Chase Elliott pits for service in Kansas

NASCAR News: Rumor says 10 summer races will be streamed (2nd Update)

According to Jim Utter of Motorsport, FOX will broadcast the first 14 races of the season, NBC the final 14 and the middle 10 split between TNT and Amazon.

An official announcement is expected at 5 p.m. EST. on Wednesday in Nashville, where NASCAR is holding its end of the year awards ceremony.

November 27, 2023 

NASCAR President Steve Phelps said during a webinar Monday that the sport will have at least one additional company to broadcast Cup races in 2025.

“We are going to have an additional partner, and we may have two additional partners,” Phelps said. “That’s kind of where we’re trying to figure out in these last few weeks — what that’s going to look like, but we already know we’re going to have more partners.”

“I think what I would call hedging our bet is a smart thing for us to do as a sport,” Phelps said. “No one has any idea what’s going to happen with streaming and what’s going to happen with cable. We do know that broadcast television is going to be around for the foreseeable future at 125 million homes. That’s not going to change.

“What we do know is that the cable universe has declined. So what does that look like in two years, five years, seven years? Don’t know, but we better make sure that we have distribution points that will allow us to be successful moving forward, to have as many eyeballs as we can, while not insignificant, also getting paid. The revenue is significant that comes from these media rights or from these media partners.”

Editor’s Note: Streamed races deliver far fewer viewers, hence teams sponsors will want a discount in what they pay to the teams for those races.

November 21, 2023 

Sports Business Journal report on Monday from John Ourand and Adam Stern states that NASCAR has expanded its offer of mid-summer NASCAR Cup Series broadcasts starting in 2025 to digital streaming platforms to at least 10 races.

NASCAR’s current $8.2 billion, 10-year agreement with NBC Sports and FOX Sports is set to expire at the end of the 2024 season. The SBJ report states that NBC and FOX has agreed in principle to an extension but the number of Cup race broadcasts for each would be less depending on the number of summer races NASCAR can sell.

The report states that Amazon (Prime) and Warner Bros Discovery (which has Bleacher Report and Max) ‘remain front-runners’ and that ‘the two could split the package, with each getting five races.’ The sanctioning body would prefer that one of the two would agree to take the entire 10-week summer stretch.

NASCAR has increased the number of races offered from six to 10, hoping it would ‘entice new bidders to close the deal.’

This next television deal, if it gets completed with a digital streaming platform, would be the first time NASCAR has exclusively aired races on something other than over-the-air or cable television. However, the NASCAR Xfinity Series will air on the CW Network starting in 2025, a $800 million deal that was announced back in July.

The SBJ report articulates the dynamic as cable television ‘trimming costs’ while big streamers like Amazon and Apple are ‘remaining disciplined’ when it comes to spending on sports television rights. It says there is no deadline on making a deal but that NASCAR had hoped to announce a completion by the Championship Week event in Nashville next week.

It’s not a bursting sports rights bubble that cynics have been predicting for the past three decades. But as consumers continue to drop their pay-TV subscriptions and move toward streaming services, media companies have started giving these deals a lot more scrutiny.

In the case of bigger properties, like NASCAR, that means deals are taking much longer to complete than its executives originally expected.

Back in the spring, sources said to expect new NASCAR deals by the middle of summer. In the middle of the summer, they pushed the likely agreements to Labor Day. This week, executives did not want to hazard a guess, not even off the record.

By all accounts, NASCAR’s negotiations are going smoothly. Fox and NBC have told NASCAR officials that they want to renew at slight increases over their current deal. To help secure a healthy increase in overall media revenue, the circuit carved out a package of six midseason races. Amazon and Turner have showed the most interest in that package. Sports Business Journal

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