The Daytona 500 and the first third of the Spring Cup Series will stay on Fox… (Terry Renna / Associated…)
NASCAR and Fox Sports Media Group announced a $2.4-billion, eight-year extension Monday that runs through 2022 and keeps the prestigious Daytona 500 and first third of the Sprint Cup Series on the network.
Fox, which has been with NASCAR since 2001, will pay an average of $300 million annually beginning in 2015 in its first fee increase in more than a decade.
"NASCAR has been in very good hands and has enjoyed tremendous success the last 12 years in large part because of our fantastic partnership with FOX and FOX Sports Media Group," said NASCAR Chairman Brian France. "This extension with FOX Sports Media Group helps position the sport for future growth as NASCAR continues to be an anchor with one of the world's largest and most influential media companies."
The deal was put together during an early negotiating window with Fox, which has two full seasons remaining on its current contract with NASCAR, and at a time when the motorsports industry is still battling the economy.
The Saturday night race at Charlotte Motor Speedway had an announced crowd of 100,000, the smallest since NASCAR began announcing attendance in 2003. Talladega a week earlier also had its smallest crowd.
Steve Herbst, NASCAR's vice president of broadcasting and production, said the deal with Fox proved the sport is a great value and on solid footing.
"Any industry sport will tell you that ratings and attendance are cyclical. Our future is very bright and this is a great signal to the industry that we are on very stable ground for a long time down the road," Herbst said. "Being able to attract a television partner is about the power of live sports. It's still unique. There's an ocean of programming to the masses and there's still something special about live sports that reaches people."
Fox gets the first 13 Sprint Cup Series races under the deal, and the entire Camping World Truck Series. Fox also retained the rights to the Sprint All-Star Race and the Daytona 500 qualifying races and the preseason Shootout race at Daytona.
An additional and important component to the deal for NASCAR is the inclusion of "TV Everywhere" rights, which allow Fox to live stream its races online beginning with the 2013 season-opening Daytona 500. Fox can also stream pre- and post-race coverage, race highlights and in-progress race highlights.
AJ Allmendinger will get another start with Phoenix Racing this weekend at Kansas Speedway.
Phoenix General Manager Steve Barkdoll said the team was pleased with Allmendinger's performance at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where he finished 24th in his first race since his July suspension for failing a random drug test.
Allmendinger had three days' notice he was going to race last Saturday night. The team had planned to use Regan Smith in the No. 51 Chevrolet, but Hendrick Motorsports asked for Smith when Dale Earnhardt Jr. was sidelined with a concussion. Earnhardt is also out for the race Sunday at Kansas.
The Reds and Manager Dusty Baker agreed to a two-year contract extension.
The 63-year-old manager led the team to its second National League Central Division title in three seasons this year. He has been with the Reds five seasons.
The team had a disappointing postseason, losing three home games last week to the San Francisco Giants to drop a division series they once led 2-0. But they overcame adversity during a regular season that included injuries to leading hitter Joey Votto and closer Ryan Madson, and Baker's own late-season hospitalization for an irregular heartbeat and mini-stroke.
The longtime player also has managed the Giants and Chicago Cubs, winning a total five division titles.
The Philadelphia Phillies hired former major leaguer Wally Joyner to be their assistant hitting coach.
Joyner will assist new hitting coach Steve Henderson. The Phillies reshuffled their coaching staff after finishing 81-81 following five straight division titles. Joyner previously was the batting coach for San Diego during parts of the 2007 and 2008 seasons.
Representatives of the NHL and the NHL Players' Assn. agreed to meet in Toronto on Tuesday, a day after locked-out players missed their first scheduled paycheck.
The session is expected to include the top two leaders on each side, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly, and NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr and NHLPA Special Counsel Steve Fehr.
"Hope to have further dialogue and discussion about how to move forward and get out of the place we are in," Daly told The Times via email. "Seems like we're stuck right now. Need to get 'unstuck.'"
The league has canceled games through Oct. 24 because of the ongoing labor dispute. It's likely more games will be canceled by the end of the week and that the league will acknowledge it will be impossible to play a full schedule.
— Helene Elliott