NASCAR: New landing spot emerging as Dale Jr. possibility?

Dale Earnhardt Jr. does not currently have a contract to return to NBC for the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season, and he has been linked elsewhere.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR on NBC
Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR on NBC / Meg Oliphant/GettyImages
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Dale Earnhardt Jr. has been an analyst in the broadcast booth for NASCAR Cup Series races on NBC and USA Network (and NBC Sports Network before its shutdown in 2021) since retiring from Cup Series competition at the end of the 2017 season. He made his debut during the July 2018 race at Chicagoland Speedway and has been in the booth ever since.

But the 15-time Most Popular Driver recently revealed that he does not currently have a contract to continue with NBC in 2024, and while a return is still possible, he is currently assessing his options. In his own words, he does not currently have a broadcasting job, and even if he gets one again, it might not be with NBC.

NBC's portion of the 2024 broadcast schedule is scheduled to begin on Sunday, June 16 with the Cup Series' first ever race at Iowa Speedway. The race is the 17th of 36 points races on the calendar. Rick Allen, Steve Letarte, and Jeff Burton have been in the booth together since 2015.

Where will Dale Earnhardt Jr. end up?

Over the offseason, NASCAR reached a seven-year media rights deal with current broadcast partners Fox and NBC, as well as Amazon and TNT Sports. Starting in 2025, Fox Sports is set to carry the season's first 14 races, and Amazon Prime Video is set to cover the next five in a streaming-only deal.

TNT Sports is then set to cover the following five events, which are set to be shown on both TNT and the B/R Sports tier on the Max Streaming Service. NBC Sports is then set to carry the season's final 14 races. This deal runs through the 2031 season.

Make note of the fact that these numbers factor in all 36 points races (26 in the regular season and 10 in the playoffs) plus the preseason Busch Light Clash exhibition race and the All-Star Race, bringing the total to 38 races per season.

According to Sports Business Journal's Adam Stern, Amazon could make an effort to lure Earnhardt to their team for the 2025 season and beyond.

It has since been reported that the move is being finalized, with Earnhardt to take a break from announcing in 2024.

It would not be the first time Amazon has secured the services of a longtime NBC announcer for a new media acquisition.

After becoming the official home of the Thursday Night Football ahead of the 2022 NFL season, Prime Video was able to sign legendary commentator Al Michaels, pairing him with Kirk Herbstreit, who continues to work for ESPN. The three-year deal he signed was said to be worth $45 million.

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Michaels had been the lead announcer for Sunday Night Football on NBC since 2006, which his when the network acquired the rights to the program.

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