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IndyCar pursuing rights fee increase ahead of next broadcast renewal

IndyCar, the North American open-wheel series, is pursuing a domestic rights fee increase ahead of its next broadcast renewal.

The series’ current deal with NBC, reportedly worth around US$20 million annually, expires at the end of this season.

Sports Business Journal (SBJ) reports that IndyCar has held discussions with NBC, The CW, Fox Sports, and Apple. While the series is seeking an increase on its current rights fee, this may prove difficult in the current market.

“It’s about expectations – overall, they’ll do fine,” Dan Cohen, executive vice president of global media rights consulting for Octagon, told SBJ.

“The tailwind is a resurgence in interest across motorsports. Now with that said, back to expectations, what do Roger Penske and Mark Miles think they’re going to get? … Looking to double [the current US$20 million annual rate], that’s not going to happen in this environment.”

NBC first secured IndyCar rights exclusively in 2019, having previously shared them with ABC. The US-based series has hired Endeavor’s IMG Media division to lead the next media rights process.

IndyCar is coming off the back of strong viewership figures, with an average of 1.32 million viewers across 17 races representing the most-watched season since 2011.

For comparison, Formula One only averaged 1.1 million viewers on ESPN last season in a deal worth between US$75 million and US$90 million, and Nascar recorded an average of 2.86 million viewers ahead of a record US$1.1 billion per season media rights deal commencing next year. SportsPro Media.

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