It was announced that NBC Sports will pay $4.4 billion over 10 years for the rights to ESPN's entire NASCAR package and half of Turner's 6 races. When I read that my first thought was that NBC was trying to make their NBC Sports Network channel (formerly Versus) more appealing once a la carte cable pricing becomes a reality.
Today if someone allowed you to just keep and pay for the channels you want and not be forced into big bundles or tiers - would you keep the NBC Sports Network? My guess is that because of this new deal in the future NASCAR fans will keep that channel (over ESPN even), NHL fans will keep the channel (again even maybe over ESPN who doesn't have any NHL games), bicycle racing fans (Tour de France) and fans of the Dan Patrick Show will also have reason to be paying the monthly fee for the NBC Sports Network. And those are some of the most loyal and fervent fans around.
ESPN meanwhile just added Keith Olbermann while NBC Sports Network countered by adding NASCAR. The choice is getting clearer every day.