CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — NASCAR will return to NBC in 2015, ending its eight-year partnership with both ESPN and Turner Sports.
“NASCAR has a forward way of thinking and this is a terrific deal for the sport,” Craig Armstrong, Iowa Speedway’s communications director, told the Daily News in a telephone interview Wednesday morning. “It (the new deal) provides stability for the fans and the stakeholders in the sport — drivers, teams and race tracks.”
The 10-year deal with NBC Sports Group announced Tuesday begins in 2015 and gives the network the final 20 Sprint Cup Series races of the season and final 19 Nationwide races. NBC last broadcast races in 2006 before ESPN took over its portion of the schedule.
Both Nationwide races at Iowa Speedway will be in this package,
Armstrong said. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races are not included.
“We trust NASCAR to do the right thing for the sport and it has done a good job of looking to the future in its decisions,” Armstrong said. “With this fans know what network and when the races will be on for all levels of NASCAR events.”
Armstrong said the deal is a positive move for the race tracks involved with NASCAR events. He said NASCAR Media does a tremendous job of packaging the events to be entertaining to race fans and this is another example of how NASCAR chooses effective pathways for its events.
“We are back. We are thrilled to be back,” said Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Sports Group. He said of all the deals made since Comcast Corp. purchased NBC, the NASCAR deal “is one that we’ve really been focused on, one that we have wanted to have the opportunity to be able to sit at the table when contractual opportunities came due.”
“The quantity of content that this deal provides and the quality of content that this provides is really a game changer for us for our entire group, and we can’t wait to get started,” Lazarus added.
The deal makes NBC Sports Group the premier motorsports network with NASCAR, Formula One and IndyCar among its properties — a trifecta Lazarus said made NBC the motorsports leader.
“I believe with us now being the home to the second half of the NASCAR season, the home for cable for Indy and the home to Formula 1, that we are probably the most dominant home for motorsports, and that that circulation of motorsports fans will be good for all,” he said.
A previous relationship with Lazarus, who was formerly with Turner Sports, and the ability to be part of NBC’s sports properties attracted NASCAR.
“With NBC, you’re joining a family at NBC Sports where you’ll be surrounded by incredible championship-type programming,” said Steve Herbst, NASCAR’s vice president of broadcasting and production. “Their football package on Sunday night is the No. 1 show on television ... they are the home to championship programming and we’ll be promoted and marketed and shown alongside those top-tier events.”
NBC will air seven Cup races, while 13 will be on the NBC Sports Network. The Nationwide Series will have four events on NBC and 15 on NBC Sports Network.
There are still three Sprint Cup races to be sold, which Herbst believes will move quickly. Lazarus said NBC purchased everything made available to the network, which means the three events not currently held by Fox were not offered.
Herbst said some of the Cup events on NBC will be a lead-in to “Sunday Night Football.”
“The deal also gave NBC Sports Group rights to the K&N Series and NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events, NASCAR Toyota (Mexico) Series events, the NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony and season-ending banquets.