From the Marbles

TNT to simulcast Coke Zero 400 on TruTv. But, so what?

Nick Bromberg
From The Marbles

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Saturday night's TNT broadcast of the Coke Zero 400 was already scheduled to have "Wide Open" coverage and now it will be simulcast on Turner sister station TruTV.

TruTV, which has shown NCAA Tournament games since the new NCAA Tournament TV contract came into effect, has never shown a NASCAR race.

"TNT's Wide Open coverage, truTV's simulcast and the integration with HLN allows us to increase NASCAR's presence across the Turner portfolio and pay tribute to troops in a meaningful way," said Christina Miller, Turner Sports' senior vice president of strategy, programming and marketing said in a release. "There could not be a more fitting time than Daytona, the biggest race of the summer, and the Fourth of July holiday."

There will be no additional features or content during the race on the channel. It'll simply be a mirror of what's on TNT. (The integration with Headline News that Miller refers to is a series of features on military members throughout the week.)

It's not a losing proposition for NASCAR. More availability is never a bad thing. But if you're wondering how much that's actually going to help NASCAR, you're not alone. Commercials — both the repetition and the quantity — have been one of the main talking points of TNT's coverage so far this season. The "Wide Open" coverage, where commercials and promos are featured prominently on screen during the race broadcast in order to allow more green-flag racing to be shown, addresses those concerns for this week. TNT races do utilize RaceBuddy, an online viewing feature that shows different camera angles and radio chatter, but it's also the only one of the three networks that broadcast the Sprint Cup Series that doesn't utilize the option of side-by-side commercials.

Had TNT enhanced the TruTV broadcast with special features during commercials, shorter commercial breaks, or simply no commercials debating mashed potatoes or mac and cheese, the additional channel option may prove as a carrot to NASCAR viewers. But instead of enhancing Saturday night's coverage even further, it's natural to immediately think, "So what?"

Is the audience that watches Hardcore Pawn reruns on a normal TruTV Saturday night going to sit and watch the Cup race? And when they realize that Hardcore Pawn isn't onand decide to watch the race, is it going to make a noticeable difference in TV ratings? Plus, how does a simulcast on TruTV help pay tribute to the men and women in our military? (Idea: TruTV should have a fundraising contest where fans donate on behalf of their favorite side dish with all proceeds going to military charities.) Unless there's TruTV-specific military tributes and features, referring to the simulcast as a way to honor the military is just holiday-related pandering.

Instead, this just looks like the same thing, albeit in a slightly different location. Is this additional location popular enough on its own to enhance the awareness of the product?

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