What would the world be like if SPEED, the all-motorsports channel, were converted into another all-general sports network. I haven't even included a question mark on that sentence, because we all know the answer: It would be a little more lame.
Our suspicions that SPEED owner Fox plans to convert the gearhead-focused network into an all sports affair have, unfortunately, inched closer to confirmation.
"While Fox has declined to comment on its planned channel, people familiar with the matter said the company will convert its niche sports channel called Speed into a broad-based sports network," reported the L.A. Times
That could be the end of everything from 24 Hours of Le Mans coverage (which I know from making non car people watch Steve McQueen's 1971 racing classic isn't for everyone) to Dumbest Stuff on Wheels. Where else will we watch "Hemi-Powered Headcases, Super-Charged Simpletons & Mooks" or complete coverage of the Goodwood Festival of Speed?
So what will they call SPEED if it's all sports and not just motorsports? Fox Sports One? Does that mean they'll have exclusive coverage of athletes on 'roids and other performance enhancers? With Lance Armstrong getting back into the amateur circuit, there could be a market for that.
Not that we can entirely blame Fox. Leadership at SPEED has always been questionable and the non-racing programs are a mix of interesting and terrible. SPEED was once great but has become, at best, a good idea poorly executed.
Racing may still be a part of this new channel — even a large part — but broadcast rights for various racing series are now up in the air.
UPDATE: Erik Arneson, VP of Media Relations at SPEED, had this to say:
No decisions from FOX Sports yet … everything still speculation at this point … we remain in active negotiations with multiple motor sports bodies, including NASCAR and F1.
We take this to mean that they do not have confirmed rights to F1 next year or NASCAR beyond 2014.
Photo credit: Speed