NASCAR announced today that it will retake significant control of its online and digital platforms in 2013, opening the door for a myriad of new online options for fans.
NASCAR and Turner Sports announced what they called “a restructuring and extension of their long-standing digital partnership.” The new agreement continues their alliance through 2016, with NASCAR assuming business, editorial and operational control of its various digital platforms beginning in 2013, including online, digital and social media. Turner Sports will continue to oversee advertising sales and sponsorships across all NASCAR-branded digital platforms. In recent years, the agreement between NASCAR and Turner has come under fire, with critics accusing Turner of stifling opportunities for NASCAR to make the sport more accessible to fans.
NASCAR.COM, the official online destination of NASCAR, has provided statistics, results and other in-depth editorial content, as well as fantasy gaming opportunities, video highlights and social media elements under Turner Sports’ oversight since 2001. However, the current contract has also prohibited a number of other, potentially fan-friendly opportunities, including live video streaming of NASCAR race broadcasts from broadcast partners other than the Turner-owned TNT network, live streaming radio broadcasts from Motor Racing Network (MRN) and Performance Racing Network (PRN), as well as SiriusXM Satellite Radio’s 24/7 slate of NASCAR-themed programming.
While no specifics have been announced, experts say NASCAR’s new contract is likely to allow fans to obtain live video of NASCAR race events on their mobile phones and home computers, online streaming of SiriusXM content, plus a number of other new applications and services.
“Turner Sports has been, and will continue to be, a great partner for NASCAR,” said Brian France, chairman and chief executive officer of NASCAR. “Taking a leadership role as it relates to our digital rights is something we as the sanctioning body know is important for the future of our sport, the development of our drivers and most importantly, the experience for both our current fans and future followers.”
“Turner Broadcasting and NASCAR have helped make each other successful for more than 28 years through a working relationship that, over time, has evolved with the media and technology landscape,” said David Levy, president of sales, distribution and sports, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. “The latest extension of our partnership is a strategically and fiscally enhanced business model for our company and ensures that NASCAR.COM remains a core asset of Turner's leading digital ad sales portfolio. Our unrivaled sports assets and scale offer advertisers the means to deliver the most targeted and relevant marketing messages across multiple digital and mobile platforms and properties.”
“This move is about the media, our sponsors and most importantly, our fans,” said Marc Jenkins, vice president of digital media for NASCAR. “We will build an innovative portfolio of platforms that strives to be as diverse as it is comprehensive. For our fans our digital platform will become the online destination for all things NASCAR. For everyone else, it will be the vehicle we’ll use to turn them into fans.”