INDYCAR will significantly increase exposure for the Verizon IndyCar Series beginning in 2019 through a media rights package announced today with NBC Sports Group.
The multiyear deal will put eight Verizon IndyCar Series races, including the 103rd Indianapolis 500 and its qualifications, on NBC next year. This is an increase from five races on broadcast television this year.
The rest of next year’s Verizon IndyCar Series races will air on NBCSN, which has seen its average viewership of INDYCAR races increase by 78 percent over the past four years. Dates, times and networks for next season will be announced at a later date.
In a first for INDYCAR, an extensive amount of Verizon IndyCar Series content will be provided through NBC Sports Gold, a leading direct-to-consumer product. Subscribers will be able to choose the content they view and how and when they access it. Either at home or at the track, the service will provide feeds not available on any other platform, including practice and qualifying sessions not televised live. Fans will also be able to watch Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires races and programming such as INDYCAR’s postseason championship celebration, Miller Lite Carb Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and additional ancillary programming.
All 2019 INDYCAR races will be streamed live on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app to authenticated subscribers.
“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.”
The Verizon IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500 have been aired annually on ABC, the latter since 1965. In that time, both INDYCAR and ABC have enjoyed a long and fruitful partnership.
“ABC has been a fantastic partner, not only for the ‘500’ but for its broad coverage of the Verizon IndyCar Series,” Miles said. “This partnership will continue with the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500 in May and together we look forward to the successful year ahead.”
As part of this new alignment, the Indianapolis 500 will be included in NBC Sports’ “Championship Season” marketing campaign, which touts numerous high-profile championship events presented on NBC Sports platforms from May to July. Other events include horse racing’s Triple Crown, The PLAYERS, Premier League Championship Sunday, the French Open, the Stanley Cup Final, the Tour de France and The Open Championship. The entire Verizon IndyCar Series will receive unprecedented marketing and promotional support from NBC Sports, which will utilize not only its own assets but many NBCUniversal assets as well.
“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,” said Jon Miller, president, programming, NBC Sports and NBCSN. “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.”
Securing this media rights package continues INDYCAR’s recent momentum. Television ratings have increased 38 percent over the past four seasons and overall media impressions more than doubled in 2017. INDYCAR’s social platforms gained more than 400,000 new followers last year alone.
INDYCAR remains the most competitive form of racing on the planet, with 21 drivers winning races over the past six seasons. In September, Josef Newgarden became the youngest Verizon IndyCar Series champion in more than a decade and the first U.S.-born champion since 2012.
Earlier this month, INDYCAR officially debuted its new car to rave reviews in the season-opening race in St. Petersburg, Florida, with close racing and a record number of passes around the 1.8-mile temporary street circuit. The addition of four new teams further reflects the series’ growth. One of the largest fields in recent history is expected to attempt to qualify for this year’s Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.
NBCSN has been a telecast partner with INDYCAR since 2009 will air its first race of the 2018 season, the Desert Diamond West Valley Casino Phoenix Grand Prix, on Saturday, April 7, at ISM Raceway (9 p.m. ET).