As the calender flips from spring to summer, TNT begins it's summer series of racing that stretches from Pocono to Chicago. TNT was classified as the worst broadcaster of NASCAR for many years, but their coverage has vastly improved over the years. Their commercial free coverage of the Coke Zero 400 is always their main event but their normal race coverage is some of the best in NASCAR. They have Race Buddy, the device that let's you watch the race from almost every angle on nascar.com. In addition they have a new theme with AC/DC that will be sure to get your juices flowing. The reporters are lined up as the following:
Announcers: Adam Alexander, Wally Dallenbach Jr., Kyle Petty
Pit Reporters: Matt Yocum, Marty Snider, Ralph Sheheen
TNT's Revolving Studio: Lindsay Czarniak, Larry McReynolds, Kyle Petty
Larry McReynolds has made TNT very relevant over the years and has the freedom he doesn't have when broadcasting with FOX. Everyone knows that the TV coverage is the second most important thing when it comes to NASCAR. After the racing itself, theirs nothing more important than making the racing exciting through great personnel and special effects. Personally over the years FOX has really been on the down slide and are at fault for the declining TV ratings. Hopefully TNT can bring a fresh style to a very disappointing year of TV coverage. FOX announced that the main demographic declined by 29%, and the ratings decreased from last year.
When you take a step back and analyze NASCAR, you can see the importance of good television coverage and how it has made NASCAR the popular sport it is today. Here is some history of NASCAR and it's television partners.
1979 Daytona 500--First ever Live NASCAR race covered from flag to flag. The race made NASCAR relevant, and no one would know where NASCAR would be today without this race and CBS.
1981 Atlanta--ESPN, the world's biggest sports broadcaster shows their first ever live NASCAR race. Having NASCAR on ESPN helped NASCAR very much.
1985--All NASCAR Cup races are televised
2000--Six channels show live NASCAR racing: CBS, ABC, ESPN, TNN, TBS, and NBC
This is the time when NASCAR takes off from a mid range sport to a top fledged sporting organization mostly because of television.
2001--NASCAR signs it's biggest television contract with FOX and NBC,for years to come.
When ESPN returned in 2007, it seemed that the coverage began to sink from all the television broadcasters including FOX and TNT. In accordance, ratings began to dip to new lows. Theirs no debate that broadcasting a good race makes the race better in so many ways, but what I want to know is, what these channels can do to make the broadcasts relevant and exciting as they used to be. The FOX coverage from 2001-2005 was some of the best on television. They won many awards and flew NASCAR to new heights. But whatever happened after 2006 made NASCAR less and less exciting and led us to where we are today...
What do you think? Has the TV coverage been as bad as I think? What can they do? Who is the best of the three channels? Will TNT be better than FOX?
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