Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Here are some items crossing the news desk here at the Worldwide Headquarters in North Cuba:
Hermie Sadler is returning to SPEED in 2012 working pit road for the truck series and also doing other at-track programs. Sadler was informed he would not be returning to the RaceDay program earlier this year, but no replacement for that role has yet been named by the network.
Sadler informed us that his new deal is two years with SPEED. He is expected to work on NASCAR Live, qualifying and practice shows for SPEED on the weekends.
The city of Charlotte, NC has been working hard on a deal to lure Chiquita Brands to the Queen City. Now, the deal has been done but not without a very unique twist.
"The company has been looking for about 150,000 square feet of office space and is expected to make the 19-story NASCAR Plaza office tower uptown its headquarters building, according to real estate sources. They say the 19-story property at South Caldwell and East Stonewall streets could be rebranded as part of the lease agreement." That from the Charlotte Business Journal. Click here for the story.
As many readers know, NASCAR has struggled to avoid foreclosure on the NASCAR office tower and the Hall of Fame that are essentially one big building on a plaza in the downtown area.
Chiquita headquarters is currently a large office building in Cincinnati, OH. It is called the Chiquita Center.
The permanent fixtures currently in the office tower include the NASCAR Media Group on the lower floors, a radio studio used by SiriusXM NASCAR and a TV studio used by Showtime on the first floor. The top NASCAR execs enjoy spectacular views from the top floor. It should be interesting to see just who moves where as the new major tenant comes to town.
NASCAR fans may soon be visiting the NASCAR Hall of Fame in the Charlotte Chiquita Center.
There was an update on extreme sports TV star Travis Pastrana this week from Bob Pockrass of scenedaily.com. Since Pastrana is the co-owner of his Nationwide Series team with Michael Waltrip Racing, he will be racing around his other scheduled commitments. Pockrass says that will leave Pastrana running in approximately 20 Nationwide Series races next season.
This is the final week for RaceHub on SPEED this season. Steve Byrnes has just finished his second season of hosting the program. SPEED is to be commended for keeping an hour-long NASCAR news and interview series on the air even as ESPN backs off NASCAR Now.
SPEED has confirmed that RaceHub will return in 2012. The series will take December off and return in mid-January probably around the time testing resumes. Hopefully, the network will return the show to a 7PM ET airing with a 9PM Pacific re-air.
In an odd twist, it was Sprint Cup Series champ Tony Stewart at a NASCAR industry marketing function who announced that NASCAR and SiriusXM radio had extended their agreement for an additional five years. This means that through the 2016 season SiriusXM will be the exclusive satellite radio provider for all three of NASCAR's national touring series.
The down side is that the online stand-off between Sirius and Turner Sports, the holder of all online audio rights to NASCAR, continues. Turner wants payment in order to allow the SiriusXM NASCAR channel to be streamed online in the existing player that carries other SiriusXM channels. There was no news released on that issue with the announcement of the contract extension.
During the same function, veteran TV executive CJ Olivares made a point about NASCAR TV during a panel discussion. Olivares is now coordinating NASCAR's West Coast marketing activity. He said it is important for NASCAR to get more documentary-style TV shows on the air.
As we have often said on this blog, that is the only way for both existing and potential fans to experience the sport away from the racing. There is simply no way to develop the personalities of the drivers and other characters in the sport without support from NASCAR's existing TV partners.
There was a time when SPEED was the home to a very strong group of just that type of program presented on Monday nights after the long-running This Week in NASCAR show. With TWIN basically replaced by RaceHub, SPEED has yet to develop any additional NASCAR programming and the network's new TV projects ordered for 2012 do not include any NASCAR series.
Right now, it is shaping up to be a tough off-season for NASCAR TV and this is a big issue. The NASCAR Media Group cannot stream any long-form programming online due to the Turner rights issues.
It's amazing that once SPEED goes dark after the banquet, it will only be YouTube and other online video services that take care of the fan base during the off-season. There is something seriously wrong with this situation.
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