With all the changes at Comcast, the parent company of NBCUniversal, there’s been a lot of conjecture about the future of NBC’s NTT IndyCar Series broadcast plans. That was cleared up on Tuesday, July 20th when the series and NBCUniversal revealed a new, three-year agreement that makes NBC Sports the exclusive home of all series races, including the Indianapolis 500. Financial terms were, of course, not disclosed.
In 2022, there will be 13 NTT IndyCar Series on the free-to-air NBC station, while the remaining races will air on USA Network and Comcast’s Peacock Premium steaming service, with Peacock streaming all races, as well as all INDYCAR practice and qualifying sessions, together with the Road to Indy’s top tier, the Indy Lights series. Telemundo Deportes will provide Spanish-language coverage of the season-opening race, the Indianapolis 500 and the season finale, starting in 2022.
“NBC Sports is proud to extend its partnership with the NTT IndyCar Series and continue to serve as the exclusive home of the most competitive open-wheel racing series in the world – and the ‘Greatest Spectacle in Racing,’” said Jon Miller of NBC Sports. “We have demonstrated NBCUniversal’s ability to make big events bigger with our presentations of the Indianapolis 500, we have worked closely with Roger Penske, Mark Miles and the entire team to expand INDYCAR’s reach across the US. and we are thrilled to build upon our collaborative successes of the past few years.”
INDYCAR, which used to split broadcast partners with NBC’s cable outlets and ABC Sports, went exclusively to NBC two years ago. The series is currently in one of its most competitive seasons with eight different winners in the first ten contests. Only Pato O’Ward (Texas Motor Speedway and Belle Isle Race #2) along with Alex Palou, victorious in the season starter at Barber Motorsports Park and at Road America are repeat winners. Other victors are Colton Herta, Scott Dixon, Rinus VeeKay, Helio Castroneves, Marcus Ericsson and Josef Newgarden.
“NBC Sports has been the ideal partner for the NTT IndyCar Series, bringing our bold and audacious style of racing to a significantly larger domestic audience and fully leveraging the power and scale of the Indianapolis 500,” said Mark Miles, president and CEO of Penske Entertainment Corp. “This new deal represents a significant expansion of our network TV exposure and sets us up for continued growth and success alongside a committed, innovative and world-class broadcast partner.”
This year’s Indy 500 was the most-watched edition of the series’ cornerstone event since the 100th running in 2016. Through the first nine races of 2021, viewership is up 30 percent vs comparable coverage in 2020, when all spectators were relegated to their television and streaming devices. The relationship between INDYCAR and NBC Sports dates back to 2009, when NBCSN, then known as VERSUS, became the cable home for the series and televised the majority of races. NBC Sports became the exclusive home of INDYCAR in 2019, also the first year of NBC’s Indy 500 broadcast.
The coverage schedule will be delineated within the next couple of months.