Whether you watched one race of the America's Cup or none at all, NBC Sports Group made money on the event. How you ask? According to Richard Sandomir of the New York Times, NBC did not pay a rights fee for the America's Cup. In fact, the America's Cup Event Authority paid NBC and NBCSN to air the event ensuring television coverage in 2013.
In 2010, the America's Cup was relegated to ESPN3 online and wasn't seen on television. So to prevent that from happening again, the America's Cup purchased the time on the NBC Sports Group and thus, NBC made money before it turned on its satellite receivers to downlink the first transmissions from San Francisco.
And the viewership for the America's Cup paid off for NBCSN, doubling its numbers in the 4-6 p.m. ET block which once contained The Crossover. NBC's viewership for the first two finals races edged over a million.
With Oracle winning the Finals keeping the Cup in American hands, the next event will be sailed in U.S. waters. We'll see if NBC is interested in airing the next America's Cup, but it's not known if that will involve a rights fee.
As the production of the races brought stellar and sharp pictures of the sailing into our living rooms, one can expect the technology for the next Cup to be even better. And NBC would most likely want to be part of the ride once again. It was in the 80s when the America's Cup became a big event for a nascent ESPN, so it's fitting it would be a hit for NBCSN. Whether it pays for the rights or takes a check from the America's Cup will be solely up to the network's executives.