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NBC Sports is back in business with NASCAR via a ten-year deal that begins in 2015 and runs through 2024. NBC had NASCAR rights from 2001-06. The new pact effectively ends NASCAR’s partnerships with ESPN and Turner Sports, which currently share NASCAR rights with Fox. The NBC deal follows on the heels of NASCAR’s long-term agreement extension with Fox Sports; the eight-year pact runs from 2015-22 and is worth $2.4 billion, a 36 percent increase over what Fox is currently paying for a rights package that includes the Daytona 500.
Financial details of the NBC Sports deal were not disclosed. ESPN’s current eight-year deal is worth $2.16 billion while Turner’s is valued at close to $700 million.
NBC will have exclusive rights to the final 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, final 19 NASCAR Nationwide Series events and select NASCAR Regional & Touring series events. The final 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the final 19 Nationwide Series races will be split between NBC and NBC Sports Network. NBC also picked up digital and Spanish-language rights for the NBCUniversal-owned Telemundo, which will be home to the World Cup in 2018.
During a conference call with reporters on Tuesday, NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France noted as a selling point NBC’s “family of networks” including flagship NBC, which is home to Sunday Night Football, the top-rated sports franchise on TV. He added that he also has a “high degree” of confidence in NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus, with whom France worked closely when Lazarus was at Turner.
While marquee NASCAR events will air on NBC, Lazarus also will use NASCAR to continue to grow NBC Sports Network, which has realized record ratings with the NHL.
“What we have demonstrated is when we’re able to have a property like the Olympics, like the Premiere League, like Formula One, we’re able to bring a level of awareness that is equal to or unparalleled in the industry,” added Lazaurs. “What we always do is make big events bigger. And that’s what we’ll do beginning in 2015.”
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