One of the sport's indispensable reporters, the Virginian-Pilot's Dustin Long, reports that there is a possibility more races will be streamed online next season. Because NASCAR and Turner Sports have a new media deal whose sole purpose is to stymie the popularity of NASCAR on the Web, the only races available for streaming are the six TNT races. Turner owns the online rights to those. ESPN, Fox and ABC don't show any races live online. Watching on the Web - where the action continues during commercials, and where fans are already Tweeting - would be a popular option.
Lenny Daniels, chief operating officer for Turner Sports, told Long:
“We are going to attempt to work out a deal with Fox and ESPN. It’s an intersectional rights, is what it is. When Turner has all the rights (TV and Internet), we can show it any way we want. If you’re ESPN, you don’t want us doing anything during that live race window. That’s what they bought. That’s what they own. So we have to figure out a business plan to work with them and try to get a deal done. Believe me, we would love to have Race Buddy year-round and I think NASCAR would too but it all comes down to the business model."
Why isn't this great idea that could help boost the sport's sagging popularity already in place? Daniels explained:
“I don’t think (the other networks) are concerned about losing the audience (from TV to online.). I think they’re concerned about the economics of it. If we take a live video feed and Turner/NASCAR sells it and keeps the money, you’ve got to work out that deal. … If we work out a deal with them, we could put the live race (online). We can get around many of the other issues of branding and what it looks like, it really comes down to finances.’’
Fox is the network most agreeable to streaming online, probably because of the wonderful Sure-hey-WTF? attitude it brings to every endeavor.