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What Does The CW Deal Mean for NASCAR’s Next Cup Series TV Deal?

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The first piece of NASCAR’s next TV deal fell into place with the Xfinity Series moving exclusively to The CW starting in 2025. This is far from the only news that NASCAR will put out in the coming months regarding the next TV deal, but this move still has a big impact on how the next TV deal will look.

What It Means for the Cost of the Next TV Deal

NASCAR’s last three major TV deals included the Xfinity Series in it as a part of the package. The most recent deal, which went into effect in 2015, was $8.2 billion total and approximately $820 million per year. The one before that was $4.8 billion and approximately $600 million per year between 2007 and 2014. The one before that was in effect between 2001 and 2006 and cost $2.4 billion total or about $400 million per year.

By and large, NASCAR has looked to increase their TV deal revenue by about $200 million per year in each successive contract. Barrett Sports Media reported in November of 2022 that NASCAR was looking for between $900-$950 million with their next TV deal, which is a bit less than their recent trend.

With The CW taking the Xfinity Series, that takes about $115 million per year out of the package. Theoretically speaking, NASCAR could sell TV networks the biggest series NASCAR offers for roughly the same price per year as the current deal. Of course, the deal is far more complicated than that, but, it’s an interesting look at how the theoretical TV deal could look.

It’s worth noting that the Xfinity Series still brings in an average of 1 million viewers per race according to NASCAR.com. So, the Xfinity Series does have value, and it does bring in eyeballs. The crux of whether or not this strategy works depends on how much the TV networks value the Xfinity Series in their current package.

How It Attracts Other TV Partners

FOX and NBC are pretty packed up with their current Saturday programming. Both networks broadcast college football on Saturday afternoons in the fall, and FOX has Saturday afternoon baseball beginning in April. This is both during NASCAR season.

What attracts more eyeballs? A college football game or a second-tier NASCAR race?

This move to The CW gives those big networks flexibility. They can freely open up their Saturdays to broadcast all of the programming they want as long as Sundays are open for NASCAR. If NASCAR wants to bring back FOX and NBC, giving them more flexibility during their window is a good thing.

What To Do With the Truck Series…

This also opens up an entirely new world of possibilities for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Currently, FOX holds the exclusive rights to the series for the full season. Could NASCAR look at another TV network or streaming for the series?

The Truck Series is a harder sell simply because it does not draw in as many viewers, and it is a third-tier NASCAR Series. Would a prominent enough TV network want to pony up the money for that?

Unless it goes to…streaming? Could NASCAR go to streaming just like they were seemingly looking to go to with the Xfinity Series? It could pose some problems with the sponsorships in the Truck Series, as was pointed out when those Xfinity Series rumors were floating around.

A lot can happen with the Truck Series. However, the status quo may also be the best option in this scenario.

It’s going to be interesting to see how this effects the next NASCAR TV deal. A lot of pieces are moving around, and this recent move means that NASCAR is definitely thinking outside the box. What outside the box ideas could come up in the Cup Series TV deal?

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

All Posts