ESPN/ABC Sports announced a new, six-year rights agreement that will keep the Indianapolis 500 on ABC through 2018. ABC has been broadcasting the race since 1965, so the new contract will push the broadcast collaboration past the 50 year mark.
ESPN on ABC will broadcast the 500 Mile Race for the 48th consecutive year on May 27, 2012, and, with the new agreement taking effect in 2013, also will televise the 100th running of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” in 2016.
“The Indianapolis 500 and ABC have been together since 1965 and we are very proud to extend the relationship with this new agreement,” said George Bodenheimer, president of ESPN and ABC Sports. “The 500 is a uniquely American event and a Memorial Day tradition, and we especially look forward to televising the 100th edition of the race in 2016.”
“We value our partnership with ABC and ESPN and are pleased that the relationship will continue into the future,” said Jeff Belskus, Indianapolis Motor Speedway Corporation president and CEO.
As part of the new agreement, ABC will be the exclusive broadcast network partner for the IZOD IndyCar Series from 2013-2018 and will continue to televise four races each year in addition to the Indianapolis 500. The worldwide presence of the Indianapolis 500 and the series on television will continue as ESPN also has international syndication rights for all IZOD IndyCar Series races.
The Indy 500 aired as part of ABC’s “Wide World of Sports” from 1965 until 1971, when it was broadcast for the first time as a same-day, stand-alone, tape-delayed telecast in prime time. It was shown on a delayed basis until the first live telecast in 1986. This past May, ESPN’s production of the Indianapolis 500 telecast used 64 high definition cameras, a satellite-activated effects system and more of the most modern television technology available.
Beginning in 2012, ABC’s coverage of the Indianapolis 500 and the IZOD IndyCar Series will be expanded to include live streaming of ABC’s onboard cameras on ESPN3.com, ESPN’s signature broadband sports network. The streaming of the onboard cameras also will be available to ESPN3 subscribers via www.indycar.com.
ABC has televised IZOD IndyCar Series races every year since the formation of the series in 1996 and has aired five races each year under the current agreement, which began in 2009 and runs through the 2012 season.