TV Ratings Continue To Deliver A Message

dpkimmel2001

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Nov 6, 2008
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Is it the racing or the presentation of the racing that's the problem? What do you think after reading this? Article and link from The Daley Planet.....

There is a wake-up call being delivered by NASCAR fans nationwide. The only question is, will it result in change?

Here are the latest NASCAR TV ratings from Jayski.com:

NASCAR on Fox posted a record-low 3.3/6 Saturday night for racing from Phoenix. Saturday's 3.3/8 is an -18% drop compared to last year's 4.0/7. FOX's rating at the green flag was just a 3.1/6, down -18% compared to last year's 3.8/7 when a long-running Yankees-Red Sox game drove some viewers straight into the first lap of the race. For the season-to-date, NASCAR On FOX is averaging a 4.9/10 in the metered markets, down -14% compared to last year's 5.7/11.(4-20-2009)

There was a time when the NASCAR on Fox franchise was the face of the sport. That network basically revived NASCAR at a time when the sport was in need of a steady TV partner.

The original development of the Hollywood Hotel and the introduction of the admittedly "West Coast kind of guy" Chris Myers added a new wrinkle to the sport. Myers antics on the air were an interesting contrast to the homespun Darrell Waltrip and the rodeo riding Jeff Hammond.

Topping off the team was the professionalism of Mike Joy and the intensity of Larry McReynolds. With a long history in the sport, Joy has a racing resume that is hard to top. For many fans, Joy is the voice of NASCAR on TV.

Fox is loaded with all the technical toys, a top-notch TV crew and a veteran production team. So, what's the problem?

If Phoenix is any indication, the coverage has shifted from the original priority of showing the racing to the new priority of paying the bills. The Saturday night race telecast was drowned in an embarrassing level of sponsor plugs and commercial elements that were forced into the telecast.

From the Subway sandwiches in the pre-race show through the Monster Moment toward the end, the NASCAR on Fox announcers never had a fighting chance to make this race interesting for the TV viewers. The announcers had been firmly handcuffed by the most powerful group in sports TV, the Ad Sales Department.

Over the years, the cast of the NASCAR on Fox team have become characters unto themselves. None of them are bigger than Waltrip. "Ole DW" has expanded his personal franchise, but it has come at a cost.

Waltrip steps back and forth between Fox and SPEED during these racing weekends, sometimes offering great commentary on the sport. Sometimes, however, he appears as nothing more than a shill for causes like Digger merchandise or the Toyota brand. Working both sides of the street may have finally caught up with him.

While some may try to point to the COT as a big problem where TV is concerned, the issue is deeper. Listening to the races on the radio and following the action on Trackpass offers a very different perspective. While the Fox TV coverage is driven by who is leading the race and the location of the high profile drivers, what is actually happening on the track may be much different. Sometimes, very different.

There are only five races remaining in the Fox portion of the Sprint Cup Series TV package this season. After the news of the continued decline in ratings, it should be interesting to see if the Fox team shakes things up for the remaining events.

Looking for the best racing on the track vs. following the leaders is a fundamental issue that TV has wrestled with for a long time. While the new dynamic of the COT and the rather different style of racing has been mastered by the teams, it certainly has not translated into substantive changes in the way racing is shown on TV by Fox. There has been a lot of the same old thing and it is not working.

This weekend at Talladega, Friday brings an ARCA race on SPEED. Saturday brings a Nationwide Series race on ABC and then a Camping World Truck Series race on SPEED from Kansas. Many fans will have seen three events by Sunday afternoon.

Incredibly, once again this season SPEED and Fox will actually overlap live on the air for thirty minutes as both Fox-owned networks air pre-race shows. NASCAR fans will be forced to choose between two NASCAR TV networks both trying to interview the same drivers live from the same track. Perhaps, not the best way to start the NASCAR on Fox coverage.

Talladega does offer the opportunity to change the momentum of this TV season and get things back on track. Clusters of cars and long caution laps should make the commercial elements a lot less painful than the Phoenix debacle. Great HD pictures and fantastic audio should keep viewers interested.

The only thing missing from this scenario of success is the Fox commitment to stay with the stories of the race and keep viewers updated on the non-superteams. Interview all the drivers who fall out of the race. Show us the rookies, the independents and the teams working to stay in the top 35.

The build-up to the TV coverage of the Talladega Sprint Cup race is going to be huge once again this season. Looking at the TV ratings, however, one thing is very clear. Fans do not and will not take the time to watch the same old coverage. The challenge of pulling fans from the DVR's and TiVo's to get them to watch the race live can only be met by one group. The NASCAR on Fox team.

Live coverage begins Sunday at 1PM on Fox with the green flag waving at 2:19PM ET.
 

caleb22

New Member
Mar 4, 2009
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TV folks like to blame the COT.

I don't watch football much at all but if I wanted to I would know that at 1pm and 4pm on Sunday (is that right?) and or Monday night I can tune in the NFL and I can even guess what network it's on. I never know when I can tune in a Nascar race consistently. Nascar races are the only shows I have difficulty with regarding my DVR. Sometimes I miss the last few minutes because it ran over more than my alloted 1 hour extension or I have to forward through 82 minutes of prerace foo to get to the race.

I say go back to the 1pm EST shotgun start or the 4pm start for west coast races. Get some consistency. And yes, interview the folks that fall out or who are in the garage fixing the cars to get back in.

I heard on Sirius many times over the past few weeks...there is more passing from 2nd on back than there is for the lead, so focus there.

