Pendleton, IN (January 14, 2000) - TNN, a CBS cable network, and the American Speed Association LLC (ASA) jointly announced on Wednesday that TNN has purchased an equity ownership interest in the Pendleton, Indiana-based stock car racing sanctioning body.
The equity ownership agreement between ASA and TNN formalizes a partnership that has grown over the past decade. TNN Sports began televising ASA events in the early 1990s and has helped augment ASA into a major force in the national motorsports arena.
"This is a monumental day in the history of ASA, specifically, and in the history of motorsports in general," commented Rex Robbins, president and founder of the American Speed Association.
"The level of growth that motorsports and particularly stock car racing have enjoyed is unparalleled," Robbins continued. "In the past 15 to 20 years, stock car racing has been elevated into a sport rivaling football, baseball and basketball, as far as spe ctator attendance and visibility are concerned. There is no question in my mind, or in the opinion of many whom I've spoken to, that television coverage has been the driving force behind that growth. It makes perfect sense to me that the entity largely res ponsible for a product's growth should have an ownership interest and should be entitled to share in those benefits derived from the development of the product!"
"We've been trying to put together a deal with ASA since 1995," commented David Hall, president of TNN. "Rex (Robbins) and I have both felt, all along, that the combination of a sanctioning body and a TV network would be a powerful alliance and mutually be neficial to both. I am extremely pleased that we have been able to finalize this agreement and am looking forward to what will no doubt be some exciting times!"
In addition to the equity ownership provision, the agreement between TNN and ASA includes a multi-year television obligation to broadcast ASA ACDelco Series events and a promotional arrangement designed to raise the visibility of the series.
"It goes without saying that formalizing our relationship with TNN will bring added stability and continuity to ASA's media distribution," commented ASA Executive Vice President Brian Robbins.
"This year, 17 of the 20 ASA ACDelco Series events will be broadcast on TNN Sports," Brian Robbins continued. "We look forward to our expanding role in TNN's programming schedule, as ASA's popularity among race fans continues to grow."
Mark Gundrum, vice president of sales and marketing for ASA, is also very excited about the merger.
"The knowledge that ASA has a long-term television contract will have a huge impact on the marketing and sponsorship side of this series," Gundrum commented. "This holds true not only for the series and our efforts regarding securing marketing partners, bu t also for the teams. It provides a level of security, which in this business is often hard to come by!"
The 2000 ASA ACDelco Series season will begin on Sunday afternoon, March 26, at USA International Speedway in Lakeland, FL. The event will be televised live on TNN Sports starting at noon (Eastern).