After many years of Formula One coverage on SPEED, the series now embarks on a new TV station for American viewers. NBC Sports outbid SPEED for the broadcast rights to air Formula 1 in the United States of America and while that announcement was made last fall, I am flummoxed at the lack of information on NBC Sport’s website concerning the broadcast times, channels, packages and additional programming the network will offer.

What you will find on their site, as of the writing of this Op Ed, is lots of news about NASCAR and every other major sporting series but only a drop-down menu with a link to F1 standings and F1 results. No dedicated page or even a simple sidebar advert announcing the times and channels the Australian Grand Prix can be seen on in three-weeks time.

The network did release a video that was short and to the point about the spectacle that is Formula 1. At the end of that video, it says that coverage begins March 16th, 2013 which is, as we all know, Saturday’s qualifying session. What happened to Friday Free Practice? Any coverage of all three practice sessions?

I am not so dull as to miss the point that the team at NBC Sports are most likely working very diligently behind the scenes on content, digital program offerings and services, code-writing, website design, TV production including graphics, music title sequences and more. All of that work has to be done in order to bring us the first race which is three weeks away… did I mention that? If that is the case, why not tell your community that? F1 fans don’t want a big gift-wrapped surprise, they want to be included and informed as to what you’re working on. Let them know you have some great things coming.

The upside of the NBC Sports effort is that the on-air talent of David Hobbs, Steve Matchett and Leigh Diffey will be familiar faces and there are a few behind-the-scene folks as well that were poached from SPEED. That will give some consistency to the production and feel of the broadcast but everything else is new and my fear—how I hope I am wrong here—is that NBC Sports will treat F1 just like any other sport on their network and perhaps lesser so as ratings and viewer numbers are lower than NASCAR.

When you attempt to be all things to all people, you lose your kingdom to the barbarians. NBC has been steeped in the NASCAR hysteria and their motorsport tab on the site is a shrine to the stock car series.  Formula One will need to be highlighted if the network wants their investment to pay off.

To those ends, I am more than willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and suggest they are mere days away from launching an extensive and comprehensive new Formula One website with interaction, community engagement and additional online features for fans.

I’ve reached out to NBC to help them in their community building, as we represent a large portion of the American fanbase, and they were kind to reply but that was the extent of it. I know how those emails go, there are a phalanx of “professionals” and IT managers and TV production crew as well as marketing people who forgot more than any one of us could know. They’ll be working on digital streaming and tweeting and facebook initiatives and inbound marketing opportunities as well as content-as-marketing initiatives and all of that is fine but missing the target.

Formula One is already a brand and doesn’t need social media branding like a Gen Y in a relentless stream of duck-faced selfies on Facebook ripe with 110% personality and 0% character. NBC Sports should treat Formula One with the respect it deserves and approach the fans with the respect they deserve. Rehashing NASCAR market activations rebranded for F1 won’t work and neither will an adolescent approach to this pinnacle of motor sport. Attaching current nomenclature, nuance and digital brand messages around the “cool, dude…it’s F1 and has women with breasts and rock stars and is fast and you should watch it” type of message is insulting. It’s not an “extreme sport” live from Aspen Colorado with athletes performing while the Harlem Shake plays in the background at 120db.

In the end, NBC Sports has big shoes to fill and I am not talking about simply poaching the SPEED crew for continuity. They heard your voices when you mandated they hire Matchett, Hobbs and Diffey. What they may need to hear now is your voices on how to offer the sport in the manner in which you expect it.

Let’s start with the simple—what channel and time will the first F1 feature or broadcast be offered? We have three weeks to go and there is no information at all other than a video that suggests you’re not even covering practice.

It’s a rocky start in my opinion but I do know that all of the folks at NBC are professionals and they are most certainly working diligently toward what I hope will be the best F1 coverage America has ever had. They took the right steps in hiring the on-air talent but missed the boat with no news on testing and what limited news they did carry was just sourced from other news agencies.

Come on NBC Sports, let’s see some passion for F1 and if you need any help, you know where to reach me. ;)

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Alianora La Canta
Guest
Alianora La Canta

Is NBC taking its announcement cues from Force India or something?

James F.
Guest
James F.

