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IMSA Moves to NBC Sports in New Six-Year TV Deal

IMSA moves to NBC Sports in new multi-year exclusive TV deal…

NBC Sports will be the new home of IMSA beginning in 2019, as part of a six-year exclusive deal that will see coverage of the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Michelin Tire SportsCar Challenge and Prototype Challenge presented by Mazda across its family of networks.

The new agreement, announced Monday, sees the network take over from FOX Sports, which had broadcast the WeatherTech Championship since its inception, and prior to that, both Grand-Am and American Le Mans Series via SPEED Channel.

NBC Sports’ enhanced media rights partnership with IMSA includes close to a 50 percent increase in network coverage of the WeatherTech Championship.

Three races will be broadcast on NBC and there will be more than 45 hours of WeatherTech Championship action televised on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) during the season, as well as additional coverage across broader NBC distribution platforms.

The NBC Sports App and NBCSports.com will offer flag-to-flag live streaming of every WeatherTech Championship race to authenticated subscribers.

“The resonance and gravity of this new partnership with the NBC Sports Group for IMSA fans and our stakeholders cannot be overstated,” said IMSA CEO Ed Bennett.

“This agreement is the culmination of a comprehensive process to align ourselves with a media rights partner that will capitalize on the tremendous momentum IMSA and the WeatherTech Championship are enjoying and will help our sport reach new heights.

“Without question, NBC Sports Group ‘gets’ motorsports and our unique product. We could not be prouder to call NBC Sports our partner.”

NBC Sports Group is the home of motorsports in the U.S., with this agreement adding to its extensive portfolio of auto racing that includes NASCAR and IndyCar, which most recently announced a new exclusive expanded deal.

“As the U.S. home of motorsports, we are excited to present IMSA’s high-quality and diverse racing circuit to our abundance of racing fans,” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports and NBCSN.

“By utilizing our wide-array of broadcast, cable, and digital platforms, we can service IMSA and motorsports fans with more coverage and in more ways than ever before.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

50 Comments

50 Comments

  1. Parker

    April 30, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    NBC has done a great job with IndyCar and I could not be happier that IMSA is moving over there.

    • Ryan

      April 30, 2018 at 2:35 pm

      I hope they get rid of Greg Creamer.

      • Marc

        April 30, 2018 at 3:44 pm

        Need a like button for that!

        • Limerockian

          April 30, 2018 at 5:34 pm

          Why the hate for Greg. He actually camped out in a tent at the uphill at LRP during a PWC weekend a few years ago. Not many celebs doing that these days. He’s a true fan.

          • Ryan

            April 30, 2018 at 5:44 pm

            I just don’t like his approach. I however respect the fact he is an SCCA volunteer and advocates for them during broadcasts and thanks the workers.

          • Marc

            May 1, 2018 at 9:27 am

            No “hate” for Creamer. I think his passion for the sport is incredibly high and I’m sure he is a true racer at heart. However, passion for the sport does not necessarily translate to talent on TV – otherwise many of us here would be in contention for play-by-play commentary. I don’t want to speak for everyone, but I’ve found many people (including myself) prefer Radio Le Mans commentary (John and Jeremy + others) over all the other play-by-play teams we’ve seen. RLM team gels together really well and they comments they make don’t make you shake your head in despair (which Creamer makes me do very often).

      • Ryan

        April 30, 2018 at 5:45 pm

        And please no Leigh Diffey.

      • TomE

        May 1, 2018 at 1:58 am

        Ditto

    • Freddy

      May 1, 2018 at 1:33 am

      Ditto. FOX was horrible.

  2. joe

    April 30, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    No mention of a paid stream now that they’re off FOX.

    • Jezza819

      April 30, 2018 at 4:43 pm

      I imagine it will be just like it is now. International viewers will have a live stream through imsa.com but US viewers will still have go through the NBC platforms.

  3. RobertB

    April 30, 2018 at 2:29 pm

    Ha ha. After finally getting FS1 & FS2 on DirecTVNow after having no cable since 2015, now I don’t have NBC Sports. Oh well. There’s always Youtube the next day. Wait a minute…They’re going to keep doing that, right? Right??

    • John

      April 30, 2018 at 5:25 pm

      DTVN’s cheapest $35 package includes both NBCSN and Velocity. And CNBC if it’s pressed into use. So you’ve got IMSA and WEC covered going forward.

      If you want PWC or Blaincpan, on CBS Sports, you’ll have to move to the second highest tier.

      • RobertB

        April 30, 2018 at 5:31 pm

        Hey, you’re right! I must have been thinking of CBS Sports. Cool. I’m all good.

