NASCAR to lay off 15 percent of video unit

Sept. 12, 2012 at 2:23 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Sept. 12 (UPI) -- A North Carolina unit of NASCAR that produces videos for the motorsports giant announced it will lay off about 15 percent of its workforce.

NASCAR Productions will eliminate 32 of 180 jobs, although some people will remain until the last of the Sprint Cup races are run in the fall, The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer reported.

Steve Herbst, the head of the unit, said Tuesday executives decided to end production work on videos for outside accounts such as music videos and Notre Dame hockey not related to motorsports.

The unit occupies four floors of the 20-story NASCAR Plaza building. It built a studio in 2009 with $40 million worth of digital technology. At its peak, the unit was producing 100 hours of video a week.

While it produces "Inside NASCAR" for Showtime, its biggest client has been Fox Sports' Speed channel, which reaches 81 million U.S. households. Speed has cut back on some NASCAR programming to run other shows.

Herbst said the organization is considering the creation of a NASCAR cable channel similar to that of the NFL Channel.

Despite the job cuts, he said NASCAR's digital unit, NASCAR.com, was expected to add about 60 positions by the end of the year.

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