The Indy 500 is driving into a new network. NBC has grabbed the rights to the legendary races, which have spent over half a century airing on rival ABC.
NBC Sports Group and INDYCAR announced the new 3-year agreement on Wednesday, which gives the Peacock the rights to present all races, qualifying, practices, and Indy Lights races across its platforms beginning in 2019. Details on the schedule will be announced at a later date.
“We’re excited to have NBC Sports serve as the exclusive home of INDYCAR, which represents the most competitive open-wheel racing in the world,” said Jon Miller, president of programming at NBC Sports and NBCSN. “We’re honored to bring the Indianapolis 500, one of the most prestigious events in all of sports, to NBC, further enhancing NBC Sports’ Championship Season. We’ve seen consistent growth for INDYCAR on NBCSN in the past decade, and we hope to continue that growth throughout the series by leveraging the television, digital, production and marketing assets that make NBC Sports a powerful media partner.”
The Indy 500, as well as seven additional Verizon IndyCar Series races, will be broadcast annually on NBC, with other races airing on NBCSN. All races will be available for streaming via NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app.
“This arrangement brings all of INDYCAR to one home, increases our exposure and includes our first direct-to-consumer offer for our fans,” Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, which owns INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, added. “We couldn’t be happier to have start-to-finish coverage of INDYCAR’s season with the NBC Sports Group.”
NBC will air the 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500 — its very first — on May 26, 2019. The race will join NBC Sports’ Championship Season marketing campaign (airing from May to July), which includes events like the Triple Crown, The PLAYERS, Premier League Championship Sunday, French Open, Stanley Cup Final, Tour de France, and The Open Championship.
NBC Sports Group’s direct-to-consumer product, NBC Sports Gold, will offer an INDYCar package to fans that includes all qualifying and practices that aren’t telecast live, all Indy Lights races, and full-event replays. More details, including the cost of the plan, are to follow.
“We have had a wonderful and rewarding relationship with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis 500 and INDYCAR and it has been our distinct honor to be partners for so many years,” said Burke Magnus, ESPN executive vice president of programming and scheduling. “We look forward to the rest of our events this season and wish them all the best in the future.”
The Verizon IndyCar Series will be promoted by both NBC Sports and NBCUniversal as a whole. Thanks to the new deal, IndyCar will boast the second-most races on broadcast television in all of motorsports.