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NASCAR races will likely move behind a paywall in the future (at least some races)

The days of NASCAR on network TV could be changing in the next contract with the closing of NBCSN

Starting in 2022, there’s some changes coming to the NBC side of motorsports program. It pertains to both NASCAR and Indycar alike.

The NBC Sports Network is closing, as previously reported. Programs will be carried via NBC, the USA Network and the Peacock app.

For Indycar, 13 races will be shown via NBC and the free version of Peacock. The others will air on USA and/or Peacock. However, at least two races will be aired by Peacock Premium. Meaning, viewers will be forced to pay a premium to watch the event.

“That’s exactly right,” Jon Miller, NBC Sports Group Executive said.

“We find that over time, we’ve been paying very close attention to the cable ecosystem, as it were, and more and more people are cutting their cord or not signing up for cable distribution, and more people are streaming sports, and we have found it to be the way of the future here.”

“And INDYCAR, is not going to be any different than any of the other major sports, like the Premier League, like The Open Championship, like the U.S. Open, where you can get, you know, exclusive content on Peacock.

“In addition, on Peacock, you’ll get all the qualifying, all the practice, all the Indy Lights races as well as some developed shoulder programming that we’re going to be working on together.”

Currently, NASCAR has a contract with Fox and NBC through 2024. But, in 2025, things could change.

As for NBC, they paid $4.4 Billion for essentially half of the tv rights in a 10-year deal. NASCAR has stated that some of their programming is likely to move behind a paywall as well.

“They are not paying to see a couple races,” Miller stated.

“They are buying a subscription to Peacock which gives you not just the racing but also gives you an enormous amount of other programming. I believe at last count, Peacock has over 18,000 hours of programming, other entertainment, sports and news, so that you pay 4.99 a month for Peacock, and you get all of that, all of that product.”

Those discussions are still pending. But, the writing is sort of already on the wall…

“That may be down the road,” Miller said.

“We haven’t gotten into that yet because our deal is not up for several more years with them. I would assume and have every reason to think that they will want be part of the NBC Sports family that are all existing on Peacock.”

“The thing that’s most important to us is that we are reaching a lot of young people and people who are cutting the cord,” he added.

Miller concluded, “Cable distribution has dropped dramatically in the last 15 or 20 years. In 2009 or 2009, I think it was 105 million cable homes; now it’s down to around 82 or 83 million homes, as opposed to 120 million broadcast homes.”

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