Fox Nets Team for NASCAR Push

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Fox Cable Networks Group is so enthused about the National Association for Stock Car Racing and its other auto-racing coverage that it will expand its tie-in affiliate program in 2003 to involve both FX and Speed Channel — and vastly extend the promotion period.

The pitch begins this week, when affiliates begin to receive Fox Cable's second annual local ad-sales planner, said senior vice president of affiliate marketing Janice Arouh.

The 18-page booklet highlights not only auto racing coverage on those networks, but other "key tentpoles," such as FX's The Shield
and National Geographic Channel's Mysteries of the Deep.

The Fox Cable sales handbook, a 115-page tome, will arrive in November.

FX's "Road to the Winston" sweepstakes last spring attracted 270 systems and interconnects reaching 44 million subscribers, Arouh said.

While the promotion's system count was down from the 350 Arouh had projected last February, the subscriber tally rose by 8.5 million.

The NASCAR sweepstakes garnered nearly 29,000 entries, driven by some 270,150 cross-channel promos screened nationwide — support Fox Cable valued at nearly $11 million.

This time, FX's Road to the Winston will offer its grand-prize winner weekend-long VIP access to a Winston Cup race, with runner-up prizes that range from a Craftsman tool cabinet from Sears, Roebuck & Co. to Nikon Corp. NASCAR binoculars.

Speed Channel will join in with its own "Ultimate NASCAR Ticket" sweepstakes, with prizes that include an all-access trip to the Daytona 500 and two other races.

The promotion window for FX's contest is Feb. 9 through April 28, Speed Channel's second-half promotional window falls from July 13 through Sept. 30.

Participating affiliates will receive promotional "tool kits" that contain taggable cross-channel spots, print ad slicks, customizable postcards and scripts for local radio spots, on-hold phone messages and entry boxes.

Systems are being asked to run 350 spots for the FX promotion and 300 for Speed's contest.

FX will cover three Winston Cup races (down one from this year) and 12 Busch Series races (as many as in 2001), Arouh said. Speed will offer an unspecified number of Championship Auto Racing Teams and Formula One races, plus "NASCAR shoulder programming," or highlight shows like Totally NASCAR.
To reach NASCAR's target demographic — upscale adults aged 25 to 44 — Arouh said Fox Cable will suggest that affiliates zero in on such categories as automotive products, athletic apparel and footwear, convenience stores and consumer electronics.

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