IMSA, including its WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and feeder series, will transition to NBC Sports on a six-year deal in 2019.
NBC Sports is already positioning itself as America’s leader in motorsports coverage. In 2019, the peacock networks will combine to cover the second half of the NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series schedule, as well as the entire IndyCar slate.
This is in addition to AMA Pro Motocross, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and the full Mazda Road to Indy development ladder.
Now, NBC and NBCSN will team up to cover the entire IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship starting in 2019.
Announced on Monday, the six-year agreement between IMSA and NBC Sports includes the main series WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge and Prototype Challenge.
NBC, NBCSN, CNBC and the NBC Sports app will combine to cover all the races live, with nine hours of broadcast on the main NBC network. 45 hours will air on NBCSN throughout the season.
IMSA CEO Ed Bennett is excited about the changes coming in the new year for IMSA and NBC Sports, according to NBC Sports Group.
The resonance and seriousness of this new partnership with NBC Sports Group for IMSA fans and our stakeholders cannot be overstated. This agreement is the culmination of a comprehensive process to align us with a media rights partner who will capitalize on the tremendous momentum the WeatherTech Championship and IMSA are currently enjoying, and help our sport reach new heights. Without a doubt, NBC Sports Group ‘gets’ motorsport and our unique premium product. We couldn’t be more proud to call NBC Sports our future partner.
Jon Miller, president of programming at NBC Sports and NBCSN, also expressed optimism for the new partnership, according to NBC Sports Group.
As the birthplace of American motorsport, we are excited to introduce IMSA’s high quality and diverse racing circuit to our abundance of racing fans. Using our wide array of broadcast, cable and digital platforms, we can provide IMSA and motorsports fans with more coverage and in more ways than ever before.
Change for IMSA continues its progression since the unification of the American Le Mans Series and Grand-Am Road Racing. With greater support from manufacturers, marquee drivers and increased support from international teams, IMSA sports car racing continues to grow by leaps and bounds.
It is ironic, however, that IMSA is returning to the original home of the American Le Mans Series. NBC and CNBC combined to cover the show’s first two seasons in 2000 and 2001, but have covered sports cars sparingly ever since. Now, NBC and NBCSN own the rights to some of America’s biggest auto racing races, including the Indianapolis 500, Daytona 24 Hours and NASCAR playoffs.
There will most certainly be a shake-up in the way sports cars are covered on American television, including the talent used. Names like Brian Till, Greg Creamer and Calvin Fish now have little reason to stay with Fox Sports, as their motorsports coverage will be limited to NASCAR, NHRA, Supercross and Formula E. Expect many of these names to veterans make their way to the peacock, with NASCAR and IndyCar voices helping cover the Rolex 24 and other endurance races. It will also likely allow Leigh Diffey to return to his American sports broadcasting roots, having been Grand-Am on Speed’s play-by-play man in his early days.
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Are you excited for IMSA to move to NBC Sports in 2019? Will they find more ratings success on NBCSN than before on FS1 and FS2?