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NASCAR President on Media Rights: Insights, Controversies, and Fan Reactions

NASCAR President on Media Rights: NASCAR’s President, Steve Phelps, has grabbed headlines recently with the unveiling of the highly anticipated media rights agreement set to launch in the 2025 season. In a comprehensive interview, Phelps delved into the background of these negotiations, painting a broader picture of the sport and reflecting on his five-year journey since assuming the role.

Throughout the discussion, the 60-year-old divulged how significantly networks influence race scheduling. He highlighted a contentious decision by Fox that ruffled feathers among fans and drivers.

“We were deliberate in plotting our course from point A to point B,” Phelps shared with The Athletic. “It wasn’t just about stabilizing ratings; it involved varying schedules and ensuring our partners allocated ad spend with our media associates.”

He elaborated on collaborating with Speedway Motorsports, navigating Fox’s preference for Bristol dirt on Easter. “It wasn’t Speedway Motorsports’ initial choice, but they understand its significance,” Phelps revealed, recalling initial reservations from NASCAR COO Steve O’Donnell. “It’s about building blocks and aligning for progress.”

The Bristol Dirt Race sparked controversy from the get-go. Fans expressed dissatisfaction about the transformation of one of the most thrilling tracks in the schedule. Drivers, including Kyle Larson, openly voiced discontentment with the decision.

Larson’s SiriusXM NASCAR Radio comment in April 2022 highlighted the discord: “If we’re not going to remove windshields, why dirt at Bristol? I’m all for skipping dirt, with or without windshields. Racing at Bristol is amazing as it is.”

NASCAR President on Media Rights (1)

The race being scheduled on Easter Sunday further fueled uproar, with drivers like Joey Logano echoing concerns about racing on a day as significant as Christmas.

Phelps attributed the Easter race concept to Fox, adding to fans’ existing grievances with the network that airs the first half of the NASCAR Cup Series and will continue under the new deal.

Fox’s coverage drew substantial criticism in 2023, beginning with the Daytona 500 dubbed the “Commercial 500” due to an overload of early-race ads interrupting live action. Frequent graphic blunders, like JJ Yeley mistakenly labeled as the 2009 Formula 1 World Champion, compounded the frustrations.

However, the paramount concern was Fox’s camera crew frequently missing pivotal on-track moments, a grievance emphasized by Denny Hamlin on his Actions Detrimental podcast.

“During the Bristol dirt race, announcers spoke of a thrilling battle, but the camera wasn’t on it,” Hamlin lamented. “The network’s tendency to cut away from vital racing moments to irrelevant battles for 12th spot is a production flaw.”

Fans, concurring with Hamlin, hope for better judgment calls from Fox in both production quality and race scheduling.

ALSO READ: NASCAR Media Rights Deal: Teams’ Revenue Share and New Broadcasting Landscape

Our Reader’s Queries

What is the new media rights deal with NASCAR?

In a groundbreaking deal, the NASCAR Cup Series has signed on two new broadcast partners, Prime Video and TNT Sports, who will share coverage of 10 midseason races starting in 2025. These partners have also secured exclusive rights to practice and qualifying sessions for the entire Cup Series schedule until 2031. This move is set to bring fresh perspectives and exciting new coverage to the world of NASCAR racing.

Who owns the TV rights to NASCAR?

NASCAR has recently announced a new seven-year media rights agreement with four broadcast partners, namely Fox Sports, Amazon Prime, Warner Bros. Discovery, and NBC Sports. This deal will enable these partners to broadcast live coverage of all NASCAR Cup Series races from 2025 to 2031. This is a significant development for NASCAR fans who can now enjoy uninterrupted coverage of their favorite races. The agreement is expected to bring in more viewership and revenue for NASCAR, making it a win-win situation for all parties involved.

What media rights does NASCAR have in 2025?

Starting from the 2025 NASCAR Cup Series season, there will be seven-year agreements with four broadcast partners – FOX Sports, NBC Sports, Amazon’s Prime Video, and TNT Sports (a division of Warner Bros. Discovery). These deals will continue until the 2031 season.

How much is the NASCAR TV deal worth?

According to SBJ, the new deal is worth 40% more than the current 10-year, $8.2 billion deal that NASCAR has with Fox and NBC. This current deal is set to expire at the end of the 2024 season.

Khushal Bhatia
Khushal Bhatiahttps://slicksandsticks.com/
Khushal Bhatia, a distinguished BA (Hons) English graduate from St. Stephen College (University of Delhi) and a holder of a Post Graduate Diploma in Journalism (English) from IIMC Delhi, is an accomplished journalist. Currently affiliated with Slicksandsticks.com, Khushal is an expert in covering a range of sports topics with a specialization in motorsports, particularly NASCAR. His insightful articles explore the nuances of the sporting world, providing readers with comprehensive analysis and the latest updates. With a commitment to unbiased reporting, Khushal's expertise and authoritative voice make him a reliable source for sports enthusiasts.
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