The contract between NASCAR and its media partners, FOX and NBC, runs out after the 2024 season. Much has been speculated about what the sport’s media future looks like. Earlier this week, NASCAR President Steve Phelps appeared on the Marchand and Ourand Podcast to discuss exactly that.
Phelps knows that over-the-top streaming platforms are in the sport’s future. He was keen to mention that NASCAR is aware of the different levels of consumer control offered by various platforms. No matter what though, he says racing will be on traditional television.
“The team model is very dependent on sponsorship so we need to make sure that whatever partner that we would move, that we would go to… stay with or move to. There wasn’t any foreshadowing there, I promise you. We need to make sure that over-the-air is an important part of what that will be,” he said.
With three full seasons of racing still left on the current deals, there is plenty of time before NASCAR rights hit the open market. After the 2022 season, FOX and NBC would likely have an exclusive window to negotiate with the league. Steve Phelps is optimistic for the position NASCAR could be in by that point.
“I think that 2022 will be the best year that NASCAR has had on television in a long, long time. That certainly bodes well as we head into negotiations.”
The first two weeks of the season have shown growth. The Daytona 500 just delivered its best ratings in three years. Still, there is a long way to go to catch up with pre-pandemic numbers. In fact, that Daytona number becomes a little less impressive when you factor in that the 2020 and 2021 editions of the race were the least watched in history.
As for what media outlets could offer competition to FOX and NBC, Phelps was not specific. He did mention that he was happy with the E:60 documentary ESPN produced about driver Bubba Wallace and that he thought the network’s Daytona 500 coverage was excellent. He still expressed a desire to see ESPN give NASCAR more attention in the future.
Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX
“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”
FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.
A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.
The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.
Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.
That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.
Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.
FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”
The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.
Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.
Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.
“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”
Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.
“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.
FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.
NBA Draft To Get Simulcast From ESPN & ABC
“This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.”
ESPN is set for the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23 at 8 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The network announced Wednesday the crews that will handle coverage on both ESPN and ABC.
ABC will broadcast the first round in primetime. Kevin Negandhi will host and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will be reporting and interviewing draftees.
This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.
Malika Andrews will host both rounds for ESPN. Jay Bilas, Kendrick Perkins and Adrian Wojnarowski will share the set. Analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz will contribute.
“We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this year’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our main set,” said David Roberts, head of NBA and Studio Production for ESPN. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with accomplished journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”
ESPN will air a pre-draft red carpet show hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth from 5-6 p.m. Perkins and Richard Jefferson will also make appearances.