Not much to go on, but this tweet sounds promising:

KrustyF1
Guest
KrustyF1

Since the announced the switch, no launch updates, no coverage on pre-season testing or any other news. Pretty sad, I miss Speedvision’s coverage already !

Joseph
Guest
Joseph

I’m not 100% sure, but Hobbs and Diffy are at the Barcelona test this week. Buxton has tweeted about the coverage; blows your mind comment. Plus at the NBC sports website, there are two videos featuring the Australian race and F1 coming to the network. Just caveat, the F1 show on Sky, has begun to their weekly show on last Friday. Let’s wait and see before we jump to any conclusions!

Todder
Guest
Todder

Just watch sky sports F1 or BBC coverage on the internet. American broadcasts are full of commercials and a waste of time. Can’t wait for NBC Sports to call KERS a “push to pass” system.

peterriva
Member
peterriva

Where, how can we see F1 on Sky or BBC on the ‘net? They are blocked in the USA. And the blockheads at NBC are, as Todd has explained, really annoying.

SteveH
Guest
SteveH

It’s pretty easy to find. I really don’t want to name sites, as F! shuts stuff down with great regularity, but I found a TV sports site that carries all the races and practices with both the Sky and BBC broadcasts, as well as lots of other motor sport, etc. I’ve been watching races for two years on this site. Do a bit of searching.

Otherwise, to watch the BBC in the US you need a VPN to spoof your IP address.

Matthew Gibson
Guest
Matthew Gibson

PLEASE WILL SOMEONE TELL ME HOW TO DO THIS?
I get on Skysportsf1 and I can’t even watch an old video…much less any live one….do I need to be paying for something?

Rapierman
Member
Rapierman

I sent out a tweet to @formula1nbc, @nbcsports and @nbcsn admonishing them about the lack of info and ad blitz. Yeah, I know won’t get me a damn thing, but at least I feel better about it.

Steve C
Guest
Steve C

Rapierman, just did the same, thanks. Let’s keep it up and maybe we’ll see something soon. I’m sure they have stuff ready to go.

Steve
Guest
Steve

F1 fans, NBC will air Pre season show on March 7th and every day until first practice at 9-30pm eastern March 14th. Lots of Will!!

Joseph
Guest
Joseph

Steve, thanks for the heads up on the new F1 season show! In the words of Bart Scott; “can’t wait”!

peterriva
Member
peterriva

How do you know? Where is that announced? Come on, don’t make a statement like that and raise our hopes when NOTHING is announced anywhere.

peterriva
Member
peterriva

Is that NBC or NBC Sports (Dish 159 + $10 a month)? See there is NO published schedule. Thanks David for the good news, BUT WHERE?

trevor
Guest
trevor

Thats NBC Sports channel i’d bet. They aren’t showing anything everyday on nbc, other than the matt lauer show.

Matthew Gibson
Guest
Matthew Gibson

Just found it…it’s on dish network channel 159 comes on MARCH 7 @ 9:00 PM called “Countdown to F1″

peterriva
Member
peterriva

Thank you!

JasonI
Guest
JasonI

I can’t even find F1 on their website anywhere.

Matthew Gibson
Guest
Matthew Gibson

Just found it…it’s on dish network channel 159 comes on MARCH 7 @ 9:00 PM called “Countdown to F1”

Elissa
Guest
Elissa

Why doesn’t this surprise me? Guys (and gals) don’t even waste your time trying to watch via NBC, do a little digging on the web and find a live feed for either the BBC or Sky Sports F1, time to enjoy a race for once without adverts. I do know a few streaming sites but not sure if I’m allowed to name them on here (Todd????). Yesterday I sat through the entire Daytona and that was my first ‘experience’ of motorsports covered via a main US Network (Fox sports). The impression I got was that the race got in the… Read more »

Waldo
Guest
Waldo

Wise up folks… Time to get a DVR if you want to always watch F1when you want to without commercials. I pretty much watch all TV this way now even football which allows me to watch a game in about 75 minutes the way it should be

Matthew Gibson
Guest
Matthew Gibson

You f+_$ing weirdo why did you put this comment on here so many times? Everyone here has a damn DVR!

SteveH
Guest
SteveH

I don’t.

