This past week we all got a peek behind the curtain at the Justin Barcia and Eli Tomac post-race argument. This is the first time I can remember NBC Sports or Feld releasing video or audio of something this controversial. Usually, we see it from afar or someone releases horrible audio and we can only imagine what is being said. These types of arguments happen every week, but we never see them. I was thrilled to see NBC release top quality video and audio of the incident. Typically this stuff is covered up because people in power feel it might cast a negative light on the sport. I strongly disagree.
(This is pure authentic entertainment; don't act like you didn't enjoy the drama)
Looking at the Motorsports on NBC YouTube page it's clear what people are interested in watching. The Barcia and Tomac argument got far more views than any other Supercross related post. In this competitive entertainment environment, all sports need to do more than just televise their events. The highest-rated shows are based on personalities and storylines. In the 1990's we were starved for any video or information related to Supercross, most of us had to wait a week until the postal service delivered our issue of Cycle News to get results. This left us accepting and believing anything they decided to show us. We accepted what was reported as fact, while many riders had completely different public personas vs their actual personalities.
(Wrestling is laughable, but they understand entertainment)
Pro Wrestling has known storylines grab ratings since its inception, but I am not implying we should manufacture or create any fake drama. Fortunately, Supercross creates plenty of drama organically and we have some of the most interesting athletes in all of sports. All NBC needs to do is stop filtering what some people think might show the sport in a negative light. In today's competitive entertainment climate we need to pull back the curtain and reveal the drama and reality TV portion of Supercross.
The instant I compare Supercross to reality TV all the old school enthusiasts lose their minds, but they are the very vocal and small minority of Supercross fans. They will complain because any change is tough for "core" enthusiasts. The sport cannot base it's viewership on the "wow" factor of Supercross while seeing guys launch the triple is cool for a little bit, it takes storylines to keep the average fan interested.
(Logan Paul is a below average boxer, but above average entertainer)
There is a reason YouTube star Logan Paul gets more money and attention to Box than many far more talented professional boxers. People pay attention because they know the storyline behind his fight and this piques their interest. They either want him to win or get his ass kicked, but either way, they feel a connection to the fight. When two extremely talented random boxers do battle, some can enjoy their skills but without a backstory, most people could care less.
The sport needs to do a better job of showing these guys in their most vulnerable and unpolished moments. Sponsor reads should be banned from podiums, we all know who sponsors them it's plastered all over their hats, jerseys, and drinks. Let's see them in both their triumphs and their struggles. Riders on the podium who repeatedly ignore interviewer questions and go right into a pre-planned cliché filled speech should not be interviewed. Unless they can authentically answer questions, let's skip these boring sponsor plug opportunities.
I was happy to see NBC release the footage of Barcia and Tomac arguing, it's a step in the right direction. Hopefully, they will add to this and start bringing more authentic drama into the television broadcast.