SBJ/October 30 - November 5, 2006/This Weeks News

Supercross calls TV deal ‘best ever’

Amp’d Mobile Supercross has revamped its television contract with CBS and Speed to include an added live event, as well as preseason and postseason specials for the 2007 season.

The motorcycle racing series will announce its TV contract extensions this week, as well as an extension to Progressive Direct’s sponsorship. The series is calling the TV contract its best ever.

The new deal marks Supercross’ second
season on CBS and Speed.

“We’re really happy to be able to get the network exposure,” said Ken Hudgens, vice president of marketing and television at Live Nation, an event agency that partners with the American Motorcyclist Association to sanction and produce the events.

This deal marks Supercross’ second season on CBS and Speed — its ESPN deal expired after the 2005 season. The deal with Speed runs through the 2010 season, while the CBS deal, a time buy for Supercross, is through 2008. Hudgens did not reveal financial terms of the deal.

CBS will televise a one-hour season preview show on Dec. 30, as it did last year, but the 2007 season recap on May 6 will be new. CBS also will televise eight races on a next-day basis. Those will air on Sundays at noon, with the exception of one race that will air at 12:30 p.m.

In all, Supercross will have 10 hours of coverage on CBS, compared with seven last year. Supercross programming drew a 1.0 rating on CBS in 2006, according to Live Nation.

Hudgens said the consistency of the start times with CBS was vital. “It’s much easier to promote,” he said. “The ‘Check your local listings’ doesn’t work so well.”

Ten other races will air on Speed, mostly next-day, but two will be televised live. Speed first televised a live Supercross event earlier this year at Las Vegas — the 2006 season finale. Televising Supercross live is somewhat problematic because most of the events are on the West Coast, they last more than three hours and normally don’t conclude until after 10 p.m., which is 1 a.m. on the East Coast. The next-day telecasts usually are condensed to an hour.

Miriam Deitcher, advertising manager at Progressive Direct, said the insurance company has a history with motorcycle racing and has been drawn to Supercross’ ability to reach the 18-34 male demographic, as well as the TV package. The insurance company in 2006 became known for its sponsorship of the Holeshot Award — a cash prize that goes to the rider who first reaches the first turn — and the blue-clad Progressive Direct models who mingle through the crowd at each event.

Progressive Direct’s deal includes the Holeshot, at-track signage, on-air mentions and commercial advertising.

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