Tuesday, January 11, 2011

INDYCAR State of the Union address = a BIG teaser and several newsworthy nuggets

INDYCAR had its annual state of the league address today in downtown Indianapolis and several topics where covered by several different speakers. IndyCar Garage was in attendance had the privilege of talking to a few drivers and seeing INDYCAR start a new era. Read below to find out the break down.

1. The NBC merger….

The bombshell that might drop in a couple weeks , was teased today when Robby Green of IMS Productions announced that CEO Randy Bernard was told this past weekend that the merger between NBC and Comcast should be complete by the end of the month, and possibly within one or two days of the merger being complete, an announcement could be made. Questions come to mind right away… INDYCAR on NBC in 2011? Versus becomes NBC Sports? All 17 events could be on network T.V.? Holy cow this could be huge if NBC transitions Versus into NBC Sports and all 17 INDYCAR races are on network T.V. This would help ease the pain of the fresh Firestone wound that is looming over INDYCAR right now.

2. The five ABC broadcasts were announced during the IMS Productions portion, they include the season opener at St. Pete, and then four of the eight ovals, which include Indianapolis, Loudon, Milwaukee, and the season finale, Las Vegas, which hasn’t been announced yet… hmmm…

3. Edmonton is back on the schedule , due in part because the city of Edmonton and Octane Motorsports Events Inc reached an agreement on providing facility upgrades.

4. The Indy Racing League is no more, its INDYCAR as the sanctioning body for the IZOD IndyCar Series, Firestone Indy Lights, and the Mazda Road to Indy.

5. Engine specifications for the 2012 IndyCar was changed from 2.4 liters to 2.2, so it fell in line with the smaller, lighter, and more efficient direction.

6. Minors now have access to the garage area, if your nine years of age or older, you will access to all garage areas, except for Texas Motor Speedway (there is a story inside that). This builds your young fan base up and allows them to build relationships with their favorite drivers.

7. Firestone Indy Lights will have a T.V. package this year on at least the Versus telecasts, the broadcasts are scheduled for Wednesday nights at 6 p.m., apparently after the rebroadcast of the previous race.

8. All IndyCar events, outside of the Indy 500 (which I am assuming) will have a new pre-race stage and introduction package. Bernard has been quoted as saying he bought portable scoring pylons for road/street course races.

9. A host of events leading up to the 2011 Indy 500, including former Indy 500 vets coming back, most of the previous winning cars on display at the IMS Museum, and several more events tied to the month of May.

10. A new and improved marketing strategy that includes 70% of crossover fans that like NASCAR and INDYCAR.

11. A new INDYCAR office in Los Angles to help tap into Hollywood and more mainstream media

12. Double file re-starts for all ovals in 2011 , which should be very exciting for the fans, lapped cars will not be moved back though

13. The green flag will not be given on restarts on ovals until right before the start/finish line to help improve the excitement

14. Pit stalls will be based off the previous events qualifications results , except for the Indy 500, St. Pete in 2011 will be based off 2010 entrant points

15. More track time during race weekends depending on if you’re a rookie and cars outside the top ten.

16. One set of tires for qualification on road/street courses, red or black, whatever you start with is what you finish with.

17. IZOD had a 350% return on investment this year, which is huge for INDYCAR.

18. INDYCAR ratings on Versus rose over 40%......which still doesn’t mean much if you look at the numbers…. We need NBC!

That about wraps it up… check www.IndyCarGarage.com over the next couple days for driver interviews with Ryan Hunter-Reay, Ed Carpenter, and J.R. Hildebrand.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

FWIW, the FCC said last week that they do not intend to vote on the NBC/Comcast merger at their January meeting. It very well might come at the February meeting. However, that's not "the end of January" Mr. Green was talking about, is it?

Did anybody else catch how Barnhart apparently said that the IICS would "probably" race at Las Vegas? Yep, from a promised race in September to a "probable" race in January. That Randy Bernard can "probably" get the job done, can't he? Sooner or later, people will realize two things I already know about Randy Bernard:

1. He has simply been saying everything that everybody wants to hear, even when he has to contradict himself to do it.

2. So far, everything he accomplished was already set on the table when he got here.