Facing a discouraging ad market, Fox is talking to NASCAR and ESPN about ways the network can save money on its broadcasts of the sport next year. They are exploring potential cost cuts on the production side.

Also, about 20 members of Fox's sales and marketing team will meet at NASCAR's New York office to talk about unique approaches that might distinguish the sport from other properties.

"It's really going to be a half-day seminar on how we can think differently, approach the market differently and provide different opportunities for advertisers," Paul Brooks, president of the NASCAR Media Group, said from the NASCAR hauler during last week's season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. "What are we missing? What can we do better? We want to make sure we're looking through all of those opportunities."

On the production side, Brooks said the sanctioning body will work with Fox to find savings as long as the viewers won't notice a difference.

"There are additional things we can look at as far as sharing and managing facilities in an even more efficient way," he said.

Can broadcasters get by with 55 cameras instead of 60? Can they share a production truck over the course of a weekend instead of using multiple trucks? Those are the kinds of cuts the networks will weigh.

"It's something we're very cognizant of," Rich Feinberg, ESPN's vice president of motorsports, said. "Every business has been affected by the economy, and we're just trying to stay ahead of those things. Our content will still be there, but we've got to take a closer look at how we acquire that content. Are there areas where we can be flexible?"

The combined TV rights fee for Fox, ESPN and Turner averages $560 million a year through 2014.

Additionally, each of the networks has a multimillion-dollar spend with NASCAR Media Group, which manages the TV compound at each venue and provides additional content, such as unique camera angles and audio.
by Michael Smith/Sporting News

Michael Smith is a reporter with SportsBusiness Journal.

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