ESPN, Turner to drop NASCAR coverage

The SportsXchange

ESPN and Turner Sports won't broadcast NASCAR races after next season, Sports Business Daily is reporting.

NASCAR had more than three decades of relationships with both networks. NASCAR plans Tuesday to announce a new rights deal with NBC for the second half of the Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series seasons -- a package that previously had been held by ESPN.

Beginning in 2015, NBC will share NASCAR coverage with Fox, which signed an extension with NASCAR last year.

Financial terms of NBC's deal were not available, but sources said it was as much as a 50% increase from what ESPN paid for the Sprint Cup series and half of the Nationwide Series.

Sources say Turner's package of six Sprint Cup races, as well as the first half of the Nationwide Series, remain available. Fox is considered a likely bidder for both packages.

Turner and ESPN, which are in the seventh year of eight-year agreements valued at $2.74B overall, had an exclusive negotiating window with NASCAR that ended July 14. When they did not finalize extensions, NASCAR turned to NBC.

NBC's broadcast plans are not known, but sources say the network had been pitching NASCAR on returning the Sprint Cup series to broadcast TV and could air races on Sunday afternoons on NBC prior to its "Sunday Night Football" broadcast. It also offered a chance to cross-promote NASCAR with the Olympics.
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