SBJ/November 20 - 26, 2006/This Weeks News

Bodenheimer takes in Miami weekend

ABC Sports/ESPN President George Bodenheimer was expected to spend Saturday and Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway watching the Busch Series and Nextel Cup races with NASCAR CEO Brian France.

Bodenheimer’s visit to Homestead marked his second full NASCAR weekend. He also attended the spring races at Texas Motor Speedway this year.

ABC/ESPN’s rights to the second half of the Nextel Cup season begin in 2007, and ESPN also will carry the full slate of Busch Series events. ESPN2 will debut “NASCAR Now,” its first daily news show devoted to NASCAR, on Feb. 5.

Bodenheimer has said that elevating the status of the Busch Series is a priority across all of the network’s platforms. Part of that commitment involves televising the series’ year-end banquet from Orlando for the first time in 2007.

ABC/ESPN is paying $270 million a year over eight years for NASCAR rights.

FRANCE ON ‘BIG IDEA’: France is scheduled to be a guest of CNBC’s “The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch.” The show was taped last Thursday and is scheduled to air today at 10 p.m. ET. France will be one of three segments on the one-hour show.

NASCAR rookie Juan Pablo Montoya

NO HABLA NASCAR: Officials from NASCAR, Homestead-Miami Speedway and Sprint Nextel served as tutors for a group of about 20 foreign media members, most of whom were at Ford Championship Weekend races to cover Colombian driver Juan Pablo Montoya.

Representing Colombia, Mexico, Argentina and other countries, these TV, online and print media members, most of whom have covered Formula One racing in the past, were given a daylong version of “NASCAR 101.”

They were offered a tour of the garage and track, and they met with Hispanic driver Carlos Contreras, Busch team owner Armando Fitz and Alba Colon, GM Racing’s Nextel Cup program manager.

POWER UP IN MIAMI: True to its new slogan, “Power Up,” Sprint Nextel has spent nearly $6 million in the Miami area to enhance capacity for its Sprint PCS and Nextel networks due to the high volume expected with last weekend’s Ford Championship Weekend and the upcoming Super Bowl XLI.

Most of these Miami-area network enhancements will remain in place after these events.

It was part of a busy week for Sprint Nextel, which also spent more than $30,000 as the title sponsor of the speedway’s first celebrity golf tournament at Doral.                                                                    

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