SBD/July 24, 2013/Media

NBC Sports Boosts Motorsports Offerings With 10-Year, $4.4B NASCAR Package

NBC is picking up the rights to the final 20 races of the Sprint Cup season
NBC will pay $4.4B over 10 years for rights to ESPN's entire NASCAR Sprint Cup package, plus half of Turner's six races, according to sources familiar with the deal. That represents a significant media rights increase for NASCAR over the more than $2.28B paid by ESPN and Turner combined for the same number of Sprint Cup and Nationwide races in their current eight-year agreements. This comes after NASCAR received a more than 30% increase in its earlier deal with Fox that covers the first half of its season. While NBC and NASCAR would not confirm financial terms, they did discuss other details of their new deal, which will see races return to NBC in '15. Terms have NBC picking up the rights to the final 20 races of the Sprint Cup season, which encompasses all of ESPN's package and half of Turner's six-race package. Seven of those races will be carried on NBC, while 13 will be available on NBC Sports Network. NBC also picks up rights to the last 19 Nationwide Series events -- four of which will be on NBC and 15 on NBCSN. Turner's other three Sprint Cup races, as well as 14 Nationwide Series races that belonged to ESPN, still are available. Fox Sports is viewed as the most likely suitor for these races. Sources said that the increase is significantly less by percentage than the renewals networks paid for the NFL and MLB recently. Last year, ESPN, Fox and Turner agreed to an increase that doubled the average annual payout for their MLB packages. And the NFL saw average annual increases in the 50-65% range in '11. Terms also give NBC rights to NASCAR practice and qualifying sessions, the K&N Series, Whelen Modified Tour, Toyota (Mexico) Series, HOF induction ceremony and season-ending banquets. As part of the deal, NBC also picks up Spanish-language, VOD and TV Everywhere rights.

BACK WITH THE PEACOCK: NASCAR Chair Brian France said, “Obviously (it's) a very exciting and huge day for the sport of NASCAR and industry of NASCAR. ... The future for us with all the assets of NBC, Universal and Comcast made a very compelling point to us that we’re better together going forward with their family of networks and assets. Not to mention we’ve had a long standing (relationship) with (NBC Sports Group Chair) Mark Lazarus. We outlined a terrific agreement.” Lazarus said, “We are thrilled to be back. When NBC was involved in NASCAR from 2001-2006, it was a very good experience for NBC. ... The quality of content this deal provides is really a game changer for us.” The move to NBC ends a relationship with ESPN that started in ‘81. ESPN President John Skipper in a statement said, “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. We will continue to serve NASCAR fans through ‘SportsCenter’ and our other news platforms." The deal also ends NASCAR's 29-year relationship with Turner Sports.

AT THE TABLE DURING TALKS: NBC’s negotiations were led by Lazarus. NASCAR was led by France and VP/Broadcasting & Production Steve Herbst. Sports Media Advisors, a media consultancy headed by former IMG and NHL exec Doug Perlman, and law firm Proskaur, consulted NASCAR with NASCAR.
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