I wanted to post something about Turner’s RaceBuddy because I have had no less than a dozen people email me and ask me my thoughts about how this product was going to be repackaged for the Nascar Community starting this next week when TNT takes over. There has also been a lot of speculation as to how RaceBuddy was going to incorporate some popular elements like Twitter into their blanket race coverage. I can say with some certainty that Twitter is going to play a large role in their coverage, and here’s a clue that some other blogs out there are already reporting, be sure to follow @RaceBuddy on twitter…
As a lot of you that follow the industry closely may already be aware, Turner already owns all of the interactive rights to NASCAR, and they have for a while now. Granted, their products haven’t always lived up to the expectations of the NASCAR fanbase, I am willing to go out on a limb this time and say that I think they will hit the nail a little closer on the head this time around, especially since they (NASCAR) have managed to build such a social following. Here’s a press release posted on Turner Sports corporate website that offers a little bit of insight about RaceBuddy:
When NASCAR fans across the country gather this summer to watch NASCAR on TNT, they’ll have one more way to watch the drama on the track unfold – with RaceBuddy, NASCAR.COM’s live online companion coverage for TNT’s six-race NASCAR Sprint Cup Series telecasts, which begin June 8th with the Pocono 500 presented by EA Sports NASCAR ‘09. RaceBuddy is an animated character (click link below for image) who lives on NASCAR.COM, the official site of NASCAR, and also will make appearances on TNT to remind fans of the unprecedented live coverage available on the site during all six of the TNT races, including live feeds from the Pit Road Cam, In-Car Cameras, Battle Cam, Race Robo and Mosaic View. RaceBuddy will ride shotgun with viewers during the race by showing fans how to interact through online chats, answering poll questions and submitting questions to “Ask the Booth” which will be answered during the pre-race coverage and the race telecast by TNT announcers Bill Weber, Kyle Petty and Wally Dallenbach. From on air to online, RaceBuddy serves as a multiplatform companion designed to bring fans closer to the race action.
“The integration between TNT and NASCAR.COM allows NASCAR fans to become completely engaged in the race before, during and after the television coverage by providing an opportunity to interact with the telecast and with other NASCAR fans online,” said Lenny Daniels, senior vice president of Turner Sports production and new media. “Turner Sports is a leader in utilizing technology to offer fans innovative ways to consume the sports they love via cutting-edge multiplatform experiences.”
TNT will also have an online presence on NASCAR.COM with a page devoted to TNT’s Summer Series of NASCAR racing that offers on-demand features from TNT announcers, bios, TNT’s schedule and replays of pre-race series such as Pride of NASCAR, NASCAR Future Stars, Wally’s World and Lindsay on Location. For more details, click: http://www.nascar.com/promos/tnt/
TNT’s NASCAR announcers include pre-race host Marc Fein, play-by-play announcer Bill Weber and analysts Wally Dallenbach and Kyle Petty. Veteran NASCAR crew chief Larry McReynolds will also join the TNT announcing crew, serving in a specialty role of analyst and reporter.
Finally, the network’s announcing crew will be rounded out by veteran pit reporters Marty Snider, Matt Yocum, Ralph Sheheen and Lindsay Czarniak. Beginning on June 8th in Pocono, TNT revs up for six consecutive races of exclusive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series coverage including races in Michigan (June 15), Sonoma (June 22), Loudon (June 29), and primetime Saturday night races in Daytona (July 5) and Chicago (July 12). TNT’s widely touted Wide Open Coverage will return for the network’s marquee primetime race, the Coke Zero 400 powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway.
Turner Sports acquired all of NASCAR’s interactive rights in October 2000 and became the exclusive producer of NASCAR.COM in January 2001. NASCAR.COM is one of the fastest growing sports league sites on the Web, consistently ranking among the top three sport sites on the Internet. In 2003, NASCAR.COM was awarded an Emmy® by the National Television Academy for its TrackPass with PitCommand application and was nominated for an Emmy® in 2007 for TrackPass RaceView.
Turner Sports, Inc., a Time Warner company, presents some of the best and most popular sporting events worldwide and is a leader in televised sports programming. With events airing on TBS and TNT, Turner Sports’ line-up includes NASCAR and NASCAR.COM, the NBA, Major League Baseball, professional golf, PGATour.com and PGA.com.
Turner Network Television (TNT), television’s destination for drama and one of cable’s top-rated networks, offers original movies and series, including the acclaimed and highly popular detective drama The Closer, starring Golden Globeâ winner and Emmy® and Screen Actors Guild Awardsâ nominee Kyra Sedgwick, and Saving Grace, a provocative new drama starring Oscar® winner and Screen Actors Guild Award nominee Holly Hunter. TNT is also home to powerful one-hour dramas, such as Bones, Law & Order, Without a Trace, Cold Case, ER and Charmed; broadcast premiere movies; compelling prime-time specials, such as the Screen Actors Guild Awards; and championship sports coverage, including NASCAR and the NBA. TNT is available in high-definition.