html

ThatsRacin.com


NBC regains spot in NASCAR plan with 10-year deal

Extended television runs by ESPN, TNT will come to an end after 2014

- jutter@charlotteobserver.com
Tuesday, Jul. 23, 2013

Everything old is new again when it comes to NASCAR’s national TV deal that will go into effect for the 2015 season.

On Tuesday, NASCAR and NBC announced a 10-year deal in which NBC and NBC Sports Network would combine to broadcast 20 Sprint Cup Series races and half of the Nationwide Series each season.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

When the 2015 season begins, NASCAR’s national TV deal will look much like its first in 2001 with Fox and NBC splitting the season.

“This is about the future,” said NASCAR chairman Brian France. “The future for us with all of the assets of NBC, Universal and Comcast made a very compelling point that we’re better together going forward.”

Fox Sports announced an eight-year extension with NASCAR last fall that will run from 2015 through 2022. That $2.4 billion deal included the Daytona 500, 12 other Cup races and the entire Truck Series season. Fox also is set to add three Cup races previously shown by TNT and the first half of the Nationwide Series season, the Observer has reported.

France confirmed Tuesday part of the Nationwide Series will be broadcast on Fox Spots 1, which will debut next month.

The addition of NBC and expansion of Fox’s commitment to NASCAR means the 2014 season will be the last with broadcast rights held by ESPN and TNT. The last time at least one NASCAR series wasn’t shown by ESPN was 2006.

“ESPN has enjoyed a long and mutually beneficial relationship with NASCAR. We have tremendous respect for the France family, the drivers and all in the sport and wish them well,” said John Skipper, ESPN’s president.

ESPN and TNT had exclusive rights to renegotiate through July 14. After that date, NASCAR was free to explore other options.

“Turner Sports is proud of the partnership we’ve built with NASCAR over the past 31 years and the role our company has played in helping to grow the sport,” said David Levy, president of sales, distribution and sports, for Turner Broadcasting.

“We think NASCAR is an attractive property, but we are disciplined in our approach to negotiating sports rights and could not come up with a business model that was financially prudent for our company.”

NBC officials wasted no time embracing their new-found agreement. The network’s @NASCARonNBC Twitter account was activated Tuesday afternoon.

“We are thrilled to be back,” Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Sports Group. “When NBC was involved with NASCAR from 2001 to 2006, it was a very good experience for NBC.

“We think that the stakeholders at NASCAR, led by Brian as well as the teams, the owners, the tracks, the drivers, will all welcome us back with open arms based on previous history and experience with us.

“We couldn’t be happier to have NASCAR back as a tent-pole property for NBC and NBC Sports Network.”

While financial terms of the NBC deal were not disclosed, France did say he expected Cup series purses would be larger in 2015 than during 2014.