Reflections on Tour of Utah TV coverage
I’m super happy that the Tour of Utah is getting more television coverage every year, especially live coverage in HD … but there are issues which need to be addressed.
Local “talent” Steve Brown (of KJZZ) was calling Slyfox Moonwillow the Ski Utah Yeti on the Stage 5 TV coverage … sigh. Not only is the Gilly not a yeti, but he’s definitely not the Ski Utah Yeti. I could understand calling him a Sasquatch (not knowing the Gilly), but he should know what the Yeti looks like (and that the Yeti is white, not green and brown), especially since Ski Utah is a sponsor of the Tour.
The producers should also let Utah sell itself (and charge more for less ad space) rather than making more than half of the coverage commercials or “sponsor features”.
In one half-hour segment, there was only 12 minutes of actual race coverage, and barely that, with no segment longer than 3 minutes, and most only 1 minute. There were 15 minutes of commercials, and 3 minutes of “sponsor features”, which are essentially just additional commercials embedded by the announcers into the coverage.
I know it’s expensive to televise a race, but this is ridiculous, and yet another reason why the TourTracker is better than the TV coverage, especially for the hardcore cycling fan. Even primetime television only has 7 minutes of commercials per half-hour.
What it comes down to for me, is that I really think it’s time for the Tour of Utah to go to the NBC Sports Network (which has established itself as the TV home of major cycling events in the US) instead of using local KJZZ & Fox Sports production. This will be hard for the Miller family to do, I’m sure, since they also own KJZZ as well as the Tour of Utah, but is a necessary step in order for the race to rise up to be considered as more than just a warm-up for that other race in Colorado or the Vuelta a España.
Utah’s current tourism motto (it’s even on the license plates) is “Life Elevated” … the Tour of Utah has elevated the quality of bicycle racing in the United States, but now it’s time for the TV coverage to be elevated as well.