NASCAR was named Sports League of the Year at the Sports Business Awards. (Photo HHP / Chris Owens)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla .– NASCAR was named Sports League of the Year at the 2021 Sports Business Awards, a virtual ceremony hosted by Sports Business Journal to celebrate the best of the sports industry over the past year.

The award, one of the most prestigious in the sports industry, recognizes the many successes and efforts of NASCAR during a historic and difficult 2020 season. After the pandemic hiatus, NASCAR was the first major American sport to return to competition, the first to safely welcome fans back, and the first to complete a full season schedule.

In June 2020, NASCAR took a stand for equality and social justice and banned the Confederate flag from all properties and events. The sanctioning body strengthened its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and then welcomed Michael Jordan and Pitbull as new team owners.

NASCAR has worked with industry stakeholders to create and introduce the most dynamic new racing program for over 50 years, including several new venues added to the 2021 event roster.

NASCAR also filled the sporting void live with eSports following the onset of COVID-19, working with FOX and iRacing to present the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational series. The new series generated six of the highest rated esports shows in television history.

“We are honored to be named Sports League of the Year 2021 and thank Sports Business Journal for this incredible recognition,” said Steve Phelps, president of NASCAR. “This award is a testament to the collective determination and creativity of our industry as we went through extraordinary circumstances in 2020 and, in doing so, paved the way for live sports in our country.”

The NBA, NFL, NHL, PGA Tour, UFC and WNBA have joined NASCAR as finalists for the Sports League of the Year award. The victory marks NASCAR’s first in the Sports Business Awards category.

As part of the ceremony, Phelps was recognized as a Sports Executive of the Year finalist for his leadership in leading NASCAR throughout the 2020 season, and eNASCAR iRacing was among the finalists for Sports Breakthrough of the Year after the successful launch of eNASCAR iRacing. Invitation Pro Series.