NBC to drop NASCAR, gain Champ Car UPDATE #2 This rumor is upgraded to 'strong' today. ESPN and ABC Sports are expected to announce soon that they have acquired the July-to-November package of NASCAR races that has been carried by NBC and TNT since 2001, said executives involved in the talks who insisted on anonymity because the contract had not been completed. The six-year ESPN-ABC deal is worth an estimated $280 million annually and will last through 2012, the executives said. At $280 million annually, the ESPN-ABC pairing will pay 40 percent more than the $200 million a year that the NBC-TNT joint venture has paid since 2001 and will pay through next season. New York Times
10/15/05 It's a done deal," a highly placed source told Yahoo! Sports at Lowe's Motor Speedway, site of Saturday's UAW-GM Quality 500. "I've double-checked it and NBC is definitely out." NASCAR on ABC has to be bad news for the IRL because ABC will now pander to NASCAR to pay the huge fees NASCAR will get.
10/15/05 NBC won't extend its contract with NASCAR beyond the 2006 season, a person involved in the negotiations told The Associated Press on Friday. Why? Because the TV networks are losing their shirt with the current TV deal while NASCAR is reaping in the profits.
This can be mega-news for Champ Car which is looking to put more races on network TV. In 2006 Champ Car is expected to have 9 of 16 races on a combination of CBS and NBC and was having a hard time finding available time slots for more. If NBC does not renew with NASCAR, that opens dates for more Champ Car races on NBC.
ABC/ESPN are expected to replace NBC as one of NASCAR's television partners, according to a television executive who declined to be identified because the deal wasn't complete.
NBC currently splits half of NASCAR's 36-race schedule with Fox as part of a six-year, $2.8 billion deal that began in 2001. The contract expires at the end of next season and NBC informed NASCAR last week that it didn't want to extend the relationship because the value the network put on the package was far less than the asking price.
Alana Russo, a spokesperson for NBC Sports, said the network had no comment.
"We are in the middle of contract negotiations right now and we have nothing to announce at this time," NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said. "But it is no secret that ABC/ESPN has expressed a strong interest in being a part of the television negotiations and we are continuing those talks."