Monthly Archives: February 2007

XM and Sirius Satellite Radio Merge?

I was paying bills tonight when this message appeared in my inbox:

February 19, 2007

To: SIRIUS Subscribers

Today is a very exciting day for SIRIUS customers. As you may have heard, SIRIUS Satellite Radio and XM Satellite Radio are merging to form the nation’s premier audio entertainment provider.

I’m pretty excited about this if they can pull it off. I was first thinking this might compare to the VHS vs Betamax war, but this is more of a content battle like you’d expect from two broadcast networks.

Having two incompatible satellite radio providers was a pain in this case simply because listeners had to worry about making the wrong choice (“who will go bankrupt first?”). If the hardware was compatible and we were just dealing with different subscriptions, I’d be all for the competition.

Assuming they can get over regulatory hurdles, I do think they’ll see subscriber growth (assuming they don’t jack up their rates after merging).

XM and Sirius Satellite Radio Merger

Starting Out in the Hole

This year I want to experiment with some better graphics to explain Nascar results and stats. With the extraordinary number of penalties given out this week at Daytona, the deduction of series points from five drivers will put them in the hole. None of the online Nascar sites (Yahoo Sports, ESPN, Nascar, etc.) are showing the 2007 standings yet, but if they did it would look something like this:

Nascar points with 5 drivers already below 0

Looking at the results from last year, the average point spread between the 11th place (Tony Stewart) and 31st (Ken Schrader) was about 80 points per position. Being even 100 points in the hole doesn’t mean the season is over, but it’s a heck of a way to start.

NASCAR TV Schedule

With the 2007 NASCAR season about to start, I took a closer look at the new TV deal and how it breaks down among the various networks.

Here’s how the Nextel Cup races will be divided among the television partners:

  • Fox will air the season-opening Daytona 500 and the next 12 races
  • TNT will have the next 6 races, including the Pepsi 400 at Daytona on July 4th weekend
  • ESPN covers the 7 late summer races, including the prized Brickyard 400 at Indy
  • ABC will broadcast the final 10 races (“Chase to the Cup”)
  • Speed will have the Gatorade Dual qualifying races and the non-points All-Star Challenge

For the Busch series, ESPN/ESPN2 will cover 29 races and ABC will have 6. For the Craftsman Truck Series, Speed will have 23 and Fox will carry 2.

The new TV contract was signed at the end of 2005 and runs from 2007 through 2014. Total value was quoted as US$4.8B total, or about US$600M per year. Contrast that with the king of American TV sports — the NFL — whose current contracts cost the networks US$3.7B per year. Similar to the NFL, it seems these multi-network deals will be the way of the future. The cost would be too prohibitive for any one network to cover by themselves. Because NASCAR has “premier” events throughout the season, it can spread those around among the networks to a certain extent.

Other than the total value, details of the contract are apparently being held private by NASCAR. One interview did explain the distribution as roughly 65% going to the tracks, 25% to the teams, and the remaining 10% to NASCAR itself. The amount paid to the owners of NASCAR is probably higher than the quoted 10% if you consider they also own part of Speedway Motorsports which operates tracks hosting 11 of the annual 36 races.

(Sources: NASCAR, Speed, and Wikipedia)

SuperBowl 41 Commercials

Once again the SuperBowl commercials are available online at several sites. Clearly the point of commercials is to get the word out, so it’s not hard to find these. For me personally I didn’t get too excited about any of these. Maybe SuperBowl commercials are losing their buzz?

Some sites that are hosting the commercials include:

  • iFilm – was one of the first sites to host all commercials after the game
  • Yahoo! Video – not sure if they’re all there, but links to iFilm
  • YouTube is running a contest where the highest-rated commercials will appear on their homepage
  • AOL Sports looks interesting because they show which commercials were shown by quarter