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Analysis

What is known about IndyCar’s 2025 TV deal with FOX Sports

While there are still plenty of questions to be answered regarding the historic media rights deal between the IndyCar Series and FOX Sports beginning in 2025, this is what is known so far.

Alexander Rossi, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet

IndyCar and FOX Sports announced a multi-year deal on Thursday morning, which will see 19 network windows for the series for next year, including 17 races. By comparison, FOX is only putting five of its 14 NASCAR Cup Series races on the network. 

Each race will have a network window of 2.5 hours, with the exception of the five-hour window for the 109th Running of the Indianapolis 500. The live coverage for 2025 stands as roughly a 50 percent increase compared to this year. 

While the specific details on the length of the deal were not disclosed, Penske Entertainment President and CEO Mark Miles said “yes” to all IndyCar Series races being on network for the duration of the agreement.

The talent in the booth has yet to be decided, but FOX Sports CEO and Executive Producer Eric Shanks shared how the selections will be handled.

“We're gonna work together with Mark and the team to make sure that we have the right tone and star power to be able to celebrate the IndyCar Series, not just the Indy 500,” Shanks said.

One home

At a time when various sports, including NASCAR, are splitting between several viewing platforms, including streaming, Miles shared why it was important for IndyCar to find one destination to broadcast races.

“One, are the attributes of Fox Sports,” Miles said. “We think they're going to do a great job in telling our stories (in a way) way that will appeal to our fans, be uniquely IndyCar and help us grow the fan base. So their storytelling for us, Eric's passion for it, and I know his team's passion for it are important.

“But strategically, look, we have 17 races and as you know, we'll have network coverage of the two days of qualifying for the 500, so 19 windows is compelling. For us to cut that in a third or in half, just doesn't make any sense. We love that fans will know where to go. We love that there's a great deal of consistency, and we think this maximizes the audience. 

“I don't know if I'd think about it differently if we had two or three times the number of races, but for what we have as the IndyCar Series, to us to have one powerful committed partner, we'll maximize our fan base and our audience.”

And sharing some races under the same roof as NASCAR, with FOX Sports set as the first-ever network to broadcast the Daytona 500 and Indy 500 live, should help increase the brand’s messaging as a home for motorsports.

Colton Herta, Andretti Global w/ Curb-Agajanian Honda

Colton Herta, Andretti Global w/ Curb-Agajanian Honda

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

“I think there's going to be a great halo effect for all motorsports,” said Eric Shanks. 

“Once you start to put the two schedules together, both IndyCar and NASCAR, I think there's gonna be a great halo effect of motorsports because a lot of times they're gonna be leading in and out of each other. 

“The FOX network is not gonna be starting from scratch. When we do NASCAR races, you're already gonna have a motorsports audience for some of the lead-ins to NASCAR races. And I think that circulation and promotion is gonna fit both series. 

“Also from a personal standpoint, I'm incredibly proud that I believe (with) the research that I've done is, this is the first time since the Daytona 500 and Indy 500 have been broadcast live on television that the same network has had both. I think in the '60's and '70's they weren't live, but ABC did have 'em both.”

A return to The Thermal Club, but for points

The additional release of the 2025 schedule also showed that IndyCar is going back to The Thermal Club for a third consecutive year, with another progressive step in the relationship between the series and the privately owned facility roughly 40 minutes outside of Palm Springs, California. 

A preseason test in 2023 evolved into a non-points exhibition earlier this year and now becomes a part of the championship for 2025. 

This year’s event hosted a limited number of fans for the first time, with the original price for a weekend pass of $2,000 reduced to $500 roughly two months prior. The number of fans that will be allowed next year for an official race and the price to attend has yet to be determined, along with details of the race itself.

Heat Race 2, Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Heat Race 2, Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images

The improvements by the facility to host an official race next year includes an extension to the pit lane to have 35-foot pit boxes - the minimum requirement by the IndyCar Series – for all 27 entries. That was an issue for the event in March, which was a major part of the reasoning for a format that split the field in half with heat races that led into a main event featuring 12 cars. 

Miles shared how the motivation for a return came after positive reviews by a select number of drivers.

“I remember at dinner we had with half a dozen drivers, and to my surprise, they brought it up and said, 'You know, it's great racing. It's a great track. We should just make it a regular points race,'” Miles said. 

“So, you won't see heat racing and some of the things that we tried last year as a non-points race. They're going to change the track. They're going to obviously make physical improvements and expansion to the pits. They are going to expand their capacity for accommodating fans. It's not gonna be the Indy 500 for capacity, but it will continue to be a special experience. But we think it fits really well into the schedule. 

