However, I have said stupid things before and will again. So here goes.
I don’t know anybody who watches NASCAR. Nobody. I never have had a friend or acquaintance say, “Did you see that race on Sunday?”
That’s why it is staggering to me that NASCAR’s new TV deals with NBC and Fox will be worth $8.2 billion. That $820 million per year, beginning in 2015.
Tripp Mickle and John Ourand of Sports Business Daily wrote yesterday about Fox Sports completing its deal:
Fox Sports and NASCAR closed a new $3.8B TV rights agreement that adds three Sprint Cup races, 14 Nationwide series races and two years to the deal the broadcaster cut with NASCAR last fall. The $3.8B price tag is $1.4B higher than Fox had agreed to pay through ’22. The deal pushes NASCAR’s total TV rights haul to more than $820M a year, a roughly 46% increase from the $560M it currently receives annually from Fox, Turner Sports and ESPN. Fox and NBC combined will pay $8.2B for NASCAR TV rights.
Again, if two networks would be willing to shell out $8.2 billion for a sport, you would think I would know at least one person who watches it on a regular basis. And I know a lot of people.
Now a large part of this is due to the fact that I live in Chicago. The town isn’t exactly a hotbed for NASCAR, even though the Chase for the Sprint Cup starts here with the Geico 400 in September. The race draws a big crowd. So obviously some people care.
I just don’t know them.
Obviously, my situation would be different if I lived in North Carolina or in the South. Then I wouldn’t be as stunned to see that two networks are willing to pay $8.2 billion to air NASCAR.
Still, it seems like a ton of money for a sport that basically has a regional following. It underscores the need for live programming on their cable outlets, NBC SN and Fox Sports 1.
Congratulations to NASCAR officials for their windfall. And if you think they did well, just wait until the NBA begins negotiations on its new TV packages, which run through the 2015-16 season. Should be off the charts.
Now I know people who watch the NBA.