NBC Sports Inks 10-Year Deal For 20 Sprint Cup Races Annually
NBC will pay $4.4B over 10 years for rights to ESPN's entire NASCAR 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 Sports combined for the same number of Sprint Cup and Nationwide races in their current 8-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. Deal terms have NBC picking up the rights to the final 20 races of the Sprint Cup Series season, which encompasses all of ESPN's package and half of Turner's six-race package. Seven of those races will be carried on the NBC broadcast channel; 13 will be available on NBC Sports Network. NBC also picks up rights to the last 19 NASCAR Nationwide Series events – four of which will be on NBC and 15 on NBCSN. Turner's other three races, as well as 14 Nationwide Series races, still are available; Fox Sports is viewed as the most likely suitor for these races. The increase is significantly less by percentage than the renewals networks paid for the NFL and MLB recently, sources said. Last year, ESPN, Fox and Turner paid agreed to an increase that doubled the average annual payout for their MLB packages. And the NFL saw average annual increases in the 50% to 65% range in 2011.
Terms 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.
The move to NBC ends a relationship with ESPN that started in ‘81. ESPN President John Skipper said in a statement, “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 as we continue to enhance our industry-leading collection of quality assets. We are looking forward to the start of our Sprint Cup season and will continue with our deep commitment to the highest quality coverage.” The deal also ends NASCAR's 29-year relationship with Turner Sports.