SBD/April 16, 2012/Leagues and Governing Bodies

IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard Discusses Future Scheduling, Series' TV Ratings

Bernard said he thinks the U.S. needs to be IndyCar's top priority
IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard discussed the series' future scheduling plans and said that he "would like to see two Canadian and two overseas races -- in Brazil and China," which would mimic the makeup of the '12 schedule, according to David Felton of the L.A. DAILY NEWS. Bernard said, "We're an American governing body of open-wheel racing. I think we need to put our priority here in the U.S." He added, "In saying that, we would like three or four events internationally ... because that is where our partners and sponsors want to do business." Bernard added that "one of the series' main goals is to attract the 15 to 20 million fans he estimates American open-wheel racing lost during the CART-IndyCar wars of the 1990's" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 4/15).

SHIFTING GEARS: In California, Damian Dottore notes NBC Sports Network's coverage of the April 1 Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama drew just a .25 rating in the U.S., the equivalent of about 250,000 HHs. Despite running opposite the NASCAR Sprint Cup Goody's Fast Relief 500, Bernard said that he was "disappointed with that number" and that both the series and NBC Sports "have to do a better job promoting IndyCars." The contract the IndyCar Series has with ABC "prevents a race being on the regular NBC network." However, Bernard said that "that doesn't prevent the network from promoting the races aired on its NBC Sports Network property" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 4/16). IndyCar driver Will Power said, "It's a pity because it's such a good product, good racing, good teams, good drivers and it's just not getting out there and that's unfortunate. ... NBC has to advertise more, it's as simple as that, if they care about IndyCar." Driver Dario Franchitti said, "NBC Sports has to spend some big money and has to promote better, because when you've got racing that good, you need to let people know” (AP, 4/14). Yesterday's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach drew a 0.35 overnight rating, up from a 0.29 for last year's race (THE DAILY).
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