In an effort to provide operators with a franchise
pay-per-view event, Semaphore Entertainment Group will distribute Street Legal, a
new series of auto-racing events, beginning in August.
Street Legal will debut Aug. 2 at a suggested price of
$14.95, and it will offer several drag-racing events featuring American classic cars and
Japanese imports, with the winner from the American group facing the Japanese victor for
the title, SEG president Robert Meyrowitz said.
Unlike typical drag-racing events, "the cars have to
be legal to drive on the streets," Meyrowitz said.
The event targets auto-racing enthusiasts, but also
different age and social backgrounds, he added.
"American Classic muscle-car followers tend to be
older, while those into the Japanese imports tend to be younger and to listen to more
hip-hop music than country," Meyrowitz said. "It's not just a car race for
fans; it's a conflict of culture."
SEG already has a major sponsor on board: McMullen Argus --
which publishes several auto-oriented magazines, such as Sport Compact Car and Popular
Hot Rodding -- will contribute more than $250,000 worth of advertising for the event.
The popularity of auto-racing and car events has exploded
over the past few years. Once confined mostly to the Southeast, the appeal of the category
has spread to the Northeast, the Northwest and Southern California, Meyrowitz said.
SEG is so confident that the concept will catch on with
viewers and operators that it has already scheduled a second show for the fall. Overall,
SEG plans to offer as many as four events per year.
"We've received so much support from operators
that we're hoping that this will launch another successful franchise," Meyrowitz
Michael Klein, senior vice president of programming for
Viewer's Choice, said the current following for auto-racing events could translate
into a successful venture for SEG.
"That's what we hope to explore with the first
event," Klein said.