NASCAR TV rumors

UPDATE #3 NASCAR CEO Brian France said Thursday that NASCAR was on the "final lap" of its TV deal, in which ESPN is expected to replace NBC for 2007 and beyond. An announcement is expected before the end of the year. Richmond Times Dispatch 11/30/05 NASCAR is expected to outline at least part of its television future Thursday at its annual championship week press conference in New York City. Sources told The Charlotte Observer on Wednesday that the ESPN/ABC and TNT portions of the deal for 2007 and beyond will be announced at the midday news conference and discussed in a conference call later in the afternoon.

Under the new deal, ESPN/ABC will get the Nextel Cup season's final 17 races, including the 10 races in the Chase for the Nextel Cup. ESPN is also expected to air all of the Busch Series races. The price for that deal has been reported at $270 million per year.

TNT will get six Nextel Cup races in June and July, including the July 4th weekend event at Daytona International Speedway.

Fox will remain in the NASCAR business, airing the first 13 races each season including each year's Daytona 500. Fox and NBC alternate showing the Daytona 500 under the current contract, with NBC airing that event in 2006. [Editor's Note: This is bad news for the IRL as ABC/ESPN will now focus on NASCAR in order to generate enough ad revenue to pay the $270 million annual nut. Also, As part of the agreements, both ESPN and Turner will be able to show live races and highlight clips on various media platforms other than TV, including broadband and mobile phones. Turner previously controlled all interactive rights as part of its separate agreement to produce But under the new agreements, some rights previously exclusive to Turner will be shared by the other TV rights holders. In other words it will be more of NASCAR everywhere.]

11/29/05 NASCAR could announce as early as this week a TV rights deal that would see Fox broadcast the first half of the Nextel Cup season and TNT and ESPN/ABC sharing the back half starting in 2007, Street & Smith's SportsBusiness Journal reports. The sanctioning body could get as much as $550 million a year from TV rights, a 38% increase over the estimated $400 million a year it gets under the current arrangement with Fox, NBC and TNT. The story says industry insiders say the ABC/ESPN commitment alone is expected to be about $270 million a year. TNT and ESPN are expected to air six races each, reporter Scott Warfield writes, and ABC will air the final 11 races, including all 10 events in the Chase For The Nextel Cup. NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter

In 36 total races: ESPN gets 6, TNT gets 6, ABC gets 11, and Fox/FX would get 15 including the Bud Shootout and Nextel Challenge.

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10/02/05 Richard Glover, NASCAR's vice president of broadcasting, called from his cell phone while dashing between meetings late last week to offer this update on television negotiations. "There is no update," Glover said. "There's no change. There's nothing to report." Glover is NASCAR's point man for negotiations over the next cycle of television broadcast rights for the Nextel Cup, Busch Series and Craftsman Truck Series. NASCAR's current broadcast partners (NBC, Fox, TNT, FX) have the rights through the 2006 season based on the $2.4 billion contract signed in 1999.

The current Nextel/Busch broadcast cluster started televising races in the 2001 season, replacing CBS, ABC, ESPN and others. NASCAR will announce the new contract by the end of this year, which explains why Glover was out of breath during our short call. "Things are running on pace with the schedule that we set," Glover said. "The television negotiations are continuing." The ABC/ESPN group has shown interest in returning to the fold in some capacity. Daytona Beach News Journal

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