MAVTV’s Bob Patison Talks ‘Soup to Nuts’
Interview - MAVTV
Bob Patison calls it “soup-to-nuts.”
It’s the general operating philosophy around MAVTV, an entertainment and television production company based in Corona with a nationwide distribution to 55 million homes.
“The same strategy that built Lucas Oil is what we’re using to build MAVTV, and it’s working the same way,” said Patison, executive vice president of Lucas Oil and MAVTV’s president. “We start at the grassroots level and we work up. It’s a formula that we know works and quite frankly it’s the only way we know how to do business.”
Lucas Oil was created by Forrest Lucas and his wife, Charlotte, in Corona in 1989. Lucas, a native of Indiana, filled his growing fleet of tractor-trailers with sales of his new products, and innovative research and aggressive marketing established the company as a world leader in the automotive additives and lubricants. In 2006, Lucas Oil purchased the naming rights to the home the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, Lucas Oil Stadium, for $120 million.
The motor oil and car products company purchased flailing cable network Maverick Television, of which it was already an investor, in 2011 and rebranded. MAVTV — available on Dish Network and Direct TV among others — currently delivers all of Lucas Oil’s various motor sports properties to an increasing legion of viewers.
“We realized that as long as we were dependent on other networks to carry our programming there’s always that element that’s beyond our control,” Patison said.
“We got into the TV business in 2008 as an investor to learn more about and to understand what that industry was all about,” he said. “We needed to secure our position in the motorsports world and that we always had a platform to deliver our programming content.”
MAVTV produces more than 300 hours of original motor sports content a year, according to Patison, portions of which it sells to seven different television outlets, including NBC Sports and CBS Sports Networks.
Lucas Oil owns and operates six racing series – the Lucas Oil Off Road trucks and Lucas Oil Late Model stock cars the most prominent -- and owns and operates facilities in Wheatland, Mo. and Indianapolis.
“We’re deeply embedded into the racing culture but we’re also reaching out to other organizations that are now displaced with no television coverage and bringing them onto our network,” Patison said.
The departure of motor sports-oriented networks SPEED and Fuel TV from the airwaves left a number of racing series and racing-related shows without an outlet. MAVTV has been keen to take advantage.
“It’s been a great opportunity for us to reach out to an underserved niche in the market,” Patison said. “There’s a lot of people that love motor sports programming. They love racing and with the transformation of SPEED and Fuel TV by FOX, they were left without a home.”
FOX created Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 in August, limiting production of sister properties SPEED and Fuel TV in the process.
“It gave us the opportunity to step up and fill that void, which we’ve done and we’re going to continue to do by producing more race television shows through our own studios,” he said.
The studios, off of Main Street in Corona, are housed in what was originally a Sunkist citrus processing plant built in 1928. Forrest Lucas bought the property in 2000 and oversaw the redesign of a building that had been everything from a home for rave parties to a steel fabrication facility and a swap meet in between.
Lucas Oil currently fills and ships all Pacific and Asian exports through the facility while the media production offices hum upstairs.
“All the valves, all the pumps, all the work stations; (Lucas) personally was hands-on designing all that,” Patison said. “It’s a building with some heritage and some history and it suits us quite well.”
The network has secured rights to studio shows previously aired on SPEED including “Gears” hosted by Stacy David and “My Classic Car” hosted Dennis Gage, and is producing an original drag-race competition show called “One & Done” hosted by Rich Christianson.
For the former Fuel TV viewer the network is producing “Dangerous Waters,” a reality series following a group of adventurers attempting to circumnavigate Earth on jet skis.
Patison said MAVTV is “trying to be something that appeals to the average American working family.”
The network purchased naming rights to the IZOD IndyCar Series’ return to the Auto Club Speedway last year with the MAVTV 500. It also has its name on this year’s race on Oct. 19.
“We’re expecting a very robust crowd, in no small part due to the help that we get from MAVTV and our other partners who have worked aggressively to get out to word about the IndyCar Series here at Auto Club Speedway,” speedway president Gillian Zucker said.
The network is planning more live coverage in 2014, and also has secured rights to the popular AMA Outdoor Motorcross Series.
“We’re going to have the entire AMA Outdoor Pro Motocross Series on our network — the first motos — all throughout the season. The second motos will air on NBC Sports but the entire season — first moto —s will be live on MAVTV. So that’s a big step up,” Patison said. In between all the racing, the network airs some of Sony Pictures best movies. A deal was reached with Sony Pictures in 2010 to access select films from its library.
“It’s part of the mix we’re offering up on MAVTV,” Patison said.
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