JasonI
Guest
JasonI

They generally do a good job of squeezing the commercials in during the cautions as possible. During races with long green flag runs that’s just not always possible, but it’s not like we missed a lot of passing, and the picture-in-picture at least let you see that you weren’t missing action. Maybe we’re just more used to commercials in the US. Somebody has to pay the bills. I’ll be scouring the web for live streams of the F1 races, as the NBC$ports channel requires a premium $ervice plan on my cable system which I am not going to pay just… Read more »

Elissa
Guest
Elissa

I suppose it’s what you’re used to, I just felt very sorry that you guys have to endure that constant level of interruption, in my opinion it kills the ‘immersive’ experience. At one point yesterday I timed only 2 mins 56sec of coverage before another add break (and that was during a green lap period). The side by side racing and adverts only came into play during the latter part of the race (ie 50 laps to go). I appreciate that US tv is more frequent in it’s adverts and that’s how it’s set up. I just feel sorry for… Read more »

Jp
Guest
Jp

This girl’s everywhere !!!!
I love it
Jp

Robert Weber
Guest
Robert Weber

Elissa, can you provide any info on how we in the U.S. can see any coverage other than what NBCSports will be providing?

SteveH
Guest
SteveH

Robert, see posting above. There are quite a few sites showing the BBC/Sky broadcasts. The only problem is you have to get up too damn early (5 am on the West Coast for the European races).

TMI
Guest
TMI

Just scheduled DVR for first F1 event, “Countdown to F1” on March 7.
l

Robert Clauss
Guest
Robert Clauss

This is simply idiotic. If I were at the helm of NBC, I’d be chopping off heads due to NBC’s failure to capitalize on their multi-million dollar investment in USA broadcast rights. Bernie must scratching his head. Yes, he got their money, but he’s watching them flush F-1 in the USA down the toilet. After the successful return at the Austin race last year, they are managing to undo the gains. At this point, the dedicated fans are totally pissed off at NBC, and the casual fans have made other plans for their weekend.

Bertie G
Guest
Bertie G

Seems I am already missing, what was thought pretty excellent coverage from SPEED. Is this a case of the financial chase and winning the contract a stroke of success for only the ego, but the maintenance from hard work not as satisfying as the ease in writing a check simply to aquire something ? Come on NBC, get work. Or give it back to speed before your reputation suffers and viewers abandon you.

Joeracer
Guest
Joeracer

Elissa, I’ve had the opportunity to see the UK coverage. First the BBC and then Sky when it switched. Before that I watched the Speed coverage and ESPN before that. Yes, I’m old. I saw Jimmy Clark and Graham Hill race each other at Mosport in 1967! Back many years ago (30+), the newspapers didn’t even list the F1 race results. I bought a short-wave receiver just so I could tune in to the BBC news broadcast to hear who the top three finishers where. So compared to that, today’s live, HD TV coverage in the US is amazing. But,… Read more »

Joliemaman
Guest
Joliemaman

I am so disgusted. There isn’t even information on the teams, drivers, etc. They’ve done zero promoting for F1. I hope they haven’t bought the rights to F1 so they can bury the sport while promoting US motor racing. This is nerve wracking 14 days until the first race of the season and NOTHING from NBC!!! What the heck??? I miss watching F1 in the UK…they lived and breathed it and cared about fans enjoying it. I hate that NBC clearly doesn’t care about either! I’m soooo disguted right now. Come on and throw us a bone!

rotaxman
Guest
rotaxman

Joeracer, you know it. Its the best race coverage in the world, it allows you to live it. The unscripted Q&A during the grid walk and the pre and post race shows are the best. The fact that they talk to and televise all race teams unlike nascar coverage. I allowed myself to hope NBC would give us something similar but I guess I will be watching BBC and Sky again this year.

Russell
Guest
Russell

http://scores.nbcsports.msnbc.com/racing/schedule.asp?series=FORM1 has the full schedule now. I guess they heard everybody :) time to set the DVR. hopefully I can watch before hearing the results.

jeff
Guest
jeff
SteveH
Guest
SteveH

Yep. Someone REALLY knows their F1. Bodes well.

Tom Firth
Guest
Tom Firth

Bodes very well , Engine types and drivers including test drivers.

Don’t think teams will be impressed by the lack of team names.

