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NASCAR MEDIA CONFERENCE


September 3, 2014


Brent Dewar

Brian France

Mike Helton

Peter Intermaggio


BRETT JEWKES:  Good afternoon.  We welcome you to the NASCAR Hall of Fame, where our sport is celebrated every day in Charlotte, North Carolina.  It's fitting that we're here today to make an historic announcement, also an announcement that is very important to our future.
We welcome the fans joining us today on NASCAR.com, listening in on radio, and to Comcast employees everywhere watching this production on Team Comcast and Comcast Employee Channel.
We're grateful for the fans' passion.  We understand there's an official series logo out there in social media.  I can tell you it's not official, probably won't be official for a couple months.  We admire your passion and willingness to help us in the design process.
Before we begin the formal program, I want to recognize a few special guests today.  We have some of our biggest and brightest stars, racecar drivers here.  They're the ones that have been on their phones most of the last 15 minutes downloading content.
I want to recognize, we have with us here Daytona 500 winner and driver of the No.6 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car, Trevor Bayne; Regan Smith, a stalwart in this series who's currently second in the points standings; Ryan Blaney, who won a Nationwide race at Bristol Motor Speedway, and this weekend won the Trucks race up in Canada.  Might have been the best finish we had all year.  Outstanding effort.
We also have Dylan Kwasniewski with us, one of our bright young stars and an alum of our NASCAR Next program.¬† And finally Daniel Su√°rez, a bona fide superstar in our NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series, who will be joining this series full‑time next year with Joe Gibbs Racing.
We have numerous NASCAR executives on hand.  With us we have NASCAR president Mike Helton; chief marketing officer Steve Phelps; our chief racing development officer, Steve O'Donnell, and importantly, our chief sales officer, Jim O'Connell.  Jim and his team did a yeoman's job getting us to this points today.  Congratulations to Jim and his whole group.
Before we begin today, we're now pleased to welcome to the stage, sitting in the center seat, NASCAR chairman and chief executive officer, Brian France.  To his left we have NASCAR chief operating officer Brent Dewar.  To Brian's right we have Peter Intermaggio, Comcast SVP of marketing communications.
With that I will turn the time over to Brent Dewar for this special announcement.
BRENT DEWAR:  Thank you all for being here to attend this historic announcement.
When our great partners at Nationwide informed us of their intention to transition to team sponsorship, we set to find out a series entitlement partner who was a leader in the category, a company known for integration, and a brand committed to growth, just like we are here at NASCAR.  We had exceptionally strong interest from many brands.  We received multiple offers and have aligned with one company and brand who met every single criteria that we were looking for to entitle this series where names are made.
I'm delighted to announce today that Comcast and NASCAR have agreed to a 10‑year agreement in what will be known the next season through at least 2024 as the NASCAR XFINITY Series.¬† It also makes XFINITY an official partner in the programming and ISP categories.
Comcast is a Fortune 500 company, and XFINITY is the nation's largest video high‑speed internet provider.¬† They are proven innovators, on the cutting edge of the latest technology and a world‑class entertainment provider.¬† Above all, they're a perfect fit for NASCAR.
Working closely with Peter, Dave Watson, Matt, and the entire Comcast team, we felt both their passion for their own brands, but also for our sport.
I also would like to personally recognize Jim O'Connell and our NASCAR team who brought us here together today.  We couldn't be more thrilled or excited about the start of this great new partnership.  We look forward to officially introducing the XFINITY brand to the most passionate and loyal fans in all of sports starting early next year in Daytona.
BRETT JEWKES:  Brian, you spoke openly about your desire to align with blue chip companies in the technology space.  It's been a significant moment today.  Can you talk about what this means for our entire industry?
BRIAN FRANCE:  Well, it was the deciding factor, not to mention what a great company, that we're already partners on the television side with Comcast and NBC.
But beyond that, the fact that they're an innovative company in this space, XFINITY, and they're leading their industry with both distribution and technology, video, being the lead internet provider.  That's exactly what we're trying to do at NASCAR in a different way.
We're trying to embrace technology and innovation wherever we can to either lower costs or make the experience for our fans a better one.
So the idea that this relationship met that criteria is a pretty easy decision at the end of the day, and we're thrilled to be partners with XFINITY.
PETER INTERMAGGIO:  We are super excited to be here today to announce this important sponsorship and relationship between our companies, between Comcast and NASCAR.
It's fitting that we're in this great Hall of Fame, which really celebrates NASCAR's terrific past and future.  What we're really talking about today is the next 10 years together.  We couldn't be more excited across all of our team and across our 100,000 employees in Comcast.
One of the things that is especially important to us is live sports.  We know that live sports is important to television viewers everywhere.  It's the most important content they can have access to.  So we're really excited about participating in sponsoring this incredibly exciting sport that people follow with tremendous passion and intensity, so that's why we're here.
Second, technology.  What you're doing with technology across all of NASCAR is really exciting.  Technology is everywhere from the track, to the garage, to the car, to the stats, to the viewing experience.  That's where we see tremendous alignment with our brand, what our strategy is about, what we're trying to bring to the viewing experience, really using technology to improve the viewing experience across the board.
We're excited by the drivers.  We think this set of drivers represents exciting energy and ambition and gutsiness and drive.  Those are all qualities we admire and aspire to be like at Comcast.  We see a lot of affinity there as well.
We're excited to be here and kick off this sponsorship and relationship together.  Couldn't think of a better partner.  Couldn't think of a better place.  Thanks for having us here.  Appreciate it very much.


