Speed Channel Swipes NASCAR Trucks

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In a coup for Speed Channel, the motor service acquired the National
Association for Stock Car Auto Racing's Craftman Truck Series from ESPN.

Speed will provide additional coverage for the series, including shoulder
programming through its NASCAR TV block of programming.

Speed will build in prerace and postrace shows for each live event, as well
as three primetime repeat telecasts of each contest, according to NASCAR vice
president of programming Paul Brooks.

The network will also produce a one-hour highlight show each week.

The truck circuit has 22 races this year -- a total that could be expanded
going forward.

Speed GM Jim Liberatore said the deal, terms of which were not disclosed,
will provide the network with quality programming and will aid in its overall
distribution growth strategy.

'The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series on Speed Channel, as an integral part of
NASCAR TV, will continue to solidify Speed as one of the NASCAR destinations for
race fans across the country,' he added.

The deal effectively removes all live NASCAR programming from ESPN after
years of coverage. The network had one year remaining with the package, but it
decided to sell those rights to Speed, which offers far more NASCAR-related
programming.

The truck series averaged around a 0.6 rating, according to ESPN
executives.

'This was a mutual decision between NASCAR and ESPN,' ESPN director of
programming acquisitions Burke Magnus said. 'We wanted to give the truck series
an opportunity to grow in a platform that will promote it effectively. It was a
decision that was not easy, but made sense.'

Despite losing 33 million subscribers by moving from ESPN's universe to
Speed's 52 million-subscriber base, Brooks said the deal will actually benefit
the truck series through greater promotion and exposure on a NASCAR-dedicated
channel.

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