This will be from the perspective of both a fan and from someone who will be at all of the ALMS races. What I have seen posted on Twitter, Facebook and other internet sites leads me to believe most of you will disagree with what I am about to write: I don’t understand all the complaints. So many fans have decried the lack of same day flag to flag coverage on television. What’s the big deal, everything will streamed live online on ESPN3.com. Get used to it folks, the paradigm has changed. The internet and broadband have taken television to new places, places they won’t be returning from. Big networks are either going to move with the times and adapt or disappear the same way magazines and newspapers have. So much of what we watch on our television here is either streamed through our internet connection or is downloaded and watched the same way. Why wait for Speed to show FIA GT1 races a month after the finale? We streamed them directly from the GT1 World Championship Website. Stop complaining that you don’t want to watch the race on your PC. Why? The picture will probably be better than what you watched on your TV 3 years ago. Also, most of you have newer sets with DVI or HDMI or VGA connection. Buy the proper cable for $10 and hook your PC to the TV. We have a 2001 Mits rear projection set with only RGB inputs and we have had a HTPC hooked to it for 5 years. Your TV is an internet device or it will be soon, what’s that iPad thing in your hands anyway? Its your TV.
Anybody who has not been buried for the last few years knows that racing requires money and that sponsorship money has been harder and harder to come by. Every series has its financial problems. IRL/IndyCar/ChampCar had shot itself in the head so many times that the move to VersusTV (and the subsequent Comcast/DirecTV pissing contest) seemed more like a white flag of surrender rather than a bad marketing strategy. ALMS as a series needs more sponsors, I know the teams would like more. I think the new broadcast package will help with that because it will make quality sportscar endurance racing accessible to a MUCH broader range of people. We forget that we are FANS of ALMS because we know what it is and why we like it (and why they turn right as well). Lots of people out there have no idea what they are missing. Maybe, just maybe, a time delayed shortened burst of Sebring will keep Joe Sixpack’s attention long enough to make an impression. Enough of an impression to bring him back to the next broadcast. Maybe they will buy some Tostitos and Sam Adams. Maybe. Hopefully.
I might be the only person, but I really liked the produced race shorts from last year. It made the race exciting. Well, I know, it was exciting. I was there.
I just think the condensation of the action along with the interspersed background/pit box stories made for a compelling watch. I don’t think its a permanent solution with the shorts but I do think they are a great deal better than coverage on the O network, or no coverage at all. I will miss Leigh, Calvin, Brian and the rest of the Speed guys if they don’t end up on the new coverage. I don’t know what part Radio Le Mans will play in this, does anyone know?
I think this was the best step ALMS could make. I think that there were other ways that they could have gone, but I think you would have liked them less. If you think I am wrong, tell me I’m wrong. But make sure to tell me why.
See you at Sebring.