IndyCar wanted to prioritize reach with new TV deal. It found that with Fox.

INDIANAPOLIS — After an extensive search and negotiating period that lasted well over six months, Penske Entertainment officials have landed Fox as IndyCar's new exclusive media rights partner, the series announced Thursday. The new multi-year deal that starts in 2025 with the season-opening Grand Prix of St. Pete (March 2, 2025) ends a six-year exclusive relationship with NBCUniversal and Comcast and a longer-standing one that began with Versus in 2009.

Here's what we know:

IndyCar lands unprecedented 19 network windows

Dating back to a preseason media availability in February, Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles has long promised IndyCar would prioritize reach above all else in its next TV deal.

Miles and series owner Roger Penske couldn't have done any better, having placed all 17 races on network TV in 2025, along with an additional network TV window during both days of Indianapolis 500 qualifying for a total of 19.

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

During the first two years of IndyCar's current deal with NBC, it landed 15 total network windows — 14 races and one day of 500 qualifying in 2022 and 13 races and both 500 qualifying days in 2023. This year, that number scaled back to 12 — including Sunday Indy 500 qualifying and the exhibition event at The Thermal Club.

According to a source, though NBC offered a significant number of network TV windows, it had been unwilling to guarantee placing all 17 races on network television. With the understanding that Fox officials also offered an uplift in its rights fees, it made the newcomer's package impossible to turn down for a sport very much in need of continued fan base growth.

Fox streaming element still a work-in-progress

In recent years, cord-cutting IndyCar fans had been able to subscribe to NBC's Peacock streaming service and watch all races live, and the platform also offered the only way to watch all practice and qualifying sessions.

In its new deal with Fox, all practice and qualifying will air on a combination of its sports-specific cable offerings, FS1 and FS2. Presently, Fox only offers the ability to watch live sports on its Fox Sports app for those who can authenticate their subscription to another cable or TV-watching package that includes Fox. As soon as this year, though, Fox Sports' offerings will be available through the network's partnership with ESPN and Warner Bros Discovery's unique sports-only streaming platform named 'Venu Sports.'

There, subscribers will be able to watch live the three companies' full catalog of sports, from racing (Formula 1, NASCAR and IndyCar), to portions of the NFL season, MLB, large chunks of college basketball and football, the NBA and more.

Venu Sports is set to launch later this year.

Indy NXT set for races on cable

As part of this current Fox deal, the network will air races of IndyCar's feeder series, Indy NXT, on a combination of FS1 and FS2 — with the bulk of those races landing on FS1, according to a Penske Entertainment official.

Fox IndyCar broadcast crew undecided

IndyCar and Fox did not announce its talent crew as part of Thursday's news. The major difference in next year's IndyCar broadcast booth will be the loss of longtime play-by-play anchor Leigh Diffey, who will remain with NBC in a multi-faceted role. Though not formally announced yet by NBC, many expect Diffey not to return to the IndyCar booth following the series' multi-week break for the Summer Olympics between Toronto (July 21) and World Wide Technology Raceway (Aug. 17). Following the Olympics, Diffey many sources in the IndyCar paddock to join NBC's NASCAR booth, though it's unclear if that decision has been formally and whether it's set in stone or merely a strong likelihood.

Diffey is also set to miss the upcoming weekend at Laguna Seca, due to his role covering the U.S. Track and Field trials, and he's also said to be missing the Toronto street race as he heads off to Paris — making potentially his last time in an IndyCar race weekend booth the Iowa Speedway doubleheader (July 13-14). In his place, as they've done before, NBC is likely to lean on pit lane regular Kevin Lee to fill-in for Diffey.

Series sources expect longtime Fox motorsports personalities Adam Alexander or Jamie Little, ex-IndyCar voice Allen Bestwick or Lee to be in the running to fill Fox's play-by-play role. One of — but possibly not both — of current color commentators James Hinchcliffe and Townsend Bell are thought likely to be signed to join the booth as well.

NBC 'proud' of growth it delivered IndyCar

In a statement regarding the impending end to the pair's partnership, an NBC spokesperson offered this statement:

"We are very proud of our contributions to the growth of IndyCar over the last 16 seasons, generating record viewership, unprecedented promotion and best-in-class production," the statement read. "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."

IndyCar likely landed higher payday; specifics unclear

Though it has been long-expected part of the attraction of Fox would be a larger payday for Penske Entertainment — an increase from its annual rights fees with NBC that fell in the $20 million to $25 million range — it's unclear what this latest deal entails from a financial standpoint. Series officials declined to elaborate on the specifics of the deal.

An important piece to the puzzle — one we may learn more about later Thursday — is the level of involvement for IMS Productions in this deal moving forward. Under the current deal, NBC largely staffs its production truck at races, while IMSP workers largely set-up and man cameras during race weekends, while also providing the physical cameras, trucks and other production equipment.

To help ease many fans' initial negative reactions to IndyCar landing on Fox — which has drawn the ire of loads of NASCAR fans for its production quality of the stock car series of late — IMSP could take on an even larger role in the production lead on race weekends to help steady fans' worry, though that's presently unclear. An increased role for IMSP could also be reason for Fox to offer more cash, given they'd have to provide fewer resources on the back-end to help run the show.

Length of latest IndyCar deal with Fox unclear

When asked the length of this new deal with Fox, Penske Entertainment officials declined to comment, though IndyCar's recent deals have been three years in length.

Follow IndyStar motor sports Insider Nathan Brown on X at @By_NathanBrown.

2025 IndyCar race schedule on Fox

This is the 2025 IndyCar schedule with day of week, date, location, course type and TV:

Sunday, March 2: Streets of St. Petersburg (street course), FOX

Sunday, March 23: The Thermal Club (road course), FOX

Sunday, April 13: Streets of Long Beach (street course), FOX

Sunday, May 4: Barber Motorsports Park (road course), FOX

Saturday, May 10: Indianapolis Motor Speedway (road course), FOX

Sunday, May 25: Indianapolis 500 (oval), FOX

Sunday, June 1: Streets of Detroit (street course), FOX

Sunday, June 15: World Wide Technology Raceway (oval), FOX

Sunday, June 22: Road America (road course), FOX

Sunday, July 6: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (road course), FOX

Saturday, July 12: Iowa Speedway (oval), FOX

Sunday, July 13: Iowa Speedway (oval), FOX

Sunday, July 20: Streets of Toronto (street course), FOX

Sunday, July 27: WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca (road course), FOX

Sunday, Aug. 10: Portland International Raceway (road course), FOX

Sunday, Aug. 24: Milwaukee Mile (oval), FOX

Sunday, Aug. 31: Nashville Superspeedway (oval), FOX

This article originally appeared on Indianapolis Star: What to know about IndyCar, Fox's new TV deal, partnership