In the latest example of ESPN and Turner Sports’ apparent disregard for NASCAR, the two powers reportedly want to end their contract one year early.
Sports Business Journal reported Monday that ESPN and Turner Sports want to end their current NASCAR television contracts at the end of this season instead of 2015. The companies discussed the prospect with NASCAR, which is said to be “open” to the move.
Fox Sports and NBC Sports, which acquired ESPN and Turner’s NASCAR rights earlier this year, have expressed interest in picking up rights for next season.
Despite interest on both sides, swapping ESPN/Turner for FOX/NBC next season would an agreement between all four parties and NASCAR — one that would be “difficult to structure” (SBJ, 8/26).
Even though ESPN and Turner both declined to submit a bid for NASCAR TV rights during negotiations this summer, it is still very surprising that the companies are seeking to end their current TV contracts a year early.
According to Sports Business Journal, both ESPN and Turner would like to avoid a lame-duck season next year. For ESPN, the production costs associated with NASCAR coverage are also a primary concern.
(Mon. news from Sports Business Journal)