NASCAR President Steve Phelps acknowledges that streaming services are a popular platform with significant funding going into them. However, Phelps isn’t looking at streaming services as a place to move NASCAR Cup Series races as the only available option for viewing.
“I would say right now that’s not something that’s on our radar,” Phelps said Friday afternoon. “I think that making sure that there is a place where people can watch over (the) air broadcast is important to us; it’s important to our teams and our sponsors. Cable, we’ve got a good balance at this particular point.
“Do I think there is a role for streaming services within NASCAR? The answer to that is yes. Different content that we can put through a streaming service like a Peacock is important, and I think with funding going that particular direction, I think that can work out very well.”
NASCAR and NBC Sports launched TrackPass in November of 2019. It is a subscription-based streaming service for live and on-demand motorsports content that includes archived documentaries and films. Events broadcast on TrackPass include the ARCA Menards Series, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, American Flat Track, and grassroots racing events. Through TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold, fans can watch IMSA events as well as archived content.
Phelps said that platform is doing “incredibly well. So, do I believe that there’s a place for motorsports and NASCAR specifically in streaming? The answer is yes. I just don’t see that being done in the foreseeable future for our NASCAR Cup Series races.”
The idea of streaming or putting NASCAR races in new places became a topic for discussion and speculation after NBCUniversal announced it is shutting down its NBCSN sports channel at the end of the year. NASCAR and NBC Sports Group entered a 10-year multi-billion-dollar television deal starting in 2015.
When NBCSN goes away, the expectation is that NASCAR races will move to USA Network along with much of its live sports. Phelps said NASCAR and the folks at NBC Sports have a “phenomenal relationship,” and NASCAR will find the right home for its races going forward.
“If it’s USA Network, that’s a potential,” said Phelps. “And it is big enough — USA Network actually has six million additional homes than does NBCSN. Again, nothing has been decided.
“Do I think we’ll find a great place for our racing with NBC? I do. I don’t see us being pushed over to Peacock; that’s not something that we would want to do, at least as it relates to the races themselves.”