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Formula One heads to NBC, NASCAR stays with Fox

NBC Sports Network has finally added more live sports to their portfolio, and they've gone global to do it.  After 16 years of being aired on Fox and Speed Channel, the world's top racing circuit, Formula One, now moves to NBC.  Formula One won't be a game changer by any stretch for NBC, or a huge ratings grabber, but F1 racing has a dedicated fanbase, even stateside.  It's an important step forward because of the amount of new live sports for NBC to show.

NBCSN will air 16 races beginning next season in 2013 with NBC airing the remaining 4.  NBCSN will also air qualifying, practices, studio shows, and other shows that adds up to 100 hours of new programming.  Via NBC's announcement…

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"NBC Sports Group and Formula One Management, the top international open-wheel racing series promoter, announced a four-year partnership today that begins with the 2013 season and provides NBC Sports Group with exclusive U.S. media rights to all Formula 1™ Grand Prix races, qualifying and practice sessions on all platforms and devices.

NBC Sports Group will televise all 20 F1™ races — four on NBC and 16 on NBC Sports Network — as well as qualifying, practice sessions, studio shows and re-airs that amount to more than 100 hours of programming annually. The Grand Prix of Canada in June as well as the final three races of the 2013 season in November will air on NBC, while the remaining 16 races will air on NBC Sports Network.

All 20 F1™races will be live streamed on NBC Sports Live Extra, the NBC Sports Group’s live-stream platform that is available online at NBCSports.com as well as on mobile and tablet apps."

On the flip side, Fox loses F1 after a lenghty relationship with Speed Channel, but is that in line with Speed's eventual transformation into the much anticipated Fox Sports 1 all sports channel?  SBD's initial report on the F1 move hints Fox may have been willing to let F1 go to NBC because of their highly anticipated entry into the all sports cable field.

NBC has gotten most of the attention over the last year as a competitor to ESPN, but Fox is better positioned at the moment to make a run at the Bristol behemoth.  They have the global conglomerate in News Corp. to back the move aggressively, but more importantly – they have more rights fans want to see at the moment.  Fox's portfolio is much, much stronger than NBC's at the moment to fill an all sports cable channel.

One of those entities is NASCAR.  Fox has agreed to an extension with NASCAR to continue airing the first portion of the Sprint Cup season, including the Daytona 500 until 2022…

As part of the new agreement, which takes effect in 2015, FSMG retains the television rights to 13 consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points races beginning each year with the prestigious Daytona 500. In addition, FSMG retains the rights to the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race, the Daytona Shootout, the Duel at Daytona, the entire NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season and practice and qualifying for both the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races that FSMG broadcasts.  

Although nothing has been confirmed yet, Fox Sports 1 looks to be on its way.  Last month MediaBistro reported the trademarks to "Fox Sports 1" had been filed.  NASCAR Sprint Cup races would certainly be highlighted programming alongside possible MLB and college football games.  In comparison to the NHL, Tour de France, and F1 – Fox has the advantage over NBC from the start, at least in non-Olympic years.

Over the next year, if Fox Sports 1 becomes a reality, the programming race between NBC, Fox and ESPN will be the biggest story in the industry.  (CBS Sports Network still can't be taken seriously at the moment.)  These two news stories from the racing world symbolize where NBC and Fox are at the moment.  NBC has taken another small step forward with the rights to F1, but with the NHL shooting themselves in the foot once again, they need a flagship league to take the next leap.  NBC taking F1 from Fox is like winning one 10-9 round in a 15 round fight.  Fox keeping NASCAR on board continues to see themselves in a stronger position for the potential launch of Fox Sports 1.

Matt Yoder

About Matt Yoder

Managing Editor of Awful Announcing and award winning sportswriter. Bloguin consigliere. The biggest cat in the whole wide world.

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