I keep all the espn classic races from years past on my dvr and I watch them over and over again and I never get bored.
 

Pink Willie

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Oct 14, 2008
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I have been saying for years now that the show is on the track not in the booth.

I saw an interview with Darrell Waltrip where he and his wife were sitting on a couch (I can’t remember the name of the show) but he was just being himself talking racing. I was riveted to it. He was great. Then it hit me…I love Darrell Waltrip the driver not Darrell Waltrip the caricature he plays on T.V.
 

down4six

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Oct 14, 2008
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My 2 cents

I have noticed I am not watching as many races on TV this year, but I attended my first race (Vegas Nationwide) as well as listen to Sirius Speedway at least 3 times a week. So I would say my level of enthusiasm is still high. It just seems the races aren't as exciting this year. For example, last weekend we (g/f and I) were in the car driving, tuned to the sirius, and we had the following conversation:

HER: "Isn't the race on?"
ME: "Yeah"
HER: "And you're not listening?
ME: "Nope"
HER: "Why not?"
ME: "Dunno."

Is it the car of tomorrow and the chase? Is it the top story every week is centered around HMS and JGR, which gets old really quick if you aren't a fan of those drivers? Is it the TV coverage in general? I think it's all part of it. I am still a huge fan, but if I have a choice of finding the race on TV and sitting to watch it or firing up the ol' xBox 360 or doing something else, I have to take a moment to think.
 

riskybzns

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Oct 11, 2008
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land of confusion
the real question is, who do you think has the higher ratings, fox/tnt/abc or mrn/prn. i usually have the volume turned down on the tv and have the radio set to 128 and playing in the background. in all honesty i could care less about watchin it on tv and would much rather listen to the mrn/prn crew.
 

Snoozer

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Oct 13, 2008
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the real question is, who do you think has the higher ratings, fox/tnt/abc or mrn/prn. i usually have the volume turned down on the tv and have the radio set to 128 and playing in the background. in all honesty i could care less about watchin it on tv and would much rather listen to the mrn/prn crew.

You mean you're missing out on Digger????
 

dpkimmel2001

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Nov 6, 2008
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I am still a huge fan, but if I have a choice of finding the race on TV and sitting to watch it or firing up the ol' xBox 360 or doing something else, I have to take a moment to think.

If you do happen to fire up the XBOX 360, may I suggest Rock Band 2? Excellent way to pass the time! :yesshake:

As far as watching it, I don't miss a race. Even when I go to a race, when I get home I watch it. Television will never do this sport justice IMO. You only see what they let you see which is most often that's only the teams up front. A majority of the racing on the track isn't even being covered. That's not true with radio. They cover racing all over the track and do a much better job at it.
 

Sirius01_8

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Oct 14, 2008
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Its probably more due to the fact that there are more ways to "watch" or listen to a race now than before. Me I will check in or "watch" and listen to it on my Sprint phone via Sprint Cup Mobile or Sirius and do more productive things on the weekend and if my driver has a chance to win the race in the final 50 or so laps if I'm near a TV I'll tune to watch and see if he can pull it off but other than that I don't watch those clowns on FOX (looking at you DW, JH, and Chris Myers), as others have stated the show is on the track not in the *bleep* bleep* booth
 

mghtx

2000 Man
Oct 23, 2008
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Seems pretty simple to me....

Keep the camera on the racing.

I don't want to see the "cut-away" car. I don't want to see men in a booth chatting. I don't want to see ads in the middle of the screen in front of the racing. I don't want to see interviews with drivers during the race.

I want to see the racing.

Even the NFL had to learn this lesson.

(Also, I don't want to see commercials every 13 laps)
 

TheScionicMan

Last non-Hating Stern Fan
Oct 11, 2008
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A standard start time would be great. I'm not a huge fan, but would watch more if I knew it was on. I looked around the guide on Sunday and didn't see anything and that was the last I thought about it...
 

down4six

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If you do happen to fire up the XBOX 360, may I suggest Rock Band 2? Excellent way to pass the time! :yesshake:

I'll stick to Halo 3, Battlefield Bad Co., or a Cabelas game, I suck at those "band" games... :roflmao:

Television will never do this sport justice IMO. You only see what they let you see which is most often that's only the teams up front. A majority of the racing on the track isn't even being covered. That's not true with radio. They cover racing all over the track and do a much better job at it.


Seems pretty simple to me....

Keep the camera on the racing.

I don't want to see the "cut-away" car. I don't want to see men in a booth chatting. I don't want to see ads in the middle of the screen in front of the racing. I don't want to see interviews with drivers during the race.

I want to see the racing.

Even the NFL had to learn this lesson.

(Also, I don't want to see commercials every 13 laps)

Amen to those sentiments. I thought I was a fan from just watching it on TV, then I went to my first race and I don't think the grin came off my face for a week. TV does have to appeal to the masses (hence the ratings stories), and unfortunately right now it's Junior nation, Jeff and Jimmie, and Shrub. That's why I like to listen to the race on the radio more than listening to the TV.

I can get the whole "Cut-away" car concept for beginners, but it does get old, they need to use it more sparingly. Whatever happened to when they would tell you to go to a website to learn more about things?
 

Easy Money

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Oct 25, 2008
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I guess I just dont over analyze the coverage, none of it really bothers me much. I like TNT less than any of the others, but thats about it. Although, that dang cartoon at the begininng at Pheonix was awfully stupid!!! I try to stay off the Digger Death Squad, but it seemed to last FOREVER!!