(Lake Hamilton, Fla.) - HYDRO-PROP, Inc. announced today that it has reached an agreement with ESPN2 to broadcast the Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series Presented by Laughlin and the Laughlin Formula One P.R.O.P. Tour Presented by Bud Light.
(Lake Hamilton, Fla.) - HYDRO-PROP, Inc. announced today that it has reached an agreement with ESPN2 to broadcast the Budweiser Unlimited Hydroplane Series Presented by Laughlin and the Laughlin Formula One P.R.O.P. Tour Presented by Bud Light. ESPN2 will broadcast Unlimited Hydroplane and Formula One races on Saturday and Sunday afternoons and evenings throughout the summer.
"We are delighted to extend our relationship with ESPN2 for another exciting boat racing season," said Bart Garbrecht, CEO of HYDRO-PROP. "ESPN2 has been an important force in motorsports over the years and this year they have taken the initiative to ensure that all Unlimited Hydroplane and Formula One powerboat races are seen on prime weekend viewing times. This is not only good news for the Unlimited's and Formula One, but more importantly for the fans throughout the country who will be able to see every race this season."
ESPN2 is now seen in over 77 million homes, with more than nine of every 10 ESPN households (82 million) having ESPN2. In addition, in recent weeks ESPN2 has set records for household impressions for a wide range of sports and programs.
"ESPN2 has had a long and successful relationship with both the Formula One P.R.O.P. Tour and the Unlimited Hydroplane Series and we are thrilled to continue being the television home of both series," said Burke Magnus, Director of Brand Management for ESPN. "Unlimited Hydroplanes and Formula One are the cornerstone of our power boat race programming providing fans with non-stop action and top-notch competition."
Atlanta Tele Productions returns for the third year to produce the Formula One races. In addition to their commitment to Formula One, they will also produce the Unlimited Hydroplane races this season. Ritch and Melanie Vogan, who own Atlanta Tele Productions, started their broadcasting careers in the late 70's working for Turner Broadcasting. During the past 30 years, they have produced shows for most of the national and cable networks including NBC, ABC, ESPN, TNN, PBS and Nickelodeon.
"We are looking forward to our continued involvement with the Formula One Powerboats," said Ritch Vogan of Atlanta Tele Productions. "We are also ecstatic to have the opportunity to produce the Unlimited Hydroplane races this season. We have a strong attachment to the Unlimited Hydroplanes and always hoped that one day we would have the opportunity to produce their races. We are lifelong fans of the Unlimited's and look forward to expressing the passion we feel to the television audience."
In addition, HYDRO-PROP announced that Steve Montgomery will host the Unlimited Hydroplane races this season on ESPN2. Montgomery, a veteran Unlimited announcer with more than 25 years of experience in radio, television and public address, has anchored ESPN2's coverage of all Unlimited races for the past 10 years. This season, veteran Unlimited Hydroplane driver Mark Evans will join him in the booth. Evans, the winner of nine career Unlimited Hydroplane races including the Tri-Cities race last season aboard the U-16 Miss E-Lam Plus, will color commentate the broadcasts.
"I am really looking forward to working with Mark," said Montgomery. "He's a long-time friend and one of the most popular personalities in the sport. Mark will bring a new perspective to our broadcast team, and will give the viewers a driver's point of view in certain situations which will be extremely interesting and valuable."
Formula One powerboat races on ESPN2 will be hosted by long-time professional sports announcer Art Eckman. Eckman has been involved in motorsports throughout his career including announcing Formula One for the past four years. He is widely known for his work with supercross/motocross on ESPN2. Color commentating for Formula One will be veteran boat racer, Brett May. May, who has more than 100 first-place finishes in boat racing, has participated in Formula One over the past few years and will bring that insight and knowledge to the broadcasts.
"As I approach the end of my racing career, I could not ask for a better opportunity to educate the viewers about the excitement of Formula One racing," said May. "Being so close to the sport and knowing what the drivers are feeling and what's going inside their heads at every moment will be something that I will be able to relate to the public. I am also looking forward to assisting Art as he is a true professional sports announcer with more than thirty years of experience in sports broadcasting."
ESPN2 has published their television broadcast schedule for the Unlimited Hydroplanes and Formula One powerboats through the end of July. Air dates and times for the additional events will be announced at a later date. ESPN2's television broadcast schedule:
<pre> Location/Race Date Series Air Date Time (EDT) Laughlin, Nevada (June 2-3) Formula One Sun. July 1 7:30 PM Mon. July 9 12:00 PM
Bay City, Michigan (June 23-24) Formula One Sat. July 14 4:30 PM Wed. July 18 5:30 AM
Evansville, Indiana (June 30-July 1) Unlimited Hydroplane Sat. July 14 4:00 PM Mon. July 16 5:00 AM
Madison, Indiana (July 7-8) Unlimited Hydroplane Sat. July 21 4:00 PM Mon. July 23 5:00 AM