SPEED’s Farewell Brings Sadness, FOX Sports 1 Brings OptimismBy Travis Barend
A little part of every motorsports fan died last weekend as SPEED, known by many as the “Motorsports Authority,” signed off the air for the final time.
“For 18 years, it’s been our honor and privilege to present motorsports and automotive-related programming to you on the network that began as Speedvision, became SPEED Channel and is now known as SPEED,” Mike Joy stated in the final minutes of the channel’s existence.
“But now it’s time to switch off the ignition and turn in the keys. This is the end of SPEED in America.”
From the day it launched to its final hours, SPEED brought fans something no other network had: a sole spotlight for motorsports. For many, SPEED was the place to enjoy racing, from motorcycles to NASCAR, whenever they wished – there was no sharing the channel with other forms of sports.
The channel, with so much potential, lived up to expectations and was successful in the eyes of many. People connected with the programs, the hosts, and of course the racing itself. SPEED had quickly developed the power to connect fans of all kinds of motorsports together. From WindTunnel to Trackside, fans could not get enough.
Now, SPEED no longer exists and gone are many of the popular shows that once made the network great. Programs like Trackside, WindTunnel, and the fairly new but popular SPEED Center are no longer a part of a racing fan’s weekend.
While the recent years have brought much criticism to SPEED over some programming changes that many felt were unnecessary, the channel still upheld its core value: showing the racing action on a regular basis. Despite the backlash of SPEED’s final years, people were still in love with the network and would always tune in.
So when SPEED officially went dark, fans felt empty and sad. But when FOX Sports 1, FOX’s new all sports network that replaced SPEED, took over, there was a sense of optimism.
While many race fans are quick to say negative things about FS1 – they of course feel robbed of motorsports content – the new channel offers NASCAR, and motorsports in general, something very exciting.
Despite the loss in motorsports programming, NASCAR is still a major part of FS1. On day one alone, the channel aired over six hours of live content dedicated to NASCAR specifically. As more sports content floods the new network, so the do the eyeballs of many sports fans. So, when the same NASCAR content that fans love pops up on the screen, more people will be exposed to it. This gives NASCAR a chance to increase the fan base and grow the sport.
FOX Sports 1 also brings hope to motorsports fans that racing will be covered heavily with other sports news. FOX Sports Live, FOX’s version of SportsCenter, brings hope for extensive coverage of NASCAR and other motorsports leagues. This can also increase interest in the sport.
As FOX Sports 1 grows as a sports channel, it will do so around NASCAR. FOX has the rights to the full Camping World Truck Series season through 2024, all on FS1. The first 14 Nationwide Series races will also air on the channel beginning in 2015. And soon, select Cup races will migrate to the network.
There is no doubt that FOX Sports 1 is committed to NASCAR for a very long time.
Hey, it might not be that bad after all.