NASCAR Close to Early Renewal With Fox

America's most prestigious race, the Daytona 500, is part of the on-going TV deal negotiations between Fox and NASCAR.











(from Sports Business Journal October 1, 2012) Despite seeing declining ratings, primarily in its younger demographics, NASCAR is eyeing a new TV deal with Fox, and they are getting closer to an agreement. The deal, which includes the first half of the season only, is largely already complete. Earlier this year talks between the two initiated, and sources say Fox is awaiting the outcome of its MLB deal to become apparent before they make an official announcement regarding NASCAR.

While Fox already has a deal with the racing giant that extends through 2014, the network has high hopes to lock the league in its programming line-up before the start of the 2013 race season. Fox is in the process of rebranding its Speed Network as a 24/7 all-sports network, a la ESPN or NBC Sports, and they want NASCAR to be on board as a centerpiece for the developing channel.

However, NASCAR must pay close attention to how their negotiations with Fox could affect them. If Fox should not attempt to increase on its $220 million per year offer, NASCAR could potentially see other offers from networks not increase as well. If this were to happen the league could see the market for it’s second and third tier packages, currently owned by ESPN and Turner Broadcasting, become suppressed. Bidders for those packages would use the Fox deal as a benchmark, and the income potential for NASCAR could be severely impaired. Conversely, if Fox were to come out in negotiations with a deal that doubles its previous offer the market could then see a floor set, with other deals increasing exponentially.

The final pieces of the puzzle for NASCAR’s new TV deal, however, may not fall into place until as late as 2014. Two other members of NASCAR’s TV deal, the aforementioned ESPN and Turner Broadcasting, have both agreed to not pursue negotiation until their exclusive bargaining windows open up next summer. Whatever ESPN and Turner finally decide to do could ultimately influence not only Fox, but also any networks which might be interested in picking up NASCAR programming.