Nascar teams looking for ‘up to US$18m’ in next media rights deal

Deals with Fox and NBC expire at end of 2024 season.
  • Current broadcasters look likely to retain TV rights
  • Amazon reportedly pursuing streaming package

Talks on Nascar's new media rights deal are expected to continue until at least autumn, as teams reportedly aim for between US$16 million and US$18 million annually.

Relations have been frosty between teams and Nascar executives for some time, exacerbated by the teams criticising a “broken” economic model towards the end of last season.

The current US$8.2 billion, ten-year agreement with Fox Sports and NBC Sports expires in 2024, but teams want an entire overhaul of how this revenue is distributed.

Teams want an increase on their current 25 per cent cut of the broadcast contract. The split is even worse for overall revenue generated by Nascar, with teams receiving just seven per cent.

This works out at between US$8 million to US$10 million per car, per year, but the teams want this to increase to upwards of US$16 million US$18 million annually, according to Sports Business Journal (SBJ).

“The best deals are ones when everyone feels a little bit of pain, and a bad business deal is when one side feels they got a better deal than the person at the other end of the table,” Jeremy Lange, the former president of defunct Nascar team Leavine Family Racing, who now is the co-founder and partner of The Surge Connection marketing agency, told SBJ.

“You want both sides feeling like they could have gotten more but are happy with what they got, and I’m not sure they’re there yet.”

Nascar has already enlisted the help of Evolution Media Capital for these negotations, while the Race Team Alliance, the body representing all Nascar teams, has hired Los Angeles-headquartered Wasserman.

According to SBJ, teams are due to receive around US$201 million in TV money, increasing to around US$210 million in 2024.

What this becomes when the new deal is signed very much depends on who comes to the table for Nascar's media rights. The series' current broadcast partners, Fox and NBC, have an exclusive negotiating window until 1st May, but a deal is not expected before then so others will be able to enter talks. The SBJ says a deal will be done by earliest July or August, but late Q3 or early Q4 is more likely.

While Fox and NBC executives appear set on retaining their rights, while Amazon is likely to be aggressive in its pursuit of streaming rights. ESPN president Jimmy Pitaro has said he will “listen and see if it makes sense for us” when it comes to Nascar.

The likes of Paramount and Warnes Bros. Discovery are all likely to come to the table, but are not expected to enter serious discussions for the rights.

According to SBJ, Nascar would prefer a deal structured around broadcast television and that carving out a package of Cup Series races for a streaming company makes little sense when aiming for the broadest reach possible. However, the report says Nascar is 'more open' to direct-to-consumer (DTC) deals.

Digital distribution will have to be a consideration, with Nascar said to be looking for a contract of eight to ten years. 

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