After Scoring New Eight-Year Deal, FOX Could Have Eye on More NASCAR Rights

Posted by | October 20, 2012 at 1:53 PM

Fox Sports will be in the NASCAR business for the next decade.

NASCAR and Fox Sports announced a new eight-year television rights extension earlier this week. Under the new deal, which kicks in with the 2015 season, FOX will continue to televise the Daytona 500 and the twelve subsequent Sprint Cup races.

Fox Sports will also retain rights to the Sprint Cup All-Star Race and Camping World Truck Series races, events that currently air on Speed Channel.

Sports Business Journal reported that FOX will pay NASCAR in excess of $300 million per year under the new deal.

According to the SBJ report, rights for the remaining NASCAR television packages — the six-race ‘Summer Series’ on TNT and the second half of the season on ESPN/ABC — will not be negotiated until next summer.

Should Turner Sports and/or ESPN fail to reach a deal with NASCAR during their respective negotiating windows, those rights would hit the open market. NBC Sports, which is in desperate need of another major sport after whiffing on Major League Baseball rights over the summer, has been discussed for months as a potential bidder.

In an intriguing development, Fox Sports was listed by Sports Business Journal as a potential suitor for second half rights as well.

Fox Sports is expected to turn Speed Channel into a 24-hour sports network (Fox Sports 1), and has already secured increased cable television rights to Major League Baseball games.

While NFL commitments would likely keep the Chase For the Cup off of the FOX broadcast network, ESPN has already set a precedent by moving most of those races to cable. Putting the Chase on Fox Sports 1, to go along with the MLB Division Series and potential League Championship Series games, would make the new channel an unquestioned force.

(FOX/NASCAR deal from Fox Sports press release [.pdf]; additional information from Sports Business Journal)