SBD/October 1, 2012/Media

NASCAR Close To Finalizing Early Renewal Of TV Deal With Fox

NASCAR approached ESPN and Turner Sports about new deals earlier this summer
NASCAR is “close to finalizing a new TV deal with Fox for the first half of the Sprint Cup season, but a deal for the second half will not be wrapped up until next summer at the earliest,” according to sources cited by Ourand & Mickle of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Sources said that Fox has “agreed on the broad terms of a new deal to continue in the sport.” An announcement is “likely to come in the weeks after" the net's new MLB deal is announced officially. NASCAR approached ESPN and Turner Sports earlier this summer about new deals, but both “chose to wait until their exclusive negotiating windows kick in next summer.” ESPN and Turner Sports execs told NASCAR that they are “not willing to start negotiations on their media contracts early.” Mickle & Ourand note the addition of NBC Sports as a “serious new bidder could create a bidding battle that could help push rights fees higher than many expect.” ESPN, which carries the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship, is “interested in renewing its deal.” Turner, which carries six midseason races, is “interested in adding more races to its schedule.” Sources said that NASCAR “hasn’t decided whether it will sell its entire package of rights to one partner, two partners or three, as it has in its current deal.” Fox' current deal runs through ‘14, but it “wanted to begin negotiations early to account for its plans to rebrand one of its channels into an all-sports channel that it’s calling Fox Sports One” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/1 issue).

MONSTER MILE: ESPN earned a 2.1 overnight Nielsen ratings yesterday for NASCAR's AAA 400 from 2:00-5:30pm ET, which marked the third race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup. That figure is down 12.5% from a 2.4 rating for the same race last year (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).
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