The current TV deal that NASCAR has with FOX, TNT, and ABC/ESPN ends after the 2014 season. Yes, we are still in the last few days of 2012 but for multi-billion dollar TV companies it is never too soon for them to start nailing down their television contracts for the future. NBC is expected to make a big push to land NASCAR when the next contracts roll around.
Currently FOX has the rights to the first 13 races of the season and under the current deal paid $220 million a year for that. FOX has already renewed their deal with NASCAR for 2015 through 2022 for an estimated $300 million a year which is a significant increase even though ratings for NASCAR have dropped recently.
Following FOX's 13 races to start the season TNT then takes over with the next six races and then ABC/ESPN takes over for the final 17 races including the 10 Chase for the Sprint Cup races. TNT and ABC/ESPN have yet to renew their contracts but are both expected to be in the negotiations to continue showing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races in 2015 and beyond. ABC/ESPN also currently has the rights to the entire NASCAR Nationwide Series schedule.
It is reported though that NBC plans to give them a big challenge. NBC is in need of finding live sports programming for its NBC Sports Network which could be the perfect fit to show Nationwide Series races on also bring the Sprint Cup Series to the channel as well as to NBC itself. NBC is expected to make a big push and make a big money offer to NASCAR. The decision will be up to NASCAR to decide on which networks are best for them to move forward with. They already made part of that decision with FOX but 23 races are still up for grabs.
There is no question that NASCAR likes the current exposure that they get with ESPN, the World Wide Leader in Sports. ESPN advertises NASCAR races on other sporting events like college football, NFL, and MLB games as well as having extensive coverage on the flagship program Sportscenter. That is something NASCAR loves and needs in order to stay relevant in the sports world. The question will be whether NBC can make a big enough of a proposal to land a piece of the NASCAR pie.
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