Sunoco Debuts "Essence Of Racing" Campaign Executive Transactions Isiah Thomas Expected Backlash Over Hiring FanDuel Brings On Most Of Zynga Sports Team Georgia Approves Increased Athletic Budget Kentucky Adding Ribbon Boards At Rupp IndyCar Ponders How To Attract Fans Long Term Jeff Gordon Hired As Full-Time Analyst For Fox Danica's Sponsorship Status To Be Telling For NASCAR Classified Advertisements
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ABC Sports has "agreed to pay" $6M for rights to next season's debut Winston Cup event at the Las Vegas Speedway, according to industry sources of Richard Huff of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Besides the Daytona 500, which costs CBS "about" $8M a year, the Las Vegas event "is the most expensive race on the schedule." Huff reports that the deal "is said to include the title sponsorship rights, which the network will in turn sell" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/15). AT THE NEWSSTANDS: Petersen Publishing Co. will launch two new publications titled NASCAR Garage Magazine and NASCAR Trucks through a joint licensing agreement with NASCAR. The publications are the first in a series of projects that will be explored between Petersen and NASCAR and the NASCAR Garage Magazine and NASCAR Trucks will debut in January '98 with its March '98 issues (NASCAR)....NASCAR and Babcox Publishing will launch Professional NASCAR Garage magazine, set to debut in February '98 (NASCAR).
NETWORK SPORTS: In N.Y., Josef Adalian wrote that ABC's "TimeCop," which airs before "MNF," has "finished dead last in its time slot every week." Adalian added that "since ABC owns ESPN, some insiders think the network should air a special edition of ESPN's 'SportsCenter' before 'Monday Night Football'" (N.Y. POST, 10/13)....MEDIAWEEK's Langdon Brockinton reports that NBC has acquired broadcast rights to the World Skiing Championships (Nordic and alpine) from '99- 2005. Both events, previously held by ABC, take place in '99, 2001, 2003 and 2005 (MEDIAWEEK, 10/13 issue). OTHER: The NFL has approved a three-year renewal of DirecTV's NFL Season Ticket package, "at more than double the previous price, which was undisclosed" (Rudy Martzke, USA TODAY, 10/15)....In N.Y., Michael Katz reports that the Lennox Lewis-Andrew Golota fight received 250,000-275,000 PPV buys (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 10/15)....ESPN's "NBA Today" on Tuesday showed highlights of Sunday's ABL Glory-Blizzard game. ESPN is a broadcast partner of the WNBA (THE DAILY).
Fox earned a 9.4/14 national rating for its coverage of Game Five of the ALCS, marking a 34% improvement on Fox's Game Five coverage of the '96 NLCS during a similar time slot of a Monday night. The rating also beat Fox's Monday night season-to-date 7.1 primetime average by 32%. Through four primetime telecasts, Fox's ALCS coverage has averaged 9.1, up 7% over its coverage of the '96 NLCS which earned an 8.5 average (Fox Sports). The AP's David Bauder reports that "[h]elped by the [MLB] playoffs, Fox continued to be the only major television network to see an increase in viewers" during the fall season. Last week, Fox's four top- rated shows were baseball playoff games (AP, 10/15). SKINNING THE O'S: In the Washington area, the Redskins won the "local battle of the airwaves" on Monday, with ABC's Cowboys-Redskins "Monday Night Football" game receiving a 31.6/49 local rating, while Fox's ALCS Game Five received an 18.4/28 (WASHINGTON POST, 10/15)....In Northeast Ohio, Game Five of the ALCS on WJW-TV earned a 50.0/68, which was "slightly lower" than Game Four, 51.1, but higher than the first three games. Through five games, the series is averaging a 42.5 (AKRON BEACON JOURNAL, 10/15).
Molson Breweries "is giving up its sponsorship" of CBC's Saturday night "Hockey Night in Canada" (HNIC), a show it has been associated with for 40 years, according to David Shoalts of the Toronto GLOBE & MAIL. Another sponsor, "thought to be rival brewery" Labatt Brewing Co., "will take over next season" as sponsor of HNIC. The new sponsor "landed the show by offering to pay" the NHL C$75M over five years for French and English language rights to the Saturday night games for the six Canadian teams. Molson "had offered" C$40M for the same package, "which was rejected by the NHL, and the brewery declined to pay more." Molson VP/Media & Sports Properties Brent Scrimshaw "could not confirm" Labatt had inked the package, but said that Molson "will still be involved with NHL hockey through continuing sponsorship agreements with the six Canadian NHL teams for their mid-week broadcasts." Scrimshaw added that Saturday ratings in the among males 18-34, "have been declining for several years." Molson is paying the NHL "about" C$62M in its final season for Canadian broadcast and promotional rights (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 10/15). LOCAL DEALS: Molson has local deals with the six Canadian teams, and two seasons remain on existing agreements with the Canadiens, Leafs, Flames and Canucks, while contracts with the Senators and Oilers expire this year. Scrimshaw said that Molson "plans to renew all of those agreements" (Al Strachan, TORONTO SUN, 10/15). CHANGES? In Toronto, David Shoalts writes the change in sponsorship "doesn't mean" any changes to on-air personnel. CBC Exec Producer John Shannon: "From a product standpoint, there'll be no noticeable change" (GLOBE & MAIL, 10/15).