Archive for March 21, 2018

INDYCAR will significantly increase exposure for the Verizon IndyCar Series beginning in 2019 through a media rights package announced today with NBC Sports Group.

The multiyear deal will put eight Verizon IndyCar Series races, including the 103rd Indianapolis 500 and its qualifications, on NBC next year. This is an increase from five races on broadcast television this year.

The rest of next year’s Verizon IndyCar Series races will air on NBCSN, which has seen its average viewership of INDYCAR races increase by 78 percent over the past four years. Dates, times and networks for next season will be announced at a later date.

In a first for INDYCAR, an extensive amount of Verizon IndyCar Series content will be provided through NBC Sports Gold, a leading direct-to-consumer product. Subscribers will be able to choose the content they view and how and when they access it. Either at home or at the track, the service will provide feeds not available on any other platform, including practice and qualifying sessions not televised live. Fans will also be able to watch Indy Lights presented by Cooper Tires races and programming such as INDYCAR’s postseason championship celebration, Miller Lite Carb Day at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and additional ancillary programming.

All 2019 INDYCAR races will be streamed live on NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app to authenticated subscribers.

“This arrangement brings all of INDYCAR to one home, increases our exposure and includes our first direct-to-consumer offer for our fans,” said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Company, which owns INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “We couldn’t be happier to have start-to-finish coverage of INDYCAR’s season with the NBC Sports Group.”

The Verizon IndyCar Series and the Indianapolis 500 have been aired annually on ABC, the latter since 1965. In that time, both INDYCAR and ABC have enjoyed a long and fruitful partnership.

“ABC has been a fantastic partner, not only for the ‘500’ but for its broad coverage of the Verizon IndyCar Series,” Miles said. “This partnership will continue with the 102nd running of the Indianapolis 500 in May and together we look forward to the successful year ahead.”

As part of this new alignment, the Indianapolis 500 will be included in NBC Sports’ “Championship Season” marketing campaign, which touts numerous high-profile championship events presented on NBC Sports platforms from May to July. Other events include horse racing’s Triple Crown, The PLAYERS, Premier League Championship Sunday, the French Open, the Stanley Cup Final, the Tour de France and The Open Championship. The entire Verizon IndyCar Series will receive unprecedented marketing and promotional support from NBC Sports, which will utilize not only its own assets but many NBCUniversal assets as well.

“We’re excited to have NBC Sports serve as the exclusive home of INDYCAR, which represents the most competitive open-wheel racing in the world,” said Jon Miller, president, programming, NBC Sports and NBCSN. “We’re honored to bring the Indianapolis 500, one of the most prestigious events in all of sports, to NBC, further enhancing NBC Sports’ ‘Championship Season.’ We’ve seen consistent growth for INDYCAR on NBCSN in the past decade, and we hope to continue that growth throughout the series by leveraging the television, digital, production and marketing assets that make NBC Sports a powerful media partner.”

Securing this media rights package continues INDYCAR’s recent momentum. Television ratings have increased 38 percent over the past four seasons and overall media impressions more than doubled in 2017. INDYCAR’s social platforms gained more than 400,000 new followers last year alone.

INDYCAR remains the most competitive form of racing on the planet, with 21 drivers winning races over the past six seasons. In September, Josef Newgarden became the youngest Verizon IndyCar Series champion in more than a decade and the first U.S.-born champion since 2012.

Earlier this month, INDYCAR officially debuted its new car to rave reviews in the season-opening race in St. Petersburg, Florida, with close racing and a record number of passes around the 1.8-mile temporary street circuit. The addition of four new teams further reflects the series’ growth. One of the largest fields in recent history is expected to attempt to qualify for this year’s Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

NBCSN has been a telecast partner with INDYCAR since 2009 will air its first race of the 2018 season, the Desert Diamond West Valley Casino Phoenix Grand Prix, on Saturday, April 7, at ISM Raceway (9 p.m. ET).

from IndyCar

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Two NASCAR legends with Central Indiana ties have been elected to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame, which has a new name, logo, and criteria for enshrinement beginning with the 2018 election cycle.

Five-time Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard winner Jeff Gordon and two-time Brickyard champ Tony Stewart were chosen from a ballot of 14 nominees by a panel of auto racing journalists, participants, and historians.

Gordon, who attended Tri-West High School in Pittsboro, Indiana, won 93 races in NASCAR’s top series, including the Daytona 500 three times.

He won the NASCAR series championship four times following a stellar career in USAC open-wheel racing where he was the 1990 national Midget series champion and 1991 Silver Crown titlist.

The versatile driver added an overall win in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona to his stellar resume in 2017 and drove the Pace Car before the 2015 Indianapolis 500.

Stewart, a Columbus, Indiana, resident who was a popular throwback to drivers from the 1950s and 60s, was a winner in every form of motorsports he attempted.

Stewart was a standout driver in USAC, winning the national Midget series championship in 1994, and the Triple Crown (Silver Crown, Sprint Car, Midget) in 1995.

He won three IndyCar events and the 1996-97 series championship.

After taking his talents to NASCAR, Stewart won 49 races in the sanctioning body’s top series and three series championships.

The 2018 inductees were announced on “Founder’s Day,” March 20, the 109th anniversary of the day the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Company was officially formed. They are also the first to be enshrined under the Hall’s new name and scope, which includes the stars of the Brickyard 400 and United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis for the first time. Induction ceremony will be held May 24.

“We are thrilled that the first class of inductees with our new name and election criteria honor two drivers who mean so much to fans in Central Indiana and around the world,” said Tony George, president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Foundation.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame honors and celebrates individual contribution to the sport of automobile racing at “The Greatest Race Course in the World.” It was founded in 1952 as the Auto Racing Hall of Fame under the auspices of the Contest Board of the American Automobile Association (AAA). The Hall of Fame was moved to the original Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum under the direction of then-Speedway president Anton “Tony” Hulman Jr. in 1962.