Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Will Nationwide always be on NASCAR's side?

   Nationwide Insurance has extended its exclusive negotiating window with NASCAR, giving the company through the end of the summer to determine whether it wishes to renew its title sponsorship of NASCAR's second-tier series, according to a report in the Sports Business Journal.

   The original agreement gave Nationwide until the end of June to negotiate exclusively with NASCAR but the company requested more time so it could take into consideration what TV network would be broadcasting the series' races.

   Sources told the Observer on Tuesday that Fox Sports, perhaps in conjunction with its new Fox Sports 1 brand which debuts later this summer, may be making a play for the series' TV rights. The series is currently broadcast by ESPN/ABC.

   ESPN/ABC has not yet started negotiations with NASCAR on extending its TV deal covering the series but is expected to by next month.

   Asked if the network wanted to retain the rights, ESPN spokesman Andy Hall said, "We have a good relationship with NASCAR, it's good programming for us and we'd like to continue."

   According to the SBJ, media has been one of Nationwide’s primary vehicles for getting a return on its $10 million to $12 million deal to title sponsor NASCAR’s secondary series. The company, which became the series’ sponsor in 2008, spends more than $5 million on media with ESPN, and it has used NASCAR-themed ads over the last five years to connect with fans and raise brand awareness, so the series’ future television deal is something sources said Nationwide officials wanted to evaluate before committing to a renewal. 

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