Moving races from Fox to SPEED not a done deal
By Sporting News Wire Service
June 26, 2011 4:31 PM, EDT
SONOMA, Calif. -- Even though Fox, the network that carries the first portion of the Sprint Cup schedule, confirmed recently it was considering moving some of its races to SPEED, NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France said Sunday at Infineon Raceway that the question is still open.
"We're having a lot of discussions right now," France told Sporting News before the Toyota/Save Mart 350. "We're unsure where that's going to go. We're having good discussions, and they're our partner for a long time.
"We've got to make sure that all of our interests get met. We're not at that place [of moving the races to SPEED]. There are going to be a lot of discussions. That's just not a direction we're going right now."
Fox executives recently told SportsBusiness Journal the network was discussing moving as many as six races to SPEED, a cable channel owned by Fox that is distributed to 78 million homes.
"It would be very good for SPEED to put Cup races there," Fox Sports chairman David Hill told SBJ. "You can see that when the All-Star Race is on it, and I'd like to put another couple of races on SPEED if we can. That's just part of the dialogue, so we'll see."
Fox and NASCAR are in the fifth year of an eight-year $1.76 billion television deal.
As to the Cup schedule itself, France says there won't be as many big changes as there have been over the past two seasons.
"I'm not anticipating any significant changes," France said. "There are always requests and always tweaks -- but nothing like we've done in the last couple of years, when we made some significant changes, so I don't anticipate that."
With the Daytona 500 moving back a week to Feb. 26, 2012, does that mean the schedule is likely to run without a break until the traditional Easter open date on April 8?
"Obviously, it's more likely that that's going to happen," France said. "That's something we're going to have to work out. We're just now having those discussions with sanctions. As you know, they run year-to-year. We try to keep historically important events close to where they are, but things around us sometimes make us look at that differently."
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