Article, Rpm tonight still on the outside looking in ESPN and Television Contract Holders Yet To Reach Agreement.doc RPM Tonight, On The Outside looking In In what has become a battle of the Titians, ESPN's RPM tonight will continue to be...
Article, Rpm tonight still on the outside looking in
ESPN and Television Contract Holders Yet To Reach Agreement.doc
RPM Tonight, On The Outside looking In
In what has become a battle of the Titians, ESPN's RPM tonight will continue to be denied access to pre and post race on track interviews and highlight footage of NASCAR Winston Cup and Busch Grand National events.
In what started in 2000 with the announcement of a multi-million dollar T.V. deal between NASCAR, Fox and NBC, ESPN reporters have been denied broadcast credentials to the racing venues at the discretion of the current contracted broadcasters.
When asked if the networks have "buried the hatchet", NASCAR's vice president of communications Jim Hunter noted, "The hatchet is still out there"
In an effort to assist ESPN, Hunter remarks that NASACAR has been supportive in getting competitors to ESPN off race facility grounds to be interviewed for the RPM broadcasts.
Hunter continues, "We are trying to get them to cooperate, but the bottom line to NBC and Fox is that this is a business decision"
Problems between the networks date back to the final race of the 2000 season at Atlanta Motor Speedway, when ESPN, by contractual right, denied FOX the ability to shoot trailer footage for the 2001 broadcasts.
Prior to the comprehensive broadcasting contract, it was up to each individual facility to negotiate television rights. A majority of the tracks had deals with ESPN, a pioneer in motorsports television.
IN 1999, NASCAR proposed collective bargaining for all sanctioned races, and the contract was given to the highest bidders.
When the bidding was over long-term contract were awarded to NBC and FOX to grant them exclusive on track broadcast rights for the top two series. (Previous both networks had little or no motorsports experience)
A deal, that cost the networks four hundred million dollars per year, and left ESPN's twenty-year investment in Winston Cup a memory.
Averaging out, between the Busch Grand National series, and the Winston cup Series, the networks are paying in excess of five million dollars per race, and have become very protective of there intellectual property.
RPM Tonight is not denied access to the tracks, Rpm reporters can interview drivers and teams to gather information, they are just not allowed to broadcast or record footage from the track.
In what has become confusing to many fans that may see race highlight clips provided by NBC/Fox on local news shows, many do not understand why RPM tonight cannot do the same.
The answer lies in semantic language that has determined that RPM tonight is not news broadcast, and therefore not eligible to receive the feed of images.
The concept that this can be resolved prior to the start of the 2002 season is not out of the question, but highly unlikely.
With sky rocketing ratings, NBC and Fox have yet to see a return on there investment.
The pressure is certainly on ESPN, even though it survived the 2001 blackout, one of its competitors, Speedvision's Inside Winston Cup did not broadcast due the lack of available footage.
This situation has changed as Fox has announced, that it has acquired Speedvision (renamed Speed channel), and Inside NASCAR will return on February 18th.
This programming move combined with already established line-up that includes, Totally NASCAR, NASCAR Victory Lane, and NASCAR Tech. Leave RPM tonight the odd man out.
ESPN needed to reach an agreement with the networks last year.
NBC and FOX as well their cable affiliates have saturated the television market with NASCAR coverage.
In monopolistic fashion NBC & FOX seem to understand that any potential exposure or promotion of Winston Cup by ESPN means little to the corporate bottom Line.