?

    So, it’s not just tv that dictates start time, it’s the fans at the track as well. If they start the race earlier than the ticket states they might end up with a bunch of people wanting refunds.

    Now, they can wipe out all the pre-race stuff that takes place and the start the race right at 12 PM (like they did).

  14. Bill H Says:
    May 6th, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Ever watch an NFL football game? Injury time out results in six commercials. Then one play and the team scores; six more commercials. Come back for the kick-off, then leave for six more commercials. Run one play and a player is hurt, so we leave for six more commercials. That’s four football plays and 24 commercials, taking up 15 minutes.

    At least if you go to the race in person the race keeps going. You have that option. If you go to the football game, the game stops for the commercials. Players and 50,000 fans are sitting around waiting for the television to resume. I no longer go to football games because at least at home I can go in the bathroom and floss my teeth during commercials.

  15. dawg Says:
    May 6th, 2013 at 10:39 am

    Thank the Racing God, that the Toyota shill fest, Faux coverage is drawing to a close.
    I switched over to watch the final 20 laps or so of the Indy car race. Really enjoyed it.
    Has the “Gyro Cam,” become the new Digger?

    How long before people with access to MRN, decide they don’t really need the TV?

    When all NASCAR cares about is the size of the check.
    These commercials, briefly interrupted by a race, will only get worse!

  16. RacingFan Says:
    May 6th, 2013 at 11:16 am

    I find it interesting that several other fans have lost at least some (if not all) interest in the racing or its television coverage but still like to read about and comment on sites like this.
    Some years ago, I started falling asleep during the races. I didn’t mind if I missed long parts of a race because I had other things to do. But, I still was interested in reading the articles and comments on sites such as this one.
    Several things can generate interest in NASCAR: information about the technical innovations used to give a team an advantage (nonexistent in NASCAR), the racing itself, and the soap opera discussions about the drivers, rules, etc. The third one seems to be the most interesting in the NASCAR of today.
    This year, I have found the racing is becoming more somewhat more interesting again. I am still annoyed by many aspects of the television coverage, though.

  17. CMel24 Says:
    May 6th, 2013 at 11:58 am

    I have never been a fan of M. Waltrip, he thinks he is a great racers, but he is just a one track wonder. He has never won on any track, except resticter plate tracks. With all of his starts and he has 4 win!! Whoppee!!! Now, Ole DW, I really don’t mind him, but I do wish he would give up that 4 letter phrase “Back in the day”. That just grinds on my last nerve. Mike Joy is a very likable person. Jeff Hammond needs to say “goodbye” “Adios and farewell” John Roberts, now he is one very irritating man. When he talks it’s like fingernails on a chalkboard. Funny he is not. Besides, NASCAR is not his forte and he proves it every time he opens his mouth.

  18. NASCARJeff Says:
    May 6th, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    As someone who works in live television and a racing fan I can understand and relate to the “commercial placement problem.”

    This is a network broadcast and it hits its breaks at a certain time during said broadcast. Now when Kyle Busch started the first big wreck FOX did bust out of break to show it, then after every angle was shown returned to paid spots. I call them that because the paid spots pay for us to watch this race. It has to happen this way!

    Now it the side by side boxes NASCAR/Sprint uses to show the commercials and racing side by side wasn’t so lopsided that we could actually see the race in that little box and not be over powered by that HUGE commercial box it would be worth while.

    As for the announcers both FOX and ESPN have this huge conflict of interest with the Waltrip brothers, Brad Daugherty and Rusty Wallace all owning teams or being connected to sponsors to shill for that it takes away from whatever it is I am not listening to them say.

    DW is out of touch, nobody cares how it was done in the 1980’s or when he was a back marker in the 90’s and needed the Champions Provisional every week to race. His giving Danika a pass every week is getting old and he does not understand what is going on with the cars these days.

    Larry, Rusty, Dale Jarrett and Andy Petree all need communications courses. Maybe someone at FOX will tell Larry that “extrey” is not a word and it is pronounced “McMurray’ not Mac-Murrey.” and DJ should not start out a sentence with “uhm’.

    Maybe one network should carry all the races like with Ned, Benny and Bob.

  19. Greg Says:
    May 6th, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    I gave up watching NASCAR on FOX , rather listen on MRN , they cover everything without the 1 UPMANSHIP of the FOX announcers and the dribble chatter about the past and who did what they ANNOUNCE the race.

    Yesterday the would tell you that they would be off the air to a certain time during the rain delays and at the EXACT moment they had promised they were back.

    As for Mikey Waltrip , hes just not as FUNNY as he thinks he is , the TRUCK races prove that .

