If you’ve been watching the last two races at Pocono and Michigan on TV, then you’ve probably noticed TNT’s new addition this season. The sponsor banner. Covering a whole line on the top of the screen is this large banner which advertises for multiple companies over the course of the race. It has been a nuisance to fans, because it tends to cover up a good portion of the live race. TNT is always trying to slide these little things in during their Summer Series of racing and once again this year, their new aspect to the race broadcast has fans up in arms.
Through twitter, fans have voiced their opinions against the banner. TNT likely was handed a lot of negative feedback after Pocono regarding the banner, so they downsized it before the Michigan race. In my opinion, it shouldn’t be on the broadcast in the first place, but it was much less of an annoyance during the Michigan race.
The cost of the banner this season has come at the fans expense however. With less room to watch the action on their television screens, they feel as if they are being robbed of the racing that feeds into their living rooms every Sunday and TNT is not a first time offender.
There have been issues regarding TNT’s NASCAR coverage in past years. Most notably was last June at Kentucky where commercials overhauled the actual race. It seemed as every five minutes, fans were being informed of a battle within of a family of which side to have from KFC, mashed potatoes and gravy or mac and cheese? That was TNT’s first stir of the NASCAR fans’ temper and with the new sponsor banner this season, they rekindled that fire. Except this time, it isn’t tied to one race; it’s likely to affect all 6 since the marketing levels in NASCAR continue to rise.
Most everyone is aware of the fact that NASCAR has turned into a marketers dream land. Getting your product advertised to millions of race fans can be cost worthy, but it is worth it. With that, many companies take advantage and it is rewarding to the television companies, but not race fans. Fans now have to sit through an abundance of commercials during each race and every season, television companies are finding new ways to add to the marketing-frenzy.
The sponsor banner just happens to be this season’s version of the sneaky marketing going on behind the camera. What could come next and what could it cost race fans? Losing even more race time would not sit well at all. The simple answer to this problem would be for television producers to put a limit on the amount of marketing going on during the race, but that would cost the television companies lots of money. If the world of NASCAR marketing has come to this, it may start to get ugly when the backlash from fans increases.
Not many people are a fan of the sponsor banner, so TNT should recognize that and move the ad to somewhere else on the running order display. Fans do not want to keep seeing these advertisements overhauling the race broadcast and some believe that TNT is on the verge of crossing the line with it all and they should just stop before they end up costing themselves. Don’t expect any changes in the four remaining races TNT has this season, but NASCAR should start to consider what the fans are thinking of these race broadcasts before signing the million dollar TV contracts. Fans just want to be able to watch the races without being attacked by companies trying to advertise their product, so is it too much to ask for NASCAR to step-in and fix the situation?
The real b*tch about that banner is that TNT comes to my house as a 16/9 format, broadcast in 4/3 size and shown on a 16/9 TV. The picture is about 12″ high and 30″ wide. Then, TNT parades this banner across the top, making the viewing into the equivalent of wearing snow goggles. I wish the broadcast industry would settle into a single format that TVs can be built for. No matter what ‘aspect’ I use for the TV warps the picture in ways that obscure one edge or another. Why isn’t TNT broadcasting on HD? Why isn’t everybody? If the only TVs you can buy are 16/9, why are we looking at 4/3 programs?
It really matters whether part of the screen is blocked out by an advertisement because Tweedle-dumb and Tweedle-dee never say anything intelligent. We need all the screen we can get.