By Jason Schultz
A way millions of fans view each NASCAR race every weekend, has turned into a big issue. There are some good things about NASCAR broadcasts but there are some bad things as well.
This season the TV coverage from FOX Sports and TNT has been disapointing. A few of the bad aspects of the TV coverage are; not seeing great racing action because the TV is showing a driver running by himself without any cars around, and missing a spin, most notably this past weekend at Sonoma.
Most years ESPN comes in at Indianapolis with great coverage, usually the best of the season.
In Danica Patrick’s three races of the season, we’ve seen more coverage of a car three laps down than ever before. Without NASCAR being broadcasted on TV, many people wouldn’t be watching the action all weekend long. So fans shouldn’t be complaining about the lack of good coverage when they’re lucky they can view the race each weekend.
Another issue is the commercials. We’ve seen a ridiculous amount of commercials. FOX attempted to do side by side coverage at the end of the race, but that wasn’t enough. Some commercial breaks came so close together that in a time span of ten minutes, we saw more minutes of commercials than actual track time. We all know that TV needs to show commercials during any broadcast, but do they need this many?
This year’s TV coverage hasn’t been all bad. Some of the good aspects of TV coverage this year are the interaction with twitter and more in-depth analysis. Twitter has become a huge part of the sport this year and TV has adapted to the new form of interaction.
It all started in Daytona for the 500 when Brad Keselowski sent out the tweet heard ’round the world. During the red flag period for the famous jet-dryer issue, Brad Keselowski took out his Sprint iPhone, which was in his car, and took a picture from inside his car of his view of the jet-dryer issue. That tweet gained him over 150,000 followers and he became the name associated with NASCAR and twitter.
That started a trend where FOX showed different tweets throughout the race broadcast. TNT has picked up what FOX did with twitter and they’re showing a bunch of tweets from drivers, media members and even NASCAR executives. Tweets during the broadcast help fans better understand different events happening on the track.
Another good aspect of TV coverage this year is the in-depth analysis provided by lap-by-lap announcers. Larry McReynolds has been on FOX and TNT’s coverage and he is great for helping fans better understand what happens under the cars’ hood and why different cars have certain issues. On TNT’s coverage Larry has his “tool box” of little gadgets he uses throughout the race to enhance the broadcast.
During FOX’s broadcast they used Jeff Hammond to venture around the track and find different and unique aspects of the race. During the Kansas race, Hammond went out to the track viewing area in the new casino that sits outside turn two.
These good new aspects of TV coverage almost make up for the bad aspects.
Overall, NASCAR TV coverage has good and bad things about it, and as fans, we should be thankful for the coverage because at least we get to view the races each and every weekend.
Most of the bad issues will eventually be fixed and we can watch the race without the problems. For now, we should enjoy NASCAR coming into our homes each weekend.