IRL: ESPN extends broadcast of Indy Racing

ESPN to Broadcast Indy Racing to More Than 140 Countries IRL races shown in more than 200 countries, 300 million households worldwide INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2002 - ESPN International, which was appointed the exclusive worldwide ...

ESPN to Broadcast Indy Racing to More Than 140 Countries
IRL races shown in more than 200 countries, 300 million households worldwide

INDIANAPOLIS, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2002 - ESPN International, which was appointed the exclusive worldwide television representative for the Indy Racing League and the Indianapolis 500, has secured greater international distribution for all IRL events for the upcoming season, said Mark Reilly, ESPN's vice president and general manager of international sales.

ESPN International networks, which reach more than 110 million homes outside of the United States, will televise all IRL races to more than 140 countries. ESPN International's distribution of the IRL also includes syndication agreements with terrestrial broadcasters in such countries as Brazil, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan and Mexico, among others. In addition, Eurosport, the most widely distributed channel in Europe, serving more than 54 countries and 90 million households, will televise IRL events during its "American Zone" programming block on Sunday evenings.

ESPN International's distribution efforts, coupled with the extensive coverage the IRL will receive in the United States on ABC and ESPN, means each of this season's IRL events will be televised to more than 200 countries and more than 300 million households worldwide. Supplemental news highlights and sport anthology programs will take these figures even higher.

"The Indy Racing League is a dynamic property that offers great excitement for auto racing fans," Reilly said. "With the unprecedented worldwide coverage ESPN has secured for the for Indy Racing League and Indianapolis 500 this season, more viewers than ever will be able see these thrilling races."

Said Tony George, Indy Racing League president and CEO: "We are very pleased that the Indy Racing League, through ESPN International's distribution, will reach more viewers worldwide than any other American-based racing series. Our continued growth is another step toward our vision of international leadership in motorsports entertainment."

In 2001, the Indy Racing League, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and ESPN International reached an agreement that granted ESPN International exclusive worldwide television rights to Indy Racing League events - including the Indianapolis 500 - through 2004. This deal was struck shortly after the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indy Racing League, ABC and ESPN, Inc. agreed to extend their partnership for U.S. rights through 2007.

In 2002, the Indy Racing League will consist of 15 races, including the Indianapolis 500, which is the largest single-day sporting event in the world. Top international drivers on the Indy Racing League circuit include Brazil's Felipe Giaffone, Gil de Ferran, and Helio Castroneves. de Ferran is the two-time defending CART champion, and Castroneves is the 2001 Indianapolis 500 winner.

Other top international drivers include Chile's Eliseo Salazar, France's Laurent Redon and South Africa's Tomas Scheckter, son of 1979 Formula One World Champion Jody Scheckter. The season's first race, the 20th Anniversary Grand Prix of Miami, is scheduled for Saturday, March 2 and will be broadcast in the United States on ABC at 1 p.m. (EST).

The Indy Racing League, now in its seventh season, is the premier open-wheel, oval-track series in the world. It was founded in 1994 to promote the American tradition of open-wheel, oval-track racing and to preserve the affordability and accessibility of the sport to all drivers.

ESPN International is a division of ESPN, Inc., the Worldwide Leader In Sports. ESPN International programs, owns, or has equity interest in 25 networks that can be seen in more than 110 million households in more than 140 countries and territories outside of the United States.

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About this article
Series IndyCar
Drivers Tomas Scheckter , Felipe Giaffone , Eliseo Salazar , Helio Castroneves , Gil de Ferran , Laurent Redon , Tony George , Jody Scheckter
Tags TV