By admin | November 3, 2013
By Richard Allen
In the opinion of this writer, NASCAR races start at the wrong times. And often, the reason for the races starting at the wrong times are the television networks’ love affair with mindless pre-race shows.
As an example, the Camping World Truck Series race broadcast by Fox Sports 1 from the Texas Motor Speedway on Friday night had a 30 minute pre-race show then another 15 minutes of the “race” broadcast before the green flag ever waved to start the event. That’s fairly common for most race day coverage of all three of NASCAR’s top divisions.
What that time for witty banter between the hosts, insightful canned interviews and other entertaining segments(can you sense the sarcasm?) was to give me time to tune in for the first quarter or so of the NBA matchup between the Miami Heat and the Brooklyn Nets.
So what does that hurt? Well, for folks who are racing fans first and foremost it probably doesn’t have much impact on the broadcast viewership. But for casual fans who -believe it or not- may not find the pre-race show to be worthwhile, it gives them an opportunity to get invested into something else and forget there is a race being shown.
The Sprint Cup race from that same track on Sunday afternoon provides another example of poorly timed starts, in my opinion. Instead of getting the race started ahead of the Sunday afternoon sporting competition, the event was not scheduled to start until just after 3:00pm eastern time. That is a worst case scenario in terms of timing.
By 3:00pm, many sports fans will have fully invested themselves into the early afternoon NFL games. This could be particularly dangerous for NASCAR due to the fact that two southern teams, the Carolina Panthers and the Atlanta Falcons, were playing each other. Those are two of NASCAR’s more important markets.
Of course, the Texas Motor Speedway is in the Central Time Zone, which probably eliminates the possibility of a noon eastern start. But a 1:00pm start would not be out of the question. Instead, ESPN didn’t even sign on until 2:00pm and the race was not scheduled to take the green flag until around 3:15. If the NFL game that your favorite team was involved in proved to be a close one, the chances you changed the station were probably quite low if you’re only a casual NASCAR fan.
NASCAR ratings have held up relatively well through the Chase for the Sprint Cup, but why take the gamble of giving other sports a head start?
Just cut out all of the useless talk by “experts” like Brad Daugherty, Chris Meyers and others. Drop the green flag and let’s race.
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