NBC Sports moving action sports programming to Versus
Four months after reclaiming complete ownership of the Dew Tour, NBC Sports is moving action sports programming from Fox’s Speed and Fuel TV channels to Versus.
The first programming making that move comes from the AMA Pro Motocross Series, which the Dew Tour’s parent company, the Alliance of Action Sports (Alli), manages in partnership with the company MX Sports.
|The move follows NBC Sports’ return to full ownership of the Dew Tour.
Versus will air 11 hours of motocross programming live, and NBC will continue to air three hours of live motocross as it has the past three years.
“Now that we own 100 percent of Alli, we’re looking to deepen our investment in that space,” said Rob Simmelkjaer, senior vice president of NBC Sports Ventures. “We think the combination of a schedule of motocross on Versus and NBC and a renewed commitment to the Dew Tour will give us a nice umbrella presence in the space that we can leverage to sell sponsorships and have a significant and diverse set of opportunities for partners.”
This year’s broadcasts of motocross races averaged a 0.5 Nielsen rating and 717,300 viewers on NBC, and a 0.11 rating and 113,000 viewers on Speed, according to Nielsen data.
Alli President Wade Martin said that the consolidation will give motocross races better time slots, more live programming and more promotion across the NBC family of networks. But more importantly, he said it allows Alli to bundle its media and sponsorship inventory and sell packages that include both offerings for the first time.
Both Martin and Simmelkjaer said that moving motocross programming off Speed and Fuel TV didn’t signal an end to Alli’s practice of televising motocross, skateboarding or BMX programming on other networks like Fuel TV and MTV2, but added that action sports programming will increasingly be designated for Versus, USA and other NBC channels.
“I wouldn’t rule out doing things with other networks,” Simmelkjaer said, “but our priority will be to populate things on our network. We’ll do the best to promote it and the best to sell it.”