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ABC retains Indianapolis 500 TV rights

The US broadcast network ABC has kept the television rights for the Indianapolis 500 in a new deal extending to 2018, after speculation that IndyCar might defect to rivals NBC.
The IndyCar Series has agreed a new six-year deal with US broadcast network ABC to continue to provide live coverage of the Indianapolis 500, which keeps the Memorial Day holiday weekend event on the channel that has been its home since 1965.

That means the race will stay with ABC for its 100th running in 2016, the network already having covered this year's centennial anniversary of the first Indy 500 (the difference being down to the wartime years when the race was not run.)

ABC provides the live television coverage which is then syndicated to broadcast partners around the world, including Sky Sports in the United Kingdom. This year the coverage utilised 64 high definition cameras to capture all the action on track at the 2.5 mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

"We are very proud to extend the relationship with this new agreement," said George Bodenheimer, president of ESPN and ABC Sports. "The 500 is a uniquely American event and a Memorial Day tradition."

"We value our partnership with ABC and ESPN and are pleased that the relationship will continue into the future," said Jeff Belskus, CEO and president of Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation.

The new deal also adds live online streaming rights from on-board during the Indy 500, which will be available to online subscribers at indycar.com and ABC's web-only channel EPSN3.

"As broadcast technology advances and opportunities arise to implement new technology," commented Belskus, "ABC's production team continues to seek out innovative ways to televise our sport."

As well as the Indy 500 itself, ABC will continue to cover four additional IndyCar races during each year, including this year's season finale at Las Vegas. The remainder of the races in the IndyCar season are covered under a separate broadcast deal with cable channel VERSUS, which will be branded NBC Sports Channel from the start of 2012 after its takeover by ABC's national broadcast rival network.

VERSUS has recently been conspicuously busy upgrading and improving their coverage, implementing a pre-race "grid walk" and adding Indy 500 champion Dan Wheldon to the commentary team for a very well-received three-race run in June and July.




Related Pictures

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The 33 starters line up ready for the green flat to begin the centennial Indianapolis 500. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Sunday May 29, 2011. [Picture credit: Ron McQueeney for IndyCar Media]
Will Power, driver of the #12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races to a fourteenth-place finish Saturday, July 13, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Power lost the championship points lead to teammate Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, who finished eighth. (Photo by Dan Streck/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 TNT Energy Drink Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, races to a third-place finish Saturday, July 12, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6, takes over the championship points lead with an eighth-place finish. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, races teammate Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 TNT Energy Drink Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, Saturday, July 12, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Dixon won the pole and finished in fourth-place. Kanaan led for most of the race and finished third. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet V6, took over the championship points lead with an eighth-place finish Saturday, July 12, 2014 at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. (Photo by Brett Moist/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Tony Kanaan leads the field during the Iowa Corn Indy 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves, driver of the #3 Hitachi Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, qualifies third Friday, July 11, 2014 for Saturday`s race at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa.  (Photo by Brett Moist/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Ryan Briscoe (left), driver of the #8 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6, talks with teammate Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 TNT Energy Drink Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, during qualifying Friday, July 11, 2014 for Saturday`s race at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Briscoe qualified fourth, Kanaan second and teammate Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 won the pole. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 celebrates winning the pole Friday, July 11, 2014 for Saturday`s race at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Dixon will start in the front row with teammate Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 TNT Energy Drink Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, who qualified second. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Scott Dixon, driver of the #9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 wins the pole Friday, July 11, 2014 for Saturday`s race at the Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. Dixon will start in the front row with teammate Tony Kanaan, driver of the #10 TNT Energy Drink Ganassi Racing Chevrolet V6, who qualified second. (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
The eyes of Scott Dixon look down track prior to practice for the Iowa Corn Indy 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Shawn Gritzmacher for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon on course during practice for the Iowa Corn Indy 300 at Iowa Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates taking pole position for the Iowa Corn Indy 300 presented by DEKALB at Iowa Speedway on Friday July 12 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates taking pole position for the Iowa Corn Indy 300 presented by DEKALB at Iowa Speedway on Friday July 12 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates taking pole position for the Iowa Corn Indy 300 presented by DEKALB at Iowa Speedway on Friday July 12 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates taking pole position for the Iowa Corn Indy 300 presented by DEKALB at Iowa Speedway on Friday July 12 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates taking pole position for the Iowa Corn Indy 300 presented by DEKALB at Iowa Speedway on Friday July 12 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon celebrates taking pole position for the Iowa Corn Indy 300 presented by DEKALB at Iowa Speedway on Friday July 12 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)

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