NASCAR Zooms Onto Fox and NBC in 2001 (Breakfast News) November 11, 1999


Thursday, November 11, 1999

"To open a business is very easy; to keep it open is very difficult."
-- Chinese proverb

NASCAR Zooms Onto Fox and NBC in 2001

By Richard McCaffery (TMF Gibson)

NASCAR -- the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing -- has signed a lucrative deal with the Fox network, NBC, and cable channels FX and TBS for the rights to broadcast its amazingly popular Winston Cup series, Bloomberg reported.

The deal, which starts in 2001, gives one of the fastest-growing sports in the U.S. access to major distribution outlets and one of the largest television sports contracts ever.

News Corp.'s (NYSE: NWS) Fox Network, General Electric's (NYSE: GE) NBC, and Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX) TBS beat out CBS (NYSE: CBS), TNN, and Walt Disney's (NYSE: DIS) ABC and ESPN for the programming rights.

Winston Cup races attracted more than 6 million spectators last year.

The deal will pay privately held NASCAR $2.4 billion over six years for the right to broadcast the 34-race Winston Cup series, which includes big events such as the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400. The only richer television sports contracts are with the National Football League (an eight-year, $17.6 billion contract) and the National Basketball Association (a four-year, $2.64 billion agreement), according to Bloomberg.

The deal is certainly a victory for NASCAR, which earlier this year talked the owners of racetracks into letting them negotiate broadcasting rights for the Winston Cup series as a whole. Historically, track owners negotiated broadcasting rights for each race individually.

News to Go

Aerospace and defense contractor Boeing (NYSE: BA) plans to reduce the number of 757 and 767 passenger jets it's making as a result of weakness in demand, competition from rival Airbus, and the success of its own 737-800, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Multi-bank holding company Bank One (NYSE: ONE) said that continued weakness at First USA, its credit card and consumer lending division, will lead to lower-than-expected operating earnings for the year. In August the company reported for the first time that earnings at the division were under pressure.

The compensation committee at network management software company Computer Associates (NYSE: CA) plans to appeal a Delaware court ruling that three top executives must return 9.5 million shares of stock. In May 1998, the three were awarded more than $1 billion in stock compensation -- 20.25 million shares -- after meeting performance requirements. Two shareholders sued claiming the amount issued was more than the compensation committee intended, Bloomberg reported.

Satellite television services provider EchoStar Communications (Nasdaq: DISH) added about 141,000 subscribers in October, its largest one-month increase ever and 41% more than October of last year. The company now has 3.1 million subscribers.

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