Another reason to get with the program and upgrade to high-def TV:
Beginning next year, NBC and Turner Network Television (TNT) will televise their entire portion of the 2005 NASCAR schedule in high-definition. … TNT and NBC’s full-season of HD NASCAR coverage will begin with NASCAR Busch Series and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup racing during the weekend of July 1 and 2, 2005 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. … All of the main cameras used for NBC and TNT’s coverage, as well as the production truck, will be native HD. The feed will be transmitted in high-definition and formatted for 4×3 high-definition and standard-definition. … (NBC PR)(12-2-2004) [Via Jayski]
Update: Looks like FOX will also be broadcasting their entire portion of the season in HDTV as well!
“We’re thrilled to present the entire NASCAR on FOX 2005 season in 720p High Definition clarity and Dolby 5.1 audio,” said FOX Sports Chairman David Hill. “Our HD broadcasts will ensure that fans at home are treated to the visceral experience that NASCAR action provides to those present at the speedway, which is precisely what we at FOX Sports aim to deliver as broadcasters.” FOXSports.com
Also interesting were the TV viewership numbers quoted, showing Nextel Cup racing as second only to NFL (my emphasis in bold):
Last season, the average per-race audience for FOX’s “regular season” NASCAR Nextel Cup schedule (Rockingham through Sears Point) was 9.03 million viewers, identical to the figures posted in 2003. NASCAR Nextel Cup racing has retained its status as the second highest-rated sport televised nationally, trailing only the National Football League. NASCAR on FOX’ 2004 regular-season average rating of 5.6/14, topped the regular season average of the NBA on ABC by 133% (vs. 2./4/16), the biggest margin ever between those two sports. FOX’s 5.6/14 for regular season Nextel Cup racing was also +22% better than ABC’s 4.6/10 for the NBA playoffs. NASCAR on FOX is clearly the dominant player in the portion of the year formerly controlled by the NBA.