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Speed
Speed tv.png
Owned by News Corporation
(Speed Channel Inc.)
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
720p (HDTV)
Headquarters Charlotte, NC
Formerly called Speedvision
Website speedtv.com
Availability
Satellite
DirecTV Channel 607 (SD/HD)
Channel 1607 (VOD)
Dish Network Channel 150
Bell TV Channel 417
Shaw Direct Channel 406
SKY Latin America Channel 527
SKY Brazil Channel 28
Cable
Vidéotron
(Canada)
Channel 112
Available on most cable systems Check local listings
IPTV
TELUS TV Canada Channel 117

Speed, sometimes still referred to as the Speed Channel, is a cable and satellite television channel broadcast to various parts of North America, but primarily the United States. The channel, based in Charlotte, NC, currently broadcasts mostly automotive-related programming.

Programming includes live Formula One racing, NASCAR-related shows, how-to programming, auto-related movies such as The Fast and the Furious, auto shows, less-popular racing series, a weekly news show, call-in shows, and reality shows. Bobsledding, luge, and skeleton events are shown during the winter months (especially since 1986 Daytona 500 champion Geoff Bodine began his support of the FIBT events, including a fund-raiser with automobile racing stars). Speed is also the exclusive United States broadcaster of the 24 Hours of Daytona, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Petit Le Mans, the NASCAR Sprint Cup All-Star Race and the Gatorade Duels at Daytona.

Contents

History

The channel which eventually became Speed Channel was launched on New Year's Day 1996, by Roger L. Werner Jr., E. Roger Williams, Nickolas Rhodes and Robert Scanlon under the name Speedvision. Ownership included Cox Communications, Continental Cable and AT&T. Under their management, Speedvision became the fastest growing cable network of all time while delivering the highest male viewing audience per household of any cable or broadcast network in existence.

In the summer of 2001, Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation purchased one-third of Speedvision. In August 2001, they negotiated to acquire the stakes owned by Cox and Comcast, thus giving them majority ownership. Fox leveraged the network as a negotiating tool for NASCAR television rights which were split with NBC. The plan was to morph the channel into a 24-hour NASCAR network. This plan was ultimately shelved in the fall due to Fox management's unwillingness to place NASCAR races on the channel.

On February 11, 2002 at 7:59 p.m. ET, Speedvision relaunched as Speed Channel. The first program of the new format was a special launch show and 2002 NASCAR preview focusing on Speedweeks 2002. News Corp.'s Fox had a year-old relationship as a NASCAR broadcaster, many NASCAR shows began airing on Speed Channel, a move that was unpopular with some of the network's viewers. However, with the increased NASCAR programming, viewership is at all-time highs, with the channel being added to many regular cable lineups.

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Programming notes

In its nearly seven-year existence under its new name, Speed has made an effort to show more live races. From 2001-2003 and in 2005 and 2006, Speed broadcast select Champ Car races. In October 2002, Speed bought out the remaining year of ESPN's three-year contract for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, and in February 2003, began showing live exclusive coverage of the series. The network's coverage of the truck series' Florida Dodge Dealers 250 for February 18, 2005 scored a Nielsen rating of 2.1, the highest-rated program in the network's history. Another Speed staple is WindTunnel with Dave Despain, a live call-in show that has been on the network since February 2003.

Since its inception in 1996, there has been a racing series which was created by Werner, Williams and Scanlon, named after the network-the SPEED World Challenge, formerly named, not surprisingly, the Speedvision World Challenge. Speed also runs a very short segment during its commercial breaks, titled, "My First Car", in which celebrities like Ron Howard, Pierce Brosnan, and George Lucas (who has a great love for Fiat) and Speed Channel viewers talk about the first set of wheels they ever drove.

Speed made news with the 2005 firing of network president Jim Liberatore, who had been with the network since Fox bought it in 2001 when it was still Speedvision, reportedly because Liberatore had wanted to reduce the number of NASCAR-related shows on the network, and the network brass wanted more NASCAR-related programming. Liberatore is now attempting to start a new network called The Racing Network, which will be closer to the original Speedvision.

The network's targeting of younger viewers with an overwhelming amount of NASCAR coverage at the expense of other racing series and automotive instructional shows angered some network viewers, who feared that Speed was close to becoming a network which would not cover anything but NASCAR. However, the organization's programming continues to draw viewers to the network. Some Speed viewers have thus suggested a spin-off network for non-NASCAR programming or to focus on open wheel racing, just like ESPN has with ESPN2.

Name change

In late 2005, Speed Channel re-branded themselves as SPEED, canceling some TV shows including NASCAR Nation. Sometime in 2007, the change became official, as the word "channel" was dropped from its logo.

Speed HD

Speed HD is a 720p high definition simulcast of SPEED that launched on February 8, 2008. DirecTV was one of the first to carry this new channel. Dish Network launched Speed HD on May 8, 2009.

Controversy

Speed has also been criticized for narrowing its offering of professional motorsports, in particular after it quit coverage of WRC, due to its current NASCAR contract. With the exception of most NASCAR, Grand Am, American LeMans Series, and World of Outlaws races and Formula One, few of the races are broadcast live. Some races are even broadcast weeks after they take place. Speed World Challenge races are combined into one hour broadcasts of two races each, which air months after the race is held.[citation needed]

Distribution

Speed is primarily a satellite and digital cable network, although many areas in the U.S. do have the network in their basic cable packages. It is also available in Canada and in Brazil. Racing coverage, particularly that of Formula One, is sometimes subject to blackout outside the U.S. In the spring of 2006, Speed launched Speed Mobile, where fans can download ringtones and wallpapers made by Speed to their cell phones.

Latin American service

Speed's Latin American channel has live coverage of NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR Nationwide Series, Rolex Sports Car Series, American Le Mans Series and A1 Grand Prix. Also shows delayed coverage of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, World Series by Renault and NASCAR Mexico. Other programming includes highlights shows of Australia's V8 Supercars (months delayed), Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (months delayed), British Formula Three Championship, FIA GT (months delayed), AMA Supercross (a year delayed), Monster Jam (two seasons delayed), Argentine TC 2000 and Turismo Carretera and Colombian T.C. 2000, as well as non-motorsport programs such as Grand Prix On Track, Grand Prix Story, Unique Whips, Tuner Mania and Pinks.

List of Speed Channel programs

Former programs

Racing series Speed Channel broadcasts

Racing Series Formerly Broadcasted By Speed

Specials broadcasted by Speed

Speed on-air personalities

Speed TV Formula One commentators record a panel discussion at the 2006 United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (left to right - Derek Daly, Peter Windsor, Bob Varsha, David Hobbs, Sam Posey, Steve Matchett)

Former on-air personalities

See also

References

External links


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