IndyCar’s new neighbor

Formula One joining IndyCar on NBC Sports Network starting next season

After 17 seasons with SPEED Channel, Formula One will have a new Stateside television home in 2013.

And they’ve proverbially bought a nice little place in the NBC Sports cul-de-sac…right next door to the IZOD IndyCar Series. NBC Sports Group has signed a four-year pact with F1 that will see the majority of its 20-race campaign play out on its cable outlet (and IndyCar’s, as well), NBC Sports Network. In addition, all 20 events will be live streamed online and on mobile and tablet devices.

Yes, you should feel more than a little annoyed that IndyCar can’t live stream their own races as well. But that’s not the point of this article…Although the issue must be addressed sooner rather than later, in my opinion.

In my mind, F1 on NBCSN could actually be a benefit for IndyCar. Let’s start with the obvious: NBC Sports Network has to keep building itself up and while Formula One isn’t the most popular sport in the United States, it’s still very high in prestige.

At the least, it’s more programming for NBCSN to have at its disposal alongside the likes of IndyCar, Major League Soccer and the National Hockey League (when they’re actually playing, of course). It’s also a bigger opportunity for cross-promotion, and we know NBC can be very good at that.

Going further, why not put the two together somehow? Jenna Fryer of The Associated Press has tweeted that five IndyCar events in 2013 will be sharing dates with F1 races that will be on NBCSN, so that’s something. But a bigger approach is needed. Pressdog has an idea:

“If NBC has BOTH F1 and IndyCar it could maybe launch an “embrace the twisty” initiative. THAT, in my view, would benefit IndyCar. Since most twisty fans (that I know) are fans of all twisty racing, associating IndyCar and F1 by a common network would help both.”

Before we go further, “twisty” is a short name for road/street courses. I like this concept, because it sets up NBC Sports Network to be a bigger source of alternative programming for race fans that aren’t quite in love with NASCAR and its oval-centric antics.

And as Pressdog further details in his link above, it’s not like IndyCar and NBC Sports Network have anything to lose with the idea. Overall IndyCar ratings took a steep dive in 2012 on NBCSN, so why not take a chance?