for your iPhone
for your iPad
IndyCar

IndyCar Links

2014 Schedule

2014 IndyCar Rules

2014 Indy Lights Rules

2014 Pro Mazda Rules

2014 USF2000 Rules

2014 Drug Policy

2014 Teams

2014 Scanner Freq

Race Car Comparison

Lap Time Comparison

History CART/IRL Split


2014 Standings
After Pocono
Driver Standings

1 Will Power 446
2 Helio Castroneves 446
3 Simon Pagenaud 402
4 Juan Pablo Montoya 391
5 Ryan Hunter-Reay 388
6 Carlos Munoz (R) 340
7 Marco Andretti 325
8 Scott Dixon 297
9 Ryan Briscoe 285
10 Sebastien Bourdais 271
11 Tony Kanaan 267
12 James Hinchcliffe 266
13 Mikhail Aleshin 263
14 Justin Wilson 253
15 Charlie Kimball 239
16 Jack Hawksworth 227
17 Carlos Huertas (R) 224
18 Josef Newgarden 220
19 Graham Rahal 202
20 Sebastian Saavedra 196
21 Takuma Sato 189
22 Mike Conway 152
23 Ed Carpenter 138
24 Oriol Servia 88
25 Kurt Busch (R) 80
26 JR Hildebrand 66
27 Sage Karam (R) 57
28 James Davison (R) 34
29 Jacques Villeneuve 29
30 Alex Tagliani 28
31 Luca Filippi 24
32 Townsend Bell 22
33 Pippa Mann 21
34 Martin Plowman (R) 18
35 Buddy Lazier 11
36 Franck Montagny 8

Rookie of the Year
1 Carlos Munoz 340
2 Mikhail Aleshin 263
3 Jack Hawksworth 217
4 Carlos Huertas 204
5 Kurt Busch 80
6 Sage Karam 57
7 James Davison 34
8 Martin Plowman 18

Wins
T1 Ryan Hunter-Reay 2
T1 Will Power 2
T1 Simon Pagenaud 2
T4 Mike Conway 1
T4 Helio Castroneves 1
T4 Carlos Huertas 1
T4 Ed Carpenter 1
T4 Juan Pablo Montoya 1

Podium Finishes
T1 Will Power 5
T1 Helio Castroneves 5
2 Ryan Hunter-Reay 4
T3 Carlos Munoz 3
T3 Juan Pablo Montoya 3
T6 Marco Andretti 2
T6 Simon Pagenaud 2
T8 Mike Conway 1
T8 Carlos Huertas 1
T8 Scott Dixon 1
T8 Tony Kanaan 1
T8 Graham Rahal 1
T8 Charlie Kimball 1
T8 Ed Carpenter 1
T8 Jack Hawksworth 1
T8 Mikhail Aleshin 1

Lap Leaders:
1 Will Power 348
2 Helio Castroneves 174
3 Ryan Hunter-Reay 165
4 Ed Carpenter 116
5 Tony Kanaan 79
6 Juan Pablo Montoya 74
7 Takuma Sato 67
8 James Hinchcliffe 56
9 Simon Pagenaud 53
10 Jack Hawksworth 32
11 Scott Dixon 27
12 Marco Andretti 22
13 Justin Wilson 20
14 Sebastian Saavedra 14
15 Graham Rahal 10
16 Mike Conway 8
17 Josef Newgarden 8
T18 Oriol Servia 7
T18 Carlos Huertas 7
19 Ryan Briscoe 5
20 Mikhail Aleshin 4
21 Alex Tagliani 3
22 Sebastien Bourdais 2

