The IZOD IndyCar Series 2013 season will not be shown on Sky Sports
in the UK, after the broadcaster announced that the exclusive television rights to show races had gone to rival network ESPN
"IndyCar has been signed up by ESPN,
so all races will be on there from March," Sky Sports
announced as a reply to an enquiry on their Facebook page on Thursday. The same source added that there was also no deal in place for the channel to continue showing NASCAR Sprint Cup highlights in 2013.
Keith Huewen, who has fronted Sky Sports'
coverage of IndyCar for 15 years, confirmed the news on his own Twitter feed.
"Finally, ESPN UK
is the new home of IndyCar. Having covered IRL since '97 I will feel the loss! Thanks to fans that have been so supportive," he posted. "And thanks to the dedicated teams of people at Sky Sports
who have done their best every round to make it the best show possible.
"Hopefully IndyCar fans will get what they want from the new deal here in the UK. I will be shouting for DF, JW, JJ etc. the same as before!" Later he added: "Many thanks for so many positive comments, I'm stunned by the reaction! IndyCar might be minority sport TV... but it's got passion!"
disclosure of the IndyCar situation seemed to catch ESPN UK
itself by surprise, as there was no immediate official announcement or press release concerning their new acquisition except for a brief post on Twitter.
"Confirmed: We will have IndyCar action on ESPN UK
from the first race in St. Petersburg on March 24th," the channel's official Twitter feed posted on Thursday afternoon.
There was no further information forthcoming, so it's unknown whether all races will be aired live or in full: ESPN UK
also shows DTM races, but usually delayed by up to 12 hours according to other events getting priority. Asked on their Facebook page whether or not the coverage will be live, ESPN
replied "It certainly is!" but didn't indicate further whether that would be the case for all 19 races, or how much of the race would be shown as it happened.
It's also unclear whether IndyCar will be shown on ESPN'
s main channel or on ESPN America
instead. The difference is that only the main channel is available across all platforms in the UK.