Advanced Television

V8 Supercars boosts coverage

March 3, 2014

By Colin Mann

Following the surprise news in December 2013 that coverage of internationally-popular Australian saloon car racing series V8 Supercars would move from free-to-air network Seven to pay-TV outlets Foxtel and Fox Sports, with free-to-air network Ten also included in the deal, further details of the 2015-2020 media rights have been revealed.

Under the new arrangement, V8 Supercars fans will enjoy more than three times the overall content compared with existing coverage.In total, 1,140 hours of broadcast television across Fox Sports and Ten Network from next year, represents a 360 per cent increase.

Six major events – the Clipsal 500 Adelaide, Townsville 500, Wilson Security Sandown 500, Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, the Gold Coast 600 and the Sydney 500 – will be broadcast live and in full on Ten and simulcast ad-break free (with the exception of Bathurst) in HD on Fox Sports. All remaining events will be aired live and exclusive on FOX SPORTS, ad-break free and in HD.

Fox Sports race coverage will offer fans unprecedented access to the teams and drivers with optional camera angles, audio, and real-time statistics accessible to viewers via the red button functionality. All practice, Armor All qualifying and Armor All Top Ten Shootouts will also be live and ad-break free on Fox Sports.

V8 Supercars CEO James Warburton said the deal provided the foundation for the sport in the future. “It was a pivotal plank to get right. We have joined other mainstream sports by having a subscription television offering as well as a Free to Air offering. Importantly we have ensured that all of our races are available for free in one hour packages and guarantees our fans have more content than ever. In addition we have future-proofed our sport with the Foxtel digital platform and look forward to Foxtel and Fox Sports launching their V8 Supercar packages later this year.”

Similar to programmes such as Match of the Day in the UK, Ten Network will televise feature highlights packages of the Fox Sports-only events in prime time, delivering shorter, more action-packed viewing to larger audiences at peak times.

“Viewing habits have changed and will continue to evolve. This partnership offers the best of both worlds, enabling people to tailor their viewing as it suits them and their lifestyle,” said Warburton.

Foxtel CEO and Managing Director Richard Freudenstein said that such an exhilarating sport deserved the special treatment that only Foxtel and Fox Sports could give, “comprehensive coverage and with wonderful high definition pictures”.

Ten Network Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director Hamish McLennan said the broadcaster was looking forward to welcoming V8 Supercars back to their natural home – on TEN and ONE – in 2015. “TEN will bring viewers and advertisers the six best races – live and free – plus compelling highlights packages of all the other races. We have worked closely with V8 Supercars to ensure free-to-air television viewers receive comprehensive and engaging coverage on both TEN and ONE.”

Initial projections show that on conservative estimates and with prime time promotion on TEN, ONE and FOX SPORTS, V8 Supercars will grow its audience significantly, further adding to the long term strength and well-being of the sport. “We have a responsibility to the fans to grow our audience which in turn keeps our teams healthy. Without healthy race teams we do not have a sport to deliver or for fans to watch,” explained Warburton.

“This model allows passionate fans to watch substantially more V8 Supercars across multiple platforms as they choose while casual viewers have choice in how they watch and when they watch. Fans and viewers will also know when races are on with consistent timeslots.”

Foxtel will carry V8 Superview on Foxtel Go on Foxtel Plus 4 with races available as they happen.

V8 Supercars joins the Foxtel Go stable which includes 12 dedicated sports channels and access to the Foxtel stable of movies, documentaries, entertainment, news and content.

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