The first race of the 2013 Formula 1 campaign has come to a conclusion. Here in the States, it was the first race of the new NBC Sports Network era. After over a decade of the Fox run Speed TV, NBC won the bidding war last season to host the races. For those not familiar with NBC Sports coverage of the IZOD IndyCar Series, it was a pretty big change in presentation.
NBC worked hard to keep the core of the broadcast very similar to what we had on Speed. Hobbs and Matchett were very good as always. Leigh Diffey worked hard to make the switch from sports car to F1 for the fulltime and did a great job as always. I thought the broadcast job was very good truth be told. There was not a lot of annoying intro to F1 moments. F1 is a very niche market in the US and it seemed as though NBC realized that and injected minimal F1 101.
There were still a few hiccups in the truck. I noticed at the end of the race when recapping the top 10, Romain Grosjean was promoted to a race seat at Ferrari (fat chance). I know it is early and still their first race, but when you take the reins like that, you have to get the attention to detail right.
In my opinion there were also too many commercials during the race. It had a very “ABC IndyCar” feel to it. Go 5-7 laps and have and advertisement. I did enjoy the chances we got to see side-by-side feature. For us who tune into the IZOD IndyCar Series coverage, that is a feature we get. It worked well in capturing some key pit stops from the leaders. The one thing I will say about the commercials we did have, they were relevant for the most part. I didn’t get the late night advert package that Speed offered in the wee hours of the morning. I got commercials that I actually cared about. I wish there were no commercials at all, but it is what it is.
I REALLY enjoyed the F1 Extra post-race show. I thought the NBC studio looked very professional and the coverage from Will Buxton with the interviews was very well put together. I wasn’t rushed away for NASCAR coverage, nor did I have to share the race with Speed Center or any of that nonsense. It was analysis and relevant interviews which gave it just a good overall feeling.
Overall I give the opening weekend coverage an A- grade. I think the attention to detail was a negative as was the number of commercial breaks. Of course I give high marks to the broadcasters as they were rockstars as usual. Buxton gets good marks as well for his work on pit road. I enjoyed how NBC took the chance to promote the season opening IndyCar event that is next weekend. Overall I was very happy with the coverage and can’t wait to watch Malaysia!
What did you think of the coverage? Be sure to join the discussion in the comments section!