This coming weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway presents a unique challenge for NBC Sports.
For the third consecutive year, both Nascar and the NTT IndyCar Series will race at the Yard of Bricks on a specified weekend, with the events airing this Saturday and Sunday on NBC.
The challenge of running two big sporting events in one weekend is something that NBC Sports Executive Producer and President of Production Sam Flood loves.
“It’s just a non-stop action and cross-pollination is the best part,” Flood said. “We are organizing two racing championships together, sharing a structure and hopefully sharing an audience.”
The rare opportunity for America’s two most popular forms of motorsport to race together on the same weekend on the same track began in 2020. The Covid-19 pandemic forced both series to get creative with their schedules and It also opened up an opportunity for them to race together in Indianapolis, owned by Roger Penske.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. will effectively serve as an analyst for both events, and James Hinchcliffe will be at the Xfinity Series booth on Saturday.
“There is so much respect, I think, going back and forth from open wheels to stock cars over the decades,” said Earnhardt, a Nascar Hall of Famer. “There have been many great circumstances and opportunities where the drivers have driven: IndyCar drivers have successfully raced in stock cars and stock car drivers have also successfully raced in Indy in IndyCars.”
This weekend’s dynamic racing duo offers NBC an important opportunity to continue its momentum.
The number of NASCAR Cup Series viewers for the start of the NBC / USA Network portion of the season increased 4% from last season. The audience has increased from those comparable races on NBCSN last year.
Sunday’s event at Pocono Raceway saw a 4% increase in viewership and USA Network was the first television network, including broadcast, during the race window with 2.590 million viewers. The Atlanta race on USA Network surpassed all 2021 races on NBCSN in terms of viewers with 2.626 million viewers.
“Part of our job is to market the sport and stay on track. Rutledge Wood offers unique content during and around races, “Flood said.” It’s one of the things Jim France of Nascar asked us to keep showing what’s going on on the track. Once you go to a race, you’ll keep watching it in television”.
Additionally, the NTT IndyCar Series also had its best start in five years in all of Comcast
Flood attributes the growth in ratings to both series’ dedication to finding innovative ways to attract new fans.
“The fact that fans have returned to the track in record numbers makes racing events again,” said Flood. “It’s more than a race: it’s an event. You saw the crowd in Pocono last weekend and you saw the crowd for IndyCar.
“Either way, it looked great and it’s a huge plus because when it’s more of a race, it engages the audience at a much higher level. I think it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy with more fans in the stands means more eyes watching the race ”.
And NBC is also cross promoting its motorsport programs with WWE.
Flood said, “We have worked closely with WWE to guide the public back and forth between Nascar, IndyCar and WWE. Superstars are showing up on the track, so we’re adding publicity to everyone involved. “
The green flag for the IndyCar Series event will take place on Saturday, July 30, while the Indianapolis Cup Series race will take the green flag on July 31, both on NBC.