INDYCAR playing next TV contract to perfection

The NTT INDYCAR Series’ current TV contract will come to an end at the drop of the checkered flag this September on the streets of Long Beach. Instead of signing a new deal quick, they’ve waited to negotiate.

Brilliant move by Mark Miles and his team around him.

INDYCAR first talked to other networks seeing what they could get on the open market. They had to do so. Nothing against NBC Sports, but if you want a raise, you need to prove in this day and age, why.

NBC Sports was losing NBCSN by the end of 2021. If you also want to avoid races being put behind a paywall as well in an addition to as a bump is revenue from the TV contract, you need to shop around and come back to NBC with what you have and hopefully higher ratings in the process.

Now?

NBC Sports is off to its most-watched NTT INDYCAR Series season ever in 2021 – delivering its most-watched races ever on NBC and numerous viewership milestones on NBCSN.

Through nine races (6 NBC, 3 NBCSN), the 2021 NTT INDYCAR Series has produced a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 1.582 million viewers, marking NBC Sports’ most-watched start to an INDYCAR season ever, and up 30% vs. last year’s comparable coverage (1.213 million).

Additional viewership records and milestones for the 2021 NTT INDYCAR SERIES on NBC and NBCSN:

  • Last weekend’s Honda Indy 200 at Mid-Ohio on July 4 on NBC averaged a TAD of 1.303 million viewers, marking NBC’s most-watched INDYCAR race ever, excluding the Indianapolis 500, and the most-watched Mid-Ohio race since 2008;
  • Mid-Ohio supplanted the season-opening race on the Streets of St. Petersburg, which averaged 1.225 million viewers to rank as the most-watched afternoon race on NBC to that point, and was the most-watched Grand Prix of St. Petersburg since 2016;
  • This year’s Indianapolis 500 on NBC drew a TAD of 5.581 million viewers to rank as NBC Sports’ most-watched INDYCAR race ever and the most-watched Indy 500 since 2016;
  • The REV Group Grand Prix at Road America on June 20 on NBCSN averaged a TAD of 807,000 viewers to rank as NBCSN’s third most-watched INDYCAR race on record and the most-watched on cable since 2016.
  • Through three races, the 2021 NTT INDYCAR Series on NBCSN has produced a TAD of 530,000 viewers, up 59% vs. 2020 and up 38% vs. 2019, to rank as the network’s best-ever start to an INDYCAR season.

Following are the Top 10 markets for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES on NBC and NBCSN through nine races in 2021:RankMarketHH Rating1Indianapolis5.962Dayton, OH2.223Cincinnati2.194Knoxville2.07T-5Fort Myers2.05T-5Columbus, OH2.057Louisville1.988Greenville1.689Nashville1.5510Sacramento1.53

See why it was good to wait? If NBC Sports wants to keep INDYCAR, they’ll need to pay up. With these ratings, why would they not?

INDYCAR is a bargain to get. They won’t command a “billion” dollar contract like NASCAR has.

The only thing is, INDYCAR needs to jump up the totem pole with the network and ensure tennis and lacrosse never bump any INDYCAR related session off whatever channel INDYCAR will be shown on. With a bump in monetary value of a contract, that will happen.

NBC Sports’ coverage of the NTT INDYCAR SERIES returns on Sunday, August 8, at 5:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, with the inaugural running of the Music City Grand Prix on the streets of Nashville, Tenn.

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