Nickell named President of SPEED Hunter Nickell has been named President of SPEED, it was announced today by Bob Thompson, President of Fox National Cable Sports Networks, to whom Nickell reports.
“Hunter has done a tremendous job at SPEED since taking the reins less than two years ago,” said Thompson. “SPEED is the television destination not only for NASCAR fans, but fans of Formula One and a variety of shows for automotive enthusiasts. SPEED has added well over five million subscribers since Hunter came aboard, and the channel’s depth of automotive coverage is truly unparalleled.”
Nickell joined SPEED in June 2005 as Executive Vice President & General Manager, guiding the network through milestone contract negotiations with NASCAR and Formula One, while helping SPEED to record audience growth in 2006.
In February, SPEED topped 70 million U.S. households for the first time in network history, adding 720,000 households in February and 4.7 million homes in the last year. More than three quarters of all local systems carrying SPEED are now utilizing its programs to help drive their own local advertising sales revenue. Men aged 18-49 and Adults 18-49 recently named SPEED their favorite mid-sized network, while women ranked it second among similar networks, according to the 2006 Beta Research Cable Subscriber Evaluation Survey.
With the growth of popular NASCAR programs, including the sport’s signature pre-race show, “NASCAR RaceDay,” and the tremendous popularity of automotive lifestyle shows, including “PINKS” and “Unique Whips,” SPEED’s total audience delivery grew for the fourth consecutive year and scored its most-watched year in network history in 2006.
“After a strong year in 2006, we are expecting even more in 2007,” Nickell said. “We continue to enhance our signature event coverage, highlighted by our at-track presence at NASCAR races. With the most knowledgeable and respected on-air personalities in motor sports, we are having a lot of fun with what we are doing across the board at SPEED and it’s resonating with our viewers.”
Prior to leading SPEED, Nickell served as General Manager at FSN South (and its predecessor SportSouth) for 12 years, helping to expand its team relationships and coverage region. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Communications from Denison University in Granville, Ohio, where he was student body president, captain of the university hockey team and also played lacrosse. He is past president of the Georgia Amateur Hockey Association. He and his wife Kimberly have three children – Andrew and twins Peter and Haley.