NBC announced this week that fledging channel NBCSN (NBC Sports Network) would be shuttered by the end of 2021. This news is significant for motorsports fans because it’s the TV and digital home of NASCAR, IndyCar and IMSA. NBCSN was also home to Trackpass, which was the OTT (over the top) service for motorsports enthusiasts. If you streamed motorsports, you likely had Trackpass.
NBCSN was launched in 2014 in an attempt to compete with FS1/FS2, CBSSN and ESPN channels. In a bold move, NBC moved most of their racing, including a significant number of NASCAR races in an attempt to bolster the new channel.
However, the move was less than successful. While IndyCar saw improved ratings over the years, NASCAR fell. TV viewership is down across most channels as consumers switch to streaming services.
NBC Plans For NASCAR, IndyCar and IMSA
NBC plans to move NASCAR and other major events to USA network. The move is intended to bring live TV, which is some of the most desirable to USA. In addition, its expected that NASCAR will be offered on Peacock (NBC’s competitor) to Netflix, Hulu and Disney+.
IndyCar’s future is less certain. NBC’s contract is up at the end of 2021. A renewal is possible. If it is renewed the speculation is that IndyCar would likely move to USA Networks as well.
Little was said specifically about IMSA coverage. NBC’s IMSA deal runs through 2024, so it is likely major events like the Petit LeMans will be aired on USA Network. It is also possible that a restructured contract may allow them to offer the series via Peacock.
While branded as an NBCSN property, it wasn’t specifically mentioned that TrackPass itself would be shutting down. We expect TrackPass to continue to be offered, likely rebranded as NBC Sports or USA Network. It is speculated that many of the contracts NBC has with these race series would not allow them to lift and shift to Peacock. NBC likely enjoys the additional revenue they receive from motorsports enthusiasts who pay extra to stream less mainstream races.
Stay tuned and as more details are confirmed around Trackpass and the different motorsports properties we’ll let you know. We will also update our streaming guide for motorsports enthusiasts with the latest on where you can catch each of the major racing series.