NHRA, ESPN/ESPN2 five-year television deal

NEW YORK (June 27, 2000) - In a landmark announcement, the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) and ESPN have agreed to an exclusive five-year television agreement and strategic partnership that will put the NHRA Drag Racing series on ESPN...

NEW YORK (June 27, 2000) - In a landmark announcement, the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) and ESPN have agreed to an exclusive five-year television agreement and strategic partnership that will put the NHRA Drag Racing series on ESPN and ESPN2 through the year 2005.

"This announcements represents a significant leap forward for NHRA Drag Racing," said Tom Compton, president of the world's largest motorsports sanctioning body. "Through extensive discussions, we now have the best television package in the history of the sport which will provide our fans, sponsors and teams with unparalleled continuity and consistency. Our fans will know exactly when and where to find all NHRA television coverage while continuing to provide same-day broadcasts. Now, and for the next five years, our fans will associate NHRA Drag Racing with the premier network for sports entertainment." In addition, NHRA announced an expanded schedule for its weekly magazine

show, NHRA Heat, with more than 40 shows scheduled beginning in 2001. The show, which presently airs as a lead-in to the popular RPM2Night on ESPN2, will air each week during the NHRA 24-race season. The move will provide even more coverage of NHRA Drag Racing and is designed to meet the need for information craved by the NHRA's growing fan base. The agreement extends to both the NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series and NHRA Federal-Mogul Drag Racing Series.

"We are very excited to extend our deal with the NHRA," said Mark Quenzel, senior vice president, programming. "Our current relationship has been beneficial to ESPN and it was a natural next step to expand the relationship. We are confident that the next five years will yield an even stronger investment on the part of NHRA and ESPN to grow the sport and bring this unique style of racing into our viewers' homes more often." ESPN is currently received in more than 78 million homes, while ESPN2 recently crossed the 70 million household mark in a record 80 months. The relationship with NHRA will be one of the cornerstones of the network's motorsports programming.

The strategic partnership will elevate the sport's exposure and presence on the two networks, with added emphasis on tune-in and promotion. Under the new exclusive agreement, other ESPN platforms likely to distribute NHRA programming will include ESPN International, ESPN Classic, ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com. NHRA expects to announce its 2001 race schedule in early July.

Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., the NHRA is the primary sanctioning body for the sport of drag racing in the United States. It presents 23 national events through its NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series. The NHRA has 85,000 racers and members nationwide and 144 member tracks. The NHRA-sanctioned sportsman and bracket racing series' provide competition opportunities for drivers of all levels. The NHRA develops the stars of tomorrow by offering the Federal-Mogul Drag Racing Series, NHRA Summit Racing Series and the Street Legal Program. The NHRA also offers the Castrol GTX Jr. Drag Racing League for youths ages 8 to 17.

Based in Bristol, Conn., ESPN, Inc., The Worldwide Leader In Sports, is 80 percent owned by ABC, Inc., which is an indirect subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. The Hearst Corporation holds a 20 percent interest in ESPN. ESPN, Inc. includes six domestic television networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Classic, ESPNEWS, ESPN Extra, ESPN Now), ESPN International (19 international networks and syndication), ESPN Radio, ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine, ESPN Regional Television, SportsTicker, and ESPN Enterprises, overseeing brand extensions such as ESPN Zone, pay subscription packages and consumer products.

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