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Volume 21 No. 2
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Ford-Alli deal steers ‘Octane Academy’ to NBC

Ford has signed a new agreement with Alli Sports, NBC’s action sports business, that will bring its “Octane Academy” reality show to NBC Sports Network and NBC.

The show, which features motorsports stars Ken Block, Brian Deegan, Tanner Foust and Vaughn Gittin Jr. competing against aspiring drivers, debuted in February on the Fox-owned cable networks Speed and Fuel TV. The deal with Alli Sports will result in six, one-hour episodes of the show’s second season airing on NBC Sports Network and the finale on NBC, which will co-produce the shows.

Ford’s “Octane Academy” made its debut in February on Speed and Fuel TV.
Photo by: JOHN ROE
Ford will also replace Toyota as the official automotive partner of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship series, which Alli Sports promotes and sells. Ford will become the title sponsor of three races and receive on-site signs, hospitality and commercial units during motocross broadcasts across NBC and NBC Sports Network.

The deal gives Alli Sports its second branded content partnership. It signed a deal last year with Red Bull to broadcast the energy drink company’s “Signature Series” and devoted 35 hours of programming this year to Red Bull events such as X Fighters, a freestyle motocross tour.

“We see these kind of opportunities — working with brands to co-create content and using our distribution system to drive more eyeballs for them — becoming a bigger and bigger part of our business,” said Alli Sports President Wade Martin.

Mary Ellen Abraham, Ford experiential marketing manager, said the company expects the partnership with Alli Sports to increase its total audience for “Octane Academy.” The first season drew more than 5 million overall viewers, with 2.87 million watching on Speed and Fuel TV, 1.45 million watching online and 1.1 million watching on Facebook and social media outlets.

“I think we’ll hit a bigger number, but our main focus is to improve consideration for young millennials and to improve opinion of Ford over imports,” Abraham said. “The expectation is that our reach would grow and consideration would grow with it.”

There will be a microsite devoted to “Octane Academy” on, and Martin expects the content to drive digital traffic for the company’s website.

“We think it’s great content and it’s been really well-received digitally and socially,” Martin said. “These drivers are really popular, and we think they can help boost our audience numbers, as well.”