- Nascar could look to offer mid-summer package of races to streaming platform
- Bulk of next media rights deal still likely to land back with Fox and NBC
Nascar executives are meeting with digital media companies ahead of the series' next media rights deal, according to Sports Business Journal (SBJ).
The current US$8.2 billion, ten-year agreement with Fox Sports and NBC Sports ends next year, but the exclusive negotiating window for the current broadcast partners has just expired.
Previous reports indicated that Nascar saw little sense in carving out Cup Series races for streaming platforms, but that it was 'more open' to direct-to-consumer (DTC) deals.
This appears to be bearing out, with SBJ reporting that Nascar is opening to offering a mid-summer package of races, similar to the six-race package carried by the Warner Bros-owned TNT until 2014.
Following the ground broken by Amazon's Thursday night game streaming deal with the National Football League (NFL), the blockbuster agreement signed by Apple and Major League Soccer (MLS) is evidence that digital-focused packages can be made to work.
According to SBJ, Nascar's interest in streaming platforms was piqued by Prime Video's audience numbers for the NFL broadcasts, proving the technology is now robust enought to handle high viewer traffic.
Despite this, the bulk of the next rights deal looks likely to land back with Fox and NBC, even with the exclusive negotiating window having passed. The biggest hurdle at the moment appears to centre around how much the two parties are willing to pay, especially in light of Nascar teams looking for a bigger slice of the pie moving forwards.
The Race Team Alliance, the body representing all Nascar teams, has hired Los Angeles-headquartered Wasserman to assist in the process of securing a larger cut of the media revenue. Cup Series teams have previously criticised the 'broken' economic model currently in place.
In terms of the renewal, Fox Sports chief executive and executive producer Eric Shanks told SBJ about the network's two-decade relationship. He commented: “When something has been a part of your DNA and a part of your culture for that long, you see value in it. Clearly we'd love to remain partners for a long time to come. We're in the process of trying to do that.”