NASCAR, NBC, and iRacing Team Up on Esports With eNASCAR telecasts on NBCSN
Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America will be the first of four episodes to feature live eNASCAR events
NASCAR is getting into the esports game in a big way, partnering with NBC Sports and iRacing to present the first-ever eNASCAR live event on television. The world’s best NASCAR iRacers will compete in the event on TV as part of Thursday’s edition of NASCAR America, airing at 5 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Following this week’s event, eNASCAR iRacing All-Star events will return to NASCAR America on NBCSN on the last Thursday of each month in a four-race series.
NASCAR America’s Krista Voda, Parker Kligerman, and AJ Allmendinger will host, along with iRacing team owners Steve Letarte and Jeff Burton, who will join for pre-/post-race commentary from the NBC Sports Charlotte, NC, studio. Kligerman, also an iRacing team owner, will be racing from the NBC Sports simulator in Stamford, CT, in the eNASCAR iRacing All-Star event.
“The trio of NBC Sports, iRacing, and NASCAR has been terrific in wanting to work together to find new ways to bring current and new fans into the NASCAR scene,” says Jeff Behnke, VP, NASCAR production, NBC Sports Group. “For five years, the simulator has been used on NASCAR America to showcase tracks and racers around the USA, and this new four-race venture will be a natural extension of that teamwork.”
In iRacing, an online simulation racing game, competitors race head-to-head from around the world. More information on the three future iRacing events on NBCSN will be revealed in the coming weeks.
“This is a landmark moment for iRacing and all racing esports,” says Tony Gardner, president, iRacing. “We’re incredibly excited to work with NASCAR and NBC Sports to bring our world-class simracers to a live national television audience for the first time on NBCSN. We expect the action to be intense, and we can’t wait for the green flag to drop this Thursday.”
Says Tim Clark, senior VP/chief digital officer, NASCAR, “Our eNASCAR platforms bridge the gap from one race weekend to the next, delivering NASCAR-style racing to our fans through the rapidly growing esports space. This new collaboration with our partners at iRacing and NBC Sports is an example of how esports is allowing us to evolve the way we engage our fans.”
The announcement comes on the heels of news that NASCAR declined to join the joint venture of 704Games and the Race Team Alliance that owns the eHeat Pro League esports series, according to SportsBusiness Journal. However, the sanctioning body remains involved in the effort, which was announced last December. Although the eHeat Pro League uses 704Games’ NASCAR Heat console game aimed at casual fans, the iRacing Series is aimed toward more-advanced simulator drivers.
In addition to the eNASCAR iRacing All-Star events being broadcast on NBCSN, iRacing and NASCAR also have a professional esports series known as the eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Series, where drivers from around the world compete for more than $100,000 in prize money in a year-long championship. Other notable team owners in the series include NBC Sports’ Dale Earnhardt Jr. and NASCAR stars Clint Bowyer and Austin Dillon. NBCSN provides weekly coverage of the series on NASCAR America.