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Friday, November 17, 2006

When Free is not good enough:

Every couple of days I'll spend a few moments lurking on the SFC message board (and a few others) and this time there actually was a couple of a posts that helped drive today's blog.

'Spotterman', had to stay home last week and will be missing this week's race as well, as he is expecting a new arrival to his family (congrats Brett). For the first time this decade, he had to watch the TeVee broadcast of a Cup race. While his complaints were nothing we have not heard before, maybe it gave him a different perspective.

One of the complaints I saw was that NBC (this is applicable to Fox as well) refuses to give an update on a team that is having problems or deep in the field. But lets get into the head of the NBC producer who is making the calls for a moment. One unique aspect of a Nascar race, is that there are no ‘time outs’, no half time or any other ‘breaks’ in the action to review when a team has issues. The producer has 43 cars to follow and many times there just isn’t enough broadcast time to cover everyone. Try to watch the PGA sometime, you see every Tiger Woods shot no matter where he is in the field, but others you may only see a shot or two of their whole round.

In many ways it reminds me of how College Football used to be broadcast before the 70s and 80’s. Back then, for the most part, only a handful of teams out of the 100+ division 1A college football teams would be shown live on TV. If there was a slow moment or if something spectacular happened in another game, sometimes ABC might break away and give us an update from that game. Shortly after that came the emergence of ESPN and other cable networks that were happy to broadcast some of these ‘lesser’ known teams. Most of the fans of those teams were in a new-found heaven, simply because they got a glimpse of their favorite team every now and then, not just the ‘top teams’. Sound familiar doesn’t it?

However, still many fans wanted to see, or at least have the opportunity to see, every single moment of their favorite team’s full season. College football did ‘fix’ this problem by offering pay per view of almost every college football game on any given Saturday. Even the NFL, NBA, MLB has done this and that PPV continues to be expanded, so if one lives in Tampa and wants to see Seattle play, the only way to get that ‘total coverage’ is to go to pay per view.

But that is where Nascar fans seems to have their dilemma and differ from those College and NFL Football fans. They want ‘total’ coverage of a race, but they also want that at NO CHARGE. That most likely will never happen on network television, just the nature of the event being broadcasted, but don’t tell Nascar fans that. They want their “vision” coverage, they also expect that coverage should be able to predict cautions (or the ‘big one’) and not take a commercial break during those times. Like EVERY network television program, for every 30 minutes of television time, there is a percentage of that time that must be dedicated to the advertisers who are paying for those 30 minutes to be aired.


lets take a look at the past ten or so Nascar broadcasts in terms of commercials: (source http://www.cawsnjaws.com)

track total minutes of race broadcast total minutes of comercials during race total minutes of racing shown % of commercials time % of race shown
pheonix (fall) 221 71 150 32.13% 67.87%
TMS (fall) 289 75 214 25.95% 74.05%
ATL (fall) 228 74 154 32.46% 67.54%
Mville (fall) 241 68 173 28.22% 71.78%
Lowes (fall) 245 71 174 28.98% 71.02%
Dega (fall) 215 65 150 30.23% 69.77%
Kansas 216 66 150 30.56% 69.44%
Dover (fall) 231 74 157 32.03% 67.97%
New Hampshire 203 63 140 31.03% 68.97%
Richmond (fall) 194 59 135 30.41% 69.59%
Cal (fall) 244 73 171 29.92% 70.08%






totals 2527 759 1768 30.04% 69.96%



In rounded numbers, 70% of actual races are shown, which is right in line with any other major broadcasts on Network TeVee. During prime time, for every 30 minutes of programimg, on the average there is 9 minutes of commercial time, which ironicly fits right in line with the percentages for Nascar broadcasts.


So the next time you hear someone complaining about the TV coverage for a Nascar race, remind them of a few things. First and foremost, (for the most part) it doesn’t cost you dime to watch. Today’s broadcasts are much more entertaining, and more professionally produced than in years past. And until the average TV watching Nascar fan is willing to pony up a few bucks each month in order to see their ‘ vision” broadcast, the 'free broadcast' is the best game going in town at this time.

I would be happy to pay for PPV, would you?

3 comments:

Merri said...

I expect that since I already pay for Trackpass, I would indeed pay for NASCAR PPV too.

However, the current television deals are so prohibitive that it would mean a HUGE number of folks would have to buy the PPV to counteract the lack of advertising dollars.

It is quite, if your driver is not running up front, that is why you don't hear about their progress.

Gvav1 said...

I think the difference between Fox vs NBC coverage has been the personalities...and I still haven't figured out why Weber replaced AB as NBC's lead.

The 70% stat is nice to know...fans need to realize the dynamic of racing is different from ball and stick sports...only thing I don't like about NBC is the "Thru the Field" feature. Networks have no choice but to break away during green flag vrooming.

If fans thought the old broadcasts were better...just watch a few. It's simply not the case. We all just want to hold on to yesterday.

Thanks Boomer....Smokey!

Texas20Fan said...

I just wish they (NASCAR) would allow the split screen like they have in IRL. I actually *don't* switch the channel when commercials come on during an IRL race and I still see the commercial. Go figure.