One of the biggest changes in the sports media landscape in the last decade was the 2013 shift of SPEED (originally Speedvision) into Fox Sports 1 (later rebranded as FS1). FS1 took the place of Speed, while FS2 took the place of another motorsports-focused channel, Fuel TV.
With Fox still heavily invested in NASCAR, there’s still been strong racing coverage across their broadcast and cable networks. And NASCAR Race Hub has been one of FS1’s better studio performers. But many have missed the round-the-clock motorsports coverage that used to be on Speed and Fuel. Well, upcoming FAST (free ad-supported streaming television) channel SPEED SPORT 1 may help there.
SPEED SPORT 1 plans to broadcast more than 400 live events and thousands of hours of motorsports content annually. And it comes with quite the pedigree. That includes publication Speed Sport, founded as National Speed Sport News in 1934, continuously published through 2010, and converted into its current publication/digital/streaming/TV multiplatform format in 2011. It also includes famed broadcaster Ralph Sheheen (president and co-founder of Speed Sport), original Speedvision founder and former ESPN CEO Roger Werner, and television/motorsport executive consortium Obsession Media. Jenna Fryer of The Associated Press reported that news Thursday: here’s more from her piece on who’s involved.
Dan Teitscheid, president of distribution and development for Obsession Media, will be the president and general manager of SPEED SPORT 1. He has previously worked for MTV, ESPN and Disney.
…Roger Werner, the former CEO of ESPN and Outdoor Channel Holdings, will be both an advisor and investor to SPEED SPORT 1. Werner, who is an investor and advisor to Obsession Media, founded Speedvision Network in 1995 before selling it to FOX in 2001, where it became the SPEED Channel.
The channel will build off the legacy of National Speed Sport News, which was edited by the late journalist Chris Economaki from 1950 until it ceased publication in 2010. National Speed Sport News is the only auto-racing periodical available on microfilm at the Library of Congress.
…“We’re bringing back the dedicated motorsports TV channel, complete with live content and racing highlights from around the world, covering the kind of events that made household names of A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart,” said Ralph Sheheen, president and co-founder of Speed Sport. “SPEED SPORT 1 is television by the fans, for the fans, and Chris would’ve loved it.”
FAST channels are definitely taking off lately, and they have some advantages. Unlike traditional cable or satellite TV channels, there’s no bundle required to access a FAST channel, just a willingness to watch the advertising it comes with. And many FAST channels are available through a wide variety of smart TVs and connected-TV devices at the moment, giving them potential reach beyond traditional cable and satellite bundles.
As per Fryer, Speed Sport 1 is also exploring “traditional linear platforms.” So it may be available in the standard interface of some cable and satellite providers as well. In any case, it will be an interesting media movement to keep an eye on. We’ll see if it can gain some of the traction that SPEED used to have.