ESPN's 'NonStop': NASCAR Play, Ad Run At Same Time


ESPN will debut an advertising opportunity during NASCAR races that could resonate with viewers -- since they won't miss any sudden Jimmie Johnson challenges to Kyle Busch due to a commercial interruption.

As a sport that brings ad breaks during the action, a coming "NASCAR NonStop" offering includes a split screen, where an ad runs on the left as the race continues on the right. (The race action will be in a smaller screen than the companion ad.)

"NonStop" split-screens will be used in the final 10 races of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series airing on ESPN starting Sept. 18.

During a break, ESPN's scroll of the race leaderboard will continue on top of the screen, while an advertiser's logo may pop up on the bottom right.

"NonStop" will be deployed during the second half of a race; the first part will use standard commercial breaks. ESPN collaborated with NASCAR on development.



In a sense, the move is an evolution of ESPN's "BottomLine," where it continues to scroll scores and news on the bottom of the screen during ads -- which it says drives viewer engagement with the ads.

"NonStop" was a new offering touted to advertisers at ESPN's upfront presentation Tuesday. Another is the chance to slot ads in live streams of networks online and on mobile devices. Those will begin in October during college football and basketball games as well as "SportsCenter."

Even though the programming is a live simulcast of networks ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU, the ads will be sold separately. For now, however, viewership on laptops and iPads is limited, since only some customers of Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and Verizon FiOS can access the off-air simulcasts. By October, other operators could sign on.

In programming, ESPN said a new show with Miami Herald writer and South Florida radio star Dan Le Batard (also a "PTI" substitute host) will launch in the fall on ESPN2. Also, "HERoics," a series of short films about women and soccer, will air leading up to this summer's Women's World Cup. ESPN Spanish-language network ESPN Deportes will launch its own version of ESPN newsmagazine "E:60" and, a site about sports in L.A. done with Time Warner Cable. Also in 2013, ESPN will expand its "X Games" franchise globally with four events outside the U.S.

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