ESPN Truck series coverage



Heve heard mention that ESPN seemed to devote a bit more time yesterday in both pre-race and post-race coverage. Mayhaps the reason why. Hope the trend continues.

Craftsman Truck Series to Return to ESPN Next Year

The Craftsman Truck Series will return to ESPN and ESPN2 in 2003. On the RPM Now radio show, John Kernan asked Jerry Punch about a report on that the Trucks would indeed return to the Disney networks.

Punch confirmed that, even though no announcement has yet been made, the Disney networks would indeed continue to broadcast the series next year. He expressed enthusiasm for the series and said that ratings have increased this year.

We had reported about a month ago that some people in the industry were saying a deal with Speed Channel was in the works, and we have confirmed this was the case and in fact came very close to a done deal.

But Mike Mulhern of the Winston-Salem Journal writes that "pressure from both series' sponsors and Truck teams led to a new dynamic in the NASCAR-ESPN negotiations."

Importantly, Sears is in the midst of a $75 million, five-year commitment to the series, including advertising and promotion. It's a good bet that Sears would not be anxious to have the series go the Speed Channel, which reaches over 30 million fewer homes than ESPN or ESPN2.

Also, it's encouraging to see that the ESPN-NASCAR relationship has not completely fallen apart. NASCAR knows that it needs ESPN's publicity machine on shows like SportsCenter, and this can only help that.

Now, if ESPN can just commit to actually stay more than 30 seconds past the end of a Truck race and promote the series 1/100 as much as the Jay Mohr show, all will be fine.
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