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IndyCar moves to Fox Sports in 2025 after 16 seasons with NBC. Fox now has Daytona 500 and Indy 500

Fox Sports said Thursday it has acquired the rights to broadcast IndyCar starting in 2025, a move that gives the network two of the biggest races in the world — the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR's Daytona 500.

Fox Sports already broadcasts the first half of the NASCAR schedule. NASCAR in November announced a seven-year media rights deal that added two new partners and streaming elements as the 38-race schedule is spread over multiple networks and platforms.

Terms of the deal between IndyCar and Fox Sports were not revealed, but Fox promised all 17 races would receive network broadcasts, as well as the two days of qualifying for the Indy 500. That guarantee covers the lifetime of the deal with IndyCar.

IndyCar said NBC Sports could not offer the same amount of national broadcast slots.

“This represents unrivaled exposure and provides an unparalleled growth opportunity for the most competitive and entertaining motorsport on the planet,” IndyCar CEO Mark Miles said. “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.”

NBC had held the rights to IndyCar since 2009 and its most recent three-year extension was believed to be worth $20 million per season. But NBC Sports had moved coverage of all practices and qualifying sessions to its app, Peacock, and many of IndyCar's races have been on cable. Earlier this season, NBC moved the crown jewel race at Long Beach to USA Network and received just over 300,000 viewers; the race had 1.026 million viewers in 2023 when it was aired on NBC.

“We are very proud of our contributions to the growth of IndyCar over the past 16 seasons, generating record viewership, unprecedented promotion, and best-in-class production,” NBC said in a statement. “We want to thank the drivers, teams and owners for their partnership, and we look forward to presenting the rest of the 2024 season to IndyCar’s loyal and passionate fans.”

NBC Sports did not obtain the rights to the entire IndyCar season until 2019. Prior to that, it split the schedule with ABC. The 2023 IndyCar season on NBC Sports was the most watched in IndyCar since 2011, NBC Sports’ most-watched season on record, and the most-streamed season ever.

IndyCar's viewership on NBC platforms is flat this season compared to last year, and the Indy 500 drew 5.344 million viewers, up from 4.927 million in 2023.

Fox Sports said all races will be on Fox and the Fox Sports app, while Fox Deportes will carry Spanish-language coverage. Fox also promised coverage of both days of Indy 500 qualifications. All practice and qualifying sessions will be aired on cable on either FS1 or FS2.

The 19 events on broadcast is an IndyCar record. IndyCar will be the only premier motorsports series in the country with exclusive major broadcast network coverage for all of its races. NASCAR's schedule, for example, is spread across multiple networks in 2025 and Fox has said five of its 14 races will be on network, with the rest on cable.

Eric Shanks, the CEO and executive producer for Fox Sports, touted adding the Indy 500 to the network portfolio. He also said he spoke with NASCAR chairman Jim France on Wednesday to walk him through Fox's new partnership with rival IndyCar.

“Adding the iconic Indianapolis 500 ... to the Fox Sports roster fits perfectly within our model of teaming with sports’ largest events and best-in-class brands,” Shanks said. “We’re honored to be the new broadcast home to ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,’ an incredibly special event to everyone at Fox Sports.”

The 2025 IndyCar schedule remains virtually unchanged with the exception that the All-Star race at the Thermal Club in California will now be a points race, and Milwaukee will not be a doubleheader. The season begins March 2 in St. Petersburg, Florida, and concludes Aug. 31 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Texas Motor Speedway, a longtime stalwart of the IndyCar schedule, will not be used in 2025 for the second consecutive year.

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AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing

Jenna Fryer, The Associated Press