  4. Ryan

    April 30, 2018 at 2:34 pm

    How will they make this into an NBC sports gold package? That seems to be their big deal lately with some of their other sports properties.

  5. Brian

    April 30, 2018 at 2:40 pm

    Wait…so if someone is in the US, they can stream it on NBC.com without a subscription? I thought the US was geo blocked from IMSA tv?

    • Joe

      April 30, 2018 at 3:02 pm

      It’ll probably work the way most authentication does. If you have NBC Sports on your TV you can log in and watch the live stream because you are already paying NBC. However if you don’t have the network in your repertoire, you probably won’t be able to pay for it live stream either. You know, very typical of the way companies are handling live stream access today. Just ask the wec.

  6. jason

    April 30, 2018 at 2:45 pm

    Well the best part is 3 full races on the actual NBC network. FOX just had 1 (Long Beach) over the past couple years. I may not have cable TV anymore. But I still have a digital antenna and can get the network stations. Hope Detroit is not one of them. That is the one race GTLM does not run so it does not count for me.

    • Nick

      May 7, 2018 at 4:01 pm

      Plus the first 3 hours of the Rolex 24 on FOX as well, for what that is worth.

  7. Mike S.

    April 30, 2018 at 2:47 pm

    Thank god. This is great. FS1 was garbage. Wish Townsend Bell was driving in GTD but if not next best is doing IMSA, I hope. If anything change for changes sake.

  8. Jon

    April 30, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    Yessssss thank you IMSA.

  9. JEZ

    April 30, 2018 at 3:07 pm

    I’ll be really interested to see how the hours not accounted for on NBC and NBCSN shake out. Seems to be about 19 hours. Hopefully middle of the night Daytona stuff that i’m happy to stream and not entire races.

  10. George

    April 30, 2018 at 3:27 pm

    NBC Sports, great and just like FS1 and FS2 it is not available to Canadian viewers. IMSA needs to get their act together and get a deal done with one of the Canadian sports networks we have up here such a TSN or Sportsnet. We get the F1 races on TSN so it would be great to see the IMSA race coverage on that network also.

  11. vanillachinchilla

    April 30, 2018 at 3:50 pm

    Let’s get Varsha & Hobbs please.

    • Figs

      April 30, 2018 at 5:00 pm

      Bob is in France now.

  12. Jay

    April 30, 2018 at 3:50 pm

    Please NBC, PLEASE show split screen starts. Getting tired of missing 90% of the GTLM and GTD starts due to showing nothing but the top 2 prototypes the first full lap and half. Hoping the coverage is at least as good if not better than FS1.

    • JEZ

      April 30, 2018 at 3:57 pm

      Like

  13. David

    April 30, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    NBC can really do us a solid by also broadcasting the start AND finish to the Rolex 24 on the NBC network. I mean…why not?

    May not happen…but I can dream

  14. Pete W

    April 30, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    Rogers carries the entirety of the Fox IMSA broadcasts on Fox Sports Racing on the old Speed Channel – 409- in Ontario and is available on some of their other platforms. It is best to add it in a sports pak if you have Rogers. Quality of the coverage has been great, but the ad avails that repeatedly broadcast get tiresome. Cogeco, Videotron and Eastlink also carry it in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes.
    If you are in Western Canada you can get it on Bell IP TV through MTS and Sasktel. It is also carried digitally through VMedia.
    I know there was an issue that Shaw dropped Fox Sports Racing in Western Canada in 2015.

  15. Anthony Dail

    April 30, 2018 at 5:24 pm

    I watch all the WEC and IMSA races on Youtube a few days later, minus a very rare commercial its HD, there’s no subscription fee and I can watch it at my own pace.

    The IMSA announcers are better than Fox Sports ever could have hoped for.

    I was worried when we told DishNetwork to Eff off after 13 years that I wouldn’t get to watch road racing anymore. I watch more races (that Dish never carried) and its better quality (no commercials) than I ever did when I was paying $150 per month!!!

    Piss on FS1

  16. Mark C

    April 30, 2018 at 6:44 pm

    45 hours of coverage?

    Hmm, Daytona 24, Sebring 12, Watkins 6, Petit is 10.

    24+12+6+10=52 hours.

    No far from full coverage of these.

    And what about the other 6-8 races or rightly 18-24 hours?

    WeatherTech alone is roughly 75 hours of racing.

    Then throw in 10 hours of LMP3 and 30 hours of Michelin.

    Total Hours: 115

    IMSA is proud of 45 of 115 hours of coverage? Fans are happy about this?

    • Mike D.

      April 30, 2018 at 8:03 pm

      I imagine the overnight hours of Daytona will continue to be stream-only (or small channel), so I think you can safely bump Daytona down to 16-18 and use that to add to the others, and some of that will likely be on NBC proper.

