Why Latest NASCAR TV Package Rumors Are Good for Some Fans but Bad for the Networks
NASCAR and its upcoming television package, set to begin in 2025, has been a hot topic of conversation throughout the recently completed 2023 season. According to the latest news, Fox and NBC will continue to broadcast races in the new deal.
However, a noticeable change will take place as NASCAR officials seek to expand a proposed midseason package to include more races, which will reduce the number aired on the two networks. That’s good news for a certain segment of fans.
NASCAR looking to expand midseason package deal
For years, NASCAR fans have tuned in to watch Cup Series races on Fox for the first half of the season and NBC in the second half. According to Sports Business Journal, those two networks will continue broadcasting races when the next TV deal begins in 2025.
The contract, reportedly agreed on months ago, hasn’t officially been announced, but rumors indicate it could happen at the upcoming NASCAR awards show in Nashville.
What remains unclear is who will be carrying a midseason package of 10 races, an increase from the six-race package officials were previously trying to sell. Turner and Amazon are reportedly still the front-runners, according to SBJ.
Fewer races on Fox is good news for some fans
Taking away 10 races from the networks will be received as good news by a certain group of fans who have been critical of Fox and its coverage. The network has been dogged by issues for years, and 2023 was no different.
It started at the Daytona 500, which was jokingly referred to by some as the Commercial 500, with so many advertisements early in the race, interrupting in-race action. Then, inexplicable graphic errors popped up throughout the season, including a particularly egregious one that identified JJ Yeley as the 2009 Formula 1 World Champion during practice at Martinsville.
However, the bigger and, unfortunately, most frequent concern was the network’s cameras repeatedly failing to follow and show the on-track action described by the broadcasters and, most importantly, what the fans tuned in to see.
Denny Hamlin discussed Fox’s lackluster camera work on his Actions Detrimental podcast earlier in the year.
“One thing I saw at (Bristol) dirt last week or when I watched it back, the announcers would be talking about some side-by-side battle, and the camera wasn’t on it,” Hamlin said. “So you didn’t know — what are they talking about? Let me see this battle.
“I did notice, too, as soon as some action would start to heat up on a side-by-side battle, they’d cut to like 12th place. You see the second-place guy working over the first-place guy like right on his ass and about to make a move and they cut to like side-by-side for 12th. It’s like, s***, let’s keep it in the battle that’s about to dictate who’s going to be leading this race. Certainly I think from a production standpoint, we could make some improvements.”
Hamlin closed out his final episode of 2023 by suggesting the newly retired Kevin Harvick joining Mike Joy and Clint Bowyer in the Fox broadcast booth will improve the network’s overall production quality.
That might be true, but starting in 2025, it won’t matter how good or bad the production has become because it will still be viewed less as a result of the new television deal.