The Frontstretch: Voices From The Cheap Seats: Prepare For NASCAR To Get Expensive by Jeff Meyer -- Friday August 2, 2013

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I’m going to throw three recent news items out there for you to read. Let’s see if you can see, better yet understand, the writing on the wall.

Courtesy: Sports Media Watch
ESPN & TNT Chose Not To Renew With NASCAR: According to a Sports Business Daily} report, ESPN and Turner ditched NASCAR, not the other way around. Last month, ESPN and Turner Sports each informed NASCAR they did not intend to bid on the available television rights packages. The rationale was similar for both organizations; declining television ratings made NASCAR a less attractive property. Turner, according to the report, “ultimately decided that more NASCAR races weren’t worth the investment.” ESPN, meanwhile, “had soured on the sport because of declining TV ratings, an aging fan base and a tough ad sales market.” The report casts a somewhat negative light on both NASCAR, apparently abandoned by two high-profile broadcast partners, and NBC Sports, which will pay $440 million per year for rights through 2024.

Don’t like Darrell Waltrip on Fox? Too bad. You will get to enjoy Fox coverage through 2024 and maybe even get to pay more for it in the process as part of the new television deal!

Wow! There are some pretty harsh phrases in there! TNT “ultimately decided that more NASCAR races weren’t worth the investment.” And ESPN “had soured on the sport because of declining TV ratings, an aging fan base and a tough ad sales market.”

Finally someone dares to speak the truth! Here’s the next one…

Courtesy: NASCAR
FOX Sports extends and expands NASCAR agreement: FOX Sports and NASCAR solidified their future together last October when they announced a multi-platform, multi-series media rights agreement through 2022. Today, less than 10 months later, the two organizations announced they have extended that agreement, which begins in 2015 and runs through 2024. In addition, FOX Sports has added exclusive rights to three additional NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events and the first 14 NASCAR Nationwide Series events of each season. FOX Sports secured exclusive rights to the entire NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season through 2022 last fall and that part of the agreement also has been extended through 2024. Financial terms of the extended agreement were not disclosed.

NASCAR’s media rights package for 2015 and beyond is now complete with FOX Sports holding rights to the first 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, first 14 NASCAR Nationwide Series races and entire NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season. NBC, which last broadcast NASCAR events in 2006, will televise the final 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, final 19 NASCAR Nationwide Series races and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events beginning in 2015.

In total, NASCAR will have the same number of NASCAR Sprint Cup races on network television, 16, as it does in the current television package. FOX Sports will broadcast nine races and NBC will show seven.

Summary of FOX Sports’ Exclusive Rights (2015-2024): – First 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points races of each season, including the Daytona 500 – Nine on FOX Sports and seven on FOX Sports 1 – First 14 NASCAR Nationwide Series points races of each season – Fourteen races on FOX Sports 1 – NASCAR Sprint Unlimited, Budweiser Duel and NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race – All NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races

If I may be so bold, the key sentence in that press release is the very first one. FOX Sports and NASCAR solidified their future together last October when they announced a multi-platform, multi-series media rights agreement through 2022. You will understand more about their future once you read this next press release from a few weeks ago that many may have overlooked.

Fox asking for increased fees for Fox Sports 1: FOX Networks will ask cable and satellite providers to pay 80 cents per month per subscriber for the newly rebranded Fox Sports 1, with carriage fees climbing to $1.50 monthly over the life of multi-year contracts. Affiliates currently pay approximately 23 cents per month for SPEED. FOX has already inked a new deal with Comcast Cable, but major carriers Time Warner Cable, DirecTV and Dish Network have reportedly balked at the price increase. Fox Sports 1 – formerly known as SPEED – will televise college football and basketball, NASCAR racing, UFC mixed martial arts events and sports news programs.

Hey you! Yeah you, sitting there opening your cable/dish bill. Is it a little higher this month? What’s that? You mean you’re going to have to move up to the next “tier” to get Fox Sports 1 so you can still get all the races?

Yes, we all know how it works. Either you will pay more or, and this happens all the time, major carriers will not agree to Fox’s terms and suddenly will not carry Fox Sports 1 after their current agreement is reached. And look at the increase! Right off the bat, Fox wants to hike it from 23 cents to 80 cents! And almost double that in the future!

Yeah, NASCAR has solidified its future alright! I bet execs at ESPN and TNT are laughing their asses off. Nothing like getting out while the getting is good!

Stay off the wall, (and good luck with your provider)

Jeff Meyer

Contact Jeff Meyer

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Racing to the Point: NASCAR Has Its Own Heartbreak Kid
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Voices from the Cheap Seats: Advertising for Dummies
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08/02/2013 08:08 AM

It’s no surprise the race is a 4 hour commercial when NASCAR keeps asking for more and more to cover these races. When you have a major network in FOX that must air commercial after commercial, have sponsors on the scross, the tracker, the story developing, pit stops, and of course the aaron’s lucky dog, what much more can you expect?

