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Motorsports on Television – Update

Motorsports on Television – Update
In the new Automotive Enthusiasts Handbook First Edition presented by PRN Ignition, I reviewed the availability of television broadcasts of auto racing for race fans in Canada. This blog is intended to correct a significant omission on my part and to add a few more comments.

First, drag racing. Somehow I managed to forget to include any mention of drag racing. Indeed, every round of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series, which is produced by ESPN in the U.S., is carried here in Canada by TSN or TSN2 mid-week on a one or two week delay*.

Second, American Le Mans Series. Only a few rounds of this series are carried – on a tape-delayed basis – on ABC which is available here in Canada; the rest are on ESPN or ESPN2 which we cannot get. However, I was assured that if I went to the series website (alms.com) I could see a live broadcast via the internet. I’m pleased to report that, last weekend I was able to make connection via alms.com and see the entire race from Lime Rock. I have a two monitor setup for my desktop computer, so I was able to see the video broadcast on one monitor and keep track of the race progress via their website’s live scoring feature on my other monitor. Without the live scoring I find it hard to keep up with the race action given that there are five different classes in the race.

Third, SPEED channel. I really don’t have much to add from what I said in print already. In the US, SPEED will be rebranded as FOX Sports 1 (FS1) and it will continue to provide quite a bit of the auto racing programing we now get from SPEED. However, we will not get FS1 here in Canada. Instead we will continue to get SPEED in a new form. I expect that the new SPEED Canada will continue to provide all the auto racing broadcasting that is on FS1 but not the other sports content. Instead, FOX programmers in Los Angeles will compile broadcasts from their inventory to fill in the blanks. I’m having trouble imagining exactly what they will use to fill the gaps, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see. From my perspective, I don’t much care what they use to fill the time now occupied by programming I don’t watch anyway – so long as they continue to provide the auto racing programming we are used to.

I expect to hear more specifics on the plans for SPEED after mid-August but I’m optimistic that, at least for this racing season, we won’t see any significant reduction in the auto racing programing on SPEED.

* The best place to find comprehensive, up-to-date television listings (including the NHRA rounds) is on my “George’s Television Listings for Race Fans” which is available on Wheels.ca.

Photography by Bill Murenbeeld

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