The next NASCAR broadcast deal will go into effect in 2025, determining which channels will have access to the biggest races on the schedule. Fox and NBC currently break the season up into two sections, but another option could mix up the formula. According to SVP of Media and Productions Brian Herbst, there will be “some streaming element” in the next broadcast deal.
Speaking with “Awful Announcing,” Herbst explained that streaming will play a larger role in the next broadcast deal but that NASCAR won’t move the whole thing to Peacock or another streaming service. He noted that broadcast TV is in roughly “120 to 125 million homes” while cable TV is in 75 million. By comparison, streaming services are in roughly 15 million households.
“Some streaming element will definitely be in place and it will play a larger role in the next deal cycle,” Herbst told the outlet. “When you think about when we did our TV deals back in 2012, 2013, there were really just two different platforms where our content was going to be distributed to… Now, there’s a third bucket and that’s direct-to-consumer or over-the-top platforms. The balancing act for us as a sport is there’s a third economic driver that wasn’t necessarily there in 2012 or 2013, being these OTT platforms.”
Other Sports Are Moving More Into the Streaming World
While NASCAR still has multiple years to examine the changing media landscape before making any decisions, other sports are in a different situation. Multiple are beginning to embrace the streaming world, including soccer.
For example, the Paramount+ platform owned by ViacomCBS has the rights to NWSL (National Women’s Soccer League) and UEFA (The Union of European Football Associations). The streaming service provides a dedicated platform for fans of the sport. The NFL, on the other hand, began partnering with Amazon Prime to broadcast Thursday Night Football games during the season.
MLB has its own dedicated streaming platform that provides access to thousands of games throughout the season, as well as documentaries and other original content. The price of MLB.TV is $26.99 per year, but college students can gain access for free.
The landscape could ultimately change in the coming years, creating even more of a reliance on streaming platforms. Would this lead to NASCAR broadcasting races on its own specific app? There is no clear answer, but Herbst explained that creating long-term viewership is critical for the sport.
“Whatever we do in terms of shifting content, it’ll be done responsibly and with our fanbase at the forefront of that decision-making process,” Herbst told “Awful Announcing.”
IndyCar’s Latest Broadcast Deal Includes Network TV
NASCAR continues to examine its options for the future, including adding streaming into the mix. Meanwhile, IndyCar just revealed the 2022 schedule that includes several races on broadcast TV with only two on cable TV and one on a streaming platform.
The vast majority of IndyCar races in 2022 — 14 in all — will air on NBC. The list includes the Streets of St. Petersburg, Texas Motor Speedway, all three races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and Portland International Raceway among many others. The Raceway at Belle Isle Park and Worldwide Technology Raceway dates will air live on the USA Network. The Peacock streaming platform will have broadcast rights to the Streets of Toronto.
The 2021 Cup Series schedule featured the majority of races on cable networks. Fox Sports put eight races on Fox and six on FS1. The All-Star Open, All-Star Race, Busch Clash, and Bluegreen Vacations Duels all also aired on FS1. The back half of the schedule will feature eight races on NBC and 12 on NBC Sports Network.