Report: Comcast’s Xfinity, NASCAR closer to series sponsorship deal

According to Tripp Mickle of the SportsBusiness Journal, Comcast’s Xfinity and NASCAR have entered contract negotiations regarding title sponsorship of the racing league’s No. 2 national series.

Mickle’s report relays word from an unnamed source “familiar with the negotiations” that Xfinity – Comcast’s broadband, cable television, and phone service – is considering a five-to-six year deal valued at over $100 million to become the new backer of what’s been known as the NASCAR Nationwide Series since 2008.

Comcast would not comment for Mickle’s report, but NASCAR gave him the following statement: “We anticipate NASCAR will soon be aligned with an outstanding brand that will help take this series to new heights, but out of respect for our current partner and the process, we will not comment on speculation about any potential replacements until there actually is one.”

NASCAR is finishing out its current TV deal that features Fox Sports (who will stay on for the new TV deal) and the outgoing Turner Sports and ESPN; Turner aired its final NASCAR race last month at New Hampshire and ESPN will officially leave the sport at season’s end.

Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal Media and the NBC Sports Group. Last summer, the Group announced that it had struck a deal with NASCAR to broadcast 20 Sprint Cup and 19 Nationwide Series events annually from 2015 to 2024, with the bulk of those events to be shown on NBCSN.

Xfinity first emerged in June as a possible candidate to take over NASCAR’s No. 2 series sponsorship from Nationwide Insurance. In September of 2013, the insurance company said it would end that sponsorship and expand its role in the top-tier Sprint Cup Series.

To that end, Nationwide has since been confirmed as a primary sponsor for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet over the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Cup seasons.

Going back to Xfinity’s potential deal with NASCAR, Mickle reports that there are still some obstacles involved; one of them apparently involves Fox, which according to sources, wants assurances that Comcast would spend equally on advertising across both Fox and NBC, and not just the network it owns.

However, Mickle writes that should this and other “category issues” be settled, a deal may be officially announced in the coming weeks.

Hamilton hails ‘greatest day’ after USGP victory, Mercedes title win

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Lewis Hamilton made no secret of his jubilation after taking a giant step towards his fourth Formula 1 championship win with victory in Sunday’s United States Grand Prix that also saw Mercedes clinch the constructors’ title.

Hamilton recovered from an early pass by F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel to take his sixth victory on American soil, five of which have come at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, to extend his lead to 66 points.

With just 75 left on offer this season, Hamilton needs just one top-five finish in the final three races to clinch his fourth world title, with the enormity of the victory not being lost on the Mercedes driver.

“Today has been amazing. It’s been the greatest day,” Hamilton told NBCSN after the race.

“I woke up a bit tired, felt the rain, then was like, ‘What the hell?’ But I didn’t mind. I won here in the rain in the past. Then it dried up, clear blue skies, amazing opening at the beginning of the GP.

“I lost first place into Turn 1. It was OK. That first section, we got through there, and it felt very reminiscent of 2012: ‘Game on. You have to save the tires’, and he wasn’t doing that. I kind of kept my cool.”

“I saw I got a good exit of Turn 1, this was the lap and it was. His tires were dropping off anyway.”

Hamilton’s victory saw Mercedes wrap up its fourth consecutive F1 constructors’ title with three races to spare, with the Briton having played a key part in each of its successes.

“I’m so proud of this team. Big congratulations to the guys, people don’t know the amount of work they do,” Hamilton said.

“It’s over 1,500 people in two factories, so much brainpower and a lot of people to manage to extract the best from each of those.

“To come into a new era of car and perform as we have. There’s been a newfound love within the team. Ferrari, we want to beat them, thrash them.

“So they put more hours of working in to do that. That’s for all their hard work.”