Amazon.com Inc. and Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. are competing to broadcast a new package of Nascar races, with the league trying to boost its overall revenue by bringing in more media partners.
(Bloomberg) — Amazon.com Inc. and Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. are competing to broadcast a new package of Nascar races, with the league trying to boost its overall revenue by bringing in more media partners.
The companies are vying with a third broadcaster for a package of between six and eight races during the summer months, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified discussing private negotiations.
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Warner Bros. aired Nascar on its TNT network until 2015. The company is interested in televising races that could fill a gap in its sports schedule during the summer months after the NBA season is over, one person said. It’s been planning to put an expanded slate of sports on its Max streaming service and will likely require subscribers to pay extra to watch.
Meanwhile, the racing league’s current broadcast partners, Comcast Corp.’s NBC and Fox Corp., are close to renewing their contracts, the people said. NBC and Fox currently pay about $820 million a year between them in deals that expire at the end of the 2024 season.
While average viewers for the league’s Nascar Cup Series rose slightly last year to about 3 million per event, it was down about 4% compared with 2018, according to Nielsen data.
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Nascar is trying to get paid more for its broadcast rights by using what’s become a familiar strategy among sports leagues. The NFL and MLB, for example, have carved up their TV rights and sold pieces of them to streaming services, including deep-pocketed tech giants whose entry into sports is driving up prices. Amazon acquired the exclusive rights to stream Thursday night NFL games. Apple Inc. has the rights to show Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer. YouTube will start streaming the NFL’s Sunday Ticket package this fall.
Last month, the CW Network, owned by Nexstar Media Group, bought the rights to more than 30 Nascar races, known as the Xfinity Series, in a deal that runs from 2025 through the 2031 season. The CW will pay about $115 million a year, according to the Sports Business Journal.
Media companies are being more cautious about spending on sports rights as the number of cable-TV subscribers declines. But with potentially four broadcasters this time instead of two, Nascar is likely to generate more revenue overall.
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