FX Affils Rev Up NASCAR Contest

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Like National Association for Stock Car Racing vehicles on the track, more than 350 systems and interconnects are speeding into FX's 2002 "Road to the Winston" affiliate sweepstakes promotion.

Participants — including systems in 15 of FX's top 20 markets — reach 35.5 million of the network's 75 million subscribers, according to Fox Cable Networks Group senior vice president of affiliate marketing Janice Arouh.That count is up sharply from last year, when 213 affiliates reaching 20 million subscribers took part, she said. AT&T Broadband, Adelphia Communications Corp. and Time Warner Cable are the most well-represented MSOs.

Affiliates, who can sign on until the end of March, may choose any two-week promotion period for the sweepstakes, Arouh said. It also includes a local ad-sales component.

FX will cover four Winston Cup Series races and 12 Busch Grand National Series events this year, one more than in 2001.

The contest's grand prize is a weekend trip for four to the May 18 All-Star Winston Cup race at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Charlotte, N.C., with an estimated retail value of $11,000.

The $4,500 first prize is a trip to the Richard Petty Driving Experience. Ten second-prize winners get a portable barbecue grill, while 25 third-place winners each receive a NASCAR-licensed cooler loaded with "NASCAR on FX" apparel, Arouh said.

NASCAR's local sales are strong and helped along by FX's three minutes per hour of local avails, Arouh noted. Many systems package FX's NASCAR races with Speed Channel and other sports networks.

Systems in the top five DMAs will probably price their NASCAR sweepstakes packages in the $50,000 range, Arouh said. Smaller markets are likely to price it from $10,000 to $15,000.

The automotive category has obvious sales appeal, but Arouh noted that new car and truck dealers must be tied to official NASCAR partners. For instance, because General Motors Corp. is NASCAR's official car sponsor, AT&T Media Services in Chicago has booked a local GMC dealership.

Affiliates will also target local retail categories, such as consumer electronics, family restaurants, grocery stores, pizza franchises, health-care providers and amusement parks, Arouh said — and that's excluding all of the 120 racetracks in 40 states that host NASCAR events each year.

All told, Arouh estimated the value of the multifaceted promotion support at some $4.5 million.

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