Sirius Gets Nascar Broadcast Rights

Tuesday, February 22nd 2005, 2:13 pm
By: News On 6

NEW YORK (AP) _ In the latest push to ramp up its programming slate, Sirius Satellite Radio Inc. announced Tuesday that it had reached an agreement to broadcast NASCAR races and related events over a five-year period for $107.5 million, luring the broadcast rights away from rival XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc.

The deal calls for Sirius to become the exclusive satellite radio partner for NASCAR, a fast-growing sport with millions of fans across the country. The agreement was a coup for Sirius, the smaller of the two satellite radio providers.

Both Sirius and XM have been commiting large sums of money to lock in programming as part of their drive to build up their businesses and attract customers.

Last fall Sirius announced that it had entered a five-year, $500 million deal to broadcast Howard Stern's show beginning in 2006, when his contract with Infinity Broadcasting, a division of Viacom Inc., ends. XM also signed up Major League Baseball to its service last fall.

Sirius reported last month that it ended 2004 with more than 1.1 million subscribers and expected to finish 2005 with more than 2.5 million. XM, which is based in Washington, D.C., reported that it had more than 3.2 million users as of the end of 2004.

Sirius' shares were already trading lower Tuesday after news came out over the weekend that a regular host on Stern's show had received a subpoena from the Securities and Exchange Commission regarding the trading of Sirius stock. Sirius says it doesn't believe the probe has anything to do with its own company, and it hasn't received any subpoena.