NASCAR and communications company Comcast announced a 10-year partnership Wednesday that will re-brand the Nationwide Series as the Xfinity Series.
Xfinity – Comcast’s residential service brand that includes video and high-speed Internet – is the third title sponsor in the history of NASCAR’s secondary circuit. Originally called the Grand National Series, it was known as the Busch Series in 1986-2006, before Nationwide took over in 2007.
Nationwide Insurance announced in 2013 it wouldn’t renew its contract with the series, but will instead focus on spending its sponsorship dollars on tracks and teams.
“We’re trying to embrace technology and innovation wherever we can to either lower costs or make the experience for our fans a better one,” NASCAR Chairman Brian France said at the announcement, which took place at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in uptown Charlotte.
Driver Regan Smith, a nine-year veteran of the series who is second in this year’s points standings, said the new sponsor fits the young, technologically savvy demographic NASCAR is pursuing.
“Over the last 10 years, we’ve evolved with the different types of companies that have come in,” said Smith. “No one has been better than another. But from a technology standpoint, this is the most natural fit that we’ve had. It’s exciting and fun. We’ll see what comes from it.”
Financial terms of the deal weren’t announced. The deal will go into effect for the 2015 season.
Comcast also owns NBC Universal, which will begin a 10-year deal with NASCAR in 2015 for the exclusive rights to the final 20 Sprint Cup and 19 Xfinity races through 2024.
“We looked at the relationship that NBC Sports has worked with NASCAR, that’s a 10-year deal,” said Peter Intermaggio, Comcast’s senior vice president of marketing communications. “We said for our company, it’s best to align with that term.”