With NBC Sports set to take over the final 20 races of the Sprint Cup Season and the final 19 races of the Nationwide Series (soon to be renamed) in 2015, NASCAR on Monday announced that it has hired marketing heavyweight firm IMG in “establishing a long-term and sustainable global commercial broadcast media distribution strategy,” according to a NASCAR media release.
Combined with Fox Sports’ telecasts of the first 16 Cup races, the first 14 Nationwide Series races and the entire 20-plus Camping World Truck Series schedule in 2015, IMG will, according to the media release, “be responsible for helping the sport increase its footprint, audience base and revenues outside of North America and South America.
“In addition to leveraging the popularity of motorsports in key international territories like Western Europe and Australia, IMG will further develop NASCAR television rights commercially in markets where motorsports are less widely known such as Southeast Asia, China and Eastern Europe.”
NASCAR races are currently broadcast in over 175 countries through more than 20 broadcast partners around the globe. All existing international rights expire at the end of this season and IMG will help in renewing existing contracts and potentially expanding to include new contracts with other entities, and especially extending NASCAR telecasts into international markets that do not currently broadcast races.
“NASCAR, already a global brand with deep international appeal, is positioning itself for robust growth beyond our borders by partnering with the world’s television and digital media content delivery leader,” said Brent Dewar, NASCAR chief operating officer. “This long-term partnership with IMG Media signals to the world our strong intentions to grow the sport in every corner of the world.”
Added IMG senior vice president and head of Media North America Hillary Mandel, “We have a history of working with ‘blue chip’ world-class sports in the U.S. and developing brands internationally. This experience and expertise will ensure the right broadcasters embrace NASCAR for the renowned sports property it is. Our dedicated team will work with NASCAR and alongside our unrivaled global sales force in more than 30 offices worldwide to ensure both extensive media coverage across all platforms and increased awareness worldwide. We are extremely excited by the opportunities that lie ahead.”
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MotorSportsTalk continues its annual review of the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers that raced in 2017. The 2017 season behind the wheel was better for Ed Carpenter than either of the last two years, but still wasn’t ideal results-wise in his six oval starts.
Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet
- 2016: 25th Place (5 Starts), Best Finish 18th, Best Start 5th, 0 Top-5, 0 Top-10, 1 Lap Led, 11.2 Avg. Start, 21.8 Avg. Finish
- 2017: 22nd Place (6 Starts), Best Finish 7th, Best Start 2nd, 0 Top-5, 1 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 11.3 Avg. Start, 12.3 Avg. Finish
Ed Carpenter’s 2017 season was largely one of frustration, both behind the wheel and as a team owner.
While a respectable turnaround in results occurred – Carpenter finished between seventh and 12th in five of his six oval races after a nightmare season of ending 18th or worse in each of his 2016 starts – this is still not what he sets out to strive for in the races he does. Lost opportunities loomed larger than any official result he or the Ed Carpenter Racing team achieved.
Carpenter and new teammate JR Hildebrand, in for the departed Josef Newgarden, dominated preseason testing in Phoenix but Hildebrand could only muster third in the race, Carpenter a season-best seventh. Then at Indianapolis, Carpenter (second) and Hildebrand (sixth) flew the flag for Chevrolet in qualifying and practice pace, but they fell to 11th and 16th on race day owing to a front-wing change and late-race penalty for passing before a restart.
Both drivers got collected in incidents at Texas. Hildebrand qualified and finished a season-best second in Iowa but that result came only after the ECR crew rebuilt his car from a crash in practice. Then Carpenter had a practice crash in Pocono and despite a rapid rebuild, they missed the clock to qualify by mere minutes and were unable to do so. Carpenter’s spin on a slick Gateway track at the start of the race sent him over Will Power’s nose assembly in one of the scarier looking incidents of the year, although fortunately he was OK.
In a similar refrain as we often write, it’s not that Carpenter’s lost his ability to drive and he remains one of the series’ savviest and smartest people in the paddock. There have been a lot of extenuating circumstances of late, and it almost felt as though this team had “empty nest” components. Since September, Carpenter has had to secure his team’s future with a move away from its Speedway, Ind. shop, line up Spencer Pigot for a full-time drive replacing Hildebrand in the No. 21 car, find a new road/street course driver in the No. 20 car, and manage both driving and owning himself.