The streaming wars have now come to short track racing.
During Thursday’s Championship Weekend Media Day in Miami, NBC Sports and NASCAR jointly announced a new over-the-top streaming platform that will replace FansChoice.TV — NBC Sports Gold TrackPass.
It will be conceptually similar to NBC’s IndyCar Gold Pass which debuted in 2019 and aired live and archived IndyCar, Indy Lights, Pro Mazda and USF2000 races.
NBC Sports Gold: TrackPass will include every ARCA East, ARCA West, NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour, NASCAR Pinty’s Series, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge and select NASCAR Home Track weekly tracks and signature events.
Additionally, NASCAR Cup and Xfinity practices and qualifying sessions will be broadcast on the platform, but not exclusively. NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Gander Outdoor Truck Series events will not be carried on the platform.
NBC Sports executive producer Sam Flood says he views his channel as the home for motorsports and his latest Gold Pass offering reflects that.
“We’ve gone deeply into this space across a number of platforms and this is just the natural next step,” Flood said during a press conference announcing the platform. “And most importantly, it’s a partnership with NASCAR that we’re going to work together to make this bigger and better and make more people aware of it. So, we’re going to get more people and more eyeballs consuming the sport, growing the sport.
“And that starts with grassroots racing and the opportunity to be down in the smaller series and watching (drivers grow up) to the point where they are racing for the Cup championship like they are this Sunday. We want to get people hooked on this sport early and to get them that passion at a grassroots level. That’s so critical.”
Fans can access all the content on NBC Sports Gold TrackPass for $4.99 a month or $44.99 a year.
Lower-priced, series-specific sub-packages for IMSA, American Flat Track and NASCAR grassroots content will also be available.
Both the IMSA and NASCAR Roots (which includes ARCA, Whelen Modified Tour, tentpole grassroots events and select NASCAR practice and qualifying sessions) packages are $2.99 a month or $19.99 a year.
The American Flat Track package will have a $1.99 a month or $10.99 a year introductory rate for 2020. Existing FansChoice.TV registered users will receive an introductory free trial to TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold as well.
FansChoice.TV offered much of the same content for free last year, but NASCAR president Steve Phelps emphasized on Thursday that NBC Sports Gold: TrackPass would mean an increased in production value and device accessibility.
“This is a tremendous partnership, and we’re thrilled to be announcing this today,” Phelps said. “It’s been a long time coming. Our folks have worked really hard with the NBC folks to really craft something that works. Between ARCA, IMSA, grassroots and Flat Track there is a great opportunity for us from a library standpoint, offering documentaries. Just a really cool opportunity for our fan base.”
Upon launch, TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold will be available on desktop web browsers and via the NBC Sports app on iOS and Android phones and tablets, Apple TV (Gen 4), Roku, Amazon Fire TV, AndroidTV, Xfinity X1, Xfinity Flex and Chromecast devices connected via HDMI.
This development, which has been in the works for at least the past several months, was announced a month after it was revealed that the Race Team Alliance (of NASCAR Cup Series owners) has purchased Speed51.com — and its considerable race streaming platform.
Speed51 has both a monthly highlight package subscription service and the broadcast rights to some of the most prestigious short track events in the country, including the Snowball Derby, All-American 400, Oxford 250, Slinger Nationals and Winter Showdown.
FloRacing purchased DirtonDirt and it’s dirt streaming catalogue. SPEEDSPORT launched SPEEDSPORT TV in August.
Does Phelps and Flood view itself as a competitor to this shared digital space?
“Absolutely not,” Phelps said. “Any opportunity to service the fans is what we want to do. So, whether it’s Speed51 and Bob Dillner, and their group has done a really nice job serving that particular audience with those particular races.
“And we have our own races, our own type of production, ways to get it across multiple devices. I think the (two services are) complimentary, frankly. And do I think there will be folks that will do both Speed51 and TrackPass. We’re really excited about what it means for our sport and the different motor sports that we’re representing. I think it’s going to be a huge win for the fans.”