SBD/May 12, 2011/Media

IndyCar In Negotations With ABC For Extension Of Rights Deal

IndyCar's contract with ABC "expires at the end of this year, and while there's been a lot of chatter about moving races to NBC, ABC officials have said they still have a strong desire to retain the open-wheel racing series," according to Anthony Schoettle of the INDIANAPOLIS BUSINESS JOURNAL. IndyCar "hired IMG Media Sports Programming to negotiate with ABC and the two sides held their first meeting during the last week in April." ABC has a "90-day exclusive negotiating period before series officials can talk to other networks." ABC pays $4-6M annually "to air IndyCar races, and series officials are looking for at least that much for the next contract." Versus "pays a similar amount to air the series' remaining races." Sources said that one of the things on the table is "adding more races to ABC's package to bring in more revenue for the series." IndyCar officials also are "likely to ask ABC to increase its promotion of the Indianapolis 500" (IBJ.com, 5/11). The Izod IndyCar Series has averaged a 0.6 U.S. rating and 872,000 viewers for three races this season across ABC and Versus, up from a 0.4 rating and 557,000 viewers for four races at the same point last season. This year's figure excludes last week's race from Brazil, which was rained out on Sunday, May 1 and run the following Monday morning. Figures from the '10 season also exclude the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg due to a Sunday rainout (THE DAILY).
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