Tuesday, July 23, 2013

NBC Takes Over NASCAR ESPN & Half of Turner Package in 2015

About a month ago rumors began circulating that NBC was looking into reacquiring NASCAR as a lead into Sunday Night Football. This morning rumors began circulating that NBC and FOX would join forces to purchase ESPN's NASCAR rights and half of Turner's rights beginning in the 2015 season. This afternoon an official release was made concerning it all. Here is the official word from NBC Sports Group.


Ten-Year Agreement Returns NASCAR to NBC Family of Networks Beginning in 2015, Further Underscores Strength of NASCAR’s Live Racing Product
And Positions Industry for Continued Growth
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. and NEW YORK (July 23, 2013) – NASCAR and NBC Sports Group announced today they have reached a comprehensive agreement that grants NBCUniversal exclusive rights to the final 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, final 19 NASCAR Nationwide Series events, select NASCAR Regional & Touring Series events and other live content beginning in 2015. Financial terms of the agreement, which runs through the 2024 season, were not disclosed.
With this partnership, NBC’s 20 Sprint Cup race schedule includes becoming the exclusive home to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR’s final 10 races of the season, including its season-ending championship event which will return to network television in 2015 for the first time since 2009. Of NBC Sports Group’s 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events, seven will be carried on NBC annually, with 13 airing on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN). Four of NBC Sports Group’s 19 NASCAR Nationwide Series races will air on NBC, with 15 airing on NBCSN.
“NBC is known for being an exceptional partner and delivering outstanding production quality and presentation of live sports, as well as its broad portfolio of broadcast and digital properties so we are thrilled with the commitment they have made to NASCAR and its future,” said NASCAR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Brian France. “We know this partnership will yield great value to our entire industry, provide a premium experience to our most important stakeholders, the fans, and help us achieve a number of strategic growth objectives. Our new partnership with NBC and the recent extension by FOX validate the strength of our fan base and the many bold steps we have taken the last several years to provide fans with better, more accessible racing.”
In addition to rights to NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR Nationwide Series races, NBC has also obtained exclusive rights to practice and qualifying sessions for NBC’s national series events during their portion of the season, as well as rights to broadcast the NASCAR K&N Series, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, NASCAR Toyota (Mexico) Series, the NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony and NASCAR’s season-ending banquets. Further, NBC has been granted Spanish-language rights, certain video-on-demand rights and exclusive TV Everywhere rights for its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series events.
“Acquiring the rights and bringing NASCAR back to NBC comes at an important point in time for NBC Sports Network, NBC, and all of our distributors and affiliates,” said NBC Sports Group Chairman, Mark Lazarus. “We look forward to working with Brian and his management team, who have brought a renewed focus to NASCAR’s intersection of sports and technology.”
“We are excited about the cross-promotional opportunities NBC provides, especially in the timeframes right before NBC’s NASCAR schedule and during the Chase,” said NASCAR VP of Broadcasting and Productions, Steve Herbst. “We’re confident NBC will utilize its powerful Championship Season lineup, including the NHL Playoffs, Premier League, the French Open, the Kentucky Derby and other events, to build interest and excitement for NASCAR. Those opportunities, combined with the opportunity to lead into the number one show on television – NBC’s Sunday Night Football – for select Chase races, were both very attractive prospects when considering this partnership.”
Summary of key NBC Sports Group Exclusive Rights – 2015-2024:
  • Final 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races (7 on NBC, 13 on NBCSN)
  • Final 19 NASCAR Nationwide Series races (4 on NBC, 15 on NBCSN)
  • NASCAR K&N Series and NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events
  • NASCAR Toyota (Mexico) Series events
  • NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony and season-ending banquets
  • ‘TV Everywhere’ live-streaming rights for NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series
  • Spanish-language broadcast rights on Telemundo and Mun2 for national series events and NASCAR Toyota (Mexico) Series
– NBC Sports Group –

With this move NBC gains 11 races for their national network. NASCAR also gains a national Spanish network in Telemundo, though I have always wondered why Fox Deportes didn't simulcast the races like they do with Fox Saturday Baseball. It also provides them some much needed content for Saturday's and Sunday's after Barclays Soccer and College Football. ESPN President John Skipper has issued the following statement about the loss of NASCAR.

ESPN Statement on NASCAR

Statement from John Skipper, President of ESPN:
“ESPN has enjoyed a long and mutually beneficial relationship with NASCAR.  We have tremendous respect for the France family, the drivers and all in the sport and wish them well.  We will continue to serve NASCAR fans through SportsCenter and our other news platforms as we continue to enhance our industry-leading collection of quality assets.
“We are looking forward to the start of our Sprint Cup season and will continue with our deep commitment to the highest quality coverage.”

It should be noted that 3 Sprint Cup races and 14 Nationwide Races Turner currently remain up for sale, so ESPN could acquire it if they want to stay involved with NASCAR, though I would lean towards Fox Sports 1 going after the package. I'll keep you informed as more information comes our way. 

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