NBC U and MTV think they have an answer to ESPN’s (DIS) X-Games: They’ve formed a joint venture to expand Action Sports Tour, an extreme sports franchise with eight events throughout the year.
NBC U will more than double the amount of programming it generates from the series from 33 hours to more than 70. Some of the coverage will air on MTV and MTV2, which will also develop lifestyle programming around athletes competing in skateboarding, surfing, BMX, and winter sports events.
NBC U (GE) created the Action Sports Tour brand, but its networks don’t reach young people on the scale of MTV, and NBC Sports president Dick Ebersol said “we always hoped one day MTV would be a partner.” MTV (VIA) will also build web properties around the events, including boosting the amount of video on ast.com, which will get a relaunch in December.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but MTV Networks president Van Toffler said Viacom would be contributing cash, airtime, and programming resources to the joint venture. “It’s a marriage of resources; we are betting a lot on the success of this,” he said.
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