      Additionally, that says 45 hours of WEATHERTECH CHAMPIONSHIP coverage specifically. Could easily sneak some CTSC in the same way Fox does. LMP3 already aren’t on TV.

      Highly doubt it is any less TV time than IMSA is currently receiving.

      • NaBUru38

        April 30, 2018 at 8:42 pm

        Don’t forget to count CNBC. It has better reach and ratings than Fox Sports 2.

    • thomas

      May 1, 2018 at 7:10 am

      It says 45 hours of Wethertech racing on NBC Sports. The way that paragraph is worded that seems to rule out the three races on NBC proper as a part of that 45 hours. So if, let’s say, that’s Watkins Glen, Long Beach and Road America, that’s another 10-12 hours. Michelin Sportscar Challenge and IMSA Prototype Challenge will be pretty much the same as this year’s broadcasts. The NASCAR equivalent of that is the K&N/Modified series coverage on NBCSN

  17. John Roboski

    April 30, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    If I had a vote it would be John Hindhaugh and Jeremy Shaw

  18. Jared

    April 30, 2018 at 7:48 pm

    So still no (legal) option for watching live without cable TV for the next 6 years. When is IMSA going to join the 21st century?

    • NaBUru38

      April 30, 2018 at 8:40 pm

      You can hire Sling TV, PlayStateion Vue, DirecTV Now, YouTube TV, etc.

      • Joe

        May 1, 2018 at 7:24 am

        I think he means specifically a live stream. I can watch the NBA or MLB on cable…or I can purchase a live stream package regardless of whether I have that cable package or not. IMSA’s history has shown that streaming is off limits unless you already get the tv package.

    • Andy Flinn

      May 1, 2018 at 12:20 pm

      Jared, so in the 21st century people are expected to give their live product away for free?

  19. nickp

    April 30, 2018 at 8:04 pm

    This is exactly the topic that caused the chasm between Liberty & NBC and drove F1 to ESPN. NBC didn’t want to compete directly with Liberty for the OTT offering.

    • N8

      May 1, 2018 at 8:43 am

      and if you’ve seen ESPN’s ad-free simulcast of Sky’s F1 coverage, you’ll see why. It shines a bright light on the crap quality of the NBC product as well as the insane amount of commercial breaks shoe-horned into the broadcast. The EXACT SAME experience that lead me to dump cable entirely and just get a VPN to watch IWSC.

      • Rus'L

        May 1, 2018 at 12:50 pm

        To be fair, ESPN is not paying for F1. It was given to them by their former employee, Sean Bratches, who had nowhere else to go when NBC dropped out of the negotiations. NBC paid a very hefty fee for F1.

        So, for ESPN to show it commercial free with Mother’s Polish backing the effort didn’t take that much money. To do the same with NBC would have cost more than any sponsor was willing to pay.

  20. Mike coter

    April 30, 2018 at 8:29 pm

    I hope lemans is going to be left to someone else the fox etc are horrible I stick to the live streams for YouTube

    • Paige

      May 1, 2018 at 10:35 am

      Le Mans will be on Velocity along with all of the WEC superseason races.

    • Rus'L

      May 1, 2018 at 12:51 pm

      Le Mans has nothing to do with IMSA.

  21. NBC fan

    April 30, 2018 at 9:06 pm

    NBC gets it. It’s as if they asked me to program their sports to suit my tastes. EPL soccer, Indy Cars, NHL hockey, the Olympics and now all of IMSA? These eyeballs belong to NBC, no question.

  22. Sven Martin

    April 30, 2018 at 11:06 pm

    I am glad that IMSA is moving from Fox Sports to NBC Sports. Nothing against Fox. But it’s been a healthy run. And it’s time for us to say goodbye and move on. And I’m hoping that the same team that does the fox play by play period of sports car racing comes over to NBC. To continue the wonderful coverage. I’ve heard a lot of complaints of more commercials blah blah blah. But this will expand our sport. That we love so much and I’ve been a fan for 45. When are used to be on Wild World of Sports.

  23. Matt

    May 1, 2018 at 4:25 am

    What are the $$ around NBCs purchase?
    Do teams get some of this TV money?
    I know about tv deals of most major leagues around the world, but motorsport tends to be a bit on the quiet side.
    Some info and minor specifics would be good about tv deals for sportscar racing series.

    • Rus'L

      May 1, 2018 at 12:53 pm

      NBC is a publicly traded company. That information is probably available through one of their many SEC filings.

  24. Paige

    May 1, 2018 at 10:37 am

    Exciting news! Looking forward to it!

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