Barrett-Jackson switches networks, leaving Discovery and joining A+E

Live broadcasts of collector car auctions and other features will be shown on FYI and History channels

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Heated bidding for a 1967 Ford Mustang Eleanor Tribute Edition at the recent Scottsdale auction | Barrett-jackson photo

Barrett-Jackson, which revolutionized collector car auctioneering with live TV coverage of its bidding, announced Thursday that it has left the Discovery cable network and will debut on A+E Networks’ FYI and History channels, starting with its Palm Beach, Florida, auction in April.

The agreement with A+E will provide live coverage of Barrett-Jackson’s four annual auctions, as well as producing features and specials focusing on the Scottsdale, Arizona-based auction company, the thousands of collector vehicles that it sells on the block every year, and the many enthusiasts who motivate the hobby. 

Part of the channels’ Drive block of automotive shows, the programming will be named Barrett-Jackson Live.

“The programming will air across weekend dayparts on History and primetime on FYI, as well as non-linear platforms,” Barrett-Jackson said in a new release about the change. “The content on FYI and History will be unique compared to other programming for each channel. Barrett-Jackson Live will be distributed globally by A+E International.

Besides the Palm Beach auction, which will mark 18 years during its April 16-18 sale, Barrett-Jackson holds its signature Scottsdale auction in January, next year celebrating its 50th anniversary; its newest sale at Mohegan Sun, Connecticut, in June; and its Las Vegas auction in September.

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Barrett-Jackson was first televised in 1996 on Speedvision, helping to anchor the fledgling automotive channel. The auction programming was a huge success, attracting thousands of viewers and bringing many new enthusiasts into the collector car hobby.

The station was sold in 2001 to Fox Networks, which shortened its name to SPEED and continuing growing the audience.  But in 2013, Fox pulled SPEED from U.S. cable outlets and opted to turn the station into Fox Sports 1 and to limit its automotive content, resulting in spotty coverage of the auctions. 

In 2014, Barrett-Jackson pulled the plug on Fox and switched to the Discovery network and its Velocity automotive channel, which recently changed to Motor Trend TV.

Barrett-Jackson chief executive Craig Jackson spoke enthusiastically about the new relationship.

“I’ve always been passionate about sharing the excitement of our auctions with enthusiasts,” Jackson said in a news release. “In 1996, we revolutionized our hobby as the first company to broadcast collector car auctions into living rooms across the country.

“Our new agreement with A+E Networks is a wonderful next step in the evolution of our vision to give enthusiasts a front-row seat to our four exciting auctions throughout the year.”

A spokesman for the auction company said that further information about the changeover will be available in the coming days. 

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

6 COMMENTS

  1. They had a good broadcast team on MotorTrend and prior, much better coverage than Mecum has on NBCSN. I hope they retain the same broadcast staff on A&E and broadcast live rather than delayed, also a flaw in Mecum coverage on NBCSN network.

  2. I hope that there will be less commercial time, and ALOT less personal commentary! People dont care that you had a /whatever? back in the day. Show the auction, show the cars on the block!

  3. Live coverage is great, but I also enjoy some rebroadcasting periodically between auctions. Seldom can I watch an entire auction straight through from start to finish, so frequently a replay is actually new to me. I could not understand why the Barrett Jackson auctions were not selectively replayed from time to time. Hope this changes in the future. I do agree the Barrett Jackson staff is very knowledgeable and very hard working.

  4. I won’t watch them. They wait far too long to drop the hammer on a car if it is not bringing the number they think it should bring. They make a mockery of “No Reserve”

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