NASCAR renews contract with broadcast partners

NASCAR and its Television Partners enter third year of contract, riding momentum of two record-setting years. DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 21, 2003) -- NASCAR and its television partners are entering the third year of their contract, riding a wave...

NASCAR and its Television Partners enter third year of contract, riding momentum of two record-setting years.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 21, 2003) -- NASCAR and its television partners are entering the third year of their contract, riding a wave of momentum established during the contract's first two years.

NASCAR's broadcast partners, simply, have delivered -- with outstanding production, innovative technology and unprecedented cross-promotion of the sport.

After a breakthrough year in 2001, NASCAR and its broadcast partners approached the 2002 season with the goals of maintaining the position as the No. 2 sport on television and continuing to grow the audience of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. The goals were achieved.

"2002 was a great season and there is no doubt to us that television is a powerful engine that helps drive the sport," said Paul Brooks, vice president of broadcasting for NASCAR. "Our network partners continued to promote and present our sport like never before -- attracting new fans, serving our core constituency, and building exposure for all of our drivers, teams, tracks, and corporate marketing partners."

The 2002 season was highlighted by several key events:

* NBC began the season broadcasting what turned out to be the highest rated Daytona 500 in history. Drawing a 10.9 rating, it was NBC's first broadcast of the event under the network's six-year deal, and was the most-watched Daytona 500 since 1979.

* NASCAR on FOX has also enjoyed the acclaims of the sports television industry, winning three Emmys, more than any other single sports series. FOX's NASCAR coverage won awards for Outstanding Live Sports Series, Technical Team Remote and Graphic Design.

* NBC's coverage of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series NAPA 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway on Oct. 27 generated a 5.1 national rating, the highest-ever against professional football, according to Nielsen Media Research.

* In April, NASCAR delivered FX's biggest audience ever. The Virginia 500 from Martinsville on April 14, 2002, attracted 5.3 million viewers, the biggest audience for any program in the history of the FX network.

* FX and TNT also achieved great results from a business perspective in their second year in NASCAR. FX has increased its overall viewership by 21 million homes since the spring of 2001, whereas TNT has reported they have brought in 40 new sponsors to the cable network since airing NASCAR races.

* SPEED Channel's growth is leading the sports cable charts with the network adding more than 10 million homes since the change of ownership and the creation of NASCAR TV according to Nielsen Media Research. SPEED Channel is now in 60 million homes in the U.S. and Canada, and was rated as the fastest-growing sports cable network in the U.S. and the eighth-fastest growing cable network overall by Nielsen.

* The NASCAR Busch Series solidified its position as second only to NASCAR Winston Cup Series racing as the most popular motorsport in the country. According to Nielsen Media Research, the NASCAR Busch Series combined household average was up 10% in 2002, translating into approximately 49.5 million viewers total watching the NASCAR Busch Series. The NASCAR Busch Series ranks No. 2 in motorsports for network ratings, cable ratings, and household numbers.

NASCAR on television in 2003 has the potential to be even more exciting.

FOX and its family of networks will begin their third season of NASCAR coverage with more than 75 hours of programming from SpeedWeeks, leading up to the 45th annual Daytona 500 live on FOX on Feb. 16. The unprecedented coverage, shared by FOX, FX, Fox Sports Net and SPEED Channel, includes nearly 50 hours of on-track coverage and another 20-plus hours of studio programming, marking a dramatic increase in programming hours from 2001, when FOX offered 43 hours during its network premiere from Daytona.

Broadcasting 15 NASCAR Winston Cup Series events on network television, NASCAR racing legend Darrell Waltrip and former crew chief Larry McReynolds return to provide race analysis, and Mike Joy returns as race announcer. Pre-race coverage is again hosted by Chris Myers with analyst Jeff Hammond.

NBC and TNT will combine efforts to televise the events of the second half of the season beginning with the prime-time broadcast of the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway. NBC and TNT will follow the NASCAR Winston Cup Championship race through the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November.

Allen Bestwick returns to call the action and is joined by 1973 NASCAR Winston Cup Series champion Benny Parsons and veteran NASCAR Winston Cup Series competitor Wally Dallenbach in the booth. Bill Weber will return as host of the critically acclaimed NASCAR on NBC/TNT pre-race show from pit road that took viewers to the middle of the action, in addition to serving as lead pit reporter.

NBC Sports will televise 13 NASCAR Winston Cup Series events in 2003, including the first prime-time broadcast of the UAW-GM Quality 500 at the Lowe's Motor Speedway in October.

NASCAR TV is found exclusively on SPEED Channel and continues to grow in its second season. Live coverage of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series anchors the NASCAR TV block, continuing the strategy that created the network's rapid growth -- more NASCAR and more live racing. In addition, Inside the NASCAR Busch Series joins the original program lineup alongside Totally NASCAR, NASCAR Performance, Trackside, Men Behind the Wrenches, Past Champions, NASCAR Victory Lane, Legends of Motorsport, Stock Car Legends and Inside Winston Cup.

NASCAR TV features complete behind-the-scenes access to NASCAR, enhanced race replays and highlights and qualifying for NASCAR Winston Cup and NASCAR Busch Series events. Also included in the exclusive block are classic races, season previews and reviews, special event coverage, and Racing Across America, which will cover 23 of NASCAR's recently re-developed NASCAR Grand National Division -- the NASCAR Winston West Series and Busch North Series.


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Drivers Wally Dallenbach Sr. , Darrell Waltrip , Benny Parsons
Tags TV