FedEx Championship Series Television Reaches Massive Worldwide Audience Troy, MI (June 8, 1998) -- Championship Auto Racing Teams' FedEx Championship Series (formerly known as the PPG CART World Series) reached nearly one...
FedEx Championship Series Television Reaches Massive Worldwide Audience
Troy, MI (June 8, 1998) -- Championship Auto Racing Teams' FedEx Championship Series (formerly known as the PPG CART World Series) reached nearly one billion viewers around the world through its terrestial and satellite broadcasts during the 1997 racing season.
CART Vice President of Television Keith Allo joined with Mark Reilly, vice president of International Sales for ESPN, to make the announcement.
The study, conducted by Sponsorship Research International (SRi) an independent agency within the ISL Group, the world's largest sports event marketing agency found that 982 million cumulative viewers in 195 countries tuned into CART broadcasts last season. CART's 17 events were broadcast in 19 languages throughout the world.
"We export American-style, high-speed, open-wheel racing throughout the world," said Allo. "An integral part of our worldwide expansion strategy is to reach fans and potential fans through television. While we race five times outside the U.S. in 1998, the most direct and effective way to grow the appeal of CART racing is through television.
"Our 1997 numbers show overall growth and we have been able to increase the quality of our viewership in a number of markets, particularly in Europe, Latin America and Japan. We are particularly pleased with the growth of our European audience, which increased substantially in 1997. Specifically, our coverage on 'Eurosport,' the pan-European cable and satellite sports channel, was up by 11 percent (+4.2 million households) from 1996 to 1997. We have a great advantage in Europe because our races air in prime time on Sunday evenings. Our numbers domestically reflect the downward trend that sports programming in the U.S. is experiencing and we continue to work to re-build our audiences here.
"As we grow our global viewership in the future, we are going to concentrate on building it in key economic markets that will, in turn, enhance the quality of our overall audience," continued Allo. "This may result in short-term declines in some markets, as was the case in 1997. In particular, changing circumstances in Asia may result in audience swings on a year-to-year basis. Overall, though, we believe we are in a very strong position to continue the growth of the FedEx Championship Series around the world."
The 982 million viewers in 1997 represent an increase of 8.3 million over 1996 while the number of countries carrying CART race events increased from 188 in 1996 to 195 last year.
"We are pleased to be a partner with CART and the FedEx Championship Series," said Reilly. "CART racing is a valuable and prestigious property for us and its awareness level and interest have grown significantly over the past couple of years. We see more opportunity and growth as we move ahead."
SRi, which has offices in Norwalk, Conn., and London, has extensive experience in worldwide television reporting, including studies of FIFA World Cup Soccer, the UEFA European Soccer Championships, FIBT World Bobsled Championships and the FIFA World Indoor Soccer Championships.
This is the fourth consecutive year SRi and CART have conducted this research. SRi tracking found that CART cumulative terrestrial viewership in 1997 was 791 million while satellite coverage accounted for more than 191 million viewers.
"We conduct very extensive research around many aspects of motorsports and sports in general as well as on CART and the FedEx Championship Series," said CART Director Research Nancy Miller-Lewis. "The annual worldwide television report is always our most-requested document."
CART's worldwide television rights have either been directly granted to broadcasters or have been sublicensed by ESPN International, CART's television partner for international rights, sales and distribution.
CART owns, operates and markets the FedEx Championship Series, North America's premier open wheel racing series. CART conducts 19 race events in five countries and on four continents in 1998 and features drivers such as Michael Andretti, Bobby Rahal, Al Unser Jr., 1996 series champion Jimmy Vasser and defending PPG Cup champion Alex Zanardi in 850-horsepower cars capable of speeds of more than 240 miles per hour.
Source: CART Online