Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Dakar Rally Coverage Improves Dramatically in USA

The Versus/NBCSports.com coverage of the Dakar Rally this year (2012) is head and shoulders above of what it was last year. In fact, the coverage in 2011 was so bad, I wrote an email to Versus:

----- Original Message --------
Subject: your Dakar coverage
Date: Thu, 13 Jan 2011 21:21:25 -0800
From: xxxxxxx
To: vs_feedback@versus.com

We -- my husband and I -- have been thrilled at your Dakar coverage. I just moved back to the USA last year, and we were both mourning the lack of Dakar coverage on TV, so I was thrilled to find your nightly updates, and we have watched them religiously. Your coverage of the leaders is fantastic.

But the Dakar isn't just about the best riders and drivers. It is not just about the top finishers. But that's all you cover. There is nothing in your coverage about:
-- the women motorcycle riders and drivers of Dakar. They are pioneers -- yet you would never know they were there from your coverage.
-- the self-sustaining riders and drivers of Dakar. There are people who don't have teams supporting them, riders who not only ride their bikes all day, they then have to work on their bikes after a hard day of riding, some times all night. What drives these people? How do they do it without any crew?
-- people new to Dakar. What do the drivers and riders who have never been to the rally think about their first experience?
-- the crews. They are a story in and of themselves. Who are some of the people that make up the crews? What drives them to be there, in far-from-luxurious conditions, working all night so their drivers and riders can ride/drive all day ('cause it's certainly not the pay!)
-- what do the local people think about it all? This rally is still so new to South America. I'd love some interviews with those people who seemed to have traveled to a really remote site just to cheer a blur passing by. I'd love to hear if there are any economic impacts outside of the rally as well -- any increase in tourism?
-- surely there are some rally old-timers who can comment on how the rally has changed over the years?

And please, please, please, get rid of Ines Sainz. She, and her stories, add NOTHING to your Dakar coverage. Please. I just came up with six stories that are better than anything she's reported on. I could come up with three times as many if given an hour to think about it. Surely there is an attractive woman who isn't a bubble head who can cover more appropriate, more interesting stories?

Apparently, they listened to me or they fired whomever from Versus directed the coverage from last year or they hired someone that thinks like me for 2012: this year's coverage has been Ines Sainz-free, and each of the three highlight shows we've watched so far has featured a good profile. In fact, whomever it is reporting on Versus/NBCSports.com has a better narrative than the EuroSport guy (yes, we watch both - same videos, different commentary).

So, bravo, NBCSports! Keep it up! Or else you will be hearing from me...

My only complaint this year: the NBCSports.com web site is too hard to navigate - we can't find the day's videos there. Come on, guys - hire a usability expert. Make a list of each day's videos on one easy-to-find, easy-to-download menu page. It's NOT that hard!

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