A thrilling season to date, boosted by Helio Castroneves winning his fairytale fourth Indianapolis 500, has done wonders for the NTT IndyCar Series and its long-term television partners at NBC Sports.
As the series looks to rediscover the days of old with big ratings at every round, the steady upward growth in audience size and Nielsen numbers with NBC would suggest a continuation of the relationship after the current contract expires in a few months is worth exploring.
“Everything helps us when it comes to TV ratings, and I think it’s amazing when you see what we’ve been able to accomplish,” IndyCar Series owner Roger Penske told RACER. “And the big thing is that the show itself, the content, the camera investments we’ve made, I think that we’re just not reporting anymore.
“A lot of slow motion video was used at Elkhart Lake, and we’re working hard with the network to come up with what we would think would be the best package. We’ll have something to announce, hopefully, in the next month, I would say, at the latest. I think we’re gonna be in fine shape when we get to the finish line.”
CBS Sports was a brief player as an alternate for IndyCar to consider before the network removed itself from consideration. It’s unclear if there are other networks in the mix with NBC to earn the next broadcast contract, but if IndyCar engine supplier and heavy ad buyer Honda has its say, the series will stay where it is for 2022 and beyond.
“TV is a really important piece of the puzzle for Honda,” said American Honda motorsports manager Chuck Schifsky in a meeting with the media at Mid-Ohio. “On the consumer side, we spend a great deal of money to come out and go IndyCar racing. One of the reasons we do that is to speak to our customers about durability, the rugged nature of the Honda vehicles and performance and excitement.
“So, yeah, a good TV package is important. I think, like everybody here, we’re kind of waiting with baited breath to see where that goes. We’re pretty happy with what NBC has been doing. I think we need to wait and see how that shakes out over the next few weeks, I’m hearing.”