The sport is literally a giant infomercial. I don’t remember the last time I heard an interview where the first thing the driver said wasn’t about his/her sponsor

08/02/2013 08:30 AM

I don’t buy that TNT and espn didn’t bid for the rights. That statement sounds a lot like getting dumped by a girl and then saying she wasn’t that hot anyway. We will be better off with this setup anyways because nascar is the biggest sell for each of these channels. With espn, nascar was given the same level of promotion as the world series of poker. Nascar now at 1am???? Seriously paying a few more bucks is fine by me if it for the betterment. Don’t understand your negativity here.

08/02/2013 10:03 AM

To those willing to pay more that is fine . But Im already paying 70 bucks a month to get speed . All I watch is racing , that it ! If its a slight increse fine . But if it goes to a new tier then I am out ! NASCAR is my favorite sport but I can find out who wins and watch highlights for free !

Fed Up
08/02/2013 10:08 AM

Paying Fox more for the new channel is going to be a hard sell if they continue with the same poor product and the pitiful presentation featuring the Waltrap hucksters. Time for Bruton and others to start their own series.

08/02/2013 10:55 AM

Not only is nas$car driving fans away from the track, now they’re trying to drive them away from the television. What a concept! And with the relentless onslaught of commercials, I’ve lost a lot of interest in the sport I’ve loved for so many years. And Hank. I agree with you. It is one big infomercial, complete with clowns (Faux) in the booth holding court. BSPN actually showed some smarts here.

Old Fan Bill
08/02/2013 11:31 AM

Fox has signed a contract with Comcast and Comcast owns 51% of NBC.NBCS will now go up on their fees for cable. We will get a double hit on our cable bill. The bad part about it is we will still have to listen to the MWR infomericals.

Tom Dalfonzo
08/02/2013 12:12 PM

NASCAR is wrong for not returning to CBS. No network did NASCAR races better than CBS.

08/02/2013 01:00 PM

I’m 65 yrs old and have been a race fan since I could look at race pictures in my uncles race magazines (as long as I can remember). But I don’t watch them much anymore, BORING and having to listen to DW!! Not even on radio like it used to be. SHAME ON YOU NASCAR FOR RUINING THE SPORT.

08/02/2013 01:21 PM

What’s going on with cable channels playing an increased role is not unique to NASCAR. All the BCS games are on ESPN now, a good chunk of the MLB, NBA and NHL playoffs are too. Most of the NCAA tournament is also on various cable networks. Unfortunately, for those that can’t afford cable or satellite I sympathize with them, but most people have pay-TV now. The networks know that and they know in a DVR world that they can make a lot more of money from the cable/satellite companies.

I don’t know what is a fair price for Fox to charge for Fox Sports 1, but I think an all sports network that is going to have NASCAR, MLB, College Football/Basketball is worth a bit more than Speed which probably doesn’t get much viewership outside of showing Truck races.

08/02/2013 02:54 PM

with constant economizing i need to do, i’ve recently thought about cutting the cable/satellite. i went to cable last year when it was offered for so much a month, well that’s about to increase so i need to look at “over the air”. all racing has become is infomercial, focus on one or two particular teams that paid the fee for coverage. here in atlanta we do not have a station that carries the prn broadcast.

08/02/2013 03:23 PM

I’m sorry what do mean GET expensive? it has always been expensive – at least my cable bill says so. However, once upon a time it was also IMO worth the money. Not so much any more. NASCAR/France family gets the $ and the fans continue to get screwed. Wow, anyone really surprised? I pay quite enough for my cable now, thanks very much. I have the channel formerly known as Speed and get both ESPN and sportsNBC on my current package. If it increases my rates or if I have to upgrade to get those channels, I’ll probably drop my cable down to just the basic tiers and not bother with NASCAR.

The concept of biting the hand that feeds you totally escapes Brian France. Losing fans is really just collateral damage to him as long as the $ keeps coming in from TV and “the official insert name here sponsor of NASCAR, its all good. When that dries up, the party will be over.

Kevin in SoCal
08/02/2013 03:59 PM

Four Hundred and Forty million PER YEAR??? Are you serious? How much are companies paying for these 30 second commercials?? More than the SuperBowl??

08/03/2013 03:27 PM

The new NASCAR: National Association (for) Stupid Commercials Airing Repeatedly


Contact Jeff Meyer

Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:

Voices From The Cheap Seats: The Tale Of Two Tires
BSNews! Bruton’s Plans Extend Beyond Bristol’s Track
Top Ten Reasons Fans Failed To Show Up At Bristol Sunday
BSNews! NASCAR CEO Given "Special" Award Amidst Lavish Fanfare
Fan Coun-ci-What? Just What Is It That NASCAR Wants To Study?

Want to know more about Jeff Meyer or view his complete article archives? Then hop on over to his archive and bio page.