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SBD/Issue 222/Sports Media
ABC, Versus Sign Deal To Share Rights To IRL Races Through 2012
Published August 7, 2008
|ABC, Versus To Share IRL
Television Rights Through 2012
INCREASED EXPOSURE: IRL executives are most excited by the increased exposure that Versus is promising, saying that the amount of IRL programming will increase at least 200% over what had been on ESPN. The biggest gripe from IRL stakeholders has been the short window for the race and lack of ancillary programming on ESPN. Versus addressed that with a 3-hour window on race day, a Saturday show and re-airing the races during the week. Versus also is planning pre- and post-race shows around the races, plus other ancillary programming it plans to develop. "ESPN's blessing and curse is all the sports properties it has," said Versus Exec VP/Programming, Production & Business Operations Marc Fein. "The position of our network is to go after properties we can own. We want to surround and embrace it." Fein said Versus plans to replicate the amount of promotion and marketing that it has used for the NHL. "We're going to promote it a lot more than it has been promoted," Fein said.