NASCAR, IMSA, INDYCAR all have some or all of their programming on NBCSN, and will now either have to go with USA Network or the streaming service Peacock, depending on NBCUniversal’s plans for its motorsports programs. NBCUniversal is owned by Comcast, the Stamford, CT-based media conglomerate.
It’s expected that the $4.4 billion rights package with NASCAR will see races airing directly on USA Network later this season, with further negotiations expected prior to the end of the program in 2024. It’s unknown what will happen with both IMSA and INDYCAR, both of which have far fewer eyeballs in play. It’s possible the latter two entities will be forced to find a new broadcast partner.
In its statement, NBCUniversal said this is part of the broader effort to consolidate operations which could close other entities and channels owned by NBCUniversal/Comcast.
“We’re all aware of how quickly the media landscape is evolving, and our company is taking thoughtful steps to stay ahead of these trends wherever possible and, in many instances, help set them,” said an email from NBC Sports Group chairman Pete Bevacqua. The company said programming airing currently on NBCSN will, eventually, be broadcast across other platforms within NBC Universal.
The plan to shuttle much of NBC’s sports programming to Peacock, which launched in July of 2020 and currently hots Premier League soccer content, is likely where much of the motorsports programming will be available, if sanctions choose to stay with the company.
INDYCAR’s 2021 season isn’t impacted by the closure, but the sanction intends to discuss future broadcast possibilities in late spring, most likely following the 105th Indianapolis 500, which is televised on NBC. IMSA, a recent addition to the NBCSN portfolio, intends to secure high-quality partners in the future, the sanctioning body said.