Entrant Points
Pos. # Entrant Points
1 12 Team Penske 446
2 3 Team Penske 446
3 77 Schmidt Peterson Hamilton Motorsports 402
4 2 Team Penske 391
5 28 Andretti Autosport 388
6 34 Andretti Autosport/HVM 340
7 25 Andretti Autosport 325
8 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing 297
9 20 Ed Carpenter Racing 290
10 8 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing 285
11 11 KVSH Racing 271
12 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing 267
13 27 Andretti Autosport 266
14 7 SMP Racing 263
15 19 Dale Coyne Racing 253
16 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing 239
17 98 BHA/BBM with Curb-Agajanian 227
18 18 Dale Coyne Racing 224
19 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing 220
20 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 202
21 17 KV/AFS Racing 196
22 14 A.J. Foyt Racing 189
23 16 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 112
24 26 Andretti Autosport 88
25 21 Ed Carpenter Racing 66
26 22 Dreyer and Reinbold 57
27 33 KV Racing Technology 34
28 5 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 29
29 68 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing 28
30 6 KV Racing Technology 22
31 63 Dale Coyne Racing 21
32 41 A.J. Foyt Racing 18
33 91 Lazier Partners Racing 11

Finishing Average
1 Helio Castroneves 5.81
2 Kurt Busch 6.00
3 Will Power 6.09
4 Simon Pagenaud 6.72
5 Sage Karam 9.00
6 J.R. Hildebrand 10.00
T7 Scott Dixon 10.18
T7 Carlos Munoz 10.18
9 Juan Pablo Montoya 10.45
10 Ryan Hunter-Reay 10.72
11 Ryan Briscoe 11.75
12 Marco Andretti 12.125
13 Carlos Munoz 12.375
T14 Oriol Servia 12.5
T14 Justin Wilson 12.5
16 Alex Tagliani 13.0
17 Sebastien Bourdais 13.25
18 Charlie Kimball 13.625
19 Mike Conway 13.66
T20 Jacques Villeneuve 14.0
T20 Ed Carpenter 14.0
22 Carlos Huertas 14.25
23 Mikhail Aleshin 14.875
24 James Hinchcliffe 15.125
T25 Takuma Sato 15.5
T25 Jack Hawksworth 15.5
27 Sebastian Saavedra 15.75
28 James Davison 16.00
29 Josef Newgarden 16.375
30 Graham Rahal 16.625
31 Martin Plowman 20.5
32 Franck Montagny 22.0
33 Pippa Mann 24.0
34 Townsend Bell 25.0
35 Buddy Lazier 32.0

Pole Positions
T1 Takuma Sato 2
T1 Will Power 2
T1 Helio Castroneves 2
T4 Ryan Hunter-Reay 1
T4 Sebastian Saavedra 1
T4 Ed Carpenter 1
T4 Simon Pagenaud 1
T4 Juan Pablo Montoya 1

Appearances in the Firestone Fast Six
1 Ryan Hunter-Reay 4
T2 Scott Dixon 3
T2 Will Power 3
T2 James Hinchcliffe 3
T2 Helio Castroneves 3
T2 Jack Hawksworth 3
T7 Simon Pagenaud 2
T7 Josef Newgarden 2
T9 Takuma Sato 1
T9 Marco Andretti 1
T9 Sebastien Bourdais 1
T9 Tony Kanaan 1
T9 Sebastian Saavedra 1
T9 Mike Conway 1
T9 Juan Pablo Montoya 1
T9 Ryan Briscoe 1
IndyCar - Laying the egg to hatch the chicken

by Mark J. Cipolloni
Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Advertisement

There is little question that IndyCar needs a major boost in TV ratings if it hopes to grow the way Randy Bernard has set out to do.  In the CART years IndyCar TV broadcasts were largely on the ABC/ESPN network and ratings were reasonable - around 2.0 on average and even as high as over 10.0 for the Indy 500.  But those days were over when the split occurred and race broadcasts have bounced around between ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, Spike, Versus and a smattering on CBS.

The most recent years have seen 5 broadcasts per year on ABC and the rest on Versus.  While the ABC ratings have been respectable (usually over 1.0, but sometimes not), the Versus ratings have been dismal.

But with Comcast buying NBC and Versus there is talk of making Versus the ESPN of the NBC network.  Rumor is that it will be called the NBC Sports Network.

Could that result in a boost for IndyCar?  Let’s examine some of the facts:

(1)  For a "straight" rights deal involving motorsports, the "break-even" rating is 2.0.  Anything below that rating threshold requires that the motorsports property buys time.  Why so high you ask?

