CONCORD, N.C. — Race fans around the country have another way to watch racing from the comfort of their own homes.
FansChoice.tv, which launches today, is a new online service that will stream live NASCAR, IMSA and AMA Pro events free of charge. Fans need only to visit the website (www.fanschoice.tv) to view races live every weekend. No registration will be required.
Viewers will have the opportunity to choose among camera angles, while also utilizing a live timing and scoring feed. This new site isn’t meant to replace the experience of attending a race, but to allow those who are unable to make it to a specific event to log on and watch it from home.
Events sanctioned by NASCAR, IMSA and AMA that aren’t covered by current television contracts could potentially be shown on FansChoice.tv. The site — which will operate separately from the three sanctioning bodies — will serve as the official home for all AMA Pro Road Racing and AMA Pro Flat Track events this season.
According to George Silbermann, NASCAR vice president of regional and touring series, this project has been in development for more than a year.
“This is a project that is almost 18 months in the making,” Silbermann said. “We’ve been very fortunate to have very good television partners for both of our sanctioning bodies (NASCAR and IMSA). But when you look particularly at our regional touring series, even with the great FOX Sports relationship we have this year, which becomes a NBC Sports relationship next year, that covered a lot of the key regional touring events but not all of them.
“Aside from that we really didn’t have a strong presence at all with our weekly program — the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series,” Silbermann continued. “There is really such a rich variety of racing content out there that really didn’t have an outlet. The stars kind of aligned about 18 months ago and this concept came into being.”
Some of the live streaming technology that will be used on FansChoice.tv was actually pioneered by the AMA. Accordingly, the first events that will be televised live on FansChoice.tv will be the AMA Pro Road Racing and AMA Pro Flat Track races this weekend at Daytona Int’l Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., concluding with the 73rd Daytona 200 Saturday at 1 p.m.
All the AMA events on FansChoice.tv will be fully produced shows with multiple cameras and live commentary.
“Clearly this is a huge platform for us to expand our motorcycle racing worldwide,” said Michael Gentry, COO of AMA Pro Road Racing. “This is allowing us to reach a younger demographic that clearly is very tech savvy and knowledgeable with all of the web-based accesses that they view. It also allows us to gather synergies around our sport and with a medium we’ve never enjoyed previously.
“Essentially this is our broadcast (deal). When we originally began thinking about the broadening of our series and the exposure, this is the area that we felt provided the best opportunity for us to gain traction, visibility and also bring value for our sponsors, exposure for the riders and really solidify our paddock and primary stakeholders,” Gentry said.
In addition to streaming select events from NASCAR’s Whelen Modified, Southern Modified, K&N Pro Series East and K&N Pro Series West divisions, FansChoice.tv will also air live weekly racing from select tracks.
Three tracks — Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va., Lake County Speedway in Painesville, Ohio, and Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Wash. — have already agreed to air their weekly races live on the FansChoice.tv.
Additional tracks are expected to be added, while off-track events such as the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Awards and NASCAR Night of Champions Touring Series Awards, will also be shown live.
“I think this is really going to be a game changer for the weekly racing industry,” Silbermann said. “Keep in mind, it’s not only the signal going out from their race track to the rest of the world featuring the stars of that local track and the sponsors of that local track, it is also going to the fans in the grandstands. Keep in mind this is not just something you can access from your PC. You can access it from your mobile device and so on.
“I can easily see fans attending that race — assuming it is one of the races that is part of the package — picking it up on FansChoice.tv and watching it while at the event,” Silbermann added.
Multiple camera angles will be available during every event and those watching will also be able to hear live audio from the track’s public-address system.
NASCAR touring divisions located outside the United States — the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series and NASCAR Whelen Euro Series — will not be part of the FansChoice.tv package but could be added later.
“We’re working through some of the existing contractual obligations. We’re pretty encouraged, but we’re not quite there yet,” Silbermann said.
Sports car racing fans will also enjoy expanded coverage of several IMSA-sanctioned events via FansChoice.tv, beginning with practice sessions from this weekend’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring at Sebring (Fla.) Int’l Raceway.
IMSA coverage will also include streaming video of its developmental and single-make series, as well as selected practice and qualifying sessions for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge that are part of IMSA’s five-year agreement with FOX Sports.
“FansChoice.tv will be a good additional resource and possibly home for some of our series,” said David Pettit, IMSA vice president of marketing. “We’re looking forward to exploring the platform this week during our Sebring event and ultimately this site will serve as a diverse home for motorsports.”
All events shown on FansChoice.tv will be archived and be available for viewing later on FansChoice.tv. Fresh content from different tracks and series’ associated with all three sanctioning bodies will continually be added to FansChoice.tv as the platform grows over the next few months.