Speed (TV channel)

Speed tv.png
Launched January 1, 1996 (USA)
November 1, 2010 (Australia)
Owned by News Corporation
(SPEED Channel Inc.)
Premier Media Group (Australia)
Picture format USA
480i (SDTV)
720p (HDTV)
576i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Country United States
Language English
Headquarters Charlotte, NC
Formerly called Speedvision
Website www.speed.com
DirecTV Channel 607 (SD/HD)
Channel 1607 (VOD)
Dish Network Channel 150 (SD/HD)
Channel 206 (HD)
Channel 505 (SD)
Austar (Australia) Channel 206 (HD)
Channel 505 (SD)
Bell TV Channel 417
Shaw Direct Channel 406
SKY México Channel 527
SKY Brasil Channel 28
Via Embratel Channel 50
Verizon FiOS Channel 83 (SD)
Channel 583 (HD)
EastLink Check local listings
Rogers Check local listings
Foxtel (Australia) Channel 206 (HD)
Channel 505 (SD)
Optus TV (Australia) Channel 505
Bell Fibe TV (Canada) Channel 417
TELUS TV (Canada) Channel 117
AT&T U-Verse Channel 1652 (HD)
Channel 652 (SD)

Speed (formerly Speed Channel), is a cable and satellite television network broadcast to various parts of North America, but primarily the United States. The network, based in Charlotte, North Carolina at University Research Park, currently broadcasts mostly automotive-related programming.

Programming includes live Formula One racing, NASCAR-related shows, how-to programming, auto-related movies such as The Fast and the Furious, auto shows, less-popular racing series, a weekly news show, call-in shows, and reality shows. Bobsledding, luge, and skeleton events were shown during the winter months (especially since 1986 Daytona 500 champion Geoff Bodine began his support of the International Bobsleigh Federation (FIBT) events, including a fund-raiser with automobile racing stars) until 2007-08 when Universal Sports took over. Speed is also the exclusive United States broadcaster of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Petit Le Mans, the NASCAR Sprint Cup All-Star Race, the Gatorade Duels at Daytona & the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.



The channel which eventually became Speed Channel was launched on New Year's Day 1996, by Roger L. Werner Jr., E. Roger Williams, Nickolas Rhodes and Robert Scanlon under the name Speedvision. Ownership included Cox Communications, Continental Cable and AT&T. Under their management, Speedvision became the fastest growing cable network of all time while delivering the highest male viewing audience per household of any cable or broadcast network in existence.

In the summer of 2001, Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation purchased one-third of Speedvision. In August 2001, they negotiated to acquire the stakes owned by Cox and Comcast, thus giving them majority ownership. Fox leveraged the network as a negotiating tool for NASCAR television rights which were split with NBC. The plan was to morph the channel into a 24-hour NASCAR network. This plan was ultimately shelved in the fall due to Fox management's unwillingness to place NASCAR races on the channel.

On February 11, 2002 at 7:59 p.m. ET, Speedvision relaunched as Speed Channel. The first program of the new format was a special launch show and 2002 NASCAR preview focusing on Speedweeks 2002. News Corp.'s Fox had a year-old relationship as a NASCAR broadcaster, many NASCAR shows began airing on Speed Channel, a move that was unpopular with some of the network's viewers. However, with the increased NASCAR programming, viewership is at all-time highs, with the channel being added to many regular cable lineups.

Programming notes

In its nearly seven-year existence under its new name, Speed has made an effort to show more live races. From 2001–2003 and in 2005 and 2006, Speed broadcasted select Champ Car races. In October 2002 Speed bought out the remaining year of ESPN's three-year contract for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, and in February 2003, began showing live exclusive coverage of the series. The network's coverage of the truck series' Florida Dodge Dealers 250 for February 18, 2005 scored a Nielsen rating of 2.1, the highest-rated program in the network's history. Another Speed staple is WindTunnel with Dave Despain, a live call-in show that has been on the network since February 2003.

Since its inception in 1996, there has been a racing series which was created by Werner, Williams and Scanlon, named after the network-the SPEED World Challenge, formerly named, not surprisingly, the Speedvision World Challenge. SPEED also runs a very short segment during its commercial breaks, titled, "My First Car", in which celebrities like Ron Howard, Pierce Brosnan, and George Lucas (who has a great love for Fiat) and SPEED Channel viewers talk about the first set of wheels they ever drove.

