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Report: Comcast’s Xfinity, NASCAR closer to series sponsorship deal

Aug 18, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT

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Trevor Bayne, Dakoda Armstrong AP

According to Tripp Mickle of the SportsBusiness Journal, Comcast’s Xfinity and NASCAR have entered contract negotiations regarding title sponsorship of the racing league’s No. 2 national series.

Mickle’s report relays word from an unnamed source “familiar with the negotiations” that Xfinity – Comcast’s broadband, cable television, and phone service – is considering a five-to-six year deal valued at over $100 million to become the new backer of what’s been known as the NASCAR Nationwide Series since 2008.

Comcast would not comment for Mickle’s report, but NASCAR gave him the following statement: “We anticipate NASCAR will soon be aligned with an outstanding brand that will help take this series to new heights, but out of respect for our current partner and the process, we will not comment on speculation about any potential replacements until there actually is one.”

NASCAR is finishing out its current TV deal that features Fox Sports (who will stay on for the new TV deal) and the outgoing Turner Sports and ESPN; Turner aired its final NASCAR race last month at New Hampshire and ESPN will officially leave the sport at season’s end.

Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal Media and the NBC Sports Group. Last summer, the Group announced that it had struck a deal with NASCAR to broadcast 20 Sprint Cup and 19 Nationwide Series events annually from 2015 to 2024, with the bulk of those events to be shown on NBCSN.

Xfinity first emerged in June as a possible candidate to take over NASCAR’s No. 2 series sponsorship from Nationwide Insurance. In September of 2013, the insurance company said it would end that sponsorship and expand its role in the top-tier Sprint Cup Series.

To that end, Nationwide has since been confirmed as a primary sponsor for Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet over the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Cup seasons.

Going back to Xfinity’s potential deal with NASCAR, Mickle reports that there are still some obstacles involved; one of them apparently involves Fox, which according to sources, wants assurances that Comcast would spend equally on advertising across both Fox and NBC, and not just the network it owns.

However, Mickle writes that should this and other “category issues” be settled, a deal may be officially announced in the coming weeks.

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