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Volume 27 No. 27
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Comcast's Xfinity Announces 10-Year Deal To Title Sponsor NASCAR's Secondary Series

NASCAR and Comcast yesterday announced a 10-year deal to rebrand its secondary series the Xfinity Series. Sources valued the deal at close to $200M. Comcast Senior VP/Marketing Communications Peter Intermaggio said, “One of the things that is especially important to us is live sports. We know live sports is important to television viewers everywhere. ... We’re really excited about participating and sponsoring this incredible sport that people follow with tremendous passion and intensity.” The deal followed nearly a year of talks and several months of serious negotiations. Intermaggio said that the appeal of pairing a title sponsorship deal with Comcast-owned NBC’s 10-year TV deal with NASCAR, a $4.4B pact signed last year, helped drive the deal. He underscored that the value of associating with a live sport was important for Comcast’s cable division, Xfinity. He added, “We think it will be a tremendous demonstration platform for us to show our products.” NASCAR began its search for a replacement for current series sponsor Nationwide earlier this year and was asking $12-$15M annually in rights fees, with media and activation commitments taking the total value of the deal to more than $25M. NASCAR Chair & CEO Brian France declined to address financials, but said that the deal was the sport’s largest with a technology company. France expects Comcast to make recommendations for improving the series, and he expects NASCAR to listen to that. NASCAR Chief Sales Officer Jim O’Connell led negotiations for the sanctioning body.  Comcast Senior Dir of Sports Brand Strategy Matt Lederer worked closely with Intermaggio for Comcast. GMR Marketing is Comcast’s sports marketing agency (Tripp Mickle, Staff Writer).

DEAL DETAILS: USA TODAY's Jeff Gluck noted Xfinity "will be only the third title sponsor in series history following Nationwide (seven years) and Busch (26 years)." Nationwide "decided not to return after this season." The company will instead "sponsor a dozen races on Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s No. 88 Chevrolet next season, then increase to 13 races" for the '16 and '17 Sprint Cup Series. The Xfinity Series schedule will be split between Fox and FS1 and Comcast-owned NBC and NBCSN. Some Xfinity Series-related programming, such as practice sessions and qualifying, "will sometimes be shown" on FS2, a channel which Xfinity "does not currently offer" (USATODAY.com, 9/3).