FCC to Sponsor DTV Transition Message on NASCAR

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is a native of North Carolina. NASCAR, the fastest growing sport in the country, was born in North Carolina. So it stands to reason that the chairman knows auto racing and the value of NASCAR sponsorships.

It was hardly surprising then that Martin announced this week that the FCC plans to sponsor NASCAR No. 38 entry to promote the DTV transition for the last three races of the NASCAR Sprint Cup over the next month. David Gilliland, currently ranked #21 in the series, is the lucky driver sporting the DTV message. The races will take place at Martinsville Speedway, Oct. 19, Phoenix International Raceway, Nov. 9 and Homestead-Miami Speedway, Nov. 16.

"I'm flattered that the FCC chose our No. 38 Ford to help them convey the message about the upcoming digital television transition taking place next year," Gilliland said. "This is a very big undertaking to convert the entire country to digital services, but the end result will be improved picture and sound quality and those are definitely important factors to NASCAR fans. Yates Racing has had a tremendous 2008 season which allowed us to have a variety of important partnerships, and our No. 38 Digital TV Transition Ford will be another great example of partners who believe in the reach that we have. I am honored to help promote the Digital TV Transition messaging."

Martin said, "NASCAR fans are known for their avid interest in this sport. Their awareness and responsiveness to NASCAR sponsors is also exceptionally high. I believe this sponsorship is an extremely effective way for the FCC to raise DTV awareness among people of all ages and income levels across the United States who loyally follow one of the most popular sports in America."

According to the FCC, NASCAR is the leading spectator sport in the country. Seventeen of the top 20 highest-attended sporting events in the nation annually are NASCAR events, with average attendance topping 125,000 per event for the 36 point races during the 10-month season. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is the number-two-rated regular-season sport on television with nearly 8 million viewers tuned in weekly, and features 36 races at 22 different tracks across the country.