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by Ken Schott

Parting Schotts

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NBC Sports Group gets part of NASCAR TV rights

NASCAR is driving back to the NBC Sports Group.

The two sides announced a deal Tuesday that will put the stock car series on NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network starting in 2015 and running through 2024. Financial terms were not disclosed.

The deal gives NBC Sports Group final 20 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races, final 19 NASCAR Nationwide Series events, select NASCAR Regional and Touring Series events and other live content.

NBC's 20 Sprint Cup race schedule includes becoming the exclusive home to the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, NASCAR's final 10 races of the season, including its season-ending championship event which will return to network television in 2015 for the first time since 2009. NBC will have seven NASCAR races, with the other 13 on NBC Sports Network. Four Nationwide Series races will air on NBC, with 15 airing on NBCSN.

NBC Sports televised the second half of the NASCAR schedule from 2001-06, while FOX Sports had the first half. The new deal marks the return to those days of just two networks televising NASCAR. TNT aired a few races before ESPN/ABC carried the remaining races.

With the new deal, ESPN and TNT will be off the track.

"NBC is known for being an exceptional partner and delivering outstanding production quality and presentation of live sports, as well as its broad portfolio of broadcast and digital properties so we are thrilled with the commitment they have made to NASCAR and its future," NASCAR chairman and chief executive officer Brian France said in a statement. "We know this partnership will yield great value to our entire industry, provide a premium experience to our most important stakeholders, the fans, and help us achieve a number of strategic growth objectives.

"Our new partnership with NBC and the recent extension by FOX validate the strength of our fan base and the many bold steps we have taken the last several years to provide fans with better, more accessible racing."

In addition to rights to NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR Nationwide Series races, NBC also obtains exclusive rights to practice and qualifying sessions for NBC's national series events during their portion of the season, as well as rights to broadcast the NASCAR K&N Series, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, NASCAR Toyota (Mexico) Series, the NASCAR Hall of Fame induction ceremony and NASCAR’s season-ending banquets. Further, NBC has been granted Spanish-language rights, certain video-on-demand rights and exclusive TV Everywhere rights for its NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series events.

This will strengthen NBC's auto racing coverage. NBCSN televises several IndyCar races and has the rights to Formula One.

"Acquiring the rights and bringing NASCAR back to NBC comes at an important point in time for NBC Sports Network, NBC, and all of our distributors and affiliates," NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus said. "We look forward to working with Brian and his management team, who have brought a renewed focus to NASCAR's intersection of sports and technology."

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