            (Video Shown.)

           
       BRETT JEWKES:  Our industry and our fans have a lot to look forward to.  With that we are going to go ahead and open it up to questions from the media.

Q.¬† Brian, we know you're passionate about technology.¬† Would you say this is the largest technology partnership in the sport?¬† There have been other sponsors and whatnot.¬† When you dream 10 years technology‑wise as it hooks up with XFINITY, what do you see?
BRIAN FRANCE:  Well, you know what it is, it's clearly the largest partner that we've been able to partner up with.  The reality, as the video just demonstrated, this is a brand and a company that is all about innovation, all about delivering something from an experience standpoint in the very space we want to, which is connecting with our fans.
The idea that we get to do this together and we have the overarching partnership with Comcast, that's a lot of incentive.  Our fans can look forward to some interesting things that are going to be delivered on their device, on their television set in ways they never thought possible.
So we're excited about the future.
PETER INTERMAGGIO:  We're just bringing a lot of changes to the customer experience, to the viewing experience, the way people access content, how and where and when they access content.
XFINITY stands for cross‑platform infinite content and always improving, and that's certainly what we hope to bring to our relationship here and for the NASCAR fans everywhere, is to be able to access content on all devices, to find information, data, all the content they want to watch, and to access it everywhere they go.

Q.  I'm sure your company had choices and did research.  What was the appeal of NASCAR?
PETER INTERMAGGIO:  We start with the interest in live sports and the importance of live sports.  We just think NASCAR as a sport, as a cultural phenomenon, is a great venue for live sports.  These fans want to engage anywhere and everywhere.  That's what really made NASCAR stand out for us, is the opportunity to partner with NBC Sports, within our family company of Comcast, but also to be able to bring live sports more dramatically to the customer.
Secondly, our X1 entertainment operating system is a tremendous way to experience live sports.  We think that NASCAR will be a tremendous demonstration platform for us, to show our products, to show our technology, to let people experience what is different with XFINITY than what they might have with other providers.
The third thing is simply the fan engagement.  You can't talk about NASCAR without talking about the fans.  This is really a committed group of passionate and loyal fans.  We looked at those things, live sport, technology, fan base, and said, This is the place we have to be.

Q.  Can you give us any insight on whether there was an increase in the annual rights fee for the series?
BRIAN FRANCE:  They're separate agreements.  We don't divulge the financial parts of any of our contracts.  But obviously we're pleased and they're pleased.  It will be very good for this series.

Q.  Brian, do you envision the format of the series and the rules staying the same as they are now in terms of Cup driver eligibility?  I saw in the press release you're trumpeting the fact that young drivers will compete against the stars.  Do you envisage any sort of Chase or will that stay the same as it is now?
BRIAN FRANCE:  That's the neat part of a relationship like this because we mutually have our interests in line.  They're going to have some fresh thinking on what this series can become.  We're going to listen to that.
At the same time we're going to balance, as we always do, our institutional knowledge about what works and doesn't work.
But we're all looking forward to fresh thinking.  I'm sure there will be format ideas that come over time that we'll be interested in looking at because the net of it is, XFINITY and NASCAR want to make this series, which is already the number two motorsport in the country, bigger and better.
We couldn't have our interests more aligned.  However we get there, whatever turns that takes, we're going to do it together.

Q.¬† 10‑year deal is a pretty long deal in sports.¬† I was wondering how did it come out for a 10‑year duration?
PETER INTERMAGGIO:¬† You have to really step back and look at the broader Comcast relationship with NASCAR, with NBC Sports, the transition of broadcast to FOX and NBC Sports.¬† But also we looked at the relationship that NBC Sports had worked with NASCAR; that's a 10‑year deal.¬† We said for our company, it's best to align that term.
BRETT JEWKES:  We'll close this announcement with another quick video.  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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