The NBC Sports division of US media company NBCUniversal has become the sole broadcast partner of IndyCar, with the motor-racing series to receive its first direct-to-consumer offering under the new deal.
The length of the deal was not disclosed, but the Associated Press news agency said it is a three-season agreement spanning 2019 to 2021.
NBC currently shares the rights with the ABC network and Mark Miles, president of IndyCar’s parent entity Hulman & Company, said both broadcasters had been in contention for the whole package of rights.
However, speculation had mounted over the destination of the next set of rights following a tweet last week from a meteorologist at an ABC affiliate in Georgia. The tweet, which was later removed, stated that 2018 would be the network’s last year broadcasting IndyCar races, including the iconic Indy 500.
The NBC deal will put eight IndyCar Series races, including the Indy 500 and its qualifications, on the NBC network next year. This is an increase from five races on broadcast television this year.
The rest of next year’s IndyCar Series races will air on cable network NBCSN. In a first for IndyCar, an extensive amount of IndyCar Series content will be provided through OTT platform NBC Sports Gold. Either at home or at the track, the service will provide fans with feeds not available on any other platform, including practice and qualifying sessions not televised live.
Fans will also be able to watch the Indy Lights development series and programming such as IndyCar’s postseason championship celebration and additional ancillary programming. All 2019 IndyCar races will be streamed live on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app to authenticated subscribers.
The Indianapolis 500 will also be included in NBC Sports’ ‘Championship Season’ marketing campaign, which touts numerous high-profile championship events presented on NBC Sports platforms from May to July. IndyCar said it will receive unprecedented marketing and promotional support from NBC Sports, which will utilise not only its own assets but many NBCUniversal assets.
The Indy 500 on ABC is the second-longest partnership in US television and sports events behind only the Masters golf tournament, which has been on CBS since 1956.