(2)  Other sports have lower ratings thresholds, due to it lower production costs.  For example, it's very, very difficult for a network to spend more than $350,000 to produce an average hockey game.  Depending upon the bells and whistles, it can be produced for $100,000 or less.  A typical race is in the range of $600,000 to $1.3 million

(3)  The Indy 500 is a time buy.  Every sports program you see on ABC is a time buy by ESPN. 

(4)  The IndyCar deal with ESPN is convoluted.  Effectively, while ABC pays IndyCar a rights fee for five races (including the Indy 500), effectively, the rights fee for the Indy 500 is reduced by the amount which ESPN has to spend on the other four.

(5)  The Versus deal is supposedly a rights deal, wherein Versus pays IndyCar a rights fee.  What is unclear is whether IMS Productions picks-up the production cost.  If that is the case, it would not be surprising if IndyCar is spending more in production than being received from Versus.  If that's the case, Versus is a "time buy".

(6)  The last CART TV deal with ESPN was a "joint venture".  Basically, ESPN charged CART sponsors a premium to be on CART broadcasts, and then split the profits (after expenses) with CART

(7)  While the Indy 500 has value to a NBC, CBS, and/or Fox (wherein they can make a profit on the broadcast and be willing to pay a rights fee), the rest of the schedule is useless in that regard at current ratings levels.

(8)  Converting Versus to NBC Sports Channel can be completed with the stroke a pen.  Expanding the NBC Sports Channel to be in as many homes as ESPN is also done with just the stroke of a pen.

The problem is that Versus is not on the "basic" channel tier. 

Except for some holdovers from its life as the Outdoor channel, its channel placement is on a digital tier.  Getting the NBC Sports Channel to the "basic" tier will take several years and will coincide when renewals occur for other Comcast/NBC properties such as the USA Channel.  Until NBC Sports Channel is on the "basic" tier, ratings will continue to be affected.

(9)  The problem with the Indy 500 going to NBC and the rest of the IndyCar schedule also being on NBC is that:

  (A)  IndyCar will have to "time buy" except for the Indy 500

  (B)  If the ratings are only 1.0, then the NBC affiliates will push the network to drop IndyCar (unless they're paid to carry it).  By the way, a "time buy" on a broadcast network effectively just buys the transmission time through the NBC, CBS, and/or Fox.  NBC, CBS, and/or Fox do not pay the individual affiliates

(10)  If IndyCar chose the "time buy" route on NBC, then IndyCar must pay for promos.  Ten or so years ago, there was an ALMS race at Sears Point.  It garnered a 2.1 rating.  Why?  Everytime you turned around, there seemed to be a network promo on NBC for the race.  There was also a full page, back page sports section broadcast ad for the race in USA Today

Stated differently, the promos cost ALMS a tremendous amount, but it brought viewers to the TV set.  No promotion means no ratings.

So IndyCar is in a Catch 22 situation - does it decide to invest in a time-buy situation with NBC with the hope of growing a chicken from the egg?  With three engine manufacturers coming into the series, and rumors of a 4th, other sponsors will take a look at IndyCar as well.  And if all races are on network TV, IndyCar may see a good numbers of these sponsors and manufacturers buy TV ad time, and that can help make those broadcasts profitable....even if they are time-buys.

Many sports are time-buys, but that does not mean you lose money.  If you have enough sponsors who want to buy ad time, the overall result could be breakeven, and as you grow the ratings, you grow the ad revenue.

But IndyCar has to lay the egg first, so how they structure a new TV deal in 2012 with NBC, and deciding how many races will go on network TV (NBC) vs. what I will call a cable channel (NBC Sports Network) will be key.

The more races on NBC the better the chance teams can land sponsors for their cars, negating the support they currently get from IndyCar (Leader Card Program). 

Buying new cars for next year will be hard for the teams, and some may still need IndyCar's support, but starting in 2013, if we were IndyCar, we would invest that money in TV. 

Get the ratings up and the sponsors will come.

Feedback can be sent to feedback@autoracing1.com

Go to our forums to discuss this article