News broke Tuesday afternoon that NASCAR would not renew its contract with ESPN and TNT after the current one ends in 2014. A press conference held by NASCAR at 3 p.m ET confirmed this change, saying that NBC is now in the mix.
In 2015, NBC will begin a ten-year deal, which includes showing the final twenty Sprint Cup races, including The Chase, and last nineteen Nationwide races. Thirteen Cup races will be shown on NBC Sports Network. Of the Nationwide races, four will air on NBC, the other fifteen on NBCSN. Select races in the NASCAR K&N Series and NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will be broadcasted.
Also, NBC now has the rights to the NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony and the season-ending banquets. Practice and qualifying, as well has regional series, are included.
This package is similar to the arrangements made back in 2001, where NBC shares the schedule with FOX.
“NBC is known for beings an exceptional partner and delivering outstanding production quality and presentation of live sports…we are thrilled with the commitment they have made to NASCAR and its future,” NASCAR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brian France is quoted as saying. “Our new partnership with NBC and the recent extension by FOX validate the strength of our fan base and the many bold steps we have taken the last several years to provide fans with better, more accessible racing.”
By accessible, France means that NBC will use its ‘TV Everywhere’ concept to live-stream Cup and Nationwide races online.
ESPN released a statement right after the news was confirmed, stating it would continue to promote NASCAR on SportsCenter and their other various outlets after 2014.
Although this deal ends a lot of speculation, it leaves three races on the table, which may be picked up by FOX or their newest sports channel, FOX Sports 1.
Fan reaction is well-mixed at this point, due to the fact that many don’t get NBCSN with their current cable package. There is also the issue with Canadian fans losing their access. However, some go on to comment that it is a great move by NASCAR and NBC.
Next year will begin The Goodbye Tour for ESPN and TNT, but NBC isn’t upset at all. Hopefully this new agreement will be the best for NASCAR and its fans.