Nickell Bows Out as Speed President

Fox Sports vet departs after six years at the wheel

Speed president Hunter Nickell on Monday announced he is stepping down from his post at the end of the year, putting the brakes on a six-year stint at the Fox Sports cable network.

Nickell’s resignation comes as Speed continues to rebound from a lengthy ratings slump. In November, the channel returned to the top 50 among adults 18-49, averaging 90,000 members of the demo (up 14 percent from the prior-year period). Since Nickell was named president in 2007, Speed has added nearly 16 million households, bringing its overall reach to 84 million households. He joined the network as evp and general manager in 2005. Before that, Nickell put in 12 years as general manager of FSN South.

Fox Sports is expected to name an interim replacement for Nickell by the end of the week.

“It’s unfortunate that Hunter is stepping away after all that he’s done for Speed,” said David Hill, Fox Sports Media Group chairman. “He’s a man of great character, a true gentleman and he’s served Fox tirelessly for many years.”

Nickell indicated that he would close out a few odds and ends before taking his leave of the channel, which of late has bulked up on Nascar shoulder programming. In a statement, Nickell said only that he had “worked with great people and awesome partners,” before adding that he “had a blast” at the network.

Speed in 2010 took in $100.6 million in net ad sales revenue, an improvement of 9 percent versus the previous year, per SNL Kagan estimates. At 20 cents per sub per month, the channel pulls in approximately $201.6 million per year in affiliate revenue.