NASCAR TV race revs up
November 9, 1999: 7:45 a.m. ET

Major networks reported in bidding war for auto racing broadcast rights
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - The top four television networks are geared up to win the broadcast rights for NASCAR stock car racing, and are willing to shell out much as $400 million a year, according to a report published Tuesday.
     The total figure mentioned in a Wall Street Journal story is nearly four times the racing entity's annual profit.
     The Journal quoted people involved in the talks as saying NASCAR is expected to split the deal between the two highest bidders from among CBS Corp (CBS)., Fox, which is owned by News Corp. (NWS), General Electric's (GE) NBC and Disney's (DIS) ABC.

     Although NASCAR broadcast events do not attract top-dollar advertising dollars, average ratings are often second only to National Football League events, the Journal reported. A recent NASCAR race broadcast by CBS in prime time attracted 14.5 million viewers. Of potential viewers, a large portion are young men, the most difficult demographic to target effectively.
     The NASCAR deal will include one package for all 21 tracks, the newspaper reported. There is currently no single rights holder for NASCAR races, spokesman John Griffin told the paper. The rights fees split will be a meaty 65% for the tracks, 25% for the drivers, and 10% for NASCAR, said Griffin, who declined to elaborate further on the status of negotiations with the Big Four.

     Broadcast sports has become an area of hot media properties for TV networks on the wane. Later in November, noted the Journal, bidding will start on the National Collegiate Athletic Association's basketball contract, as CBS' eight-year, $1.73 billion contract is up in 2002. Fox and ABC are expected to be among the first to the table with rival offers, according to the Journal.Back to top



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