New IndyCar TV deal getting closer

Folks affiliated with NBC’s ongoing coverage of the IndyCar Series are convinced NBC will lose the series to a different network when the broadcaster’s contract expires at the end of the season. Folks affiliated with FOX, the biggest known challenger to NBC in the network negotiations to land IndyCar for 2025 and beyond, are worried they’re out of the running.

According to Penske Entertainment CEO Mark Miles, both concerns are unwarranted.

“I would say you ought to question your sources,” Miles told RACER with a laugh. “I think we are probably a couple of weeks away from us knowing which direction we’ll want to go. But that is not the same as having contracts done and all the I’s dotted and T’s crossed and being ready to announce. So I think we’ll probably be where we thought we’d be in terms of having some internal clarity by the 500.


“But I don’t think it gets announced until a little bit after that. Hard to predict how long it takes to get to contracts done with it. With NBC, we have experience and that’s never been a prolonged process. If it were to be FOX, we’ve never done it before there so I don’t want to guess, but we’re very positive about doing really well with our at least our top priority, which is exposure.”

The timing of IndyCar’s need to lock in new contracts for broadcast distribution and through streaming is far from optimal. Where the broadcast side should be somewhat straightforward, the streaming portion is where a wave of recent and potential upcoming changes could add a layer of complication as major streamers are joining forces in new bundling packages.

Depending on where the series ends up with quality broadcast options, it could look to increase its presence and lean harder towards streaming with one of those bundles, or seek to place IndyCar as a live property on Amazon Prime, Netflix, Apple+, or one of the other popular streaming solutions.

However, Miles doesn’t expect that to happen and says what Penske Entertainment is developing would be a mirror of today’s package with traditional network/cable and streaming presented in an equal fashion for its fans. He also anticipates the next deal to follow today’s practice with NBC and Peacock where its network partner is also in charge of streaming the product.

“Whatever we do, there’ll be really great network (coverage) and everything will also be streamed so that if you’re a cord cutter, you can watch live racing and practice and the like on the internet,” he said. “I don’t think that our network prospects are interested in having a streamer that’s not theirs; they want to have simultaneous live coverage.”

In light of the rapid streaming developments of late — including the NFL and Netflix offering two live Christmas football games on its streaming platform — Miles and Penske Entertainment are thinking of crafting a contract that’s shorter than usual to provide more flexibility if the network and streaming landscape continues to evolve at a fast rate.

“That would be [Netflix’s] first live sports entry, which is interesting,” he said. “I don’t think we’re going to make a 20-year deal, because the world’s changing quickly. But we will be available on linear and streaming, but maybe not in the way you were imagining.”

Story originally appeared on Racer