By admin | January 18, 2014
*I originally began this three part ‘NASCAR on TV’ series a couple of weeks ago and intended to run the final piece at that time but a technical glitch with the website prevented that. So, here is that final posting.
By Richard Allen
In a frequently joked about moment during the 2013 NASCAR season, the sanctioning body “mandated” that its competitors give 100% effort in each race. So if competitors are expected to give their all, isn’t it fair to expect NASCAR’s television partners to be held to those same standards?
Due to the highly opinionated nature of this site, there are typically a number of (much appreciated)comments offered by readers at the end of many of the columns. And easily, one of the leaders of the pack in the complaint department about NASCAR is the television coverage provided for the sport.
And among those complaints regarding NASCAR’s television coverage, the frequency of commercials is often the most targeted aspect of the broadcasts. Fans are usually quick to point out just how much racing is missed due to the amount of advertising sold for the races.
Obviously, TV networks have to make money. They are, after all, for profit corporations whose stock holders demand return on their investments. Commercials are an unavoidable necessity. And without planned timeouts as in other sports, NASCAR has the unfortunate and unique aspect of having ads run during the live action. But how much is too much?
If the networks overpaid to get the content, it should not be the responsibility of the fans to pay the price for that mistake. A reduction in or better plan of the numbers and timing of commercial spots would serve the sport, the fans, and the networks better.
Another complaint that frequently appears in the comments section of this blog and others regards the announcers. Whether those criticisms be against the Fox tandem of Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds, who have said essentially the same things for 12 years now, or against ESPN’s crew of pre-race talking heads, including a former basketball player who is now a car owner, many fans seem to have grown tired of the rhetoric.
Of course, the networks want to put the sport in the best light possible. It would make little business sense to go out and spend millions of dollars to obtain the rights to broadcast NASCAR then point out scores of negatives. However, the extent to which some of those who occupy the booth go to almost force fans to like whatever the latest change NASCAR has decided to make or whatever ruling was implemented has become mind numbing.
Further, NASCAR pre-race shows have proven to be exhaustive efforts that contain some meaningful content lightly sprinkled among cartoons of a gopher and other silly and useless nonsense.
And there are always the complaints of overemphasis on some drivers and personalities and too little on others. Danica Patrick and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. received extensive coverage during broadcasts of this past season despite the fact that neither won a race in 2013. Such “favoritism” has often been mentioned here and in social media by fans regarding NASCAR’s TV coverage for some time.
Naturally, it is in the best interest of the networks to feature drivers who have large fan bases. At the same time, it could be argued that other drivers don’t have the opportunity to develop fan bases because they’re so rarely seen on camera or discussed by announcers.
Ultimately, it is my opinion that the TV networks that cover NASCAR do not always present the sport in the best light, especially for those fans who have followed the sport for longer periods of time and who have a good working knowledge of what is going on. Just like NASCAR itself, TV seems too focused on bringing in new clientele and essentially trusting that the more seasoned viewers will continue to hang around out of a love for the sport, even when they are being ignored.
Let’s see how that works out. But that’s not the way to give 100%.
Topics: Articles |