Comcast is about to do the most Red State-ish thing possible, and start sponsoring NASCAR.
Not a team. More like … the sport itself. A large chunk of it, at least. The minor leagues, essentially.
NASCAR is in advanced talks with Comcast Xfinity about becoming title sponsor of the sport’s secondary series.
Nationwide Insurance, which has sponsored the series since 2007, is in the final year of its title sponsorship, and NASCAR has been looking for a replacement sponsor for the Nationwide Series since last fall.
Conversations with Xfinity, which is Comcast’s video service, have been going on for several months. Sources familiar with the negotiations said the parties have not reached a contract phase but that Comcast has emerged as a leading candidate for the sponsorship.
NASCAR is asking for up to $15 million annually to sponsor the series; Comcast-owned NBC Sports already has a 10-year, $4.4 billion deal to broadcast the league nationally.
The question is: Is the sponsorship designed to get more people to pay for Comcast/Xfinity service? Or to make Comcast so beloved among NASCAR fans that Red State politicians lend their support to efforts like the Time Warner Cable merger?
Or maybe a bit of both?
Other Comcastic headlines:
• The data limits have started: Comcast is testing data caps for its broadband internet customers that would limit them to 300 GB of data per month, according to The Times Leader. Comcast has started open trials of its home broadband data caps in several large markets around the country. Comcast will limit those residential customers using its Xfinity Internet Service to 300 GB per month. They’ll have to pay $10 for each additional block of 50 GB they use. Depending on one’s compression stream, Comcast spokesperson Charlie Douglas told The Times Leader that 300 GB could get you “more than 230 hours of high-definition movies, or also 575 hours of standard-definition movies, 40,000 to 93,000 ebooks a month, [or] 585 million tweets.” Douglas also said people that use less than 5 GB of data a month can opt into the program and save $5 a month. (Business Insider)
• Democrats want to ban “fast lanes”:congressional Democrats want to put a ban on fast lanes, using legislation. A bill unveiled by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Rep. Doris Matsui, D-Calif., requires the Federal Communications Commission — the authority charged with enforcing net neutrality — to use whatever authority it sees fit to stop "paid prioritization" agreements between broadband providers (like Comcast) and content providers (like Netflix). This aim of the Online Competition and Consumer Choice Act is to make sure your Internet providers don't speed up some types of content (like Netflix videos) but not others. "Americans are speaking loud and clear," Leahy said. "They want an Internet that is a platform for free expression and innovation, where the best ideas and services can reach consumers based on merit rather than based on a financial relationship with a broadband provider." (NPR)
• ...while the FCC investigates the slow lanes: The Federal Communications Commission announced it is investigating service problems for customers of Internet service providers (ISPs), such as Comcast and Verizon, and content providers like Hulu, Netflix and Amazon. FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said that his staff is collecting information from ISPs and content providers to understand "precisely what is happening in order to understand whether consumers are being harmed." "Some broadband providers argue that our actions, and not theirs, are causing a degraded Netflix experience," Netflix spokesman Joris Evers wrote in a company blog post on Monday. "Netflix does not purposely select congested routes. We pay some of the world’s largest transit networks to deliver Netflix video right to the front door of an ISP. Where the problem occurs is at that door -- the interconnection point -- when the broadband provider hasn’t provided enough capacity to accommodate the traffic their customer requested." (WPRO)