IndyCar: massive FOX deal secured for 2025 and beyond

The NTT IndyCar Series and Penske Entertainment have accepted and finalized a massive broadcasting deal to secure Fox as the series’ new exclusive home.

While Fox Sports exclusively providing multi-platform coverage is arguably the biggest news story for the IndyCar Series in recent memory, the deal itself is not a big surprise. The first reports of the American network giant’s interest in IndyCar came back in February.

Around that time, Penske Entertainment CEO Mark Miles confirmed that talks were happening when they first started marketing their 2025 broadcasting rights.

“This represents unrivaled exposure and provides an unparalleled growth opportunity for the most competitive and entertaining motorsport on the planet. FOX Sports is a fully committed partner, ready to bring engaging and technically innovative coverage to millions of fans across the country while also promoting INDYCAR thoroughly across all its platforms.” said IndyCar CEO and Penske Entertainment President Mark Miles.

Why did IndyCar accept the deal?

The short answer is money. It’s been a not-well-kept secret that IndyCar wanted an increased payday for network broadcasting. According to RACER, that amount was rumored to be over $25 million. Currently, IndyCar rakes in around $20 million per year from their previous deal with NBC Sports.

Miles has expressed that he expects a revenue increase for IndyCar under this new deal.

FOX, the broadcasting giant with the NFL, NCAA, FIFA World Cup, and NASCAR broadcasts, had the resources to meet IndyCar’s demands. Unfortunately for NBC, they couldn’t renew their partnership with North America’s premier open-wheel series.

Fox Sports will also provide qualification coverage for the Indy 500.

End of an era

NBC Sports Group (owned by Comcast) and IndyCar’s partnership first began back in 2019, when NBC took over the full-season rights. Previously, coverage had been split between NBC Sports Group, Disney’s ESPN, and ABC networks.

NBC and IndyCar had previously extended their contract from 2022 through 2024. IndyCar had been interested in initiating a contract with only one provider for full-season coverage, which meant that a split between Fox and NBC wasn’t possible.

While it hasn’t been perfect, the majority of fans are content with their coverage. A big part is due to the NBC Sports booth of lead commentator Leigh Diffey and co-commentators Townsend Bell & James Hinchcliffe. This trio provided superb commentary over the years.

His voice brought some of the series best moments to life. The absence of Diffey for the future, along with the rest of the NBC team, does not seem to bode well with fans

Fan backlash

Fox’s NASCAR broadcasts have famously been controversial for motorsports fans over the years. When speculation started that Fox could acquire the IndyCar rights, it was immediately met with negative reactions from the fans across social media.

The fans, knowing the questionable quality of the NASCAR broadcasts, did not want IndyCar to suffer that same fate. Now that the deal is done, some fans have expressed their frustration. Time will tell how much of these fears will be just.

IndyCar’s future hangs in the balance

The biggest concern/risk for the future of IndyCar lies with viewership. NBC has its own streaming service called Peacock. Which will remain the streaming home for the series until the end of 2024.

Fox Sports will provide coverage on their Fox Sports app, and Spanish-language television coverage will be on Fox Deportes. However, Fox Sports does not have its own streaming service.

More importantly this means fans who do not have cable access, will not be able to watch the races by legitimate means. Obviously this could mean a serious loss in viewership going forward.

The 2025 NTT IndyCar Series will begin on March 2 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. The entire 2025 season schedule was released alongside the news, and can be viewed here.

All IndyCar practices and qualifying sessions will air on FS1 and FS2. FS1 will host the majority of the Indy NXT series and FS2 providing additional coverage.

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