When NBC signed up for the rights to the last half of the NASCAR season, there was a slight anomaly. The peacock bought the entire ESPN package to the last half of the season and the last half of TNT's summer series of 6 races to bring their total to 20 races. Fox had already signed an extension with NASCAR last year to continue their season opening slate of 13 Cup races so that left 3 races without a TV partner.
You didn't have to be The Amazing Kreskin to figure out those 3 races and the first half of the Nationwide series was moving to Fox. They made it official yesterday, also extending their partnership with NASCAR till 2024 to coincide with the NBC deal.
"FOX Sports and NASCAR solidified their future together last October when they announced a multi-platform, multi-series media rights agreement through 2022. Today, less than 10 months later, the two organizations announced they have extended that agreement, which begins in 2015 and runs through 2024. In addition, FOX Sports has added exclusive rights to three additional NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events and the first 14 NASCAR Nationwide Series events of each season. FOX Sports secured exclusive rights to the entire NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season through 2022 last fall and that part of the agreement also has been extended through 2024.
NASCAR’s media rights package for 2015 and beyond is now complete with FOX Sports holding rights to the first 16 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, first 14 NASCAR Nationwide Series races and entire NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season. NBC, which last broadcast NASCAR events in 2006, will televise the final 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, final 19 NASCAR Nationwide Series races and the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour events beginning in 2015."
In total Fox will air the first 16 Cup and 14 Nationwide races. NBC will have the last 20 Cup and 19 Nationwide races. And just like NBCSN, Fox Sports 1 will gain some valuable inventory. FS1 will air 7 NASCAR Cup races beginning in 2015, which will be huge for the young cable sports network. They'll also have all of Fox's Nationwide coverage. It's a major deal for both FS1 and NBCSN to have NASCAR make the commitment to their 24/7 cable sports networks. Considering the length of the deals running till 2024, NASCAR will be anchor programming that ensures both be players at a national level for the foreseeable future.
My guess is this extension between Fox and NASCAR has been in the works for quite a while and didn't magically come together once NBC signed their deal and 3 weeks on the calendar were left without a major TV partner. Now the sport is largely unified with Cup and Nationwide on Fox in the first half of the season and NBC the second half of the season.
The money is astounding. NBC paid $4.4 billion for their package over 10 years and Fox will pay a reported $3.8 billion. Add it all together and it's a cool $820 million per year for NASCAR, almost a 50% increase from the previous TV contracts in spite of ratings going down. If you needed any more proof of just how valuable sports rights are at the moment this is it.