Saturday, September 12, 2009

How do you watch your sports?

I think it is fair to say that the advances of social media has really changed many aspects of our lives. Not only do we have the ability to notify everyone (who subscribes) on Twitter, what we are doing at any particular moment, we cam share images via Flickr, or share our opinions on a blog, recently, social media has recently made its way on to my television during sporting events - NASCAR specifically.

I've always been biased towards the NASCAR on FOX coverage, because I grew up a fan of Darrell Waltrip. Also, I can't get enough of the veteran commentator, Mike Joy, lead pit reporter, Dr. Dick Berggren, and number crunching-guru of the garage-tech Larry McReynolds.

However, Kyle Petty, since stepping out of the car and into the booth, he has proved he is all about the fans. Using his Twitter account, before, during, and after the race, Kyle is always tweeting something unique going on. He also responds to questions from fans during races.

One particular moment I recall during the July race at Daytona, there were a number of wrecks. Television viewers are accustomed to getting interviews with drivers after they fall out of contention. Petty stated that he was getting lots of questions about why no drivers were being interviewed after falling out. His response was that all the teams/drivers/crews were busy repairing cars or were back out on the track, and unavailble for comments.

I can recall a number of times during races I've watched where the commentator fail to connect to the fans parts of the current storylines. Twitter, and Kyle Petty have helped bridge that gap.

In addition to the race itself, Michael Waltrip, a driver/panelist, on weekly re-cap show, This Week In NASCAR (TWIN), occasionally invites viewers to Twitter along with him during the broadcast of the show on the SPEED Channel.

It only makes me think that it won't be long before more sports commentators will take the time to learn Twitter, and utilize it during broadcasts for a more interactive experience. More-so than any single "mailbag" or trivia question has ever done.

How do you feel about making televised sporting events more interactive? I think there will be an increased quality of coverage, by letting fans ask pertinent questions, but also, not let it consume the commentators task at hand calling the game.

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