NBCSN has staked their claim as a network that goes all-in with sports that they can own exclusive rights to, offering in-depth coverage of sports and leagues that might not be fancied elsewhere. The latest example is taking a deeper step into the sport of rugby with a deal to begin showing the rugby Premiership from England. While FS1 has offered a lot of bombast since launching, NBCSN has quietly gone about their way, focusing on the NHL, EPL, Olympic coverage and more – oftentimes sending ratings upward for those sports given their investment. The EPL is perhaps the best example of NBCSN’s strategy and those rights were recently extended into the 2021-2022 season.
Another one of those examples is Formula One. NBCSN won the rights to F1 in 2013 after the series had been televised for years on Speed (which transformed into F1). NBC confirmed to Awful Announcing what had been mentioned by F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone – that the network had extended the rights agreement through the 2017 season.
“Formula One has been one of the pillars of our motorsports strategy,” an NBC Sports spokesperson said. “It continues to grow its fan base and deliver an audience, including attracting hundreds of thousands of viewers to live races in the middle of the night. We’re thrilled to have added two more seasons of coverage.”
Ecclestone also hinted that he was already thinking about the next agreement that might be on the horizon beyond 2017. Nevertheless, NBCSN has developed into a great home for Formula one, as the network saw viewership for the series hit a 20 year high last year on cable television. The season-opening Australian Grand Prix this season also saw ratings go up 24% versus last year with a .21 overnight. Those facts combined with the network’s IndyCar and NASCAR coverage gives NBCSN a decent claim to America’s home for motorsports, especially with the aforementioned closure of Speed Channel.
Although NBC might face competition from other networks for F1 rights in the future, much like their relationship with the EPL and NHL, it seems to be a relationship that works for both sides in the short and long term.