There had been speculation that the Indy 500 rights might be pulled from ABC in order to 'reunite' coverage under the NBC umbrella. Currently there is criticism that while ABC and its cable sports channel ESPN provide extensive coverage of the Indy 500 and the four other events they carry, there is no cross-promotion or news coverage of any VERSUS-covered IndyCar events. That could hamper the overall growth of the series, and is a situation that will only harden once the cable channel takes on branding from the arch-rival NBC network.
However there was a considerable sentimental drive to keep the Indy 500 with ABC after 47 years together - one of the longest continuous relationships in the world between a television broadcaster and a sporting event - and the series ultimately decided that the known quantity and quality of having ABC as its broadcast partner brought IndyCar a level of stability that was hard to walk away from.
"Our continued relationship with ABC ... allows the series long-term growth on the network," said Randy Bernard, the CEO of IndyCar. "This deal will help our series, team owners, sponsors and fans for the long term with a much more solid foundation."