By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer
INDYCAR has announced that beginning with the 2019 season, Verizon IndyCar Series races will air on NBC and NBC Sports in a three-year deal.
Eight IndyCar races, including the 103rd Indianapolis 500 and its qualifications, will be on NBC next year with the remaining races on NBC Sports. Currently five races are broadcast on network TV.
The biggest change besides network is offering NBC Sports Gold, where fans can watch practice, qualifying, and all support series practice, qualifying and races for a nominal fee. Previously those on track sessions were available for free on YouTube, no word has come out on whether or not that will continue.
Online streaming though will be ramped up in that all IndyCar races will be streamed on the NBC Sports App and on nbcsports.com
“This arrangement brings all of INDYCAR to one home, increases our exposure and includes our first direct-to-consumer offer for our fans,” said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, which owns INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “We couldn’t be happier to have start-to-finish coverage of INDYCAR’s season with the NBC Sports Group.”
Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports and NBCSN, added, “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.
“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.”
Previously, IndyCar had a ten year arrangement with ABC broadcasting five races per year while NBC Sports had the rest of the schedule. ABC has been the only broadcast partner of the Indianapolis 500 since 1965.