ABC, IMS Extend Indianapolis 500 Partnership Through 2012

Thursday, August 07, 2008

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ABC will continue its long-standing relationship with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2009 by televising the Indianapolis 500 for the 45th consecutive year, while new Indy Racing League cable television partner VERSUS will provide extensive coverage of all qualifying days.

The 93rd Indianapolis 500 will be televised live in high definition on ABC on Sunday, May 24, 2009. ABC first began telecasts of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" in 1965, and the ABC-IMS relationship is the second-longest continuous partnership between a network and an American sporting event, behind only CBS and The Masters.

ABC will continue to air the Indianapolis 500 through 2012, extending its relationship with IMS through the track's Centennial Era from 2009-2011. ABC also will broadcast four other IndyCar Series races annually during that span.

"We are very pleased to extend our long relationship with the Indianapolis 500 and the Indy Racing League," said John Skipper, executive vice president, content, for ESPN, which produces all sports coverage for ABC. "The Indianapolis 500 is one of the world's marquee sporting events and one that sports fans look forward to every year."

The new, multi-year partnership with VERSUS calls for extensive coverage of all qualification days for the Indianapolis 500. VERSUS also will provide in-depth coverage of the Centennial Era celebration at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

"2009 is the beginning of the Centennial Era celebration of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race," said Tony George, Indianapolis Motor Speedway chief executive officer. "We are proud of our heritage, history and tradition, and we are proud of our long-standing association with ABC Sports. The 93rd running of the Indianapolis 500 will mark the 45th consecutive year that ABC has broadcast 'The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,' and they have been a great network partner. We enjoy their past and continued support of the IndyCar Series, who, along with ESPN, has broadcast nearly all of the series' races since its inception in 1996, and for that we are grateful."

As part of its new partnership with the Indy Racing League, VERSUS will televise at least 13 IndyCar Series races per year for the next 10 years. Each telecast will last a minimum of three hours and include extended pre-race coverage.

VERSUS also will air a one-hour preview show the day before each race that will feature qualification highlights and all of the relevant IndyCar Series stories of that weekend. VERSUS also will feature at least 10 hours of IndyCar Series ancillary programming each season focused on the drivers, teams and tracks.

Further, VERSUS will have IndyCar Series re-airs in the week following each of its races as well as the Firestone Indy Lights schedule highlighted in weekly 30-minute telecasts.

VERSUS, a wholly owned company of Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA, CMCSK), is distributed to more than 73 million homes throughout the United States via cable systems and satellite operators. It is the national cable home of the National Hockey League (NHL) and the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and best-in-class events such as the Tour de France, Davis Cup tennis, the Professional Bull Riders (PBR), World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) and professional boxing.