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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

NASCAR’s Media-Rights Deals Worth $7B. But Who Will Air Which Races?

  • In 2025, Amazon and TNT will join Fox and NBC as broadcast partners.
  • NASCAR is still determining who gets some of the biggest races.
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

NASCAR is 12 races into its 2024 season, which is a unique one on the broadcast front. Next year, incumbent partners Fox Sports and NBC Sports will see their race counts drop when Amazon and Warner Bros. Discovery come on board with NASCAR’s $7.7 billion media-rights deals beginning.

We already know the split of races—14 each for Fox and NBC, five each for Prime Video and TNT/Max—but exactly who gets which events is still being worked. Finding the right balance has become a “heavy area of focus internally,” NASCAR senior vice president of media and productions Brian Herbst tells Front Office Sports.

“The biggest piece for us on the schedule side is that each one of these partners is going to look for tentpole events, and they’re going to look for new markets,” Herbst says. Fox, of course, will still get the season-opening Daytona 500 (above) and NBC the Cup Series championship race. But what about other major events like the Coca-Cola 600 in Charlotte or the Chicago street race that wildly surpassed viewership expectations in its debut last summer? 

“Sometimes you’re able to deliver more to one partner versus another in one part of the year,” Herbst admits. “But you want to make sure that you do right by everybody over the course of the term of the partnership.” There’s still plenty of time to sort everything out, though. Last year, NASCAR released its 2024 schedule in October.

Netflix Bump?

Like several other leagues in the wake of continued success for Formula One’s Drive to Survive docuseries, NASCAR joined the Netflix party this year with the debut of its own show, Full Speed, that chronicled last season’s playoffs. Early data showed that 88% of people who watched Full Speed didn’t watch the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series championship race. Eventually, NASCAR will be able to find out which Netflix viewers ultimately watched Cup Series races this season.

Along with the seemingly new audience coming from the Netflix series, Herbst isn’t too worried about NASCAR’s current base making the switch to streaming for races on Amazon—more NASCAR fans currently subscribe to Prime Video than cable, he says.

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