SBJ: ESPN and Turner Were Not Interested in NASCAR Rights

Posted by | July 29, 2013 at 5:44 PM

According to a Sports Business Journal report, ESPN and Turner ditched NASCAR — not the other way around.

ESPN and Turner Sports each informed NASCAR in early July that they did not intend to bid on the available television rights packages, Sports Business Journal reported Monday. The rationale was similar for both organizations — declining television ratings made NASCAR a less attractive property.

Turner, according to the report, “ultimately decided that more NASCAR races weren’t worth the investment.” ESPN, meanwhile, “had soured on the sport because of declining TV ratings, an aging fan base and a tough ad sales market.”

The report casts a somewhat negative light on both NASCAR — apparently abandoned by two high-profile broadcast partners — and NBC Sports, which will pay $440 million per year for rights through 2024.

Of course, NASCAR will be hard pressed to shed tears over being spurned by ESPN and Turner. Fox and NBC alone will pay NASCAR a combined $740 million per year through 2022, up nearly a third from the current annual haul of approximately $560/year on Fox, ESPN and Turner. That does not factor in the remaining package of three Sprint Cup races and 14 Nationwide Series telecasts.

(Mon. news from Sports Business Daily)

  • bignasty96

    Sour grapes from ESPN. Declining NASCAR gets better ratings than anything they air except for football. They got outbid and they don’t want to admit it.

  • Mikey1109

    I wonder if the declining tv rating go along with the empty stands at indy yesterday? Sure seems to me like nascar is in trouble.

    • Curtis H

      The seats were more full than recent years, with the grandstands both inside and outside the front straight it takes a lot to fill them. NASCAR Racing at Indy just isn’t interesting enough to fill all those seats. Plus, its still recovering from the tire debacle of 08

      • Mikey1109

        Indianapolis wasn’t the only venue with empty seats this year. I have seen quite a few previous races this season with a lot of empty seats. I still think NASCAR is in trouble. I know obama’s economy is still probably part of the problem too (after 4.5 years), but In my case I’m tired of Jimmy Johnson, Rick Hendrick and Chevy. I’m sure you know GM has won 16 of the last 20 championships (Chevy 14 pontiac 2) , Ford 3 and Dodge 1. JJ and Hendrick are probably going to win their 6th in 8 years. Seems pretty 1 sided to me. And I’m sick of the commercial festivals too. Don’t take me the wrong way, I enjoy watching Nascar and I really enjoy going to the phoenix races and spending the weekend in the infield but it’s always the same old story. Maybe one of these day’s I’ll just quit watching on TV and survive with just going to PIR twice a year.

  • David Russell Edwards

    ESPN made a huge investment in college football not long ago. Obviously Nascar not only pales in comparison, but would be detracting from that for a substantial part of the season.

  • Robert

    When ESPN got Nascar broadcasting rights back they issued the ” Finally after 20 years Nascar returns to ESPN where it belongs” yada yada Sounds like they blew it and had poor management of Nascar events and adverts.

  • Curtis H

    TNT rand ESPN’s rating are down for NASCAR because everyone hates their coverage – Every fan I know is thrilled they dropped the sport. FOX Sports NASCAR rating are up.

  • gdchief43

    The product on the track SUCKS. Slow the cars down, raise them up 4-5 inches and let the teams play with the real spoiler all they want. Also, get rid of the gimmicks like shifting the bodies so they have more down force, the wave around rule, lucky dog and Danica.

  • GetYourHeadOutOfTheClouds

    Here’s a thought.. maybe… just maybe the declining ratings comes from the fact that during the race these stations go to commercial break every 3 minutes.. It’s a joke how many commercials they take…. Can you imagine going to a commercial break during the middle of an inning of baseball with the bases loaded and the clean-up batter coming to the plate ? NEVER HAPPENS… but it happens all the time in NASCAR tv broadcasts…. I never understood that idea… I mean there are 43 cars on the track with 43 different sponsors.. There are sponsor signs all over every track.. the race itself is one giant advertisement.. so why the need to shove more commercials down our throats.. I DVR every race so I can blast right thru the commercials.. ESPN sucks, NBC is going to suck and FOX sucks just a little bit less.. give me a NASCAR package like the NFL package.. I would gladly pay a prescription for commercial FREE racing!!

    • Frank Kapinos

      NASCAR is stupid the ratings go down cause watching it is like watching grass grow or paint dry shorten the races get rid of yellow flags and it will be much more watchable