NASCAR Close To Agreement With Turner To Buy Back Digital Rights
NASCAR is "close to reaching an agreement to buy its digital rights back from Turner Sports, a move that could see the sanctioning body manage its own digital business as soon as May 2013," according to Mickle & Ourand of SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Sources said that the deal is "not expected to be official until next year." It is "not clear how much NASCAR will pay to reclaim its rights," but sources said that it "would be in the mid-eight figures." Mickle & Ourand note the move "puts NASCAR in a stronger position to sell its media rights, which are expected to go on the market next year." The company is "preparing to put those rights up for sale, and its executives know that any network that bids on TV rights will also want digital rights to stream races online." Though NASCAR is "moving now to reclaim its rights, Turner will continue to run NASCAR.com for at least a year." That will give NASCAR time to "build up an infrastructure that can support and manage its digital assets independently." The group will "hire staff to oversee the site and likely base the group in Charlotte." Turner plans to be "involved with NASCAR even after selling back the digital rights." The deal now being discussed would "see Turner continue to handle some business operations, including ad sales, for NASCAR's digital properties beyond 2014, which is when Turner's original deal is scheduled to end" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 12/19 issue).