no images were foundThis past weekend, we here at OpenPaddock were blessed to have the ALMSChicks, Heidi and Brie covering the season opener for the American Le Mans Series and the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup 12 Hours of Sebring, and to have Ken Poe providing additional photos. Had it not been for them, we would have been in the dark when it comes to this most historic American sports car endurance race.
This season, the series switched broadcast partners from the conglomeration of SpeedTV, NBC, and others to ABC/ESPN. Unfortunately, the deal doesn’t allow for live TV coverage, but instead all of the events will be tape-delayed highlight shows. The races instead by shown live and in their entirety on-line at ESPN3.com. The fact that all the races were going to be available live in any format had some people excited and enthusiastic. Personally, I was skeptical and wanted to see the product actually at work before I made up my mind.
Well, I still don’t have any data since I wasn’t able to watch any of the coverage, but I DO have an opinion! ESPN3 is not an option for me as the phone company in my small town in Missouri doesn’t have an agreement with ESPN. Even if I had been able to watch on-line, the quality and connectivity was poor by many reports including from Todd McCandless of Formula1Blog.com who has bandwidth out the wazzoo! What I did get to see was the 90-minute highlight show on Sunday, the day after the race.
no images were foundMy experience with the much reduced 90 Minutes of Sebring was better than most in that I actually got to see it. Many were reporting that the time-buy (yes, ALMS paid to have their races on TV) was pushed aside to show a tennis match instead. The commentary was fine, as was the camera work, but dang it, this is the 12 HOURS of Sebring, not the 90 Minutes of Sebring, and condensing all of the drama and racing action of a 12 hour endurance race to a 90 minute highlight reel caused the race to lose a lot of its flavor and excitement. Case in point: One of the most dramatic moments of any endurance race is the transition from day to night. There was nothing on the sunset transition, which is a real shame. Not only is a dramatic time in the race, but it also makes for some incredible scenes like the one shown in the photo to the left.
As for me, I’ll watch the highlight reel when I can, but I’m not going out of my way to watch it, and I absolutely won’t worry about trying to find ways around the ESPN3 thing. This season, I’m returning to an old-school method of enjoying the races by listening to Shaw and Hindy call the race live at RadioLeMans.com. ALMS has to be feeling like Lando Calrissian right now. They should just be glad that ABC isn’t making them wear clown shoes and race unicycles.