Speedway Motorsports Announces Joint Venture With Turner Sports
23 September 1998Speedway Motorsports Announces Joint Venture With Turner Sports
CONCORD, N.C., Sept. 23 -- In an unprecedented move, Speedway Motorsports, Inc. today announced a joint venture with Turner Sports, Inc., to broadcast on pay-per-view DirectTv the expanded coverage of the UAW-GM 500 Quality NASCAR Winston Cup Series race scheduled for Oct. 4, 1998, at Charlotte Motor Speedway. While the race itself will be broadcast nationally on Turner's WTBS, subscribers to DirectTv will receive the full broadcast plus continuous broadcasts from four in-car cameras for $9.95. "This marks the first time in United States motorsports history that portions of a major race will be available on pay-per-view in addition to the free broadcast," stated H.A. Wheeler, chief operating officer and president of Speedway Motorsports. "We realize that this is a bold and innovative approach for the broadcast of NASCAR Winston Cup racing. Viewers that choose the pay-per-view option can click over to DirectTv and ride with one of the four drivers. But everyone needs to keep in mind that the regular broadcast of the race will be on cable channel WTBS." Wheeler cautioned that this is an experiment and that he does not see NASCAR Winston Cup races going to a pay-per-view format in the future. "Absolutely not," continued Wheeler. "The universe of DirectTv is too small with approximately 3.7 million households compared to 75-100 million on cable and network television, respectively. However, I do think there is a strong group of fans that will upgrade to more intense and interactive viewing of big NASCAR races. This is just like putting a camera in the helmets of Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa during a regular baseball telecast. There are avid fans who would buy the helmet-cam." Viewers will have access to five channels on DirectTv. Four of the channels will feature the in-car cameras while the fifth will carry the WTBS broadcast. This bundle of channels will allow viewers to click between the in-car cameras and the race broadcast. Each in-car feed will carry continuous graphics identifying the driver and car number. Statistics on car position, number of laps, and other pertinent information will be inserted where appropriate, along with natural sound from each respective camera. "This joint venture further enhances Speedway Motorsports' position as the leading innovator in the motorsports industry. This company is committed to leveraging its assets to create the greatest returns for our stockholders," concluded Wheeler. Speedway Motorsports, owner and operator of Atlanta Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Sears Point Raceway, Texas Motor Speedway and 600 Racing, is a leading promoter and marketer of motorsports entertainment in the United States.