Why SPEED Veering Away From Cars is a Good Thing
There is a murmur, a rumor if you will, that the SPEED channel will no longer be the SPEED channel in a few months time. According to the Wall Street Journal, Fox Sports signed an eight year deal with Major League Baseball in early October for $800 million. The deal for national media rights to the MLB's games would grant Fox unprecedented access with nowhere to show the games. Insider's at Fox have mentioned that there is some a plan to turn SPEED into a "broad-based sports network" that will include college football, Ultimate Fighting, soccer, baseball and NASCAR under the umbrella of Fox Sports 1. This rumor is further confounded by the fact that SPEED will not be renewing it's contract to air Formula 1 for the 2013 season. The series of deals and moves will see the SPEED channel moving away from its role as a niche motorsports and automotive network entirely. If you're a motorsports enthusiast. a car fanatic, a fan of the internet, or just hate corporate media pricks like Rupert Murdoch, then this is joyous news. Because Fox's (alleged) decision to re-brand SPEED as a general sports channel to rival ESPN is great for three reasons. 1) ESPN Deserves a Rival ESPN is a great network. Day after day they provide in depth coverage of all the major sports, with an amazing breadth of knowledge, and professionalism. It is a network highly deserving of a rival. A rival that will ultimately crumble in the presence of ESPN's iron fist of supreme sports knowledge. I say this only because News Corp is an evil company. When someone mentions scum of the earth on the bottom of a rock at the bottom of the ocean, I think of Rupert Murdoch's wrinkled pudgy face. News Corp, through its newspapers, hacked into the phones of a grieving family, misguided a significant portion of Americans through poor journalism and just plain rudeness, and bought Myspace for $500 million only to sell it to Justin Timberlake for $35 million. The same guy who dated Britney Spears and crooned "Bye, Bye, Bye" for little girls in eastern European soccer stadiums I hope Fox's re-branding goes terribly wrong so that I can one day do a case study on them. 2) SPEED Ruined my Childhood When I was a kid my parents avoided premium cable like the plague. I remember watching Speedvision once at my cousin's house sometime in the late 90's and spent the next six months begging my dad to add the channel. When he finally gave in it was one of the greatest days of my childhood. Then sometime in 2001 Fox bought Speedvision and proceeded to wipe its massively swollen corporate behemoth ass with it. Since then the network has been on a downward spiral, piling on countless NASCAR related shows in place of sports car racing, motorcycle racing and generally cool shows about cars like Muscle Car TV, and Victory by Design. Thankfully Velocity Channel has the balls to still produce really cool programming for car fans. Don't get me wrong there is still some great programming on the channel like Wind Tunnel with, legendary announcer and journalist, Dave Despain. There's also a ton of programming on SPEEDTV.com's website that sounds really good too, but none of it is ever on when I'm channel surfing at my girlfriends apartment in my underwear. It's usually some NASCAR talk show, NASCAR qualifying, or NASCAR practice session. This is the reason why I don't own a television. It would be safe to assume that once SPEED goes away all of the cool shows that it sometimes airs at weird hours of the day will go along with it. You're probably asking: what will happen to all the great people who make those shows? I have one name: Dan Rather. CBS laid off Dan Rather after 46 years of loyal service over some facts about a former President . You'd think that his career as journalist would be over. Nope, he's still a huge star. With a fistful of twitter followers and almost as many appearances on the Daily Show as John McCain . The talented writers, producers and assistants at SPEED will be fine. The internet will save them. 3) The Internet Can Provide Better Motorsports Coverage and Entertainment for Gearheads This is the primary reason why we're glad SPEED is getting the ax (allegedly). SPEED isn't run by car guys, it's run by bean counterrs who've figured out that NASCAR programming pays more than some obscure European racing series like DTM. Which is about as far from rocket science as you can get. What saddens us about SPEED is that unlike ESPN, it makes no real attempt at sports journalism. For the most part SPEED is just a bunch of yokels yelling at each other for three hours while cars race around in a circle and occasionally crash.
The really great thing about SPEED's (alleged) re-branding is the potentially opportunity it presents. It could potentially present a great opportunity for enthusiast content creators and entrepreneurs. YouTube, for example, has launched 100 new channels in the last year, all of which produce inspiring and well crafted content. Drive, Motor Trend and Car & Driver are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cool car shows on the web. There are also shows like Depth of Speed, Petrolicious and tons more video series produced by cool and intelligent people. With SPEED gone (allegedly) they may no longer have to fight the deep pocketed evil empire for viewers. To that end, all this talk about the demise of supercars, and new cars being terrible and fat are moot for the time being. We're about to witness a revolution (allegedly) in automotive media, because for the first time gearheads have all the tools to go out and make really great gearhead porn to share with other gearheads. If you don't like new cars, do a review of an old one. If you think the new Aventador sucks compared to the Countach, get your hands on the two and do a comparison. If you don't like Top Gear, make your own show about three guys acting like idiots. So this Monday night we'll pour a little out for the SPEED channel, and finally see about making a proper American version of C'etait Un Rendevous. Source: Autoblog via LA Times, SBNation, The Wall Street Journal and Fox News