Speed (Speed Channel, Speedvision) RIP

Well, I suppose it is has not quite been declared dead in a number of places (mostly outside the US), but essentially, it’s only on ventilator at best and they are simply notifying the next of kin when the contracts run out. FS1 (Fox Sports 1 - and 2) is replacing it as a general sports channel that will absorb all the racing series. NBC Sports Network as an answer to ESPN pretty much pointed that that was the way things would probably go soon with Fox, but I somehow didn’t quite get the word until I turned on 607 (Speed on DirecTV) and there was no channel 607 today. It seemed kind of deserted on the weekends with all the open wheel racing gone, anyway.

But as someone who came to racing with the Can-AM series, World’s Manufacturer’s Championship (Le Mans, Sebring, Daytona), Formula One, and front-engined Indy Cars; then departed for a long while when too damn many of the people I liked to watch race ended up dying - Speedvision (as it was known then) brought me back. I mean, 20 hours or so of the 24 hours of Le Mans? Racing junkie nirvana! It was for a while, a one-stop place to check for races over the weekend. You didn’t have to flip around wondering what was on - it was all on Speed. At least for a while. There just wan’t enough big ticket items left to anchor it, alas.

I suppose I should have put this on the TV forum, but racing always seems to be discussed here.

I never know what to say at these things. I spent a couple years watching rally and sports car racing but then we just kind’ve drifted apart. I don’t know if it was me who changed or the channel, but we began spending less and less time together until finally we’d only exchange brief glances in passing. I always felt slightly guilty when I didn’t stop to say hello.

He had no vices…well except for the ones they used on the mechanic programs.

I wonder how many other “specialty” channels will end up going the same way? The hard part of getting a new channel in place these days is getting a cable carrier to put it in their packages, and there’s a lot of fairly low-rated networks still out there. Those ratings are probably only going to get lower as the Internet provides more and more niche content. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more channels bought and re-purposed to more lucrative content.

Also on life support is Fox Soccer, which like Speed was finished off by NBC Sports Network when they grabbed the rights to one of their main draws - F1 in the case of Speed, English Premier League in the case of FSC. FSC will apparently be changed to some sort of entertainment channel.

While Speed had declined somewhat over the years, filled with too much NASCAR programming and reality shows, it still had a lot of motorsports on that may or may not be seen on all these “new” networks and will be missed. Of course I REALLY miss the old Speedvision before it changed.

I liked the old days of cable, where Speedvision showed motorsports, Sci-Fi showed science fiction, and TLC, Discovery, A&E, History, etc weren’t showing endless reality shows. I like a number of the reality shows on these channels well enough for what they are, but I liked when these networks had an identity. Of course I’m also an old fart who remembers when MTV played freakin’ videos, so maybe I’m just a fossil <g>.

MTV still exists?!? Whatever happened to the Human Bobble-Head VJ, Nina Blackwood?

But yeah, the special interest channels all seem to be semi-abandoning their special interest area.

Fox Sports 1 has been in the works for…awhile…and the killing of Speed Channel was all about carriage rights on basic cable that Fox Sports could take over and use for their network from a channel they already owned.

The ratings for Speed were so bad that it would’ve been killed a year or so ago, but Fox kept it going while putting their sports network programming together.

I just realized I hadn’t seen a V8 Supercars race pop up on my DVR in a while. Then I remembered this news and panicked that I missed Bathurst. I didn’t, but now I can’t tell if the series has really moved to Fox Sports 1 or not. Their search engine is a useless disaster that befits old media, and Google search just turns up a bunch of edgy sports blogs reporting the channel change a month ago. Anyone know where and when (relative to the event date) the races will show up these days?

Last year the Bathurst 1000 was live on Youtube on the Official Super V8s channel and the coverage was really good. You can still see the full five hour race here.

In vaguely related news the Bathurst track is coming soon to iRacing and they already have the Ford Falcon side of the Super V8s, if you have a wheel as well as a flightstick. The Aussie SuperV8 iRacing series even has its own coverage and features excellent racing. Those guys are going to lose their minds when the Bathurst track is released.

Tim

I use http://www.tvracer.com/ to keep track of what racing is showing where. This weekend is the Rolex finale at Lime Rock. Next weekend ALMS is at VIR and the Conti Challenge from Lime Rock should be on.

NBCSports has been doing a fantastic job with both EPL and Formula 1. The F1 coverage is basically Speed with a much higher budget, familiar voices and faces with a studio set that doesn’t appear to be made of cardboard.

She’s raspily hosting the SiriusXM 80s-on-8 channel as part of their DJ rotation.

Bathurst is this weekend and tvracer doesn’t have anything on the radar for V8 Supercars. I never really answered my question whether any channel still broadcasts that series in the US.

For anyone still looking, I found V8 Supercars on Fox Sports 2. It’s a $10/month upgrade for my cable company. Better luck next year, mate.

Yeah, I just spotted that the other day - the trouble is on DirecTV it is buried up in the 600s and Fox Sports 1 is 219 or 220 right next to NBC Sports Network thing (I forget the official name) and near ESPN.