SBJ/Nov. 11-17, 2013/Media

Fox Sports gets hundreds of hours of motorsports in Feld Motor Sports deal

Fox Sports signed a five-year rights deal with Feld Motor Sports that will give the media group rights to nearly 300 hours of supercross, arenacross, monster truck and other motorsports programming.

Financial terms of the deal weren’t available. Sources familiar with the agreement said it is an increase over the $1 million a year that Fox Sports’ former motorsports channel, Speed, paid for supercross.

The deal includes Monster Jam truck events, plus arenacross, supercross and more.
Photo by: COURTESY OF FELD ENTERTAINMENT
The deal gives Fox Sports, which has aired supercross since 2005, 291 hours of programming from Monster Energy AMA Supercross, Amsoil Arenacross, Monster Jam trucks and Monster Energy Cup, an invitation-only supercross race. It also picked up the digital rights to those series and events.

David Nathanson, Fox Sports executive vice president, said the company cut the deal because of the combination of supercross’ strong ratings and strong appeal among young viewers. The 2013 supercross season on Speed averaged a 0.24 Nielsen rating and 329,000 viewers over 12 races, down 20 percent from the 0.3 rating and 12 percent from the 374,000 viewers that the sport delivered last year. The most viewed race was held in Atlanta in late February and averaged 507,000 viewers.

“If you look at the ratings in the past of how supercross performed across Speed, it was one of the consistently highest-rated programming out there,” Nathanson said. “If you look at the demographics, the audience skews young. Supercross is cool and fresh and exciting. We ultimately felt the combination of those two things made this a must-have for us.”

Fox agreed to air every supercross race live on Fox Sports 1 or Fox Sports 2, marking the first time that’s ever happened. When supercross moved from ESPN to Speed in 2005, the motorsports channel showed no live races. It added a live race in 2006 and gradually expanded its live coverage to show 12 of 17 races live.

Feld had a year left on its current supercross agreement with Fox, but it began negotiations early because it wanted to be part of the effort to build Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2, said Ken Hudgens, Feld Motor Sports’ chief operating officer. It joins NASCAR, United SportsCar, and MotoGP as the only motorsports series to make the transition from Speed to the new, multisport channels Fox launched in August.

Hillary Mandel, IMG Media’s senior vice president, assisted Feld Motor Sports on its negotiations with Fox.

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