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Can NASCAR Maintain Its Status as America’s Favorite Motorsport Amid the Rise of Formula 1?

Published 12/19/2023, 3:40 AM EST

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In the United States, two motorsports rule the roost, NASCAR and IndyCar. As it happens, NASCAR happens to be more popular than its open-wheel counterpart. However, a new player joined the party recently, and that is Formula 1. F1 is already a global phenomenon, so it was inevitable that it would reach American shores. The US Grand Prix became a fixture on the F1 calendar for the first time in 1908, though it was on and off till 2012.

But even then the USA just has one race on the calendar, which is why F1 is considered a global sport. NASCAR and IndyCar, on the other hand, have a firmer foothold in the United States, and NASCAR is reportedly more popular. This is true, especially judging from spectator counts and TV ratings. However, from 2022 onwards, the game changed rapidly for Formula One.

That year, Miami played host to its first-ever F1 race, with the Circuit of The Americas still maintaining its position. Now in 2023, Formula One has had three different races in America, with Las Vegas joining this year.

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Is NASCAR combatting F1’s rising presence in America?

NASCAR has a stronger position than F1 because it still enjoys more races in America. However, with two additional races, F1’s stance has improved. According to Joe Pompliano, F1 had an average viewership of 1.1 million in the United States. However, that still pales in comparison to NASCAR, which enjoyed an average viewership of 2.8 million.

What makes things better for NASCAR is that they recently signed a new media deal for $7.7 billion for 7 years. This landmark deal encompasses several networks, both TV and streaming. The latter is a massive step because it is the first time that NASCAR is allowing streaming services to broadcast races. Admittedly, F1 has its own streaming service but hasn’t approached any other streaming platform. NASCAR’s biggest advantage is that one of the streaming platforms is Amazon Prime, which boasts over 200 million subscribers.

F1 itself has been trying to increase its American presence with the addition of more races. According to some reports, there is a chance that the next venue could be New York, and it could be a street track. This has been something that former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone had been hoping to achieve. Whether those rumors are true or not is anyone’s guess, but it could be exciting, nonetheless.

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$7.7 Billion TV Deal Spells Good News for NASCAR Charter Teams, Here is Why

In 2023, the Cup Series achieved a major milestone for the sport

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In the past couple of years, NASCAR has been pushing its boundaries for the fans. It started with the pre-season Busch Clash moving to the Los Angeles Coliseum from 2022 onwards. Then this year, an old fan favorite track, the North Wilkesboro Speedway, returned. This was followed by the stock car racing series playing host to its first street race in Chicago. Now in the coming 2024 campaign, the Iowa Speedway is making its Cup Series debut. In addition to that, the Brickyard 400 oval race [at Indianapolis Motor Speedway] will make a return after a three-year hiatus.

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Admittedly, there has been some issue with declining TV ratings every year. However, with the new deal coming into play from 2025 onwards, it could be a game changer. It is worth mentioning that Fox Sports, NBC Sports, Amazon, TNT Max, and Warner Brothers Discovery, will split duties. In essence, Fox Sports will broadcast the first 14 races. Amazon Prime will air five races, TNT and Bleacher Report will air another 5. Finally, the last 14 races will air on the NBC/USA Network. So if Formula One wants to challenge for the spot of America’s favorite motorsport, they will have a serious fight on its hands.

WATCH THIS STORY: NASCAR Might Have Just Saved Themselves With the $7.7 Billion Media Rights Deal

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Written by:

Dhruv George

14,317Articles

One take at a time

Growing up as a Formula One fan, I was always vaguely aware that there was a sport called NASCAR. But when I actually got to know more about it, it didn't take me long to get hooked. My closest encounter with NASCAR was back in 2009 when my family took a picture of me next to one of Dale Earnhardt Jr?s cars.
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Edited by:

Ranvijay Singh