Someone at FOX Sports has big balls

Television broadcasting is hard. REALLY hard.

The professionals make it look easy, but it takes true talent to be able to think of something, make that something come out of your mouth without tripping over your words and then actually provide insight — all while some producer is giving instructions in your earpiece.

So when FOX Sports turns over its entire Xfinity Series broadcast at Pocono to a bunch of amateurs, it’s going to be must-see TV.

Now, these aren’t just any amateurs — they’re experts in their field — but FOX’s concept is a fascinating experiment. From the booth to pit road to the Hollywood Hotel, all of the “talent” will be active Cup drivers.

These drivers all have experience in front of the camera, which definitely makes a difference. It’s not like they’re going to be blankly staring into your TV.

But still, they’re going to struggle with all the things required of a professional. Getting to a commercial without leaving too much dead air? Throwing from one reporter to another on pit road? Setting up a replay?

It could be a total mess. Or it could be one of the best and most enjoyable broadcasts in years.

Either way, you sort of have to tune in, right?

It’s fun to picture Kevin Harvick as a play-by-play guy, trying to wrangle Clint Bowyer and Joey Logano as analysts. Then there will be Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ryan Blaney and Erik Jones trying to describe pit stops and interview wrecked drivers. And Danica Patrick and Denny Hamlin will make small talk in the Hollywood Hotel while keeping the show moving.

That’s the plan, anyway. How exactly is this all going to work? I’m as curious as anyone — and I can’t wait to see what happens. My guess is a lot of viewers feel the same way.

So nice move, FOX. We’ll be watching.

16 Replies to “Someone at FOX Sports has big balls”

  1. If the weather was looking good, I was planning on going to the race that day. Now I kind of want to watch at home to see how it goes. I guess I could always just listen to the FOX feed on the scanner too.

  2. Betting On DANICA in the Bellator Cage Match! She’s gonna give her buddy Denny the CHROME HORN!!!!

  3. Jeff, great article as always. I’m curious… Do you know if the drivers get paid in addition to the charitable contribution made in their name?

    1. Screen Actors Guild day rate is $655. They should get that (minimum) if their contract isn’t complicated and award all proceeds to their charity.

  4. It’s a race that would have had horrible ratings for a normal broadcast. This gimmick gets people to tune in who normally would have skipped the broadcast. It’s pretty savvy marketing, actually. And it’s probably an audition for Danica for next year….

  5. I’ve only tweeted & RT about 3 different articles. I cannot wait. The guys/gal in the booth have some experience, especially Kevin, what I’m looking forward to is pit road coverage. Of course they know all about what happens during pit stops but calling it out and then tossing it to the next one will be a hoot.

  6. As someone who has done sports broadcasting on TV, the SAG day rate does not apply.

    I’m sure they will be well compensated, as the drivers that have filled them in the past have been. But they aren’t necessarily SAG members, nor do they have to be.

  7. Very interesting. I remember once back in the late ’70s or early ’80s NBC broadcast and NFL game with no commentators. Just football action complete with replays. It was one of the better TV game experiences as I remember. One of the NASCAR races broadcast on TNN back int he ’80’s also had no commentary and was very enjoyable. This will be interesting to see how it turns out.

  8. I guess I am missing something here? While it’s outside the box thinking for the network, aren’t these drivers costing themselves a full race of points in the standings? Isn’t it more important to be driving? I wouldn’t expect Brady, Watt, Newton, and Fitzgerald to skip their week 7 NFL games to broadcast a Cowboys Redskins game.

    1. Andre, It’s Cup driver’s calling the Xfinity race. They don’ get points in that Series anyways.

    2. Its for the Xfinity Race. All these guys are full time Cup drivers and can’t earn points in the Xfinity series anyway.

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