WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. A recent study shows there aren't more commercials during a NASCAR Winston Cup Series race since the $2.8 billion contract was signed with NBC, FOX, FX and TNT in 2001.
According the Motorsports TV.com, the amount of time spent on commercials has increased only by eight seconds for each hour of coverage since the sport moved away from its base on cable television.
''Commercials have historically been one of the primary targets of criticism from NASCAR fans,'' said Mike McCarthy, editor at MotorsportsTV.com. ''Simply, NASCAR fans hate commercials. The blockbuster TV contract in 2001 further raised fears and suspicions among race fans. But the evidence shows that the TV networks have not increased commercial time in order to pay for their significantly increased rights fees.''
MotorsportsTV.com studied every televised race from the 2000 season through last week's Brickyard 400.
It found the amount of commercial time in 2000 averaged 14 minutes, 39 seconds for each hour of broadcast. This year, the amount of time is 14 minutes, 47 seconds.
McCarthy said FOX and FX loaded many of their spots during its pre-race show. NBC and TNT, which essentially broadcast the second half of the season, have 1 minute, 10 seconds more commercial time an hour during the actual race.
BRADSHAW SPEAKS: Car owner Terry Bradshaw last week said he was so unhappy with the way his NASCAR Busch Series team was headed with driver Kerry Earnhardt, he considered pulling his ownership away fromthe team if changes weren't made.
''I wanted to make the move (to fire Earnhardt) a long time ago,'' Bradshaw said. ''This is about performance, not a last name. I wanted something to be done, but it was hard with all the sponsorship deals. And my partner (Armando Fitz) was more worried about being politically correct.''
Since Earnhardt, the eldest son of racing legend Dale Earnhardt, was fired, Tim Fedewa has posted finishes of 12th, 13th and 13th the three best efforts for the team this year.
''Hello?'' Bradshaw said. ''Does that tell you something?''
Reach Don Coble at email@example.com.
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