It's a sponsorship move that, at least superficially, seems to defy Comcast's (NASDAQ: CMCSA) efforts to remake itself into what company EVP David L. Cohen recently described as an "urban clustered cable company," but the top MSO has signed a slashy new deal with the sport of rural kings, NASCAR, just the same.
Actually, as sports sponsorship deals go, it's not that slashy--published reports say Comcast's 10-year agreement to rebrand pro stock car racing's Nationwide Series into the "NASCAR Xfinity Series" is only valued at around $200 million.
And we're not talking about NASCAR's premiere racing series, the Sprint Cup--Comcast is putting its name on what amounts to the racing org's triple-A league, where up-and-coming drivers compete.
Then again, in an uber-competitive market for sports rights, Comcast seems to have locked onto a pretty good value. NASCAR operates tracks in 39 states where Comcast has residential service customers, even before regulatory approval of the company's proposed Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) buyout.
The deal will run side by side with NBCU's 10-year, $4.4 billion purchase of Sprint Cup and Xfinity Series broadcast rights, which also begins in 2015, meaning Comcast has the best of all possible broadcast partners--itself--to maximize sponsorship value.
"The series also has a large, highly engaged and technology-connected television audience," touts the Comcast press release announcing the deal. "It races in some of the nation's largest markets--from Chicago to Los Angeles to Miami--and at the sport's biggest and most iconic tracks--from Daytona International Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway, to Talladega Superspeedway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway."
Noted Dave Watson, Comcast EVP and chief operating officer, in a statement: "Technology lives at the heart of NASCAR, just as it does for Xfinity. NASCAR provides an exciting environment in which to showcase our video and Internet products and we look forward to further enhancing the fan experience at home, at the track and on the go for years to come."
- read the press release
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