Speed Drives American Le Mans Renewal


Speed has parked a rights extension with the American Le Mans Series.

The three-year deal, terms of which were not disclosed, will give Speed access to a seven-race telecast package in 2008.

The pact, according to officials at the network that currently counts some 74 million subscribers, maintains one of the longest-running rights relationship. Starting with the circuit’s second season, Speed predecessor service Speedvision aired five races, including the 12 Hours of Sebring.

That race and the Petit Le Mans, Atlanta’s endurance competition that culminates in automatic invites to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, are part of the package extension. With this year's Petit Le Mans, scheduled from Oct. 2 through Oct. 6, Speed is moving into the 16 x 9 standard-definition format as a step toward high-definition telecasts, a plan that will could include the American Le Mans series.  

“We believe that the American Le Mans Series is one of the most exciting forms of motor sports on our network,” said Speed president Hunter Nickell in a statement. “Its growth over the last several years has been very impressive.  We believe that we have played a role in that growth through our passionate and loyal motor sports audience, and we would like to continue to develop future programming opportunities that are exciting and beneficial for both parties.”