All-Access with Alanis: Will “The 1” Really be Fun?

FOX-Sports-1_730_20130305144320758_660_320Come Saturday, the channel we’ve known for strictly motorsports coverage and auto-related programs for the past nearly two decades will expand its horizons, and get a name change in the process.

We all saw it coming: the “FOX Sports” logos replacing the familiar “SPEED” emblems. It started with the microphones and the corners of TV programs, then spread to the entire SPEED stage seen weekly at the racetrack. The red hue trademarked of The SPEED Channel was traded in for FOX Sports’ blue to promote the new network and, frankly, to resemble the gloom of motorsports fans everywhere.

As the clock ticks on the extinction of SPEED and the launch of FOX Sports 1, the all-sports network seems to be a looming threat with an uncertain future when regarding attention paid to motorsports. “SPEED Center”, “Trackside”, “Wind Tunnel”, and countless other programs will be replaced by other sports shows and coverage. Certain television providers haven’t reached deals with FS1. Fans who live outside the country are unsure of when they’ll be able to see another NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race because, as of now, they don’t have FS1.

But, despite a cloudy future, let’s try to look at the bright side. Let’s give the excited social media posts of SPEED – or, FS1 – employees the benefit of the doubt, and let’s consider the positives of FS1. If a FS1 accomplishes what it intends to and rivals networks such as ESPN, the viewership of former SPEED programming that carried over to FS1, such as Truck Series racing and Race Hub, has the potential to increase dramatically. That, in turn, can build the seemingly stagnant fan base.

Regardless of whether or not the transition is beneficial to racing, though, having a solely auto network will evidently be missed. Since the announcement of FS1, there have been countless cries for NASCAR to establish its own network – one not owned by another company such as FOX. Most major networks dedicated to individual sports are either wholly or predominantly owned by the professional league itself, giving the corporation discretion over the channel and its programs. If the demand was high enough, NASCAR could do the same.

No one knows what the future holds, so let’s not say a permanent farewell to SPEED just yet – maybe a fond “see you later”. Perhaps NASCAR will follow the trend and establish its own version of SPEED, one it has complete control over. Or perhaps FS1 will end up being sufficient – and possibly even beneficial – for racing.

I guess we’ll just have to see. See you later, SPEED. Maybe we’ll meet again someday.

By Alanis King

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