Last week, we received word that SPEED had lost the rights to Formula One to NBC after having the series on the network for 17 years. Parent company FOX said that SPEED made a "fiscally responsible" bid to keep the series for 2013 and beyond. But today FOX announced they extended their NASCAR coverage for eight more years at a cost of $2.4 billion.
It sounds like FOX wanted to make a major commitment to keep NASCAR, it's marquee motorsports property, in the fold for the foreseeable future. The $2.4 billion buy keeps NASCAR on the FOX family of networks until 2022 and also keeps them as the exclusive home of the Daytona 500 until that time.
A big coup is that FOX will also be livestreaming content online, the first time something like that has been done. But a commitment of billions of dollars to keep NASCAR means that there was less money to go somewhere else.
We cannot say with certainty that the expensive bid to keep NASCAR rights cost FOX Formula One, but it definitely seems feasible. Perhaps the bid to keep F1 was "fiscally cheap" while the bid for the NASCAR coverage was a bit "fiscally overoptimistic" or even "fiscally nuts." Of course, if SPEED does flip to an all-sports network, rumored to be called FOX Sports One, this would be a totally moot point.
At least NBC's planned coverage of F1 sounds pretty awesome.
One of the strongest parts of SPEED's coverage, which they lost after making a "financially prudent" bid, is their comprehensive live coverage of every event on the network along with extensive online supplements. It looks like NBC is going to continue that.
For the 20 races next year, NBC is promising 100 hours of coverage, which includes live coverage of practice and race sessions. Four of the races will be aired on NBC, including the Canadian Grand Prix and the final three races of the season. The balance of the schedule will be on the NBC Sports Network.
They intend to broadcast every race live, but there are a few scheduling conflicts right now. Regardless, every race will be live streamed on the internets we've heard so much about.
While there is no announcement on the commentary team, NBC has said that they want to have at least one person on the ground at every race. Maybe they should call, or tweet, Will Buxton for that job. They also said that they may have a full team of reporters on the ground at certain races, which is a stark change from SPEED's remote commentary team.
So, it sounds promising, but we'll see just how well it works when F1 hits NBC for the Australian GP in 2013.
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