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2014 Standings
After Long Beach
Pos. Driver Points

1 Will Power 93
2 Mike Conway 66
3 Simon Pagenaud 60
4 Helio Castroneves 55
5 Ryan Hunter-Reay 54
6 Scott Dixon 51
7 Carlos Munoz 48
8 Juan Pablo Montoya 47
9 Mikhail Aleshin 46
10 Sebastian Saavedra 42
11 Tony Kanaan 40
12 Justin Wilson 38
13 Takuma Sato 36
14 Josef Newgarden 34
15 Ryan Briscoe 33
16 Sebastien Bourdais 33
17 Graham Rahal 33
18 Marco Andretti 32
19 Carlos Huertas 32
20 Oriol Servia 26
21 Jack Hawksworth 24
22 James Hinchcliffe 20
23 Charlie Kimball 17

Wins
T1 Will Power 1
T1 Mike Conway 1

Podium Finishes
1 Will Power 2
T2 Ryan Hunter-Reay 1
T2 Helio Castroneves 1
T2 Mike Conway 1
T2 Carlos Munoz 1

Lap Leaders:
1 Will Power 74
2 Ryan Hunter-Reay 51
3 Takuma Sato 33
4 Scott Dixon 22
5 Mike Conway 4
6 Sebastian Saavedra 3
7 Helio Castroneves 2
8 Josef Newgarden 1


Prize Money
1 Will Power $50,000
T2 Mike Conway $30,000
T2 Ryan Hunter-Reay $30,000
4 Simon Pagenaud $18,000
5 Takuma Sato $17,000
T6 Helio Castroneves $15,000
T6 Carlos Munoz $15,000
T8 Juan Pablo Montoya $10,000
T8 Scott Dixon $10,000
T10 Mikhail Aleshin $8,000
T10 Tony Kanaan $8,000
12 Oriol Servia $7,000
T13 Justin Wilson $5,000
T13 Marco Andretti $5,000
T15 Sebastian Saavedra $4,000
T15 Josef Newgarden $4,000
T17 Ryan Briscoe $2,000
T17 Carlos Huertas $2,000

Entrant Points
Pos. # Entrant Points
1 12 Team Penske 93
2 20 Ed Carpenter Racing 66
3 77 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 60
4 3 Team Penske 55
5 28 Andretti Autosport 54
6 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing 51
7 34 Andretti Autosport – HVM Racing 48
8 2 Team Penske 47
9 7 Schmidt Peterson Motorsports 46
10 17 KV AFS Racing 42
11 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing 40
12 19 Dale Coyne Racing 38
13 14 A.J. Foyt Enterprises 36
14 67 Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing 34
15 8 NTT Data Chip Ganassi Racing 33
16 11 KVSH Racing 33
17 15 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 33
18 25 Andretti Autosport 32
19 18 Dale Coyne Racing 32
20 16 Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing 26
21 98 BHA/BBM with Curb-Agajanian 24
22 27 Andretti Autosport 20
23 83 Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing 17

Finishing Average
1 Will Power 1.5
2 Simon Pagenaud 5
T3 Helio Castroneves 7
T3 Oriol Servia 7
5 Scott Dixon 8
6 Mike Conway 8.5
7 Mikhail Aleshin 9
8 Juan Pablo Montoya 9.5
T9 Sebastian Saavedra 10
T9 Carlos Munoz 10
11 Ryan Hunter-Reay 11
T12 Tony Kanaan 12
T12 Justin Wilson 12
T14 Ryan Briscoe 13.5
T14 Sebastien Bourdais 13.5
T14 Graham Rahal 13.5
T17 Josef Newgarden 14
T17 Carlos Huertas 14
19 Takuma Sato 14.5
20 Marco Andretti 15
21 Jack Hawksworth 18
22 James Hinchcliffe 20
23 Charlie Kimball 21.5

Pole Positions
T1 Takuma Sato 1
T1 Ryan Hunter-Reay 1

Appearances in the Firestone Fast Six
1 Ryan Hunter-Reay 2
T2 Scott Dixon 1
T2 Tony Kanaan 1
T2 Sebastien Bourdais 1
T2 Will Power 1
T2 Takuma Sato 1
T2 Marco Andretti 1
T2 James Hinchcliffe 1
T2 Josef Newgarden 1
T2 Simon Pagenaud 1
T2 Jack Hawksworth 1

Qualifying Average
1 Ryan Hunter-Reay 2
2 Scott Dixon 6
3 Jack Hawksworth 6.5
4 Marco Andretti 7
5 Tony Kanaan 7.5
T6 Takuma Sato 8
T6 Sebastien Bourdais 8
T8 Will Power 9
T8 Carlos Munoz 9
10 Helio Castroneves 9.5
11 Simon Pagenaud 10
12 James Hinchcliffe 10.5
13 Oriol Servia 12
T14 Josef Newgarden 13
T14 Justin Wilson 13
16 Ryan Briscoe 13.5
17 Mike Conway 14.5
18 Sebastian Saavedra 16.5
19 Juan Pablo Montoya 17
20 Mikhail Aleshin 17.5
21 Carlos Huertas 19
22 Charlie Kimball 19.5
23 Graham Rahal 22
IndyCar - Laying the egg to hatch the chicken

by Mark J. Cipolloni
Wednesday, April 20, 2011

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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.

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