O Opinions & Commentary

TV Coverage of Auto Racing Continues into the 2014 Season


Finally, we are seeing an end to auto racing’s winter hibernation season. With the start of NASCAR’s Speed Weeks, the NASCAR season is back to full speed with racing virtually every weekend from now to late November. Sports car racing has already begun with the Daytona 24-hour race and we will soon see the start of the Formula One and IndyCar seasons.

Most of us rely on television broadcasts to watch our favourite races. This year, we can expect the TV coverage here in Canada to be essentially the same as it was last year.

TSN has confirmed that it will continue to provide the lion’s share of race series broadcasts on either TSN or TSN2, including

$1$    All 38 races from NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

$1$    All 33 races from NASCAR Nationwide Series

$1$    All 11 races from NASCAR Canadian Tire Series

$1$    All 19 races from Formula One

$1$    All 24 races from NHRA Drag Racing

The Sprint Cup, Nationwide and Formula One races will be live while the other series will be mostly shown on a “tape delayed” basis several days later. TSN will continue to bring us live practice and qualifying from the Formula One events.

I haven’t heard confirmation from SportsNet yet, but we know that they are going into the second year of a five-year deal to provide broadcasts of the IndyCar series on their package of cable channels.

Of course, a number of these “major” race events will be broadcast on network television in the United States (such as FOX and ABC), channels which we can get on our cable/satellite services here in Canada.

SPEED is the other workhorse auto racing channel. It has continued to limp along as a Canada-only channel, providing an immense amount of outdated “filler” programming but it will continue to relay the auto racing content which is originated on FOX Sports 1 or 2 in the US. I expect that this will be pretty much as before. While some things have been lost with the transition to FOX Sports, a lot of the familiar stuff will be back.

It will include all the NASCAR truck races and the new TUDOR Unified SportsCar Championship races. Most weekends we will get practice and qualifying from the three NASCAR touring series. In addition, NASCAR Race Hub will continue through the week with new NASCAR-oriented content nd we will still get NASCAR Live, RaceDay and NASCAR Victory Lane. SPEED’s content is dependent on getting material from FOX Sports, so we’ll have to wait and see what other elements there are in it programming package this year.

Unfortunately, it looks like the “programmers” at SPEED are left with no alternative to filling the rest of the air time with oft-rerun broadcasts of programs we didn’t watch when they were fresh. We can’t be surprised that Rogers Cable has apparently decided to pull the plug on SPEED as of the end of February. If you still value SPEED for its live racing content, it might be a good idea to tell Rogers (or your particular television service provider) that you still want to get SPEED.

Of course, I hope you don’t need to be reminded that I compile the auto racing television listings for Canadian residents (“George’s Race Fan TV”) each week and that these listings are posted here on prnmag.com at http://www.prnmag.com/gear-tech-guides/tv-listings.

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