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ESPN Pulling Out Stops For NASCAR

ESPN is going all out for the weekend return of NASCAR to the network, with promotions and special programming starting weeks ago. The channel will kick off its new coverage with a Nextel Cup race in Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday. It's bombarded viewers with a blitz of reminders, scrolls and commercials, along with 66 hours of NASCAR-related content just this week.

NASCAR is hoping the deal with ESPN and ABC can prop up its sagging ratings, with one recent race's numbers falling 8% from last season. ESPN has an eight-year contract that splits the 36-race season between ABC/ESPN, Fox and TNT. Of the 17 races ABC/ESPN gets, the first six will be on the sports net. It had covered NASCAR since it was launched in 1979, but was locked out of a 2001 contract that split the season between Fox, NBC and TNT.

"If you are a fan of ESPN and have watched any of our networks in the past eight to 10 days, you've seen a tremendous amount of advertising," says Rich Feinberg, senior coordinating producer for ESPN and ABC. "We've wallpapered the networks to let people know Cup is coming."



Read the whole story at Associated Press via BusinessWeek »

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