NASCAR execs are taking meetings with a host of digital media companies today and tomorrow, as the racing circuit’s exclusive negotiating window with Fox and NBC ended today.

NASCAR execs still haven’t decided how to structure a digital streaming package, waiting to hear plans suggested by companies like Amazon, Apple and Google/YouTube. It’s unlikely that NASCAR will offer its marquee events, such as the Daytona 500 or NASCAR playoffs, to a streamer.

Most likely, NASCAR will look to carve out a mid-summer package of races, similar to the six-race package TNT carried until 2014. The thought is that digital companies will have interest in these races that generally bring in solid TV audiences and have little competition from other sports.

NASCAR has more of an interest in digital companies than it did a year ago, following Amazon Prime Video’s “Thursday Night Football” audience numbers, which showed that streamers can aggregate and handle big numbers of viewers. Apple’s MLS deal and YouTube’s NFL Sunday Ticket deal show that live sports rights are part of streamers’ strategies.

Even though NASCAR let its exclusive negotiating window with Fox and NBC lapse, it still appears likely that it will renew with those two broadcasters, possibly by the end of June at the earliest. NASCAR prioritizes the reach that broadcasters provide for its early-season and end-of-season races. Fox and NBC have said they want to keep NASCAR. The question comes down to how much they are willing to pay. That appears to be the biggest issue right now between NASCAR and Fox/NBC.

When I asked Eric Shanks about renewing with NASCAR, he highlighted Fox’s two-decade relationship with the sport. “When something has been a part of your DNA and a part of your culture for that long, you see value in it,” Shanks said. “Clearly we’d love to remain partners for a long time to come. We’re in the process of trying to do that.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here