Category Archives: Racing

What to Watch During (and after*) Quarantine

By Griffin Olah

Submitted: April 16, 2020/Published: June 2, 2020

Griffin is a second-year undergraduate BGSU student from North Ridgeville, Ohio. He is a Sport Management major and a Journalism minor. His primary sports interests are baseball and football, both collegiate and professional, but he is also interested in basketball, MMA, boxing and hockey.

[*Editor’s Note: With apologies to Griffin Olah and readers of Maxwell Media Watch, this insightful entry was submitted during a semester when everything suddenly went online. I should have published it earlier, but hopefully it still provides useful tips for media alternatives to live sporting events in the meantime. N. Spencer].

If you’re anything like me, you miss sports. With COVID-19 shutting down every sports league (we’ll ignore Dana White’s “fighting island”), I need something to quench my thirst for more sports. Luckily, there are quite a few alternatives that can get us all through quarantine while not spending a fortune.

One of the first things I discovered, with the help of Twitter, was the massive MLB library on YouTube. That’s right, Major League Baseball stores broadcasts on both its own YouTube channel, MLB, and on another, the MLB Vault (Langs et. al, 2020). This allows you to go back to see any memorable game in MLB history that has aired on television. Personally, I’ve enjoyed myself watching Game 7 of the 2016 World Series (the game ended with the rain delay), the 2017 Indians winning streak and the wildly entertaining 2019 Home Run Derby match-up between Joc Pederson and Vlad Guerrero Jr. There’s enough there to spend entire days watching baseball, and maybe you’ll even find some hidden gems that you forgot happened.

The NFL has a similar vault of games, but they house it in its own website, NFL Game Pass. Although it usually requires a subscription, the NFL made Game Pass free to all users through May 31, 2020 (NFL.com, 2020). Game Pass has an archive of all games played since the 2009 season, from preseason all the way through the playoffs and the Super Bowl. It also has access to many of NFL Network’s series, including A Football Life, America’s Game, SoundFX and more. I’ve spent a lot of time watching old Browns replays, including the 2018 game against the New York Jets that debuted Baker Mayfield, the 2009 game against the Chiefs that Jerome Harrison played out of his mind, and the America’s Game episode of the 2009 Saints. 

If you aren’t against spending money, however, the ever-popular ESPN+ might be for you. For only $5 a month, you can have access to a massive library of ESPN shows, replays and films. ESPN has streaming deals with many collegiate sports conferences, the NHL, UFC and boxing organizations, allowing many past games and competitions on their platform. I’ve spent hours in the 30 for 30 library and watching old UFC fights featuring Stipe Miocic. If you’re still bored and you want some non-sport action to watch, ESPN+ also can be bundled with Disney Plus and Hulu for $12.99 a month. 

If live action is what you’re craving, however, then eSports might fill that void for you. At the forefront of eSports is NASCAR, with its iRacing Pro Invitational Series. Using real drivers on iRacing, a platform most already use for practice, NASCAR is simulating the missed events of their season (Nicholson, 2020). The simulated races are also aired on Fox, so NASCAR fans can watch just like any other race.

Going along with eSports, the MLB has taken initiative with its MLB The Show Player’s League. Each team has selected one player to represent them through a series of three-inning games on the popular video game franchise (Toribio, 2020). Each player streams their games on their own Twitch page, which works similar to YouTube, so you can hear their commentary in real time. Cincinnati Red pitcher Amir Garrett and Texas Rangers slugger Joey Gallo have already proven to be both wildly entertaining to watch and incredibly good at the game. I’ve watched some highlights, and I’ll be tuning in whenever Garrett and Gallo take the virtual field again.

Finally, the NBA has attempted to offer another alternative with live action- a HORSE tournament. Current and former NBA and WNBA stars are pitted against each other in the classic basketball game in each of their home gyms (Gartland, 2020). While reception has mostly been negative, with many people claiming the games are too boring or citing internet problems, basketball fans may still be enjoyed. I haven’t tuned into any of the matchups, but if you’re starved for some basketball, it might be right for you. The competitions do air live on ESPN, so anyone interested in watching will have to tune in in real time.

Obviously, there is no true alternative to live sports action, but we can come close. Whether replays are your thing or not, there are tons of options to watch until we get sports back, whenever that may be. Until then, take a look through all of these services and find your favorite, or maybe find something new that’s not discussed here. Either way, good luck with filling your sports void and I hope these can get us all through until the return of sports.

References

Gartland, D. (2020, April 13). ESPN’s NBA HORSE competition was tough to watch. Sports Illustrated. Retrieved from: https://www.si.com/extra-mustard/2020/04/13/espn-nba-horse-tournament-highlights

Langs, S., Simon, A., Randhawa, M., & Catania, J. (2020, March 14). One classic game to watch online from each MLB team. MLB.com. Retrieved from: https://www.mlb.com/news/classic-mlb-games-to-watch-online

NFL.com. (2020, March 18). NFL offers fans free access to NFL Game Pass. NFL.com. Retrieved from: http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000001106855/article/nfl-offers-fans-free-access-to-nfl-game-pass

Nicholson, J. (2020, March 18). NASCAR launches eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series. eSports Insider. Retrieved from: https://esportsinsider.com/2020/03/enascar-iracing-pro-invitational-series/

Toribio, J. (2020, April 10). 30 stars to compete in ‘MLB The Show’ league. MLB.com. Retrieved from: https://www.mlb.com/news/30-stars-compete-in-mlb-the-show-players-league

Sprint Will Return for 2016 NASCAR Season

by Angeline Seames

Sprint is preparing to return in 2016 for a lame-duck year as title sponsor of NASCAR’s Cup Series, though the sponsor was open to leaving early if the opportunity arose, according to sources.

