Comcast Leveraging Xfinity-NASCAR Deal To Customize Coverage On X1 System
Comcast has "innovative plans to beef up how NASCAR fans follow the sport, from routine news stories flowing on a ticker during the week to expanded coverage from inside the pits on the weekends," according to Dan Gelston of the AP. Comcast last month inked a 10-year deal for its Xfinity cable division to title-sponsor NASCAR's secondary series. Unlike most sponsorship branding that has "no impact on the average fan," the company is trying to make its X1 Entertainment Operating System "as necessary for fans as four wheels on a stock car." The X1 service "could work as a computer-on-TV," as search engines, apps, real-time scores, "even the latest trends on Twitter can be customized to fit almost any driver or hot topic in NASCAR." The X1 platform also "works on mobile devices." Comcast Senior VP & GM of Video Services Matt Strauss said that it would be "possible to create on-demand content of drivers and races could be viewed live on the mobile app." Comcast Senior Dir of Sports Strategic Marketing Matt Lederer said, "It's the importance that live sports brings to our business in general as the reason we're involved here." But Gelston noted there may be "one speed bump: Xfinity does not carry Fox Sports 2 on its cable systems, which the company hoped to have straightened out" in time for the '15 NASCAR season. Xfinity "currently operates in 40 states, and provides cable and broadband services in several cities near NASCAR tracks." Should Comcast receive regulatory approval of a $45B merger with Time Warner Cable, Xfinity's "reach would be expanded into far more NASCAR markets" (AP, 10/15).