NASCAR, NBC announce 10-year deal

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- ESPN's eight-year run of broadcasting NASCAR Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series races will end after the 2014 season.

NASCAR announced on Tuesday that NBC has signed a 10-year deal to televise the final 20 Cup races and final 19 Nationwide events, beginning in 2015. Fox Sports announced last year it signed an eight-year extension to broadcast the Daytona 500 and 12 other Cup races, the Truck Series and practices and qualifying.

Turner Broadcasting, which televised six Cup races in the summer, also is out after 2014. The Cup races not picked up by NBC and the first half of the Nationwide schedule is expected to be bid on by Fox.

"ESPN has enjoyed a long and mutually beneficial relationship with NASCAR," ESPN president John Skipper said in a statement. "We have tremendous respect for the France family, the drivers and all in the sport and wish them well. We will continue to serve NASCAR fans through 'SportsCenter' and our other news platforms as we continue to enhance our industry-leading collection of quality assets.

"We are looking forward to the start of our Sprint Cup season and will continue with our deep commitment to the highest quality coverage."

NBC will televise seven Cup races on NBC, with some leading into its "Sunday Night Football'' coverage. The other 13 will be on the NBC Sports Network.

Four Nationwide races will be on NBC, with 15 on NBCSN. The network also retains the rights to the NASCAR K&N Series, Whelen Modified Tour events, NASCAR Toyota (Mexico) Series events, the NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony and season-ending banquets.

According to the Sports Business Journal, which first reported the story on Tuesday morning, NBC will pay as much as 50 percent more than ESPN was paying.

ESPN had exclusive negotiating rights through July 14. When it did not sign an extension, NASCAR was free to negotiate with NBC, which televised the sport from 2001 to 2006.

"NBC is known for being an exceptional partner and delivering outstanding production quality and presentation of live sports, as well as its broad portfolio of broadcast and digital properties, so we are thrilled with the commitment they have made to NASCAR and its future," NASCAR chairman Brian France said in a statement.

France said in a conference call that NBC's ability to cross promote was a major factor.

"It's the commitment that they've made in terms of how important NASCAR is going to be within the already robust properties that they have," he said. "And I can tell you from our discussions as we negotiated this, the integration, and I know that word is used a lot and overused probably sometimes, but the reality is that you can see what they've done with the NHL and other properties.

"They're in a mode where they're pulling together all their properties, and non-sports properties as well, and plus the network. They still have a bigger emphasis on big events on network television."