NASCAR is leaning into consumers’ shift to streaming, announcing new seven-year rights deals for its Cup Series with four distribution partners that includes streaming coverage of certain races by Amazon’s Prime Video and Warner Bros. Discovery, as well as simulcasts on NBCUniversal’s Peacock.
The majority of the 38-event Cup Series races will continue to be carried by Fox Sports and NBC Sports, with each securing rights to 14 events. Financial terms were not disclosed but the agreements are reported to be worth $7.7 billion, and when including an earlier announced deal with The CW represent about a 40% increase in average annual value over NASCAR’s existing deals, according to Sports Business Journal.
The deals start in 2025 and on the streaming front Prime Video secured exclusive rights to five midseason races, as well as practice and qualifying sessions for the first half of the season through the last race of its midseason series (except for the Busch Light Clash, Daytona 500 and NASCAR All-Star race, which will stay with Fox Sports). Warner Bros. Discovery’s TNT Sports has rights to the following five midseason races, which will air simultaneously on TNT and stream on the B/R Sports Add-On on the Max SVOD service. After Prime Video’s coverage, WBD will have practice and qualifying sessions for the remainder of the season, with coverage streaming on Max and airing on truTV on linear. Both Prime Video and TNT Sports have exclusive rights to practice and qualifying sessions for the Cup Series scheduled through 2031.
The coverage on Prime Video’s direct-to-consumer service marks the first time NASCAR’s granted exclusive streaming rights for races.
Fox Sports will be airing the first 14 events, including the Daytona 500, while NBC Sports’ rights include the final 14 events of the season, including Playoffs and Championship race. NBC’s deal is a multi-platform agreement and the company said races will be presented across a combination of NBC, USA Network and Peacock. NBC Sports and Fox Sports have been long-time NASCAR rights holders.
Prime Video, which has already delved into live sports, most notably with the NFL’s Thursday Night Football, said it will produce pre- and post-race programming to deliver highlights and analysis ahead of track action. Prime Video is also working with NASCAR Studios on original content with a forthcoming “Garage 56” documentary.
“NASCAR Cup Series racing is an iconic American tradition, and it will be a sensational addition to the lineup of premium live sports on Prime Video,” said Jay Marine, VP and global head of sports at Prime Video, in a statement.
WBD launched its live sports Bleacher Report add-on for Max in October and cited benefits of the NASCAR deal for both SVOD and linear.
“This agreement expands our portfolio of premium sports content throughout the summer and further elevates Max and our leading linear networks,” said Luis Silberwasser, chairman and CEO of WBD Sports, in a statement. “We look forward to utilizing all of our resources to create new opportunities for compelling storytelling that connects with our fans, as we present the thrilling action and excitement on the track in innovative ways throughout the entire NASCAR season.”
As for NASCAR, bringing streaming into the mix could encourage new or younger fans already utilizing direct-to-consumer services to engage with the sport.
“Our goal was to secure long-term stability with an optimized mix of distribution platforms and innovative partners that would allow us to grow the sport while delivering our product to fans wherever they are — and we’ve achieved that today,” said NASCAR President Steve Phelps in a statement. “This landmark deal underscores our collective growth opportunity to drive engagement across this diverse collection of platforms — whether on broadcast, cable or direct-to-consumer.”
NASCAR SVP of Media and Productions Brian Herbst also pointed to the variety of distribution partners as helping to reach consumers wherever they’re viewing.
“The media landscape is rapidly evolving, with new distribution platforms providing more options to the consumer than ever before,” Herbst stated. “This is the right mix of media partners to promote and deliver content around our sport — positioning NASCAR for growth across different mediums and giving our fans uninterrupted access on the established platforms that they are already using.”
Under a previously announced deal, Nexstar’s The CW network will be the exclusive home of the NASCAR Xfinity Series starting in 2025 through the 2031 season with 33 live races as well as practice and qualifying events.
While the deal value might be a boon for NASCAR, having live sporting events spread amongst multiple distribution partners could add to the frustration many fans face more broadly as sports overall have become increasingly fragmented across platforms and services.