The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

Speedway Motorsports Announces Joint Venture With Turner Sports

23 September 1998

Speedway 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.