Let’s pour one out for our racing coverage, friends. NBC Sports Network is reportedly shutting down at the end of the year, requiring motorsport series like IndyCar, IMSA, and NASCAR to find a new home.
Both the Wall Street Journal and the Sports Business Journal have reported that NBCSN has been struggling to compete with the larger enterprises of ESPN and FOX Sports, which makes it a savvy business decision to close down the dedicated sports network and instead move to... USA Network.
USA is undoubtedly bigger than NBCSN, but the basic cable channel hasn’t really been a sports network for a while, although NASCAR did air three 2020 races on the channel. With a load of other content, it seems like racing is going to suffer when trying to squeeze in everything that needs to air.
So, NASCAR races are reportedly going to be moving to USA as early as this summer, as per the Wall Street Journal. The NASCAR schedule is traditionally split between FOX and NBC-aired races, so making the swap to NBC-owned USA Network early this year makes sense.
IndyCar doesn’t seem to be getting as good of a deal. While the NBC-IndyCar partnership was set to end at the conclusion of the 2021 season, it sounds like the series is unsure of what to do next. NBC offered something called an IndyCar Gold Pass, which enabled fans to stream every session, and Sports Business Journal has reported that this content will probably be moving to Peacock, NBC’s new subscription-based streaming network. But after 2021, who knows.
It’s sounding like a similar fate for IMSA, about which there are really no rumors as to where the series will end up.
As a racing fan, seeing more options for race broadcasting begin to dwindle is pretty disheartening. Watching motorsport can already be a hot mess, and the disappearance of NBCSN is likely going to shake things up in a way that’s going to be a pain in the ass for a lot of people.