IndyCar, the organiser of the premier open-wheel racing series in North America, has agreed an exclusive media rights deal with US broadcaster NBC Sports Group.
Starting with the 2019 IndyCar Series, the three-year deal will see eight races shown on free-to-air channel NBC, including the flagship Indianapolis 500 and its qualifications. The rest of the schedule will air on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) cable channel.
Under the previous agreement, NBC was limited to cable coverage of the IndyCar Series, with rival commercial broadcaster ABC covering five races on free-to-air. The new deal means that the Indy 500 will not be shown on ABC for the first time since 1965, and marks the end of the second longest running US broadcast partnership in sports.
In addition, all races will be streamed live on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app. The new contract will also see additional IndyCar Series content added on the NBC Sports Gold direct-to-consumer platform, where fans will be able to purchase additional footage that is not televised.
“This arrangement brings all of IndyCar to one home, increases our exposure and includes our first direct-to-consumer offer for our fans,” said Mark Miles, chief executive of Hulman & Company, which owns Indycar and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “We couldn’t be happier to have start-to-finish coverage of IndyCar’s season with the NBC Sports Group.”
“ABC has been a fantastic partner, not only for the 500 but for its broad coverage of the Verizon IndyCar Series. This partnership will continue with the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500 in May and together we look forward to the successful year ahead.”
“We’re excited to have NBC Sports serve as the exclusive home of IndyCar, which represents the most competitive open-wheel racing in the world,” said Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC Sports and NBCSN. “We’re honoured to bring the Indianapolis 500, one of the most prestigious events in all of sports, to NBC, further enhancing NBC Sports’ ‘Championship Season.’
“We’ve seen consistent growth for IndyCar on NBCSN in the past decade, and we hope to continue that growth throughout the series by leveraging the television, digital, production and marketing assets that make NBC Sports a powerful media partner.”