IRL season opener to get low TV ratings ESPN2 is not where any race series should be kicking off their season because TV ratings are almost always very low. However, that is exactly where the IRL's IndyCar season opener will be.
The longstanding and historic relationship between the IndyCar Series and ESPN continues in 2007 with ESPN2’s live primetime telecast of the Saturday, March 24, event from Homestead-Miami Speedway. ESPN is in its 12th year with the IndyCar Series and ESPN on ABC will celebrate its 43rd year at the Indianapolis 500 in May.
The entire 17-race season for the IndyCar Series will appear on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN on ABC. The 2007 television schedule will include seven events on ESPN on ABC, five on ESPN and five on ESPN2. The networks will also cover Indianapolis 500 qualifying May 12-13 and 19-20.
In addition, ESPN2 will be on the air live from Indianapolis Motor Speedway with SportsCenter at the Indianapolis 500. The 30-minute show will air each weekday at 5:30 p.m. starting May 7 with updated news and information, as well as coverage of practice, leading up to the May 27 race.
The ESPN alliance dates back to the series’ inaugural 1996 event and with ABC’s’ first broadcast of the Indianapolis 500-Mile Race in 1965, a relationship that is the second-longest in sports between a network and sports property. Only CBS and The Masters have been together longer.
TELEVISION ENHANCEMENTS - All IndyCar Series telecasts in 2007 will continue to be enhanced with technology from Sportvision, Inc., the nation’s premier innovator of sports and entertainment products for fans, media companies and marketers. Data boxes in the race cars are used to track real-time telemetry, miles per hour and other data, helping viewers to better experience the extreme speed of IndyCar Series competition. The Sportvision pointers can also be used to help viewers identify cars when they are racing in a tight pack, as often occurs in IndyCar Series racing.
The popular “Side-by-Side” feature, used in IndyCar Series telecasts for the past two seasons, will also continue in 2007. During commercial breaks, a split screen format showing the advertisement on one side and racing action on the other allows viewers to not miss anything that might happen on the track during the break.
BOB JENKINS RETURNS TO ESPN - Bob Jenkins will return to ESPN to call the play-by-play of ESPN2's coverage of the Indy Pro Series, the IndyCar Series’ feeder series, in 2007. Robbie Buhl and Mike King will complete the telecast team for the 16 races.
Jenkins anchored ESPN's coverage of NASCAR from 1981-2000 as well as working on the IndyCar Series telecasts after that. He also worked for the IMS Radio Network, anchoring the Indianapolis 500 broadcast from 1990-99.
ESPN2 has been the exclusive TV home of the Indy Pro Series since the series debuted in 2002. In 2007, the Freedom 100 from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Carb Day (May 25) will be aired on the same day while the remaining telecasts will typically air on the Thursday or Friday following the race.
The complete 2007 IndyCar Series schedule:
Date Venue Network Time
March 24 Homestead-Miami Speedway, Fla. ESPN2 8 p.m.
April 1 Streets of St. Petersburg, Fla. ESPN 2:30 p.m.
April 21 Twin Ring Motegi, Japan ESPN 12 noon
April 29 Kansas Speedway ESPN2 4:30 p.m.
May 27 Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Ind. ABC 12 noon
June 3 The Milwaukee Mile, Wis. ABC 4 p.m.
June 9 Texas Motor Speedway ESPN2 10 p.m.
June 24 Iowa Speedway ABC 1 p.m.
June 30 Richmond International Raceway, Va. ESPN 7:30 p.m.
July 8 Watkins Glen International, N.Y. ABC 3:30 p.m.
July 14 Nashville Superspeedway, Tenn. ESPN 7:30 p.m.
July 22 Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course ABC 1:30 p.m.
Aug. 5 Michigan International Speedway ESPN2 12 noon
Aug. 11 Kentucky Speedway ESPN2 6:30 p.m.
Aug. 26 Infineon Raceway, Calif. ESPN 3:30 p.m.
Sep. 2 The Raceway at Belle Isle, Mich. ABC 3:30 p.m.
Sep. 9 Chicagoland Speedway, Ill. ABC 4 p.m.