Jp
Guest
Jp

Here is your NBCSN schedule for Melbourne
http://areyouwatchingthis.com/tv/stations/nbcsn-nbc-sports-network
All sessions live.
Jp

The Imperative Voice
Guest
The Imperative Voice

I am surprised that F1 has not been advertised with the zeal of TdF or even MLS, which was a similar Fox poach touted for months (including on NBC itself) before soccer started. But then as someone somewhat critical of F1 coverage, I see the retention of a significant chunk of the Speed broadcast team as a sign of low energy and effort. Since they also have a chunk of IndyCar, I hoped for a similar approach, more zing, personnel turnover, maybe live broadcasts on site. This sounds like more talking from a booth, just moved to a different booth.

Downfarce
Guest
Downfarce

Looks like this was published on NBC Sports this AM…at least its something!
http://motorsportstalk.nbcsports.com/2013/03/05/f1s-five-rookies-for-2013-what-you-need-to-know/related/

Karl Smith
Guest
Karl Smith

Looks like NBC is phoning it in. Where is the big dedicated web page? Why do I have to drill down to find crumbs? Hey NBC you can have this idea for free: F1ONNBC.COM. Maybe Danica can help you set that up.

Rapierman
Member
Rapierman

Thank you, you just proved my theory. :-D

Robert Chang
Guest
Robert Chang

Does anyone know if NBC sport will be showing GP2 races?

The Imperative Voice
Guest
The Imperative Voice

Good question. I know people’s first thought is not, hmmm, who got the minor league deal, but enough of us are sufficiently obsessed to watch either practices or the GP2/GP3 races where it matters to us. I have only watched practice to see new venues in action but I often do watch a little bit of the GP2 racing — particularly from places like Spa or Monza that I see as true driver tests — to see who’s standing out. Related question might be whether there is any movement on the theorized GP2 Americas I’d heard about. That would be… Read more »

Starstuff
Guest
Starstuff

By this time (8 days to first practice) NBC should already have a dedicated F1 forum and information in how to stream practice and races. So far I haven’t found anything, am I missing something or there is nothing to be missed? I would happily pay for live streaming from the UK but that is restricted under anti-competitive US ‘laws’ Another option I’m considering is to contract SKYTV. I live near the border with Texas and Mexico and according to some people that live there SKY is available, getting a billing address in Mexico and moving the dish into the… Read more »

lablanche
Guest
lablanche

Well. I entirely underwhelmed with NBC’s F1 coverage so far. I was really getting angry about it, thinking I was going to HAVE to get up at 2 a.m. to see the Australian Grand Prix and then elbow the hubbs and tell him the play by play. It also left my neighbor, Nobby the former motorcycle now Ferrari mechanic unable to see the races with us. It was like having our own David Hobbs on the sofa whilst we drank mimosas and cussed at the Red Bull juggernaut. Thank you for posting a link to the future schedule. I usually… Read more »

Ron Davis
Guest
Ron Davis

From the schedule available at the TV Guide website, it appears that they will show P1 tape-delayed at midnight EDT tonight (the 9:30 PM EDT start time of P1 conflicts with a college basketball tournament), followed immediately by P2 live at 1:30 AM. It seems that there will not be a cable broadcast for P3.

franko
Guest
franko

For years I had to watch 45 minutes of figure skating to see 5 minutes of F1 in America. It looks like we’re headed back to those good old days of spotty coverage. I can’t even watch the Danica fashion show at Indy car races anymore. What A World!!

Starstuff
Guest
Starstuff

I saw the first F1 NBCSports show this night (countdown to F1) it was plain good only half an hour tho. It started about 8 minutes late because of a basketball game. The set is amazing, if NBC is going to cover F1 like they designed their beautiful set then we are going to be happy. HD Video compression is not as good as the speed channel, I hope the races will have good HD video quality well see. I googled sky sports and F1 and came across an excellent web site http://www1.skysports.com/formula1/ If NBC coverage and picture quality is… Read more »

Denis
Guest
Denis

Get prepared people. This year is going to be a complete disaster. I get pissed just thinking about it. So, we all better we really good at finding pirated stream sites so we can watch the damn races.

This is ridiculous. Another reason why Douche Bernie needs to get the boot.

