SBD/October 18, 2013/Media

Mark Miles Expects IndyCar TV Ratings To Benefit When NASCAR Moves To NBCSN

Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles expects the Izod IndyCar Series to "benefit from NASCAR's record-setting deal to move a portion of its Sprint Cup races" to NBCSN in '15, according to Jeff Olson of USA TODAY. Miles said that he expects "a larger audience for IndyCar races, which have been struggling with poor ratings" on NBCSN. He said, "We've shared a lot of data, and one of the things we've learned is that our ratings are substantially better -- still not where we want them to be, but better -- when we don't overlap with NASCAR racing. Now that they have both of us, that isn't going to happen." Olson notes NASCAR and IndyCar races during the second half of the season beginning in '15 "won't air simultaneously." Miles said that he had "no intention of trying to get out of IndyCar's contract" with NBCSN, which runs through the '18 season. Instead, he noted that he was "eager to see how IndyCar fits into the NBC motor sports mix." Miles: "We can't be chasing NASCAR fans. Some will come over and watch us, but we've got to figure out how to position this so we're very appealing to the fans that match up with our product" (USA TODAY, 10/18).

CHANGE IS A GOOD THING: Miles said he "feels really good about" the '14 IndyCar schedule, but there are "some changes, primarily in the format." The final race will be held on Aug. 30, and Miles said, "We wanted to have more consistency so that fans could know once our season starts we're going to be right in front of them throughout until the end. We decided to condense the season in order to accomplish that and we'll stop on Labor Day weekend. So it's a more condensed North American circuit, but it's not less racing, same amount of racing over a little bit less time and it’s kind of a transition toward 2015 where we'll grow back again." Miles said he "wasn't sure what to think going into this year" about the doubleheader races, but the "feedback has been terrific." He added, "It's a little tougher on the teams but it creates some excitement and for our venue operators, the guys running these races, it's a big boom." Miles said the schedule from June 7-July 20 has five races, including two doubleheaders, giving the series "momentum." He said, "We want to be in front of fans so we can build toward the culmination of the championship and we don’t go away for a couple of weeks then pop back on." He said going forward, IndyCar is "on solid ground financially." Miles: "We're going to be looking more to making investments than any sort of retrenching at all. We're going to make some changes in our organization to make it even stronger and better to get ourselves in front of fans. We have a clear strategy about the calendar which is going to take us a couple of years to totally reveal and put into place, but I'm confident it will make for a more compelling racing schedule. We're going to work very hard on improving our broadcast" ("2013 IndyCar Championship Preview Show," NBCSN, 10/17).
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