Fox Sports shoots down the NRA in NASCAR

An interesting thing happened at the track tonight, NASCAR didn’t sell out. Well, I should be more specific and say that Fox Sports didn’t sell out.

Officially, tonight’s race title was the NRA 500, but if you were watching the race on television, you wouldn’t have known it. Instead, you would have thought that tonight’s race was officially titled the Texas 500.

Here’s what happened.

Back in March, the National Rifle Association contracted with the Texas Motor Speedway to sponsor the April 13th race in Texas. Since Samsung’s sponsorship deal had ended last year, the track has labeled the race as the Texas 500, but with the new deal in place, the race would become the NRA 500.

Sometime last week, Connecticut’s Senator Chris Murphy began calling on Fox Chief Rupert Murdoch to not broadcast the race. It seems that in the wake of the recent school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut the Senator felt that it would be inappropriate to feature the NRA so prominently.

Murdoch seemingly was locked into broadcasting the race, however. He couldn’t just cancel the broadcast, especially with a contract in place.

Murdoch has been a very vocal proponent of tighter gun control laws. In fact, he‘s called for the leaders of the country to step up and make a stand. Now, the tables seemed to be turned on Murdoch. He was the one now being called to make a stand. Would he?

Well, it seems that Fox Sports came up with a work around. The race would be broadcast, but there would be zero mention by the crew of the official name of the NRA 500. Instead, graphics, intros and all references to the race would call it the Texas 500.

In fact, there were only two mentions of the name NRA 500 during the race. The first occurred when former basketball star Karl Malone uttered the opening lines of “Drivers, start your engines”. Malone made reference during his remarks that this was the NRA 500. Of course, most people aren’t aware that Malone is actually on the Board of Directors for the NRA.

The only other reference occurred as the race ended, when winner Kyle Busch was shown hoisting the trophy. The NRA 500 logo was prominently positioned on the trophy, and clearly visible. But, that’s it.

This was the first NASCAR top level race sponsored by the NRA, although they have sponsored other races through the years on lower levels. With a nearly million dollar average cost to sponsor a race, did the NRA get their money’s worth? I would venture to say that they probably didn’t.

One thing is for certain though. Rupert Murdoch and Fox Sports made a stand tonight. They held firm to their beliefs, and decided that any consequences would worth it.  In a sport full of sponsorships, branding, and sell outs, kudos to Fox Sports for sticking to their guns.

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2 responses to “Fox Sports shoots down the NRA in NASCAR”

  1. TJ says:

    “kudos to Fox Sports for sticking to their guns”

    Really? NRA should demand a refund from NASCAR for their sponsership check. It amounts to censorship by the liberal media to suport their views, but denies those with opposing views theirs.

    Murdock at the rest don’t care about the 2nd Amendment so they’ll give on the 1st just as quick. Who’s selling out?

  2. Kris says:

    This is utterly disgusting.. What did the NRA have to do with Newtown? Enough is enough. I personally think this is diserving of a lawsuit..

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