The Kansas City-based carrier, whose contract expires after the 2016 season, indicated to NASCAR months ago that if the sanctioning body found a brand that wanted to take over starting in 2016; Sprint would be open to the arrangement (according to sources). There could have been a financial component to such a move, those sources added, with Sprint helping alleviate a new sponsor’s first-year commitment in the sport. Sprint currently spends between $50 million and $75 million on its title deal annually.
However, with sources saying there have been no indication a new deal is imminent and with the 2016 season just four months away, the window to get a replacement by next year has about closed due to the immense logistical planning and execution that go into such a switch.

Sprint officials acknowledged that the sponsor was coming back. NASCAR declined to comment.

Brands that have been pitched on the title sponsorship include Panasonic, LG, Coca-Cola, Goodyear, Comcast and Hisense, according to sources. They added that Hisense showed the most interest thus far, though the China-based consumer electronics brand has decided against it for now. NASCAR went to market asking $100 million per year for a minimum of 10 years.

Categories that are being pursued by NASCAR for the title sponsorship include consumer electronics, financial services and telecommunications according to sources. The latter two of those are either completely or relatively competition-free in NASCAR, which makes them desirable because they would create fewer issues for NASCAR teams during an eventual changeover from Sprint.

Numerous sources pointed out that a deal of this magnitude was almost always going to take two years to complete, which speaks more to the glacial pace of corporations than anything else. They also pointed out that a lame-duck sponsor working to avoid its final year is routine in sports marketing, meaning it would have been more surprising if Sprint hadn’t shown interest in getting out a year early.

Involved in the NASCAR sales efforts are: Chief Sales Officer Jim O’Connell; Steve Phelps, Executive Vice President and CMO; Chad Seigler, Vice President of Business Development; Matt Shulman, Managing Director of Series Marketing; Chairman and CEO Brian France; and Dewar.

The only title sponsors in Cup series history are Winston (1971-2003), Nextel (2004-07) and Sprint.

The Drama 500

By Brandon Busuttil

February 24, 2015

The Daytona 500 is regarded as one of the greatest annual sport spectacles, and is even referred to as “The Great American Race”. It is a 500 mile race consisting of 200 laps around the Daytona Speedway track. Since 1959 (when the Daytona Speedway first opened) the Daytona 500 has always been the first race of the NASCAR season, and although it is the first race of the season, it holds implications as though it is one of the ending races of the Sprint Cup Series. On top of that, it also holds the largest purse out of all the races. The race took place on Sunday, February 22.

This year’s race was not just about trying to become one of the largest live global television events (the 2006 Daytona 500 is ranked 6th with 20 million viewers), or about the purse of about $20 million, but all the storylines that were a part of the race this year.

The first begin with the infamous Jeff Gordon, racing for what was, his final time in the Daytona 500. One of the most decorated NASCAR drivers, decided in mid January to announce that this will be his final NASCAR season. Gordon, who is 43, will be racing in his final season, so you can expect for him to give it all in every race this season, including the Daytona 500, where 16 years ago he won this race. He has won 92 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races and the Daytona 500 marked the beginning of the end for him. Unfortunately for him after looking like he was in complete control of the race having led 87 laps in the Daytona 500, after getting kicked back in the pact after a restart and being part of a multi-car crash in the last lap of the race, he ended up finishing 33rd. The good thing is, he was all smiles having finished his last Daytona 500.

Since first racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in the year 2000, Kurt Busch has always known to have some anger issues. Well he may have really outdone himself this time. On February 20th, 2 days before the big race, he was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR because of an act of domestic violence toward his girlfriend, whom had a fight and he took her head and slammed it against the side of his motor home. In his place, an underdog, a man named Regan Smith, who in his 8 years of racing in the Sprint Cup Series, has only won 1 of his 172 races. He ended up finishing 16th in the Daytona 500 and was hopeful that he will have much better race weekends.

After a horrific crash into an unprotected barrier Kyle Busch was also not partaking in the race this year. On Saturday, in the Xfinity Series race, Kyle went into the barrier, breaking his leg. Leaving out the Busch brothers who have always brought such excitement to The Great American Race throughout the years. Matt Crafton was Kyle Busch’s substitute in the Daytona 500 and had a top-20 finish (finished 18th).

Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Daytona 500 last year, and that was only the start for the season to him, as Earnhardt Jr. had won of his greatest seasons of his career last year. Analysis looking at this race, believe he could be, only the fourth person in history to win the Daytona 500 two years in a row. However, he was not the going to make history on February 22nd and with a good push finished 3rd in the race, a finish that he, himself, was very disappointed in.

Taking home the checkered flag was Joey Logano, whom got off to a great start after the last restart. Judging from the Daytona 500, look for an interesting season in NASCAR this year.