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NASCAR to CBS? Paramount and Warner Bros. in Merger Talks

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What’s Happening?

Sara Fischer of Axios reports that NASCAR’s newest media rights partner, Warner Bros. Discovery, is talking about a possible merger with Paramount, the parent company of CBS. According to Fischer, Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zalsev met with Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish. Warner Bros. Discovery is the parent company of Turner Sports.

  • Warner Bros. Discovery rejoins NASCAR as a media partner starting in 2025. Five races will be broadcast on their cable TV channel, TNT, and streamed on Max. Practice and qualifying sessions for the entire second half of the season will be on TruTV and streamed on Max.
  • Paramount currently owns CBS, which broadcasted NASCAR from 1979 until 2000. It held exclusive rights to the Daytona 500 during that time. Most recently, CBS broadcasted the SRX Series in 2021 and 2022. Paramount also has a streaming platform, Paramount+.
  • Fans are curious to see what this means. Some wonder if NASCAR on CBS could be a thing, and others wonder how this could affect NASCAR’s next media rights deal.

Everything We Know So Far and what it means

It seems discussions are in the very early stages between two teams, so no deal is imminent. Fischer did mention two aspects of the discussions that could directly affect NASCAR fans.

Fischer says that both CEOs specifically discussed potentially merging Paramount+ and Max into a larger streaming service to compete with Netflix and Disney+. If this happens, NASCAR fans may need to pay more money for Max and its’ Bleacher Report Sports add-on.

Keep in mind, Warner Bros. Discovery has no races exclusively on streaming platforms. However, the 5 races on Warner Bros. Discovery’s streaming rights were given to Max. Essentially, those 5 races can only be streamed using a Max and Bleacher Report Sports add-on. We previously broke down how much it will cost for fans to watch NASCAR in 2025.

Fischer also specifically mentioned how both company’s sports properties could be combined. Both Warner Bros/Discovery and Paramount work together to broadcast March Madness every year as Fischer mentioned.

Could this change effect where NASCAR races will be broadcast? Maybe it will, but, races will likely remain on the same channels as the original TV deal. It does offer an interesting potential for some cross-promotion. Maybe CBS Sports broadcasts could start promoting NASCAR races.

Will NASCAR Be on CBS?

In short, probably not. NASCAR’s new TV deal specifies 5 races on cable TV for the Warner Bros. Discovery portion of the schedule. This means a major network like CBS would likely not take over NASCAR’s TV rights.

Could CBS Sports Network or Paramount+ take over NASCAR’s TV rights? CBS Sports Network seems unlikely if specific cable networks do not merge, but, a new Paramount+/Max combination is certainly possible. NASCAR may not specifically be on CBS, but, maybe it could be on CBS-related properties.

With the potential merger of these two major media companies, NASCAR’s new media rights deal could be affected. However, it will be a while before anything tangible happens.

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Joshua Lipowski

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