ISC and SMI sue each other UPDATE With fewer than two months before Sprint Cup cars take to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway oval, there is no resolution on the question of which radio network will broadcast the events.
The dispute between Motor Racing Network and Performance Racing Network for the radio rights for New Hampshire races will remain in U.S. District Court in New Hampshire for the time being.
Both sides had filed lawsuits over the rights, which stem from the sale of the track from the Bahre family to Speedway Motorsports Inc.
earlier this year.
The track has a contract with MRN, which is owned by International Speedway Corp, a track-operating rival of Speedway
Speedway Motorsports owns PRN and wants PRN to broadcast its events. PRN filed suit in New Hampshire a day before MRN sued PRN in Florida in March. PRN claims the contract is unenforceable.
An injunction hearing was scheduled for today in Florida state court, but it has been postponed because the New Hampshire case was filed first.
MRN has now asked for the U.S. District Court in New Hampshire to issue an injunction to allow it to broadcast the events this year. No hearing date has been set. The NASCAR race weekends are June 27-29 and Sept. 12-14.
MRN’s contract with NHIS requires it to give the track 25 percent of all advertising revenues. That has resulted in revenues of more than $750,000 for the track in the last seven years, according to court records.
That would mean that MRN has taken in approximately $3 million in advertising revenue for New Hampshire events the last seven years, averaging approximately $429,000 a year. Scenedaily04/07/08 Speedway Motorsports Inc. and International Speedway Corp. are suing each other over the radio broadcast rights at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
ISC has had a long-standing contract with the track to broadcast the races on its Motor Racing Network. SMI, which bought the track in January, wants the races on its own Performance Racing Network.
The current contract awarding MRN the option to broadcast races at the track was signed in 2000 and required a three-year notice of termination. MRN agreed to give the track 25 percent of its advertising revenues from the events it broadcasts, and in the last seven years, MRN has paid the track more than $750,000, according to court documents.
According to court records, SMI claims the contract is not enforceable and that MRN didn't exercise its option in time to broadcast the Nationwide-Cup weekend June 28-29 and the Cup race Sept. 14.
"MRN purportedly took the 'exclusive' right to broadcast all NASCAR events held at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway," SMI Chairman Burton Smith wrote in a Feb. 7 letter to ISC that is part of the court file. "However, in this very same document, MRN left it open for itself to choose whether or not it would, in fact, broadcast any such events. As a result, there is no mutuality in the Agreement, and, the Agreement is … unenforceable and void.
"I cannot in good faith allow New Hampshire Motor Speedway or SMI to be subjected to this one-sided document which leaves them in limbo, subject to the whims of MRN."
An ISC letter in response to Smith, written by NASCAR Chairman Brian France as part of his role as a member of the ISC board of directors, states:
"MRN has a three-year binding contract to produce those events, and it is impossible for them to simply walk away. Additionally, they have already started packaging and selling advertisements to these events." More at Scenedaily.com