Starstuff
Guest
Starstuff

The rain delay at Melbourne shows that NBC sports was and is not ready to offer good F1 coverage… at least not at this time. Everything was going great until the rain delay hit and qualifying was postponed to Sunday morning and then WHAM! the unexpected happened. Right now I’m watching soccer (which BTW I like) on NBCsports instead of Q2 and Q3. Where is live streaming? According to some articles it will happen ‘later’ in the season. NBCsports should have live streaming ready by now. I want to be positive and think this strategic blunder is part of ‘growing… Read more »

Don Kehoe
Guest
Don Kehoe

Thanks NBC for blocking the view of the screen with the timing and scoring banner…do us a favor and show the whole race in replay so we can actually see the cars and the track….god I miss SPEED already…………

zzyzxx
Guest
zzyzxx

I’m pretty sure that those graphics are from the FOM TV feed, not put there by NBC.

Mariofer
Guest
Mariofer

They used the 4:3 format used on their SD channel on the HD feed. T&S was correctly placed during the race. They need to change the sound balance on the commentator’s feed. You can’t understand half of what they say over the race sound.

Mc T
Guest
Mc T

NBCsports is pulling a major fubar! How can they make their ROI when no one is freaking able to watch. This reminds me when NBC started broadcasting NASCAR with Brian Williams as the host. (Really, a news anchor who was totally clueless? It was truely embarrassing to watch.) Too bad NBC couldnt/won’t throw the resouces the had for the olympics towards the F1 effort

Alex L
Guest
Alex L

this NBC sport is complete B.S. im not paying more a month to watch it on tv, they should have it on a normal channel, so everybody can watch it, it shouldnt be just for ppl who can afford that channel, or willing to pay additional 10$ for the sports plan, which im already paying 90$ for TV a month, i dont want to pay extra 10$ a month to watch F1. I am from Europe, and over there they broadcast it on more then 5 channels, you can pick which guys you’d like to listen to, to have the… Read more »

Rapierman
Member
Rapierman

So come to Austin and watch it again. ;-)

ChrisR
Guest
ChrisR

U.S.A. – NBC F1 Coverage = Pathetic.

This is someone’s idea of how to better Speed’s method? No live practices, no live qualifying, no pre-race show, no F1 Debrief, No F1 DECADE? (I really miss that one)

REALLY??

I guess that’s it for this year. How sad.

Bernie E. – you really screwed up. Get out of this contract – it’s no way to expand the U.S. audience.
Go beg Speed to take you back – although I can’t imagine how they’ll get the talent back. That or force NBC to give F1 what it needs (see above)

photogcw
Member
photogcw

The channel we know and love as Speed will be gone by mid-summer, re-branded as Fox Sports Extreme or something like that. Motorsports won’t be its main emphasis.

donnydorito
Guest
donnydorito

Agreed ChrisR. NBCSports coverage is a joke, and after four races I can see it’s only going to piss me off the rest of the season. Not a single lap time or on-board telemetry was displayed during the Bahrain GP, no post race discussions, and their concept of “F1 non-stop” is ridiculous, because they still have commercial breaks.

ChrisR
Guest
ChrisR

Color me a sucker, but I seem to still have hope. (see my 11:54 pm post)

Just for the record though, I can’t disagree with anything you said either.

ChrisR
Guest
ChrisR

Well Charlie W, perhaps “Fox Sports Extreme” would not have been too promising at that. Did not getting the F1 contract have something to do with that? So, I’ve watched some other NBCSN (NBC Sports Network) coverage, just from having it programmed in my favorites (Dish 159) and I am less hopeful than ever. Their “Cycling” coverage is on at the moment, and it’s not 16×9, although the Indy Qualifying was. It may be me, but it also seemed that there is a lot of digital noise in the picture, like the video CODEC they use isn’t up to it.… Read more »

Steve M
Guest
Steve M

Two times you have now spoiled the winners of Formula One on your program , today for example I turned on the program in exactly 830 ,and one minute into the program you do a sports update and announces the highlights and who won the Grand Prix. you also messed up the Monte Carlo race. If you guys don’t show the race live please keep all your updates until after you air the programs. if you guys can get it right please give it back to the speed network they got it right.