Earlier this week there’s a well-known scribe from the Sports Business Journal named John Ourand, who predicted that ESPN will announce their return to NASCAR in NBC’s place next year and share the rights with Fox Sports from 2023 even though the current ten-year rights deal between Fox & NBC expires at the end of 2024.
This is the same guy who successfully predicted NBCSN’s shutdown on cable back in January this year as they will wrap up their ten-year operations on December 31 at 11.59pm before USA Network takes over the cable content of NBC Sports while still airing rerun marathon dramas, a host of reality shows & WWE’s Monday Night Raw.
Although it’s still early stages of negotiating in the next NASCAR TV rights contract cycle, but if ESPN does comes back then I’m sure they’ll do a better job than last time when they last broadcast the sport from 2007-2014.
Remember the early days when ABC aired every Playoffs race live including the regular season finale back in 2007-2009? That was incredible before ESPN began to move most of their sports content to cable including NASCAR from ABC in 2010 which upsetted a lot of sports fans back then but they’ve started to become the old ABC Sports again as of late that began with the NFL as they will return to the Super Bowl rotation for 2027 & 2031, they also started airing Major League Soccer again two years ago & now they’ve just aired National Hockey League again for the first time since 2004-05 with the SEC College Football to come in 2024.
It would be great timing if ABC gets to air at least seven or eight Cup races a year including the season finale while ESPN can put an emphasis on streaming through ESPN + which is a heavy debate discussed recently without having to sacrifice cable, also another factor ESPN likes is the late afternoon start times as well as the Next Gen era that would give another good reason as to why the Worldwide Leader wants to return to NASCAR.
Once again it’s just a prediction by John at this stage but we’ll see as race fans hope that Allen Bestwick comes back as the Lap-by-Lap caller should ESPN/ABC’s return to the sport becomes a reality.