SBJ/20100823/This Week's News

Fuel TV to build on Money Cup

Fox’s action sports channel, Fuel TV, is hoping its production of the Maloof Money Cup will lead to more action sports events using its in-house production unit.

“We believe this is the launching pad,” said Scott Paridon, vice president of production and development for Fuel TV. “This represents the first of many deals like this.”

Fuel has produced three one-hour highlight shows around the event, which had stops in New York and Orange County, Calif., earlier this summer. Two of the shows will appear on Fox’s 19 regional sports networks, on Sept. 8 and Sept. 15. The other one, which will feature highlights from the Orange County event, will be on the broadcast channel on Saturday, in the time slot immediately preceding Fox’s weekly Major League Baseball game.

The deal placing the Maloof Money Cup on the broadcast channel is a time buy. The contract, though, has Fuel serving as a production company. The last two years, a company called Windowseat Pictures produced the shows for CBS and NBC.

Highlights from the Maloof Money Cup’s stop
in New York this summer will appear on Fox’s
19 RSNs in September.

So far, event creator Joe Maloof says he’s been impressed with the enthusiasm Fuel has brought to the productions.

“Fuel is the most enthusiastic television partner we’ve ever had,” Maloof said. “It’s translating into great things.”

In the last two years, Maloof bought time on CBS and NBC for the Maloof Money Cup. The Orange County event pulled a 0.5 rating on CBS in 2008 and a 0.4 rating on NBC in 2009. The New York event earlier this year pulled a 0.4 rating on Fox.

Fuel also carried four hours of coverage earlier this month.

Maloof cites the inclusion of a 24-hour action sports channel as a reason he believes the numbers should get better.

“They just have to maintain their enthusiasm for the event,” he said. “It’s their opportunity, if they want, to really make a strong impression in action sports.”

Fox is responding with a marketing push that it calls the biggest one Fuel has undertaken. It is pushing the event with TV ads across Fox networks. It has bought billboard space in New York and Los Angeles, and it has purchased ads in several endemic print publications.

“We’re not using the Fox broadcast as a way to promote Fuel,” said Shon Tomlin, Fuel TV’s senior vice president of marketing and programming. “You’ll see some signage in the background.”

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