Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Looking ahead to NBC F1 in 2013

As the Formula One season ends Sunday in Interlagos, NBC announced the lead voice for most F1 races will be INDYCAR play-by-play man Leigh Diffey from Brisbane, Queensland (Australia). For those who haven't heard the 41-year old Charlotte-based commentator, here are some wild clips of him to familiarise yourself with his call.

Most play-by-play men take to the helm of bigger events when they are older. In this case, Diffey was 26 when the Great Australian Touring Car Split occurred in 1997 (television was the dispute between the Seven and Ten networks; Seven had Bathurst's legendary 1,000km event, but refused to let the race be on Ten, which had the Australian Touring Car (V8 Supercars) contract, relegating the 1,000 in its October date to the European 2000cc Super Touring format and the V8's had to find another date. (Murray Walker ironically was on Seven's broadcast team for the Super Touring 1000) Ironically, this is similar to what has happened with V8 today in Melbourne. Currently, Seven has the rights to V8 Supercars (contract ends at the end of 2012) and Ten has Formula One rights. In order for Australia's favourite 5000cc formula to race in Melbourne after V8 went from Ten to Seven in 2007, it changed from championship to an exhibition race, non-championship event. (Why Abu Dhabi's V8 round can be a championship race I don't know but Ten picks up a British television broadcast of the race for all but their own race so they don't worry; V8 will race in Austin for May.)

For Ten's five-litre formula call, Diffey had the call with the late British motorcycling legend Barry Sheene (whose name now is laid on a crucial turn in the forest at Brands Hatch): 1997: Craig Lowndes, who would become a legend of the Mountain, hits the wall:

2005: Every Australian knows this incident on the Mountain. Ambrose vs Murphy It was Ambrose's last time on the Mountain. Both Ambrose and Diffey are now Charlotte based.

That led to this hilarious interview between the two parties, six years later, with Ambrose in Kansas City and Murphy in Bathurst. Another Charlotte-based commentator, Mike Joy, who is on the Mountain for the 2011 Great Race, presides over this verbal fight. If Mike had his way, he would have had a spotter in The Cutting report it before the pictures showed him the result.

2011: Diffey's career started in public address systems for motorcycling and he calls what has become sadly a type of motorcycling event that has faded from the international scene, the 200-mile, 320km format that once was prominent in races such as Imola. Daytona's Sportbike race now has the classic distance:

It still is not known what will happen for the five to seven races that Diffey will be unavailable because of INDYCAR commitments.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The consumerist society is out of control; we want Thanksgiving back!

Our consumerist society is clearly out of control.

The five red lights for the traditional day after Thanksgiving sales (Pilgrims' Day as Canadians might call it considering what we call Thanksgiving in Canada, which is in October) are turning on very early and extinguishing at an even earlier time than normal.

Whereas I can remember the red lights turning on at 5:59 for the traditional 6 AM lights extinguishing, we have seen the lights at 4:59 AM, and now have crept to Thanksgiving, with 11:59 PM lights, and some merchants have switched to 7:59 PM lights – and the NFL is likely unhappy with such mass consumerism. Whatever happened to running a Turkey Trot, having a nice family dinner and the three NFL games (Noon, 4 PM, and 8 PM) and then resting, and if you are a merchant, preparing for another day (remember Wall Street does sound the 9:30 AM bell) and my fitness partner and I have often done, tough Black Friday workouts, that I cannot imagine the stores full of people before Faith Hill hates herself for loving you at 8 PM ET.

No wonder merchants and families are wanting their day back. Those of us up at the crack of dawn and running for charity have more virtue than those eating too much, let alone piling stores at 5 PM, awaiting the 7:59 PM lights turning on, similar to the crowds at concert venues for the pop star's next concert at a venue that sells out quickly (which is why one country star went from the 18,000 seat arena to a 80,000 seat stadium for local concerts), where people can be attacked and even killed in the stampedes worse than 15 bovines, led by Asteroid, tossing 15 cowboys, led by Silvano Alves, in less than five seconds each. The five red lights should not be turning on Thanksgiving, let alone 7:59 PM, 9:59 PM, or 11:59 PM, or even Friday before sunrise! No wonder I'm planning to do a hard workout on Black Friday morning and doing some merchant tools instead of a trip to the mall.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

An interesting move

Well, Comcast has done it again. Another major sports property is going to the Philadelphia-based cable company, as the Barclays Premier League has signed a deal to move all 380 games to Comcast properties in 2013-14 for three seasons. This will mean NBC, NBC Sports Network, and likely CNBC (since the business channel doesn't have anything on Saturday or Sunday mornings, so this gives them programming on weekends; in addition, another Comcast channel -- likely G4, E!, or one of their entertainment channels, could carry games on F1 weekends when NBCSN is committed to F1) will air the games with streaming of the other games.

It puts the question that has withered on the vine since we discussed it earlier. Which channel will News Corp sacrifice for the new Fox Sports One that has been discussed with the new baseball deal? Speculation on Daly Planet has been Speed, but with the loss of soccer rights (except for the Scottish league, UEFA, and all FIFA from 2015 until 2022), could one of the two Fox Soccer channels be dumped to create the new Fox Sports One, and the Plus become Fox Sports International with rugby (did you know that the six-tackle rule in Rugby League was borrowed from the gridiron code's four downs to make ten yards), Aussie Rules, and V8 Supercars (which has a May race at the Circuit of the Americas; during the 2011 season, Fox sent their top play-by-play man and analyst to the Australian touring car series' big races on Mount Panorama in Bathurst, New South Wales and the streets of Surfers Paradise, Queensland (which was a CART Champ Car event from 1991-2007, and an INDYCAR exhibition race in 2008; the 2011 V8 race was the first time in a long time US-based broadcasters were actually Down Under for Surfers and not holed in a studio Up North as was the case in the later years of CART/Champ Car and INDYCAR).
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