The Indianapolis 500-Mile Race will remain on ABC, continuing one
of the longest partnerships in television sports, while the move to
VERSUS, home to the National Hockey League, the NHL Stanley Cup
playoffs, college football, Davis Cup and Tour de France, will give the
IndyCar Series a new cable television partner beginning in 2009.
The new television agreements, which will feature the IndyCar
Series in high-definition television, come just months after the
unification of open-wheel racing in North America.
“We couldn’t be happier moving forward with our media rights with
long-time partner ABC and now welcoming VERSUS to the IndyCar Series
family,” said Tony George, the founder and chief executive officer of
the Indy Racing League. “Looking forward to 2009 and beyond, we have
the opportunity to team up with our media partners and really
capitalize on unification and the three-year Indianapolis Motor
Speedway Centennial Celebration.”
ABC, which will televise its 45th Indy 500 in 2009, has covered the
IndyCar Series since its inception in 1996. The Indy 500 will continue
to be aired on ABC through 2012, extending its deal through and beyond
the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Centennial Era, with the network
airing four additional IndyCar Series races annually.
The multi-year partnership with VERSUS calls for the network to
televise at least 13 races per year for the next 10 years, with each
telecast lasting a minimum of three hours and including extended
pre-race coverage. VERSUS also will air a one-hour preview show the day
before each race that will feature qualification highlights and all of
the relevant IndyCar Series stories of that weekend. Additionally, the
network will feature extensive coverage of all the qualification days
at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway leading up to the Indianapolis 500.
VERSUS will feature at least 10 hours of IndyCar Series ancillary
programming each season focused on the drivers, teams and tracks as
well as allowing for extensive coverage of the Centennial Celebration
at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Further,
VERSUS will have IndyCar Series re-airs in the week following every
race as well as the Firestone Indy Lights schedule highlighted in
weekly 30-minute telecasts.
Additional shows and topics are yet to be determined and details will be announced as they become available.
“Today’s announcement continues the momentum shown since we
announced unification in February and will be an immediate asset for
IndyCar Series drivers, teams, venues, suppliers and sponsors,” said
Terry Angstadt, president, commercial division, Indy Racing League.
“The immediate and long-term beneficiaries are IndyCar Series fans who
will get more IndyCar Series programming then ever before.”