Looking to boost its presence among the Latino community, NASCAR has inked a 15-race deal with Fox Deportes, highlighted by the first telecast of the Daytona 500 in Spanish next February.
Under the new contract, financial terms of which were not disclosed, Fox Deportes will offer coverage of 15 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, six of which will air live, including the sport's marquee event, the Daytona 500 during the circuit's 2013 season. Moreover, Fox Deportes will produce original NASCAR programs aimed at the Latino fan base. This series will be complemented by daily NASCAR segments on the network's signature news program, Central Fox.
Fox Deportes coverage of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series begins Saturday, Feb. 16 with The Daytona Shootout, a non-points race from Daytona International Speedway that unofficially kicks off the 2013 season. In addition to televising the Great American Race, the Daytona 500 a week later on Feb. 24,, Fox Deportes will also broadcast live in Spanish four additional races from Auto Club Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway
"The deal, which came together over the last few weeks, is from the tranche of Fox races," said NASCAR vice president of broadcasting and production Steve Herbst in an interview. "Fox Deportes a perfect partner, one that is very cognizant of making a statement with coverage of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races. We're going to take a look at what happens in 2013 and figure out how to proceed going forward. But we think this is the beginning of the road."
Noted Vincent Cordero, executive vice president and general manager of Fox Deportes: "It's a historic milestone in the evolution of Fox Deportes, and we're excited to be working with NASCAR to add the most popular motorsport in America to our overall programming mix for the first time," said Vincent Cordero, executive vice president and general manager of Fox Deportes in announcing the deal. "There's no sport more deeply rooted in the fabric of America than NASCAR, and having it on our own network represents our continued commitment to expand and diversify our content portfolio by adding the biggest sporting events in the world that impassion today's U.S. Latino."
Herbst said that Latinos represent about 10% of NASCAR's fan base and the stock car organization understands the "large growth of the Hispanic population. We want our fan base to be reflective of the national fan base overall."
During 2011, NASCAR Sprint Cup delivered more Hispanic viewers per event than any other motorsports series on U.S. television, with 83% of the series' point events registering year-over-year gains, according to Nielsen data.
In addition to the six live and nine live-to-tape race broadcasts Herbst said Fox Deportes, with NASCAR working closely with the network's production team, will air a series of four, 30-minute shows early next year that will further educate Latinos about the sport's history and personalities.
All original NASCAR-related programs will air on Fridays at 10:30 p.m. (ET), with encore presentations the following Monday at 4 p.m. Fox Deportes also plans weekly NASCAR in-season updates during regularly scheduled programming to keep fans abreast of their favorite teams and drivers. A comprehensive on-air promotional campaign, as well as coverage of NASCAR on Central Fox, will flank Fox Deportes' NASCAR race telecasts throughout the 2013 season.
With the Fox Deportes deal under its hood, NASCAR is not quite ready to embark on the renewal track with extant rights-holders, Fox, Turner Sports and ESPN/ABC, whose current contracts expire after the 2014 season, or other prospective outlets.
"NASCAR continually talks with its partners about ways to improve telecasts, including coverage down the road," said Herbst. "We're happy where we are right now with the programming and direction of NASCAR and the overall response of the media community. We have some time to go before" before entering negotiations for the next round of contracts.