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DATE News (chronologically)
01/02/13
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NASCAR looking to marginalize IndyCar and F1 on NBC  UPDATE The Motor Racing Network (MRN) recently revealed that the NBC Sports Channel, formerly known as Versus, is looking for a piece of NASCAR action to possibly knock out ESPN/ABC for the last third of the NASCAR Sprint Cup races. NBC Sports is also currently out shopping for top TV sports programs beyond the NASCAR Sprint Cup as well.

That last third of the NASCAR Sprint Cup is currently aired by ESPN and ABC with those rights expiring in 2014. However, NBC Sports could knock TNT out of the NASCAR box instead of ESPN/ABC only because it would be a lot easier for them to get a foothold in NASCAR now during the middle of the NASCAR season. Consider the fact that ESPN and ABC have a lot of depth and opportunities that NASCAR benefits from now with all of their extensive sports programming on the ESPN channels.

We think that TNT rather than ABC/ESPN will be the NBC Sports target. Comcast currently owns NBC, and we can expect some further jockeying by that company as time goes on. At the same time, it stands to reason that NBC Sports will be also looking at other programming rights for MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL and PGA, among others.

Changes on the Speed Channel have Leigh Diffy departing that Fox-owned TV entity for greener patches as he’ll be calling those races when the NBC Sports Channel takes over USA airings of the Formula 1 circuit. For many years it’s been on Speed and Fox Sports. Prior to that it was on the ESPNs/ABC. The Speed Channel is also expected to be changing over to other sports beyond motorsports.

We’ve noticed that the Speed logo on the screen has quietly changed over to the Fox Sports Channel/Speed. How much of the heavy NASCAR programming will be cut as the transition to an all sports channel is still a mystery. We’ve always felt that there’s been too much NASCAR programming on Speed anyway. Some of which does not make sense, like game shows and the like. Only the movers and shakers in the FSC/Speed know what’s going on. In order to make room for other sports entities, we feel that a lot of the NASCAR programming that doesn’t have good ratings will get the axe. Non-NASCAR programming on Speed could get cut for the same reason. Also Bob Varsha, long Speed’s F1 guy, moves to the Grand Am Series which is still on Speed.

Fro the IZOD Indy Car 2013 schedule we will see TV airing split between NBC Sports and ABC. The former network, NBC Sports, should consider puffing their motorsports weekends on the morning, noon and prime time programming to get the sports fans to tune in. In addition, the IZOD Indy Car series has to step up their promotion as both F1 and NASCAR continue to marginalize the IZOD Indy Cars during the past few years.

NASCAR does it by having the most American drivers while F1 does the same thing to Indy Car by having a large roster of world class drivers. The other bad situation in Indy Car is its internal problems such as firing their top man Randy Bernard because the race team principals didn’t like him. Consider that, prior to the merger with Indy Car race teams a few years ago, it did little to help get back a lot of former fans. The race teams members of CART and Champ Car also went through two bankruptcies which didn’t help their standing at all.

Known for lots of dysfunction, infighting and setbacks, it’s been an uphill battle for the IZOD Indy Car Series for longer than a decade. We’ve also read and heard rumors that IZOD wants out of the Indy Car deal, which is not good if that’s true. It wouldn’t surprise us that it is true given the state of Indy Car. That could be put to bed though if IZOD and Indy Car came out with some clarification. The longer motorsports awaits that announcement the more there’ll be a shadow over the entire Indy Car scene. MotorsportsNews.net

12/24/12 The shift to a less passive audience that would rather interrelate with a race telecast than just watch comes as NASCAR negotiates its next television contract. The current deal expires after the 2014 season and by the time '15 rolls around the TV landscape could look very different. FOX has already renewed its agreement through 2022 to the tune of $300 million per year, or $2.4 billion over the eight years. That's a significant bump up from the $220 million Fox is currently paying for a package of races that includes the Daytona 500.

Despite a drop in ratings, an increase is also expected from other television entities for the remaining components of the contract, which include 23 other Sprint Cup races, ten inside the Chase, and the entire Nationwide Series schedule. Incumbents TNT and ABC/ESPN are expected to again jump back into negotiations but a wild card has come to the table in the form of NBC. Desperate for quality and popular live sports programming for its NBC Sports Channel, the Peacock Network is expected to make a substantial play for a big piece of the NASCAR pie. But while the dollars may turn out to be greater in the NBC proposal, at this point the network could not match the exposure and publicity NASCAR receives from the "World Wide Leader" in sports. As part of the mighty ESPN machine, NASCAR enjoys a hefty amount of promotion on not just auto racing-related programming but a wide range of content across a variety of television, radio and online platforms. Motor Racing Network

[Editor's Note: History has shown that regardless of the network IndyCar moves to (and now F1) NASCAR will soon follow and overwhelm them. Until NASCAR owns IndyCar, they will always look to marginalize IndyCar.]

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