SBJ/Oct. 7-13, 2013/Media

Fox deal a milestone for Red Bull

Two years after its inception, Red Bull Media House has signed its first TV rights deal with a major broadcaster.

Fox Sports has acquired the rights to four Red Bull signature competitions — Crashed Ice, X-Fighters, Cliff Diving and Air Race — beginning in 2014. Financial terms of the three-year deal, which provides 180 hours of live and highlight programming annually, weren’t available, but sources valued the deal in the high-six to low-seven figures. The events will air on Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 from 2014 through 2016.

Fox Sports acquired the rights to four Red Bull competitions, including X-Fighters.
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES
Red Bull Media House will produce the events.

Several of the events Fox acquired have been shown on NBC and NBC Sports Network the past two years. Red Bull Media House next year will begin the final year of a three-year, revenue-sharing agreement with NBC’s Alliance of Action Sports that provides 23 hours of programming for Crashed Ice and other events branded as the Red Bull Signature Series. A new event will replace the Red Bull Crashed Ice World Championship on NBC next year.

The Fox deal fulfills one of the goals Red Bull had when it created Red Bull Media House North America in 2011. The company, which operates out of Santa Monica, Calif., was designed to produce and distribute action sports and lifestyle content and expand Red Bull’s presence on TV. Its ultimate goal was to take programming from Red Bull events and athletes and monetize it.

“For the first time, all four global sporting series created by Red Bull will be available in the U.S., united on one network home,” said Werner Brell, managing director of Red Bull Media House North America, in a statement. “The deal with Fox Sports 1 is the largest U.S. licensing deal with a single network for Red Bull Media House.”

Fox Sports recently launched FS1 and FS2, giving it 48 hours of programming to fill daily with sports. Over the last few months, the company has acquired rights to everything from the NASCAR Nationwide Series to USA Rugby. The Red Bull deal gives it 180 hours of quality, well-produced events that will help it fill programming blocks on the new networks.

“This is something we’ve had our eye on for a while,” said Michael Bloom, Fox Sports’ senior vice president, original programming. “Bottom line, it’s amazing television. Not only is the action and competition spectacular, but the backdrops where they stage the events are mind-boggling. It’s hard to turn away from it.”

Bloom worked on the deal with Greg Jacobs, head of distribution for Red Bull Media House North America.

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