Has NBC Sports Network found its niche with motorsports?

NBCSN, formerly NBC Sports Network, formerly Versus and most formerly, the Outdoor Life Network, has been for years trying to find its role in sports television. Before Comcast decided to rebrand the channel as a competitor to ESPN, it was a blend of hunting and outdoor sports shows.

Then in 2005, Comcast began bidding on major sports properties, winning the NHL from ESPN, but losing out on MLB and the NFL. But as the channel has changed names and moved under NBC Sports Group’s umbrella, the network has still tried to find its niche.

During the 2012 and 2014 Olympics, NBCSN saw record ratings, but when the Games ended, the numbers fell back to its normal levels. But now as NBCSN enters 2015 firmly entrenched as the rights holder to Formula 1 and IndyCar and going into its first year with NASCAR, the network may have finally found its role as the home of motorsports.

It began its Formula 1 season this weekend with the Australian Grand Prix and will kick off its IndyCar schedule later this month with the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

But things get really busy in July when NBC/NBCSN picks up the second half of the NASCAR Sprint Cup and Xfinity schedule all the way through the end of the season.

Overall, NBC says it will carry 800 hours of live motorsports action from more than 70 races plus it will carry the season-ending races on either the Peacock mothership or NBCSN.

By having Formula 1, IndyCar and NASCAR, one could successfully argue that NBCSN has replaced the old SPEED network as the home of motorsports. In fact, by carrying so many races, one can say that NBCSN has surpassed what SPEED did.

NBC has provided a few numbers of what this year means to the Sports Group:

1 –
Number of media companies to ever televise NASCAR Sprint Cup, IndyCar and F1 championships in the same year
2 – Number of weekends in which NBC Sports Group will televise a NASCAR Sprint Cup, IndyCar and F1 race. (7/18-7/19 and 8/22-8/23)
51 – Number of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, IndyCar and F1 races NBC Sports Group will televise in 2015
70 – Number of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series, IndyCar, and F1 races NBC Sports Group will televise in 2015
11,804 – Miles NBCSN production staff will travel to cover IndyCar races on NBCSN

And with all of the races being aired across NBC platforms including CNBC, (three F1 races and two IndyCar races), there will be a lot of motorsports action for the fans of the three series to watch. It may have taken ten years, but NBCSN seems to have found its role and it hopes that it will result with increased viewership.

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