Speed made news with the 2005 firing of network president Jim Liberatore, who had been with the network since Fox bought it in 2001 when it was still Speedvision, reportedly because Liberatore had wanted to reduce the number of NASCAR-related shows on the network, and the network brass wanted more NASCAR-related programming. Liberatore is now attempting to start a new network called The Racing Network, which will be closer to the original Speedvision.

The network's targeting of younger viewers with an overwhelming amount of NASCAR coverage at the expense of other racing series and automotive instructional shows angered some network viewers, who feared that SPEED was close to becoming a network which would not cover anything but NASCAR. However, the organization's programming continues to draw viewers to the network. Some Speed viewers have thus suggested a spin-off network for non-NASCAR programming or to focus on open wheel racing, just like ESPN has with ESPN2.

Name change

In late 2005, Speed Channel re-branded itself as Speed, canceling some TV shows including NASCAR Nation. Sometime in 2007, the change became official, as the word "channel" was dropped from its logo. Its trademarked name uses all upper case letters, rendering the name SPEED.


Speed HD is a 720p high definition simulcast of Speed that launched on February 8, 2008. DirecTV was one of the first to carry this new channel. Dish Network launched Speed HD on May 8, 2009.

The channel was also launched on November 1, 2010 in Australia on Pay TV provider Foxtel. It accompanied the launch of the standard-definition version of the channel.


Speed has also been criticized for narrowing its offering of professional motor sports, in particular after it quit coverage of WRC. With the exception of most NASCAR, Formula One, Grand Am, American Le Mans Series, and World of Outlaws races, few of the races are broadcast live. Some races are even broadcast months after they take place. Fans have also been critical of Speed because coverage and programming has become very NASCAR-centric with hours of pre race shows, re-runs, and talk shows leaving little room for other events to be broadcast live. Likely a reason that for the 2011 season and onward the American Le Mans Series left the network for ABC/ESPN/ESPN3 coverage citing that Speed did not reach out to enough people for the series to properly expand its fan base.


Speed is primarily a satellite and digital cable network, although many areas in the U.S. do have the network in their basic cable packages. It is also available in Canada and in Brazil. Racing coverage, particularly that of Formula One, is sometimes subject to blackout outside the U.S. In the spring of 2006, Speed launched Speed Mobile, where fans can download ringtones and mobile wallpapers made by Speed to their mobile phones.

Latin American service

Speed's Latin American channel has live coverage of NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR Nationwide Series, Rolex Sports Car Series, American Le Mans Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Also shows delayed coverage of World Series by Renault and NASCAR Mexico. Other programming includes highlights shows of Australia's V8 Supercars (delayed), Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (One week delayed to Brazil), British Formula Three Championship, FIA GT (months delayed), AMA Supercross (delayed), Monster Jam (delayed), Argentine TC 2000 and Turismo Carretera and Colombian T.C. 2000, as well as non-motorsport programs such as Grand Prix On Track, Grand Prix Story, Unique Whips, Tuner Mania and Pinks.

Australian Service

Speed launched in Australia on November 1, 2010 on Foxtel in both standard and high definition.[1] After months of negotiations and controversy, on March 25th 2011, Speed and Speed HD launched on Austar (the regional Australia subscription television provider).[2] The Australian channel shows NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR Nationwide Series, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, V8 Supercars, and Superbike World Championship to name a few. The channel also has its own production of SPEED News.

Programs, racing series and specials

SPEED on-air personalities

SPEED TV Formula One commentators record a panel discussion at the 2006 United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (left to right – Derek Daly, Peter Windsor, Bob Varsha, David Hobbs, Sam Posey, Steve Matchett)


  1. ^ "SPEED is on the air". 'David Knox'. http://www.tvtonight.com.au/2010/11/speed-is-on-the-air.html. Retrieved 2010-11-02. 
  2. ^ "AUSTAR News: SPEED Channel , About Austar - AUSTAR Television". 'Austar'. http://www.austar.com.au/tv/about-austar/austar-news-speed.aspx. Retrieved 2011-03-24. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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