NASCAR's TV rights for both Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series will be settled between two companies for the next decade, thanks to a deal with Fox today.
Fox Sports, which already had rights to most of the first half of the Sprint Cup series season through 2022, extended its current agreement with NASCAR for two more seasons. As part of the extension, Fox Sports will gain rights to three additional Sprint Cup series events, which had previously been a part of the TNT "Summer Series." The network also acquired the first half of the Nationwide Series season, with 14 events airing on Fox Sports 1. The deal is worth a total of $3.8 billion over the length of the agreement, according to a report.
NASCAR will keep the same number of races -- 16 -- it had on broadcast television in the last TV deal, but cable will make a huge impact on it. Fox will broadcast nine Sprint Cup races, while NBC (which recently signed a 10-year deal) will air seven races. The deal assures that Fox's new sports cable outlet, Fox Sports 1, will benefit as much as NBCSN does. NBCSN will air 13 Sprint Cup races, with FS1 getting seven, in addition to both getting a lot of Nationwide Series races.
The extension comes after a report from last week that ESPN and Turner were uninterested in renewing prior rights agreements with NASCAR. Despite this, the sport was still able to amass a rights fee increase of 46 percent, to $820 million per year, even though ratings have been going down for the Sprint Cup in recent years.
For Fox Sports 1, much like NBCSN in the second half of the deal, it gives the network a lot of summer programming to go after ESPN. Now, not only does the network have a weekly baseball package (as does The Worldwide Leader), it also has a series of NASCAR races, as well as the Nationwide series. Nationwide Series races previously filled a lot of time on ESPN during the summer.
The deal returns NASCAR to, essentially, the agreement it had from 2001-06, when Fox and NBC shared rights -- though in that deal, the networks alternated coverage of the Daytona 500, and Turner still had a piece of the pie. In this deal, Fox keeps rights to the Daytona 500 throughout the contract.