NASCAR Brad Keselowski Mandatory Credit: Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

NASCAR is the latest American sporting venture to include an in-season tournament in its season.

Per Sportico, TNT Sports’ five-race package will consist of a 32-driver in-season tournament when it begins in 2025. Seeding for the tournament will be set during Prime Video’s last three races prior to the start of TNT’s package.

A 32-driver, bracket-style, head-to-head competition will play out over five Cup Series races, with those events aligning with the portion of the calendar aired by TNT Sports. The seeds for that challenge will be set over the course of Amazon Prime Video’s final three races of the year. The winner will earn a $1 million prize.

The idea for an in-season tournament was raised a year ago by Denny Hamlin and received positive feedback from fans and seemingly from NASCAR itself.

TNT and NASCAR seem excited about the concept in comments made to Sportico.

“We want it to be pretty simple, since it is kind of a race within a race,” NASCAR SVP, media and productions Brian Herbst said of the tournament concept. “This bracket-style format seemed simple enough, seemed easily explainable. And the other piece that we wanted to do is focus on the drivers in particular to the extent that we can create rivalries or storylines from a head-to-head perspective.”

While production planning is still in the early stages, TNT executives will be able to use the new competition to highlight position battles that might be taking place throughout the race field.

“This just gives you this extra dynamic where every race of those five races means a little bit more,” TNT Sports chief content officer Craig Barry said. “It creates something really interesting for the casual fan.”

NASCAR announced its new round of media rights deals with Fox, NBC, Prime Video, and TNT Sports last November. While the full scope of TNT’s coverage is still unknown, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was announced as part of their coverage (along with Prime Video’s coverage) last week.

The NBA launched its in-season tournament (now named the NBA Cup, with sponsorship from Emirates) this season, resulting in impressive viewership throughout (especially for the final). NASCAR and TNT will clearly be hoping for a similar outcome.


About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.