NASCAR, Fox sign 8-year extension

Updated: October 15, 2012, 11:10 AM ET
Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- NASCAR and Fox Sports Media Group announced a $2.4 billion, eight-year extension Monday that runs through 2022 and keeps the prestigious Daytona 500 and first third of the Sprint Cup Series on the network.

The deal came with a 33 percent annual fee hike for Fox, which has been with NASCAR since 2001. Fox will pay an average of $300 million annually beginning in 2015.

The deal was put together during an early negotiating window with Fox, which has two full seasons remaining on its current contract with NASCAR.

"NASCAR has been in very good hands and has enjoyed tremendous success the last 12 years in large part because of our fantastic partnership with Fox and Fox Sports Media Group," NASCAR chairman Brian France said. "This extension with Fox Sports Media Group helps position the sport for future growth as NASCAR continues to be an anchor with one of the world's largest and most influential media companies."

Fox gets the first 13 Sprint Cup Series races under the deal, and the entire Camping World Truck Series.

An additional and important component to the deal for NASCAR is the inclusion of "TV Everywhere" rights, which allow Fox to live stream its races online beginning with the 2013 season-opening Daytona 500. Fox can also stream pre- and post-race coverage, race highlights and in-progress race highlights.

That portion of that deal was made possible by NASCAR reacquiring control of its digital platform, which goes into effect next year.

"This was something that was long overdue," said Steve Herbst, NASCAR's vice president of broadcasting and production. "It services the fans in a way we've never done before, and provides another great way to consume the product. NASCAR is now delivering across every platform."

Fox paid a fee increase to NASCAR for the first time in more than a decade, and the deal puts NASCAR in the driver seat for negotiations on the remainder of its contract. ESPN and Turner hold the rights on the remainder of the schedule through 2014, and exclusive negotiations with NASCAR do not begin until next summer.

"We really enjoy the position we are in right now; this sets the stage for the next series of deals," said Herbst, who wasn't surprised by the fee increase because "our sport delivers incredible great live action on a week-to-week basis. We are DVR-proof programming, and we deliver February-to-November consistency."

Fox opened its negotiating window early, and announced this deal less than two weeks after completing an eight-year extension through 2021 with Major League Baseball. The network is shoring up all of its programming in anticipation of launching a national all-sports cable network, which is expected to be replace the motorsports dedicated channel Speed.

Much of NASCAR's shoulder programming is aired now on Speed, which is expected to be called Fox Sports 1 after the re-brand.

This new contract will put the Truck Series on the national cable channel. Fox retained the rights to practices and qualifying sessions, but did not announce Monday how much will air or on what channel.


Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press