DirecTV ends NASCAR sponsorship and cancels Hotpass service

DirecTV promotional image

According to a story from the Sports Business Journal, DirecTV has decided to cancel its free NASCAR Hotpass service effective immediately. The same story also reports that DirecTV is ending its official NASCAR sponsorship in a decision that was made last month.

The satellite television provider had been an official partner of NASCAR since 2007 and is now exploring other ways to stay involved in the sport.

Hotpass was exclusive to DirecTV and featured four exclusive driver channels that changed from week-to-week (with the exception of Dale Earnhardt Jr.) and delivered team-to-driver radio transmissions to living rooms across America. The channel also featured on-board cameras exclusive to that week’s drivers.

The report cited lack of interest in the product compared to the cost of production as the primary reason for cancellation.

“We tried to charge for the (Hot Pass) product a few years ago, but the demand for it was low,” DirecTV Senior VP/PR Darris Gringeri told the SBJ. “We decided to switch to a free service. It’s been great and we’ve been happy with it. It’s been a differentiator. But in the end, the production cost became too much to bear.”

NASCAR Hotpass first aired in 2007 as a pay-per-view service dedicated to five different drivers on a rotating basis. The channel originally cost fans $10 per Sprint Cup Series race and included exclusive commentary featuring FOX, ESPN and radio personalities who were not scheduled to work that week.

DirecTV first terminated the product following the 2008 season but revived it before the start of 2009 as a dramatically overhauled but free service. The number of channels decreased from five-to-four and the exclusive commentary was dropped in favor of driver-to-team communication.

The latest cancellation comes off the heels of NASCAR acquiring editorial control of its website from Turner Sports. NASCAR.com already offers a similar product in its digital Raceview subscription and is expected to offer expanded subscription before the start of the season.

Will you miss NASCAR Hotpass? Tell us in the comments section below.

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