Courtesy of CART Online
ABC, ESPN Increase CART Television Coverage For 1998
CART Online (December 3) -- ABC and ESPN will provide increased coverage of the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) racing series in 1998, with the national network setting the pace by airing 10 races on the 19-event schedule.
ABC and ESPN will provide a scheduled 189 hours of programming, which includes races, encore performances and supplemental programming such as qualifying and the "CART Today" pre-race shows. The amount represents the most in CART history and a rise of nearly 400 percent in programming hours since 1993. CART has made dramatic gains since logging 48 hours in 1993 and next season will mark the fifth consecutive year that the total programming hours have expanded from the previous year.
The increase also benefits the international exposure of CART, which is broadcast in 188 countries and territories as well as 19 different languages through ESPN International, Eurosport and CARTs terrestrial broadcast partners worldwide. Each race is seen by more than 60 million viewers around the world and a projected 1998 season-long total is expected to surpass 1 billion.
"CART continues to increase its programming hours with its broadcasting partners, and we are extremely proud of that fact and look to continue that trend in the future, said Keith Allo, CART vice president of television. "In a day and age when getting on network television is becoming more difficult, CART remains in an envious position to have the best of both worlds: network television and the No. 1 sports cable channel in the world. Combined with our international exposure, the package gives us some of the most comprehensive coverage of any sport in the country."
ABCs coverage will be highlighted by broadcasts of the CART season opener in Homestead, Fla.; the series two new venues for the 1998 season: Japan and Houston; the Memorial Day weekend event on the outskirts of St. Louis; and the third running of the U..S. 500.
ABC will open with the first two rounds of the series, beginning Sunday, March 15 with the Grand Prix of Miami Presented by Toyota at the Metro-Dade Homestead Motorsports Complex. ESPN2 will complement ABCs coverage by having the RPM2 Night studio show originate live from the venue for the week beginning Monday, March 9.
ABC then will follow CART to its debut in Japan, one of four continents the premier North American-based, open-wheel series will visit during the season. The Budweiser 500 will be held Saturday, March 28 at the new and highly acclaimed Twin Ring Motegi oval in Motegi, a city located approximately 60 miles northeast of Tokyo.
ABC also will present the Rio 400 on May 10 from Emerson Fittipaldi Speedway at Nelson Piquet International Raceway in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The network returns to the states for Memorial Day weekend and the second running of the Motorola 300. The Motorola 300 is set for Saturday, May 23 at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Ill.
The Motorola 300 will kick off a run of six of eight events that will be televised by ABC in the heart of the CART schedule. The network will follow with coverage of the ITT Automotive Detroit Grand Prix (June 7); Medic Drug Grand Prix of Cleveland (July 12); Molson Indy in Toronto (July 19); U.S. 500 Presented by Toyota at Michigan Speedway (July 26) and the Miller Lite 200 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (Aug. 9).
ABC culminates its 1998 coverage Oct. 4 with the inaugural Texaco Grand Prix of Houston that will be run in the citys downtown streets.
ESPN, the leading sports cable network, will televise nine events, including the ever-popular Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach and the season-ending CART 500 Presented by Toyota at California Speedway.
ESPN will begin its coverage in Round 3 of the CART season with the April 5 broadcast of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. The cable network also will televise Round 4, the Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix Presented by Toyota set for April 26 at Nazareth (Pa.) Speedway.
ESPN then will head May 31 to the Miller Lite 200 at the famed Milwaukee Mile and the Budweiser/G.I. Joes 200 Presented by Texaco/Havoline on June 21 at Portland (Ore.) International Raceway before embarking on a run of coverage of three consecutive races. ESPN will televise the Texaco/Havoline 200 at Road America on Aug. 16 and follow with the Molson Indy Vancouver (Sept. 6) and Grand Prix of Monterey Featuring the Texaco/Havoline 300 at Laguna Seca Raceway (Sept. 13).
The 1998 CART season will culminate Nov. 1 with ESPNs coverage of the season-ending 500-mile event presented by Toyota at California Speedway.
Exact air times of all events will be announced at a later date.
In addition to the coverage by ABC, ESPN and its international partners, CART will produce 28 "Inside CART" shows for the 1998 season that will air on the Fox Sports Network. "Inside CART," which debuted this year, is a half-hour, magazine-style show that offers a behind-the-scenes look at the personalities of the CART racing series. The first show of 1998 is expected to air in mid-March and the more than two dozen episodes will be broadcast throughout the season.
1998 CART TELEVISION SCHEDULE
March 15 Grand Prix of Miami Homestead, Fla. ABC
March 28 Budweiser 500 Motegi, Japan ABC
April 5 Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Long Beach, Calif. ESPN
April 26 Bosch Spark Plug Grand Prix Presented by Toyota Nazareth, Pa. ESPN
May 10 Rio 400 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil ABC
May 23 Motorola 300 Madison, Ill. ABC
May 31 Miller Lite 200 West Allis, Wisc. ESPN
June 7 ITT Automotive Detroit Grand Prix Detroit, Mich. ABC
June 21 Budweiser/G.I. Joes 200 Presented by Texaco/Havoline Portland, Ore. ESPN
July 12 Medic Drug Grand Prix of Cleveland Cleveland, Ohio ABC
July 19 Molson Indy Toronto, Canada ABC
July 26 U.S. 500 Presented by Toyota Brooklyn, Mich. ABC
Aug. 9 Miller Lite 200 Lexington, Ohio ABC
Aug. 16 Texaco/Havoline 200 Elkhart Lake, Wisc. ESPN
Sept. 6 Molson Indy Vancouver Vancouver, Canada ESPN
Sept. 13 Grand Prix of Monterey Featuring the Texaco/Havoline 300 Laguna Seca, Calif. ESPN
Oct. 4 Texaco Grand Prix of Houston Houston, Texas ABC
Oct. 18 IndyCarnival Australia Gold Coast, Australia ESPN
Nov. 1 CART 500 Presented by Toyota Fontana, Calif. ESPN
Note: Air times TBA