SBD/February 18, 2011/NASCAR Season Preview

Fox Reportedly Charging More Than $500,000 For Daytona 500 Ads

Fox is charging advertisers "north of $500,000" to air a 30-second spot during Sunday's Daytona 500, according to a source cited by Clayton Park of the Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL. The source noted that ad rates for telecasts of other NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races "generally run in the $200,000 range for a 30-second spot." However, Fox Sports Senior VP/Media Relations Lou D'Ermilio said that Daytona 500 viewership "typically is nearly twice that of telecasts of other Sprint Cup Series races." Park notes this year's broadcast "could draw more viewers than in past years because of the added intrigue of the newly repaved track" at Daytona Int'l Speedway." D'Ermilio said that "as a rule, Fox never makes predictions on how many viewers its telecasts of Sprint Cup races will draw." But he added, "We do expect to improve over last year and see the Daytona 500 audience return to more traditional levels and solidify its status as the most-watched auto race in the country." D'Ermilio said that Sprint and Chevrolet "have purchased the most commercial air time for this year's 500 telecast -- six spots each." He noted that for the "first time, all four of NASCAR's car manufacturers have purchased advertising spots for this year's 500 telecast." Also new this year is Pizza Hut, which "signed up to sponsor Fox's prerace show" (Daytona Beach NEWS-JOURNAL, 2/18). 

COMMERCIAL BREAK: ESPN VP/Motorsports Rich Feinberg, when asked what can be done about the commercial load in ESPN's NASCAR telecasts, said, "The commercial ratio that we use is less than we are contractually allowed. We could actually be putting more commercials in our telecasts. With our agreement with NASCAR, we would be allowed to do so and obviously that would generate us more revenue. We choose not to do that in an effort to show as much green flag racing as we can." He added, "The reality is that it’s a business. With the rights payments that we have to make to have our partnership with NASCAR, and with production costs, marketing and personnel, we’re a business as well, and we need to recoup those expenses and hopefully make ourselves profitable. So it’s a balance. I think there are ways to try and strike a better balance than we have now. Currently we are not allowed to do side-by-side per our rights agreement with NASCAR but I know that in our partnership we have discussions with them about that" (THE DAILY). 
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