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ESPN might give NASCAR the shaft ESPN is looking to encourage cable operators to carry the ESPNU Network. For those cable systems who already have ESPN Classic, there is now an easy solution to this problem. Just replace Classic with the ESPNU college channel and call it a day. All of this can now be done with ESPN's official blessing.
This move is crucial to ESPN, a company who has been on a buying spree where college television rights are concerned. Billions of dollars have been spent and just like the NASCAR situation, there are simply not enough ESPN TV networks to carry the product.
Back in early 2007, we suggested that ESPN use the Classic Network to carry NASCAR when there was a live event conflict.
Now, two years later, ESPN Classic has become a crucial link to NASCAR TV during the college football season. This is especially true for the Nationwide Series, the only NASCAR racing series that ESPN carries from start to finish.
In this newly proposed scenario, ESPN Classic could effectively be reduced in size from over 60 million to as few as 25 million homes nationwide. Adding "the U" and dumping Classic is a no brainer to the cable systems at this point in time. The college product is hot and ESPN Classic's main fare is dated program re-airs.
Here in March, this might be a topic easily forgotten. But come September when the Nationwide Series has been racing for seven months and suddenly a college football game blocks the action on ESPN2, there may be 40 million less NASCAR fans that have any kind of solution to that problem. DalyPlanet
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