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Rahal, others, comment on new IRL TV deal UPDATE #2 This SPEEDTV.com article analyzes the new IRL TV deal on versus.  The statement that needs to be made is simple, if just two cars/teams cannot land a primary sponsor because the TV ratings will be that much lower, that wipes out the rumored $6M per year Versus is paying the IRL. Other sponsors may want to pay 50% less per year because they are reaching, say half (if they are lucky), the number of eyeballs.  Add it all up and it's clear to see that the IRL signed a bad deal for its teams.

08/07/08 Select quotes regarding 2009 IndyCar Series media partnerships: Tony George, the founder and chief executive officer of the Indy Racing League; Marc Fein, executive vice president of programming, production and business operations for Versus; Scott Guglielmino, vice president of programming and acquisitions for ESPN; Terry Angstadt, president of the Indy Racing League’s commercial division; and Charlie Morgan, president and COO of IMS Productions, were guests on a teleconference discussing the Indy Racing League’s partnership with ABC and VERSUS for 2009 and beyond.

Select quotes from the teleconference are listed below. The full transcript is posted at indycar.com/media.

TONY GEORGE: We're very excited to be able to continue our 44-year relationship that we've had with ABC Sports. It's been one of the most enduring relationships in all of television sports. We're very proud of that.

I had as a priority to encourage our team here at Indianapolis to really focus on doing everything in our power to maximize the opportunities that we have with the new unified series, with the centennial year celebration that kicks off next year. So we went about in a very methodical way, organizing ourselves and sort of setting out our priorities.

First of all, we wanted to understand what was most important to our constituents. That was very pretty consistent with what our thoughts and feelings were. It was good to get that validation.

We also respect and honor our existing relationships with our current broadcast partners, ABC and ESPN. We wanted to do everything that we knew to make sure that we were serving the needs of everyone to the best of our abilities.

We consulted with them, got their concurrence that this was an important opportunity for us. And what we've come up with I think is really a very exciting opportunity. We were able to go out and engage the interest of most every potential broadcast media partner out there. What we found was that there was a lot of genuine interest in our property. There was a lot of excitement and buzz about the opportunities with the unification and with the centennial year coming up. There was even some interest from some entities that most wouldn't be familiar with.

Suffice it to say that we set out about trying to secure the best media partnership going forward that will allow us to grow this property. Again, having the opportunity to continue with ABC, but more I think that adds to the excitement is the fact that we're bringing in a new partner into this mix going forward that will give us the opportunity to expand our coverage, create some new programming that we haven't really seen in the past, but really to help us become a focal point of their new and growing platform. We're excited to be a part of it and to make this announcement.

SCOTT GUGLIELMINO: As Tony mentioned, the partnership throughout the years has been tremendous. It was something that from the onset of the discussions that was a focus of ours. Our ability to land on an agreement that includes the 500 is something we're really, really happy about. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the Indy 500, they're just totally unique and very special. We are very excited about continuing that relationship.

MARC FEIN: It's a great day for us here. We're very excited. We join two organizations that have a lot of momentum going, a lot of great things can happen over the long haul. Certainly the IRL, with the unification, with all the stars they have, the attendance, the ratings, for us with the new properties we continuously add, with our ratings and distribution growth, it really means a lot.

Our game plan of adding properties that we can really embrace and put our arms around and super-serve those passionate fan bases, certainly the IRL fits in that perfectly. We were very excited to be able to get this deal done with them and look forward to great things over the next 10 years.

08/07/08 What follows is a quote from Rahal Letterman Racing co-owner and three-time IndyCar champion Bobby Rahal concerning today's Indy Racing League announcement regarding its future television package.

The Indy Racing League, the sanctioning body for the IndyCar Series in DIRECTV HD and Firestone Indy Lights, today announced multi-year media partnerships with ABC and VERSUS. The Indianapolis 500-Mile Race will remain on ABC, continuing one of the longest partnerships in television sports, while the move to VERSUS, home to the National Hockey League, the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs, college football, Davis Cup and Tour de France, will give the IndyCar Series a new cable television partner beginning in 2009.

"Anything we can do to show more of the excitement of IndyCar racing benefits all of us," said Rahal. "I've seen what Versus has done for the Tour de France and if they do the same kind of job for us then I can only think it will be much better for the IRL. RLR also welcomes the financial and programming commitment Versus will make to tell the story about the drivers, teams and series to the public. In addition to the new programming, we are pleased that the Indianapolis 500 will continue to appear on ABC/ESPN, maintaining a long Memorial Day tradition."  RLR PR
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