NBCSN Wants to Use Social Media To Bring New Life To Classic Nascar Race

When NBCSN broadcasts the 2001 Pepsi 400 at 8 p.m. this evening, it might seem like another bid to use a classic sports contest to fill the schedule. But the network is hoping a few modern twists will transform an iconic race into a new, modern viewing experience that will prompt fans to want more.

The broadcast will feature live tweets from race drivers and crew members who took part in the race. Among them will be Dale Earnhardt, Jr., who won the contest for the first time at the track where his father, Dale Earnhardt, had died just a few months beforehand. Dale Jarrett, Kyle Petty and Jeff Burton, all of whom competed in the event, will also be on hand, tweeting – and maybe even appearing live via Periscope or Facebook Live – during the evening.

“I do believe there could be an opportunity with iconic races, iconic sports events, where you can bring people who were participants and have them engage with consumers,” said Jenny Storms, chief marketing officer of NBC Sports Group, in an interview. “After seeing how tonight goes, there could definitely be the opportunity to look into more of this in the future.”

TV networks have long tried to harness fan reaction on screen to goose interest in programming, as anyone who watched “TRL” on MTV last decade might tell you. ABC took the idea further during the run of “Lost,” when it would repeat an episode with comments and details about the episode that were not available during the original airing. NBCSN’s effort marries those ideas with live, running perspective from people who took part in the event.

NBCSN sees the technique as a way to draw attention to its coming Nascar coverage. NBCUniversal splits the rights for Nascar with 21st Century Fox, but the two don’t broadcast races at the same time. Fox handles the first part of the season, while NBCU gets the second part. Tonight’s race, billed as a “Nascar throwback,”  is aimed at getting fans interested in hooking on to NBCSN’s coverage, which wil start this weekend with a race from Daytona, Florida.

To make things work, NBCSN will have the racers – all of whom are analysts for NBCSN Nascar coverage – work out of a studio in Daytona. A social media team will be based out of NBC Sports’ headquarters in Stamford, Conn.

NBCSN is working off insights into viewer behavior around its broadcast, said Storms. Executives have seen a clear rise around viewers of sports events using social media, she said. Last year, during broadcasts of races, the network noticed crew members, racers and other insiders jumping on social media to add comments and perspective to the events. “Increasing the content accelerates the social numbers,” she said.

More TV

  • Brazilian President Jair Bolosnaro attends the

    Bolsonaro Threatens Brazil’s Central Film Fund with Censorship or Closure

    In typical shoot-from-the-hip remarks, Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro has declared that Ancine, Brazil’s powerful state-backed federal film agency, should accept “filters”or face closure. “If it can’t have a filter, we’ll close Ancine, or privatize it,” Bolsonaro added, attacking Ancine, which plows some $300 million a year into Brazil’s film and TV industries, for supporting [...]

  • Variety Cord Cutting Placeholder Cable

    CBS Stations Go Dark on AT&T's DirecTV, U-verse Platforms Amid Contract Battle

    CBS’ 28 O&O stations are going dark for about 6.6 million subscribers of AT&T’s DirecTV and U-verse platforms as the Eye and AT&T battle over a new retransmission consent contract. The blackout affects CBS and CW-affiliated stations in 14 major markets including New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. Also off the air are the CBS [...]

  • Orlando Bloom Comic Con Immigrant San

    Orlando Bloom Claims San Diego Mayor Ran From Comic-Con Exhibit Featuring Immigrant Characters

    Did an immigration storyline cause Republican San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer to run out of Amazon Prime Video’s Comic-Con activation this week? According to “Carnival Row” star Orlando Bloom, that’s exactly what happened. At Amazon’s “Carnival Row” panel, Bloom told the audience that Faulconer stopped by the Prime Video activation and chose the “Carnival Row” [...]

  • 'Game of Thrones' Cast Calls Final

    'Game of Thrones' Cast Calls Final Season Backlash 'Media-Led Hate Campaign'

    What is life like now after “Game of Thrones?” That’s the question that fans have been asking themselves and that cast members had to answer at the show’s final Comic-Con panel. But first, Conleth Hill, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and several others cleared the air and addressed the perceived negative response to the final season. “I don’t [...]

  • SDCC Roundup: AMC Drops 'The Walking

    SDCC TV News Roundup: AMC Releases 'The Walking Dead' Season 10 Trailer (Watch)

    San Diego Comic-Con has become a hotbed of entertainment news in recent years, especially for the television industry. In today’s SDCC TV news roundup, AMC dropped a trailer for the 10th season of “The Walking Dead” and FX released a first look at “Mayans MC” Season 2. FIRST LOOKS AMC debuted the trailer for Season [...]

  • ARCHER: 1999 -- "Cubert" -- Season

    'Archer' Renewed for Season 11 at FXX

    “Archer” has been picked up for an eleventh season. The announcement was made Friday at San Diego Comic-Con. The news comes less than a week ahead of the Season 10 finale. Season 11 is slated to debut on FXX in 2020. While the show initially focused on the agents and support staff of a covert [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content