The Bizarro world of NBC, F1, and NASCAR

For those of you not comic book nerds like myself, Bizarro World is a story within Superman about a planet that is home to Bizarro and everything is the opposite of Superman’s Earth. It’s become known in popular culture, particularly in relation to the “Bizarro Jerry” episode of Seinfeld.

F1 logo

I’ve felt a little Bizarro the last couple of Sundays when the NBC network has featured live coverage of Formula 1 while NASCAR playoff races were relegated to NBCSN. It is particularly unusual considering NBC will lose F1 after this season concludes. While I realize this coverage is probably dictated by the rights agreements, it is strange to consider that F1, with its minuscule fan base within the USA, gets the NBC “mothership” for two straight weeks.

It is also an interesting comment on NASCAR that it has been NASCAR on NBC logowilling to put six out of its ten NASCAR playoff races (and two of its three elimination races) on NBCSN. The final elimination race, reducing the playoff to four drivers, and the championship race, will be featured on the main NBC network.

The world of sports rights continues to work in mysterious ways as media companies try to find enough content to fill their sports outlets or to drive viewership to particular networks. The World Series, while having a solid home on FOX, is preceded by a playoff season that saw game coverage on FOX, FS1, TBS, MLB Network, and ESPN – almost more networks than teams!

Making life harder for viewers?

Content discovery is a key issue facing TV networks as viewing fragments further both within the traditional TV (broadcast + cable) and the larger premium video (+streaming) space. While spreading out coverage may make sense from the business side, for the viewer – especially the casual fan – finding that sports content is more difficult. Add in a few Bizarro situations – where a lower profile sport is shown on a higher profile network, or vice versa – and that makes the viewer’s life that much harder.

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
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