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Turner or Amazon? Who Should Get NASCAR’s Summer Package?

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In the most recent report surrounding the NASCAR Cup Series’ next TV deal, John Ourand of Sports Business Journal reported that the new players are Amazon and Turner. They are in the running for a six-race, midsummer package between the Fox and NBC portion of the schedule. Which of these two options would be best for NASCAR and the fanbase?

Amazon

Amazon was seen as the favorite to be the newcomer in the next TV deal. Reports vary, but some have claimed that Amazon Prime has more than 200 million subscribers. According to NCTA, only 72.2 million have cable TV, and that is decreasing by the year.

Amazon puts NASCAR in front of more people than even Fox or NBC can reach with simple cable subscriptions. Amazon is also already in the sports broadcasting game with its recent acquisition of the rights to NFL Thursday Night Football.

The issue with Amazon would be how many people would actually come to Amazon for NASCAR. Many people subscribe to Amazon Prime for the deals they offer at their massive online superstore. Now, even if NASCAR is on a site that has 200 million subscribers, how many people will even care if NASCAR is there?

If this does happen, NASCAR will need to be very smart with its’ marketing. They need to spend significant money on both Amazon Prime and Amazon Prime Video’s platforms to advertise. NASCAR needs to take advantage of the new platform they are on in the best way they can.

On top of that, if Amazon were to get the rights, every one of these races would be exclusively on streaming. That may not be popular amongst fans to see the middle portion of the NASCAR season go behind a paywall. It could especially alienate the older fanbase that has been loyal to NASCAR for years.

Turner

What Turner offers NASCAR is flexibility. Turner has major cable television networks TNT and TBS, while also offering a potential avenue for streaming. How would Turner go towards streaming since Turner does not have a streamer themselves? We have to look at their parent company, Warner Bros.

Warner Bros. currently owns the streaming service, Max, previously known as HBO and HBO Max. In another intriguing move, Max has begun streaming live sports through the Bleacher Report Add-On to their service. It launched just in time for the MLB National League Division Series, which was broadcast on linear TV on TBS, a Turner-owned station.

Moving to Turner does not mean that NASCAR stays completely on cable TV. Turner and Warner Bros. still offer NASCAR the chance to go to streaming, but it does offer the ability to potentially simulcast similar to what NBC does with certain races being simulcast on Peacock.

The drawback with going to Turner is that Max does not have nearly as many subscribers as Amazon. Variety.com reports that Warner Bros. streaming services HBO, Max, and Discovery+ have 95.8 million subscribers, which is less than Amazon Prime.

However, Turner is also a familiar face to NASCAR fans as TNT broadcasted NASCAR races between 2001 and 2014. This included a six race summer package between 2007 and 2014.

Overall, these are two interesting options to join in the NASCAR media rights deal in 2024. Amazon offers the most subscribers, but this would mean an exclusive move to streaming. Turner does not have as many subscribers, but it offers the ability to do a hybrid between streaming and cable TV. What will NASCAR choose?

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