NBC, MTV Team for Action Sports Tour

NEW YORK NBC and MTV have formed a venture to jointly operate and expand the Action Sports Tour, a series of extreme events that features competitions in skateboarding, BMX and freestyle motocross and, later this year, snowboarding and other winter sports.

NBC, which had been the sole owner of the tour, sold a nearly 50 percent interest to MTV for an undisclosed sum. NBC bought out its previous partner, Live Nation (which held a 45 percent stake,  for an estimated $20 million last year.

PepsiCo’s Mountain Dew, which has been the title sponsor of the annual summer tour, has also agreed to become the name sponsor of a new winter tour that will feature events in December, January and February.

The summer and winter competitions will air on NBC. MTV will produce lifestyle programming featuring some of the tour’s biggest stars (as well as musical acts associated with the venture), and handle consumer licensing efforts and other duties. MTV’s specific programming plans weren’t disclosed, but executives at the network pointed to reality show The Life of Ryan featuring pro skateboarder Ryan Sheckler as one possible model.

As a result of the partnership, the number of annual programming hours will double to more than 70, the networks said. In addition, an extensive lineup of online content will be produced.

Velocity, a sports marketing unit of Aegis Media, will continue to handle ad sales. Those efforts are bundled into cross-platform packages. Other sponsors include Panasonic, Toyota, Right Guard, Wendy’s, Sony PlayStation and Verizon.

“MTV pioneered the marriage of music, sports and lifestyle back in the early 1990s” said Van Toffler, president of MTV Networks Music and Logo Group, in a statement. “Today, by joining forces with NBC Sports on the [tour], we’ll be giving our audience the chance to experience a next generation sports tour that covers it all.”
Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Sports and Olympics, said: “When we created the Action Sports Tour, we always hoped that one day MTV would be a strategic partner. The tour will see immediate benefits from this alliance and is now uniquely positioned for long-term growth.”