NBC Sports Group announced Wednesday that its network would be the new home of IndyCar races, including the Indianapolis 500, with NBC’s digital platforms streaming races, replays, qualifying, practices and the Indy Lights series.
Those with authenticated subscription providers can live-stream all races on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app, while the network’s OTT product, NBC Sports Gold, will offer a package with additional event coverage.
“This arrangement brings all of INDYCAR to one home, increases our exposure and includes our first direct-to-consumer offer for our fans,” Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, which owns INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, said in a statement. “We couldn’t be happier to have start-to-finish coverage of INDYCAR’s season with the NBC Sports Group.”
ABC has broadcast the Indy 500 since 1965, with this May’s race the 54th consecutive airing of the series’ marquee event. Broadcast rights for the IndyCar circuit have been split between ABC and NBC Sports.
NBC Sports Gold, its direct-to-consumer offering, currently offers subscription packages for Premier League soccer, world rugby, international track and field, Pro Motocross, Portland Trailblazers basketball and Notre Dame football, among other sports.
“We’re excited to have NBC Sports serve as the exclusive home of INDYCAR, which represents the most competitive open-wheel racing in the world,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports and NBCSN. “We’re honored to bring the Indianapolis 500, one of the most prestigious events in all of sports, to NBC, further enhancing NBC Sports’ Championship Season. We’ve seen consistent growth for INDYCAR on NBCSN in the past decade, and we hope to continue that growth throughout the series by leveraging the television, digital, production and marketing assets that make NBC Sports a powerful media partner.”
IndyCar had hoped to consolidate to just one broadcast partner, with Miller telling the Associated Press that was Miles’ “singlehanded focus” during negotiations. NBC Sports has seen an 87-percent increase in IndyCar viewership over the past four years, and Miles told the Indianapolis Star that he thinks doubling its overall audience is possible in the next few years. That’s a bold prediction after the Indy 500 in 2017 had its worst ratings in 31 years of live broadcasts. Bringing coverage to one platform will help that, as could the tangential content offerings of qualifying and practice runs available on streaming.