SBD/Issue 16/Sports Media

Caution Flag: Suit Claims NASCAR Stole Reality TV Show Pitch

Drivers: 360” Concept
Andrew Baird and Bill Balsley have sued NASCAR, claiming that the racing organization “stole their ideas for a reality television show” they pitched in ‘01 and turned it into “NASCAR Drivers: 360,” according to Leon Alligood of the Nashville TENNESSEAN. The suit, which seeks $20M and punitive damages, also names as defendants NASCAR Images, NASCAR Digital Entertainment and Dave Hall, an agent who was to broker the deal. Baird and Balsley’s attorney Andy Allman said, “We allege that my clients went to NASCAR with the ideas, that they spoke with upper levels of management and that we had an oral agreement with them.” Alligood noted Baird and Balsley created a show called “Drafting” and pitched it to NASCAR, but meetings to be scheduled with NASCAR Images President & CEO Jay Abraham and NASCAR Senior VP Paul Brooks “to formalize contracts and agreements never occurred as promised.” In April ‘02, Hall “‘disavowed his earlier statements that NASCAR had agreed’ to back the show.” NASCAR attorney Eddie Wayland said that his clients “were innocent of the misdeeds accused by the suit” and noted that a “similar lawsuit over the creation of this same show had been filed in California by a man named Joshua King” (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 10/1).

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