After letting the series know of its wide displeasure over the potential addition of the "lucky dog" restart rule, INDYCAR fans around the world are likely to sound off again due to the end of live streaming of all races, qualifying and practice (outside of the Indianapolis 500).
While announcing a new package of timing/scoring applications for race-day coverage on INDYCAR.com's INDYCAR Nation, the series said that because of network TV contracts, event streaming had to be dropped for this season.
The cut may prove to have a damaging impact on the series' fan bases, both national and international. Because of the relative lack of cable reach for INDYCAR's cable television partner Versus, stateside fans -- and bloggers like yours truly -- have had to rely on the IndyCar.com video streaming to follow the series.
Indy Race Place has broken down who will be affected by the situation and suffice to say, there's too many fans to lose for a series that's battling for attention. On a personal level, I could get Versus on my DISH Network system but with my normal day-to-day bills to pay, I can't hock up an extra 30 bucks a month just for that channel. Maybe I can go to Buffalo Wild Wings and get a bartender to tune in the race for me, but I highly doubt I can get him or her to pipe in the sound as well!
That leaves Plan C -- going to my stepmom's house to watch the race on her Comcast cable package. I'm probably going to need to get a key made so I can let myself inside in case she needs to go somewhere.
Even more importantly, this looks to reduce my "live" coverage of the series even further. As some of you may know, I'll be doing a media relations internship with a local sports team here in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This is a great opportunity for me, but it will also keep me busy. Because of the team's schedule and regular game-day hours, I won't be able to cover nearly half the races on the schedule "live" through stuff like my regular in-race Twitter updates and blog posts immediately after the finish.
Now combine that with the prospects of not having live streaming; I'm going to have to re-think how I want this blog to present itself.
As a content contributor to INDYCAR Nation, I'm not going to rip the series apart for this. I understand that contracts are a big deal. But this is an BIGGER DEAL. A lot of people are about to lose their only source of live coverage and INDYCAR needs them right now to spread its message in a positive manner.
I strongly urge INDYCAR to go to ESPN and Versus/NBC and try to figure out a way to save live streaming of events, because this sport needs to be on all possible platforms in order to grow for the future.