NASCAR Returns To ESPN; Deal Includes Some Online, Wireless Rights; TNT Extends Pact, Adds Rights


George Bodenheimer, president of ESPN and ABC Sports, assured me the other day that the new NASCAR deal would have broad multimedia rights and the details bear that out. ESPN’s multimedia rights in the new eight-year, races a year deal with NASCAR include simulcasting telecasts on all new media platforms, in-progress and post-race highlights across all outlets, co-branded merchandise and interactive television and e-commerce opportunities.
The ESPN/ABC Sports deal is just part of the multi-network agreements announced Thursday; all of the deals take effect in 2007 and run for eight years:
— TNT has extended its deal for six years, adding rights to broadcast race telecast highlights across Time Warner’s various properties.
— News Corp. nets Fox and Speed stay on board; Fox gets the Daytona 500 for the life of the contract.
— The AJC’s Tim Tucker reports that the value of the deal is $4.4 billion or $555 million a year with Fox paying about $205 million annually, TNT about $80 million, and Disney about $270 million annually. The LAT says $4.8 billion.

What does this mean for Turner’s franchise? In a first for NASCAR, each broadcast/cable partner has the rights to air races simultaneously on broadband as well as to distribute a limited amount of race video across platforms. Until now, Turner-operated had a lock on online and wireless; now each of the broadcast rightsholders will have the ability to license some — albeit limited — content as well as to provide an online video alternative to’s non-video live race coverage. I’m told Turner and NASCAR are still talking about; the long-term contract has an out clause at the end of 2006. Which side has the right to excerise it or whether either side does is still murky.
— Disney CFO Tom Staggs was speaking to CSFB at about the same time the as the NASCAR conference call and addressed some of the details after his session: “We’ve got very coordinated rights so can have a lot of presence without necessarily supplanting â

Comments are closed.