Jon Miller, president of programming for NBC Sports and NBCSN, discusses the new TV deal that will give the Verizon IndyCar Series a single network home starting in 2019. Miller’s insights on everything from live streaming plans to the Indy Lights series lend to the positive direction that lies ahead for NBC and IndyCar. Some highlights:
On IndyCar’s growth potential:
“From the NBC perspective, we’ve seen the growth of IndyCar on our cable network NBCSN. We’ve had sustained growth each of the past several years. So the opportunity to have the entire series was very important to us. Of course, to be able to do the crown jewel, the Indy 500 on NBC, really puts the icing on the cake for us and makes our championship season portfolio even stronger.
“This becomes one of the leading properties on our air. It’s one of the most iconic events in all of American sports. It’s a great opportunity and a great honor for us to be part of this, too.”
On additional marketing resources for IndyCar programming:
“We bring the entire company to the table – everybody kind of brainstorms, raises their hands on ways they can showcase it. A perfect example of that is we announced this at 10:00 this morning, and at 11:00 this morning, Mark [Miles] and James [Hinchcliffe] were guests on CNBC from the New York Stock Exchange. We’re already putting those things in place.”
On how much use will be made of NBC and NBCSN vs. IndyCar Gold:
“We will show at least one qualifying. Our goal is to show qualifying from every stop on a linear platform on NBCSN. We’ll show some IndyCar qualifying, Indy 500 qualifying on NBC, as well. Everything that’s shown on a linear platform, whether it’s NBCSN or NBC, whether it’s races or qualifying, will also be streamed on NBCSports.com and on the NBC Sports app on an authenticated basis. All of that content will be out there.
“There will be some practice and maybe some other qualifying and some other content that will go exclusively into IndyCar Gold.”
On maximizing crossover and minimizing scheduling conflicts with NASCAR:
“I think the idea that IndyCar fans wouldn’t watch NASCAR or NASCAR fans wouldn’t enjoy IndyCar is wrong. I think that people like speed, they like motorsports, they like the individual stories that come out of the athletes that are in the cars. I think we’ll be able to grow our fan base accordingly.
“I think it is something that we will look at, and strategically when we set up the schedule for 2019, we will do it with an eye towards not competing with our other motorsports properties.”