Wednesday, December 7, 2005

NASCAR: New TV deal

NASCAR Completes Eight Year Television Deals with FOX, Turner Broadcasting, ABC/ESPN

Daytona Beach, Fla. (Dec. 7, 2005) – The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) today announced the completion of comprehensive broadcast agreements that will benefit the industry and its fans for years to come. Under the new eight year agreements NASCAR races will be broadcast on a combination of networks that includes FOX, SPEED, Turner’s TNT and ABC/ESPN beginning in 2007.

“NASCAR’s new network agreements mark a historic moment for the entire NASCAR community,” said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. “This is a major accomplishment for the NASCAR drivers, teams and track operators that have made this sport what it is today. It represents a significant reward for the competitive side-by-side racing our fans have come to expect. It also validates the marketing and production enhancements our current media partners have brought to the sport.

“The new broadcast partnership is also good for the fans because they will have so much more NASCAR content from a variety of media and new media sources,” said France.

“NASCAR is proud to continue its relationship with FOX, SPEED and TNT, while welcoming back ABC/ESPN into the family of broadcasters,” said NASCAR Vice President Dick Glover. “By signing deals with three of the largest and best media companies in the world, NASCAR will meet the growing nationwide fan demand for more NASCAR content into the next decade,” Glover said.

NASCAR expands its relationship with News Corp as FOX becomes the official home of the Daytona 500. FOX’s broadcast agreements for the NFL Playoffs, the Super Bowl, the Bowl Championship Series and American Idol provide an excellent opportunity for cross promotion around the Daytona 500 held each year in mid-February. The deal also includes a brand-new comprehensive multi-media distribution program which includes Internet, wireless and broadband platforms.

“FOX is extremely excited to extend its relationship with NASCAR for another eight years, and come 2007 be known as the official television home of the Daytona 500, by far the most watched auto race in this country,” said FOX Sports President Ed Goren. “Our production team has done an amazing job over the last five years to put NASCAR broadcasts on par with America's most popular sports, and we look forward to pushing the production envelope further as we move forward.”

SPEED will increase NASCAR programming as the continuing exclusive home for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series as well as the new home for the Gatorade Duels, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Pit Crew Challenge and NASCAR Nextel Cup Series All-Star Challenge.

“This new television package solidifies the evolution of NASCAR TV on SPEED,” said Hunter Nickell, SPEED executive vice president and general manager. “Building on our signature Daytona Speedweeks coverage, the viewership growth of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series since moving to SPEED and the success of popular SPEED programs like NASCAR This Morning, Trackside and Inside NEXTEL Cup, the network is excited to have the opportunity to elevate fan-favorite events, including the Gatorade Duels, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Pit Crew Challenge and the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series All-Star Challenge.”

NASCAR looks forward to continued great exposure and coverage of the sport from TNT, which will be entering its 22nd year with NASCAR, the longest continuous relationship of any media company with the sport. TNT will broadcast six consecutive races in the middle of the season including the July 4th weekend extravaganza, the Pepsi 400 from Daytona.

“Extending our 20 plus year partnership with NASCAR has been a priority for our company for a long time, and we’re looking forward to airing NEXTEL Cup races on TNT well into the next decade,” said David Levy, president of Turner Sports. “Our expertise in marketing, promotion and production combined with our new schedule will provide benefits to viewers, cable operators and to the entire sport of NASCAR.”

ABC and ESPN will provide comprehensive coverage of NASCAR on their numerous outlets. The final 17 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series events will be broadcast on ABC or ESPN with the last 10, the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, on ABC. All NASCAR Busch Series races will be broadcast on ABC, ESPN or ESPN 2. In addition, ESPN will bring NASCAR coverage to its full suite of media including its cable TV networks, ESPN360, Mobile ESPN, and affiliated international networks throughout the world.

“This agreement totally embraces NASCAR’s multimedia future,” said George Bodenheimer, ESPN Inc. and ABC Sports president and co-chairman of Disney Media Networks. “NASCAR is a strong and growing property, and the ESPN of the 21st century – an array of new media platforms and content outlets reaching fans wherever and however they consume sports – will take the sport to even higher levels of exposure and growth.

“ABC Sports first exposed sports fans to the racing excitement of NASCAR in the 1960s, and ESPN and the sport grew up together in the 1980s and ‘90s. Our tradition is rich, and our future is bright. To NASCAR, its drivers and fans we say, ‘Welcome back.”
“NASCAR thanks NBC for its stellar coverage and commitment to the sport for the past five years and looks forward to another great year in 2006,” Glover concluded.

About the agreements:

  • Beginning in 2007, each NASCAR season will be launched on FOX with the telecast of the Daytona 500. FOX will also carry NASCAR “Speedweeks” events including the Budweiser Shootout and Daytona Pole Qualifying. FOX will also broadcast the 12 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup races following the Daytona 500.
  • TNT will broadcast six consecutive NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races (races 14 through 19).
  • The final 17 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series points races will be broadcast on ABC or ESPN. The final 10 races, the Chase for the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, will be broadcast on ABC. The NASCAR Busch Series will be broadcast on ABC, ESPN or ESPN 2, with no less than four events on ABC.
  • SPEED will be home to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series with the exception of two events, which will be broadcast by FOX.
  • NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series qualifying practice and “happy hours” will be broadcast on a combination of SPEED Channel, ESPN and ESPN2.
  • SPEED will broadcast the Gatorade Duels held each year during “Speedweeks” to determine part of the Daytona 500 starting order.
  • SPEED will also broadcast the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series All-Star Challenge and its companion all-star event, the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Pit Crew Challenge.
  • ESPN will launch specially NASCAR-branded news and information programming.
  • All broadcast partners will have new interactive rights, special “season preview” and “season end review” programming rights and other ancillary content.
  • NASCAR fans will be able to receive NASCAR coverage from an expanded range of outlets including highlights and live streaming, content from and on each network’s Web pages, datacasts and newly-developed multimedia programming.

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