NASCAR’s ever-changing schedule will continue to change in 2025 because of the new TV deal, but how? Here is a breakdown of some key 2025 schedule notes regarding NASCAR’s new media rights deal.
The All-Star Race
The 2025 TV deal says that Fox will broadcast the first 14 races of the season including the All-Star Race. Well, looking at the 2023 and 2024 schedules, the All-Star Race is the 15th event of the season. Theoretically, that would make it the first race of Amazon Prime’s deal.
This means that the All-Star Race would either have to swap with another track on the schedule or, NASCAR would have to institute another off-weekend in the early portion of the season. The 2024 schedule has 2 off-weekends for the Olympics, so NASCAR may go this route.
NASCAR could choose to split the regular season into thirds with one off-week after the 12th race of the regular season and another after the 24th race. This would keep the All-Star Race on its’ traditional date, one week prior to the Coca-Cola 600. It also allows NASCAR to bring in their second TV partner of the season, Amazon, with a marquee race, the Coca-Cola 600.
NASCAR could also simply swap dates with another race. The All-Star Race probably won’t be held in March or April because of weather, so, maybe Kansas or Darlington could swap their spring dates with the current All-Star Race. However, this eliminates the extra off-weekend and forces Amazon to start the season at either spring Darlington or Kansas, which are not marquee events.
Big Events for New Partners
One thing that NASCAR likely used to bring in their new TV partners was putting marquee events on their platforms. Under the current deal, Fox has arguably the sport’s 2 biggest races, the Daytona 500 and Coca-Cola 600, while NBC has the Chicago Street Race and the entirety of the NASCAR Playoffs. The new deal guarantees Fox keeps the Daytona 500 and NBC keeps the Playoffs, but, the new TV partners may get big events as well.
Again, using the 2024 schedule, under the new deal, Amazon would theoretically get the rights to the Coca-Cola 600 depending on how NASCAR schedules the off weeks, and, as we mentioned, the Coca-Cola 600 could be Amazon’s opening NASCAR event. TNT would theoretically get the rights to the Brickyard 400 and the Chicago Street Race.
This means that NASCAR could move some of these races or other races around to put them on bigger networks than just on cable or streaming. However, NASCAR has only had between 1 and 3 off weekends since the calendar went to 36 races in 2001. On top of that, the Coca-Cola 600 is unlikely to move from Memorial Day weekend and the Chicago Street Race is contractually obligated to run on a set weekend.
On top of that, the new partners probably like the idea of having marquee races on their slate. However, the Brickyard 400 could be more flexible for a couple of reasons.
The Brickyard 400
As it stands right now, NBC is without a marquee race on the 2025 calendar other than Playoff races. Yes, NASCAR fans consider the Southern 500 a “Crown Jewel”, but, that race will be on cable in 2024. If TNT retains the rights to the Chicago Street Race, could NASCAR switch some dates around to give NBC the Brickyard 400?
Under the 2007-2014 TV deal with Fox, ESPN, and TNT, ESPN began their portion of the schedule with the Brickyard 400. They could move the Brickyard 400 a couple of weeks later in the schedule by swapping it with either Richmond or Michigan. Richmond has lights to deal with midsummer heat, so that is worth noting. However, the Chicago Street Race may throw a wrench into this.
The Chicago Street Race only has a deal in place through 2025. Beyond 2025, what marquee event does TNT have on the schedule if the Chicago Street Race is gone? Maybe an inaugural race could take that place, but, those races can often become “Just another race” after the newness wears off. The Chicago Street Race may also not be the ratings success it was in year one.
A lot of these questions remain unanswered, but, they are all things to consider as NASCAR looks toward the 2025 schedule. How does NASCAR handle building the 2025 schedule around their new TV partners?