Spire Motorsports has reached an agreement to purchase Live Fast Motorsports’ charter for approximately $40 million, persons briefed on the situation but not authorized to speak publicly told The Athletic.
Spire acquiring Live Fast’s charter for the No. 78 team increases its count to three cars heading into the 2024 season. The team currently fields Cup Series teams for Corey LaJoie (No. 7) and Ty Dillon (No. 77), though Dillon is not expected to return to the organization next season.
No driver for Spire’s newly acquired charter has been officially announced, but the sources told The Athletic that defending Truck Series champion Zane Smith is the leading candidate to drive the car in a unique arrangement where Smith is under contract to fellow Cup team Trackhouse Racing and essentially farmed out to Spire for the 2024 season.
Both Smith and Trackhouse have stated they have media announcements planned for 5 p.m. ET on Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway, the site of the evening’s Cup race.
The approximate $40 million price point Live Fast is receiving represents the highest for a charter since the NASCAR equivalent of a franchise system was instituted prior to the 2016 season.
It also continues a pattern from Spire, which has seen the company be at the forefront of the charter market while viewing its purchases as investments. Spire notably made the first significant charter purchase when it bought the Furniture Row Racing No. 78 charter for $6 million in 2018, which seemed like a high number at the time but would now be an unbelievable bargain.
Charters skyrocketing in value comes amid a time when teams are expected to receive a bigger share of the financial revenue NASCAR generates.
One of the biggest slices of the money teams receive from NASCAR is through its Cup Series television contract. NASCAR is working toward finalizing its next Cup Series television contract, which is expected to surpass the $8.2 billion the league received when its rights last hit the open market. NASCAR’s current deal with Fox Sports and NBC Sports is set to expire after the 2024 season.
Once these negotiations conclude, team executives expect charter values to quickly rise to around $50 million.
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