“They've always been great hosts. It's a great facility, and we're looking forward to being in Palm Springs in the spring.”

The Lone(ly) Star State

IndyCar isn’t going back to Texas in 2025. 

Texas Motor Speedway hosted North America’s premier open-wheel championship from 1997-2023, including two events per year from 1998-2004, but that relationship ended in 2024 as the track cited a date clash when NASCAR swept in and took the early April date occupied by IndyCar.

And there was also the notion that it was also simply a byproduct of the Summer Olympics as a reason for interrupting IndyCar’s long relationship with the 1.5-mile oval, which left open the idea of a return – to the track or, at the very least, the market (as Miles previously stated to Motorsport.com in January) – in 2025.

Neither will happen. 

Several team owners have stressed to Motorsport.com over the early part of the 2024 season how the North Texas market is an important one for the sport, which is also home to series title sponsor NTT Data, located in Plano, roughly 30 miles east of Texas Motor Speedway.

Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet Patricio O'Ward, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Josef Newgarden, Team Penske Chevrolet Patricio O'Ward, Arrow McLaren Chevrolet Alex Palou, Chip Ganassi Racing Honda

Photo by: Brett Farmer / Motorsport Images

Miles echoed the sentiments of the team owners, and further strengthened the idea that IndyCar’s return to the Lone Star State is likely to happen in 2026 but in the form of a street circuit.

“Well, let me start more broadly and say again, I think we've said this more than once publicly, we are focused on adding urban upcoming hot major markets to our schedule over time,” Miles said. 

“And so I think you'll see that by 2026 in one or two instances. And certainly the Texas market is important to us and a focus. I think we're gonna have great news in that regard before too long. “And already with FOX, we're thinking about those subsequent years and what they could look like in '26 and '27, potentially beyond.”

IMS Productions will continue to be involved

IMS Productions has worked together over the last several years with NBC Sports in helping put on the IndyCar broadcasts, and that is something that looks to continue in the switch to FOX Sports next year.

“Essentially it's the same structure,” Miles said. “I wanna start by saying we think they do a great job. 

“Importantly, NBC has thought that, and I know Eric has confidence in them, but IMS Productions fundamentally will do the below the line production and everything above the line will be FOX's responsibility. We're stoked about that. The team's ready to go. We will be great partners and yeah, it's basically the same structure.”

The cross promotional efforts

There has been a tendency for FOX Sports to highlight NASCAR, namely with the season-opening Daytona 500, during the NFL playoffs, which stands as one of the most-watched events of the year. 

And now it appears that the IndyCar Series and the Indy 500 could receive similar treatment among the plethora of events hosted by FOX Sports, including the NFL, MLB, NCAA Football and FIFA World Cup, among others.

“I think it's an incredible promotional platform that we use for our events inside of FOX Sports,” Shanks said. 

Kevin Magnussen, Renault Sport F1 Team with the media - Fox Sports

Kevin Magnussen, Renault Sport F1 Team with the media - Fox Sports

Photo by: XPB Images

“And so now having the Indy 500 and the IndyCar Series, it'll be in that mix. Definitely. It's too early to say exactly what our promotional platform is going to be, but I think you'd be silly not to use your biggest events to promote the things that are important to you. And look, our job is to make that halo effect that I talked about earlier, a reality. 

“So being able to use that flywheel of everything that we have, whether it's college football, the NFL, NFL playoffs and other racing series, as well as the UFL and baseball, Indy is now a part of that portfolio.”

The TV deal is unrelated to the charter system

There has been plenty of talk in regards to the charter system in the IndyCar Series and exactly what that looks like for the sport. While there was anticipation to have a deal in place prior to the Indy 500, there has yet to be anything formally announced.

When asked by Motorsport.com if the television deal with FOX Sports needed to be handled in order to move forward with the charter deal, in similar ways to how NASCAR’s charter deal was handled in the past with team owners, Miles denied the notion.

“No, I think they're pretty separate,” Miles said. “The paddock is very supportive of these arrangements with FOX. We are right there and I think we'll have a charter system agreed to and then roll out the implementation in short order. So, that's kind of a coincidence, but they're both coming to bear. 

“And then we're gonna have a lot more great announcements related to new events in cool markets related to getting the hybrid out this summer. And then the new car and new power system for not so many years in the future. Extended sponsorship arrangements. 

“There's a lot of really good stuff going on, which will all kinda leverage this basic platform of the exposure we'll get from FOX Sports.”

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