TNT's Television Coverage Leaves Fans Wondering What Happened
by Steve Zautke
Big Bend, WI (June 26, 2012) - There is nothing worse for a viewer of a sports event then to think he or she is not getting the complete picture or story of a sporting event. That was feeling of many disgruntled viewers Sunday. Twitter-verse was alit with fiery 'tweets' of viewers feeling that TNT was not giving their audience the whole picture of what was happening.
For those not familiar with Twitter, there are hundreds of thousands of 'tweets' or messages being submitted by users of Twitter every minute. How does one get through all of them? They don't. They follow people that interest them, whether it's a celebrity, athlete, or if you're into motorsports, a driver, race team, sanctioning body, or media member. You can also follow a conversation by using a hashtag, such as #NASCAR or #IndyCar or even an event such as #IndyFest
For those watching the Toyota / Save Mart 350, the volume of commercials and lack of follow up on what happened while in break was apparently extremely frustrating. With the internet and social media, viewers have the ability to keep track of the action while in commercial break. Thus, when there's a spin or a front runner pits, the viewer is looking for a follow-up.
One example was when Travis Kvapil spun, there was no mention on air of the event. Granted, he wasn't running in the top-20, but viewers were expecting a replay, Why? Did he spin in oil? Tire went down? No explanation. One tweet regarding the incident was from former Yahoo! And Fox Sports writer, Bob Margolis, "Back from commercial and no mention of Kvapil spin. Amazing." Another amusing tweet was from @ryanstatboy11: "Travis Kvapil spins #ThingsYouDontLearnFromTNT." Another amusing tweet was @Yooperbacker, "Made the bed, fed the cat and hummingbirds while watching this race and I don't think I missed a thing."
Even I got into the conversation when I responded to Margolis and writer, Jeff Gluck and responded, "They tell you what they want to, like Pravda." Regarding Harvick running out of fuel, which was not mentioned.
There were several incidents of driver spins, cars out of gas, etc. that were missed and never mentioned.
How many commercials were there?
http://www.cawsnjaws.com/ has a nice breakdown of the race...
Race and Commercial Breakdown of the 2012 Toyota Save Mart 350
Total number of commercials: 111
Total number of companies or entities advertised: 49
Total number of brief promos of products/services during the race broadcast: 28
Total number of companies or entities advertised in brief promos or crawlers: *21 (companies: Red Lobster; McDonald's; Coca-Cola; 5 Hour Energy Drink; Coors Light; Sprint; Sprint.com/speed; AT&T/rethinkpossible; AT&T 'Fastest Driver Challenge - text FAST to 34763' or go to AT&TFastestDriverChallenge.com ; Chrysler; Progressive Insurance; American Ethanol Sweepstakes ;
'Amazing Spiderman'; twitter.com/#nascar; twitter.com/#dustinlong; twitter.com/#JeffGordonWeb; 'The Great Escape' on TNT;
Falling Skies' on TNT; NASCAR on TNT 'Race Buddy'; NASCAR.com; upcoming NSCS Kentucky race)*
Total amount of time these brief promos take during broadcast: app. 3 min. 20 sec.
Also, there are the following race statistics during the broadcast, sponsored by companies:
NASCAR on TNT 'T.O.R.C. - Toyota Off-Track Race Car'
NASCAR on TNT 'Sonoma Weather'
Geico 'Race Analysis'
NASCAR on TNT 'Biggest Movers'
NASCAR on TNT 'Top 5'
NASCAR on TNT 'Roush-Fenway Racing Running Order'
NASCAR on TNT 'Kurt Busch - Career at Road Courses'
Dodge Ram 'No Guts - No Glory Pit Strategy'
NASCAR on TNT 'Clint Bowyer - Career at Road Courses'
NASCAR on TNT 'Team Communications'
NASCAR on TNT 'Foot Cam'
KFC 'Fresh Off the Wire'
NASCAR on TNT 'Inside Trax'
NASCAR on TNT 'Last Pit Stop'
NASCAR on TNT 'Summer of Speed'
McDonald's 'Through the Field'
NASCAR on TNT 'Road Course History'
NASCAR on TNT 'Twitter Poll Question'
NASCAR on TNT 'Michael Waltrip Racing Running Order'
NASCAR on TNT 'In-Car Cameras'
Start time to record race/commercial periods: 3:00 PM
End time to record race/commercial periods: 6:00 PM
Total minutes of race broadcast: 180
Minutes of race broadcast: 124
Minutes of traditional commercials (not split-screen): 56
Minutes of 'Side-by-Side' commercials (split-screen): 0
There's more there at http://www.cawsnjaws.com/ with links too. (Special thanks to Cheryl Walker of cawsnjaws.com)
I had been a defender of TNT's coverage last year, not sure if it's gotten worse or perhaps my eyes have been opened. But one thing is for certain, they have a lot of room for improvement.