As NBC winds down its coverage of the NTT IndyCar Series, it’s putting it is cutting broadcast staff costs.
After next weekend’s season-opening Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park outside Birmingham, the first of 17 races on the schedule, Paul Tracy is only scheduled to be part of the broadcast crew five other times – Texas, Indianapolis, Nashville, Laguna Seca and the last race on the schedule, Long Beach according to Norris McDonald of Wheels.ca.
Since the IndyCar car contract is up with NBC/NBCSN after this year, and Roger Penske is shopping the renewal around with CBS, ABC, Fox, NBC has already started to make cuts. While they have committed to keep NASCAR, the IndyCar deal might go to another network.
Why have three people in the booth when two would do? (The trio will kick off the season next week but then Tracy is out until Texas and then Indianapolis.) They’ve done the same with the number of people reporting from the pits. Two will now do there, too. The rest of the economizing is taking place behind the scenes and viewers probably won’t notice.
The best bet for IndyCar would be ABC/ESPN since they now have no other motorsports coverage except F1. And ABC has a long history with IndyCar and ABC/ESPN has the most to offer if they decide to really get behind IndyCar – they have many media platforms plus ESPN International, which would bring the races to 71 countries.