With the 2007 NASCAR season about to start, I took a closer look at the new TV deal and how it breaks down among the various networks.
Here’s how the Nextel Cup races will be divided among the television partners:
- Fox will air the season-opening Daytona 500 and the next 12 races
- TNT will have the next 6 races, including the Pepsi 400 at Daytona on July 4th weekend
- ESPN covers the 7 late summer races, including the prized Brickyard 400 at Indy
- ABC will broadcast the final 10 races (“Chase to the Cup”)
- Speed will have the Gatorade Dual qualifying races and the non-points All-Star Challenge
For the Busch series, ESPN/ESPN2 will cover 29 races and ABC will have 6. For the Craftsman Truck Series, Speed will have 23 and Fox will carry 2.
The new TV contract was signed at the end of 2005 and runs from 2007 through 2014. Total value was quoted as US$4.8B total, or about US$600M per year. Contrast that with the king of American TV sports — the NFL — whose current contracts cost the networks US$3.7B per year. Similar to the NFL, it seems these multi-network deals will be the way of the future. The cost would be too prohibitive for any one network to cover by themselves. Because NASCAR has “premier” events throughout the season, it can spread those around among the networks to a certain extent.
Other than the total value, details of the contract are apparently being held private by NASCAR. One interview did explain the distribution as roughly 65% going to the tracks, 25% to the teams, and the remaining 10% to NASCAR itself. The amount paid to the owners of NASCAR is probably higher than the quoted 10% if you consider they also own part of Speedway Motorsports which operates tracks hosting 11 of the annual 36 races.