Lazarus: NBC’s NASCAR deal should not affect IndyCar, F1


Concerns after the earlier announcement Tuesday that NASCAR’s return to NBC might have adverse effects on the other two major forms of motorsport NBC Sports Group carries, Formula One and IndyCar, were dismissed by NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus.

In a conference call with reporters, Lazarus explained how the IndyCar on NBCSN contract is currently structured. IndyCar’s original contract with the former Versus network was a 10-year contract signed prior to 2009, with NBCSN the channel’s new name beginning in 2012.

“We do not own the rights for broadcast; those are held by ABC and ESPN, by ABC. So we are only the cable partner there, so we are not able to do what we do with other sports by wrapping around it fully,” Lazarus said.

“This will have no impact there, other than that I believe with us now being the home to the second half of the NASCAR season, the home for cable for Indy and the home to Formula One, that we are probably the most dominant home for motorsports, and that that circulation of motorsports fans will be good for all.”

The way the media landscape has evolved the last year or two has presented NBC Sports Group with the opportunity to acquire more motorsports properties, Lazarus said.

“Well, you know, a design would be probably too forward thinking,” he said. “As we saw the way rights were developing over the last 24 months, we saw an opportunity, and as SPEED Channel decided to make its migration to something more multi-sport, we saw an opportunity to potentially fill a gap in the marketplace that might not be satisfied, and so we set forth, not knowing whether NASCAR would ever be able to us, but we set forth with the others.  We inherited the IndyCar deal.  We were able to acquire the F1 deal and that gave us the base.

“But then seeing the opportunity that might exist with NASCAR, we believed that we can fill a gap in the marketplace for fans, for marketers and potentially with our cable operators and affiliates.

“No one else has ever had all three of those.”

The full transcript from today’s teleconference can be found here, on the NBC Sports Group Press Box website.