Ever Wonder How ESPN Snagged NASCAR Coverage?

by on January 6, 2011

in Entertainment


DISCLAIMER: To be honest, this is a speculative piece on how ABC / ESPN snagged TV air rights to broadcasting the sport of NASCAR as its athletes compete week in and week out for the Sprint Cup championship.

I found a fascinating bit on how ESPN did get themselves the TV rights for college football through 2014 and it made me wonder if that was indeed a part of how they approached snagging NASCAR.

Here’s the thing, as pointed out by Anthony Crupi on MediaWeek: ESPN bid for the college football bowl season, competing against Fox Sports but made such a huge bid of $500 million that it took Fox right out of the competition for the bid.

This gave ESPN rights to thirty-three of the thirty-five bowl games. The kicker, as Mr. Crupi said, is that the brand hedge-money that ESPN will make from the bowl games is so huge that they can literally air the college football games commercial-free. The brand hedge-money refers to the fees that ESPN will charge cable and satellite operators. Those fees average $4.40 a month, per subscriber or roughly just over $5 billion.

Adding into the pot, the near $1.5 billion in ad revenue, makes their piece of the pie a huge chunk of the cake! (Don’t fret, because these numbers seem on par with the $8 Billion in sold TV ad time from the basic networks just for the 2010/2011 TV season.)

And with that, it almost makes sense how ESPN / ABC can take a sport like NASCAR and just do with it as they please as they balance out their entertainment budgets of programming.

Source: mediaweek.com , mediaweek.com.


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