Yesterday, FOX missed live coverage of a crucial point in the race while being under commercial. This only added to peoples’ frustration over the amount of commercial breaks during green flag coverage of Sprint Cup races recently.
With rain threatening and drivers making moves for the lead at Talladega, FOX went to commercial only to miss what could have been the winning move by Carl Edwards before the red flag flew for rain. Fortunately, NASCAR was able to dry the track and finish the race.
What if Edwards’ move had won the race? What would fans’ reactions have been?
Missing the winning move of the race is like missing the game-winning field goal in football or the game-winning 3-pointer in basketball. Fans never miss those moments in other sports. But there is one thing that NASCAR must compete with that other major sports do not, no stop in action.
Other major sports, like football or basketball, have natural stoppages in play. For example, timeouts, fouls or the end of a quarter. NASCAR does not have any thing like that. Yes, there are cautions but in the big scheme of things, some races more than others, cautions make up a small part of the race. So networks must use time during green flag coverage for commercial breaks. It has always been part of the sports.
The most similar example to NASCAR, soccer. Soccer has no commercial breaks during play because they play non-stop for 45 minutes straight in two halfs. All commercials are shown before the match, during halftime and after. This will most likely never happen in NASCAR, especially with an event that lasts over three hours.
So what are alternatives that networks could take to have more green flag coverage?
There is side-by-side coverage which has become more prominent in recent years, but sometimes some of the side-by-side actions comes during a caution when full commercials could be played. So an idea would be for networks to use their digression when using side-by-side coverage.
Here’s an example, this year FOX has used side-by-side coverage during the first 20-30 laps, even under caution, and the last 20-30 laps of the race. Instead, if the race is under caution during the first 30 laps, go to commercial and use side-by-side later on when action is intense.
Another alternative would be to play an abundant amount of commercials during pre-race, cautions, and post-race. I think that’s one alternative fans would come to terms with.
At the end of the day, fans want to see as much live/green flag coverage as possible and to be able to watch the race at the most crucial times. Having networks willing to be more flexible in their coverage and commercial breaks could go a long way. I am no expect in this area but I am willing to say there are alternative ways to bring more coverage going forward.
Fans ultimately show their displeasure in coverage by not tuning in and finding other media outlets to follow races. But the only way to see a live race, other than buying a ticket, is through TV. Commercials will always are a part of life in television, it’s up to the networks to get the most bang for their buck.
If you have more ideas on how to better run commercials/commercial breaks during NASCAR coverage continue the conversation on Twitter by tweeting @NASCARInformer or comment below!