  20. The Mad Man Says:
    May 6th, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    Since Faux gave creative control to Jaws, the coverage and commentary have gotten worse. Something I didn’t think was possible. “Let’s shows 20 different shots in one lap and omit any shots of racing. Gyro cam, in-car, gopher cam, rear bumper cam, back to gyro cam, in car, show one car and then go to commercial”. They rarely if ever show any actual racing. At Texas, out of the over 1100 camera shots they showed, only 67 showed any actual racing. The rest were either gimmick shots like the gyro and gopher cam or what I call Myopic Vision shots which only show 1-3 cars. That’s it. That’s not racing.

    Then there’s all the cheerleading and shilling that go on for Toyota, the Toyota teams and drivers, the Hendrick & subsidiary teams and drivers, Dale Jr, and the newest messiah to save NA$CAR from itself, Princess Sparkle Phony. The Front Row boys threw Jaws and the rest of them off their game when they were running in the front pack because it didn’t fit the script from Daytona. They kept fumbling trying to shill and cheerlead and it didn’t fit what was going on.

    And why would they go back to racing after it had been halted for rain past the half way point? Do you think that maybe it had something to do with 4 Fords occupying the first 4 positions and not the “preferred” brand of Chevy and Toyota? Think about that for a minute. Every single Faux broadcast DW and the motley bunch can do nothing but talk trash about Ford. Matt Kenseth is a good example. You hardly heard a thing two years ago about Matt when he was driving a Ford. Last year, after it was announced he was going to JGR, the announcers changed their tune. This year, DW does everything but perform fellatio on Matt. He sings his praises from the highest mountain tops. Ford is not the “preferred” brand to the Toyota-owned Waltrip brothers.

    I agree with some of the other post about geting rid of the entire Faux crew and getting rid of the car owners on the BSPN crew. A definite conflict of interest there. They need to see if Ned Jarrett, Buddy Baker, and Eli Gold would take to the booth again and maybe drag Barney Hall with them. Put all the racing on one network that actually wants and cares about the racing instead of just having it fill a spot. Maybe then the ratings would return to what they were in 2008. The high point of the last decade.

    I found the ARCA and IndyCar races to be a lot more exciting and actually better covered and commentated on that the Cup race. Faux and BSPN could learn a lesson or two from them.

  21. Chris Fiegler Says:
    May 6th, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    I thought Talladega was a Great Race.

  22. Jonathan Says:
    May 6th, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    I think Nascar and Fox did a good job… not great but find me any other network that would stay on the air for 8 hours of Nascar. Complain all you want but think of the good things. They have to pay the bills… everything happens so fast… those showers were poping up with out notice so im sure they didnt know excatly when the rain was coming. Gosh sometimes I think people just come on these sights to b*#ch and moan. I think Fox did ok!!! You know people there is racebuddy when the networks go to commercial. I still dont understand why the hell we dont have side by side throughout the whole race though that would fix so many problems. but you people would still complain like the one guy who says the box is to small. smsh whatever

  23. amac Says:
    May 6th, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    The height of NASCAR broadcasts was with Bob, Benny and Ned. Race coverage has been horribly down hill since 2001.
    Heck, The Nashville Network did a better job than FOX!
    The current coverage has been turned into gimmicks, catch phrases and the lowest common denominator. The amount of commercials are a symptom of a much larger problem. FOX has no clue what they are doing and what they have done. What happened to digger?-don’t care.
    I never watch a race live anymore, DVR everything and skip over commercials. Always mute the boogity at the start!
    Unfortunately the formula has changed and we may never again get to see the broadcast reach the heights of the late nineties.
    Sadly as a fan for 27+years i can barely enjoy the sport i love because they don’t show it.

  24. Tyler West Says:
    May 6th, 2013 at 7:00 pm

    Talladega was awesome!! Folks that don’t like plate racing need to take a hike. Now, the FOX coverage does suck but it could be worse. The problem is like everything else, the sport still is trying to pander to the “dumbass” generation. If the new fans don’t have the attention span to keep up with the race they need to go then. The need to stick to just presenting the race not all this other BS like twitter, talking about that damn girl and who she’s screwing, or any oth er BS that has nothing to do with the race. Hell, the Chase does not matter, it’s a joke. Winning that weekend should be the highest priority and then followed by who has the most wins at the end of the season. Not gimmicks!! The chase along with the tv coverage has hurt the sport. Kill all the BS gimmicks and focus just on the sport of racing HARD!!! Not points racing.

  25. Pat Says:
    May 6th, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    I really enjoy the Waltrips!!!!
    Hate the timing and number of the commercials.

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